Why we all want to be a bit more Villanelle (minus the murder)

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My husband and I always tend to have our most deep and meaningful conversations in the car.  It makes sense; you’re wedged together for anything from a few minutes to a couple of hours where at least one person isn’t allowed to scroll the time away on their phone.  Conversation is going to happen, and when you’ve known each other for ten plus years, it’s not going to be about the weather.  In between mini-arguments over who’s Spotify Playlist has got the best mix (mine, obviously), bouts of road-rage and scrambling around to find that fruit pastille I dropped between my legs (it was a black one, no!) – we tend to get a little deep.  Last weekend – road tripping back from West Wales – we somehow got onto the subject of murder.  “Could you ever kill a dog?” I asked.  “No, never – not unless it was in pain,” was our united stance on that one.  Even then, I’d struggle and sob myself silly; I couldn’t even bear the thought of it, because, well… dogs.  And then we played that game you always play when pondering moral dilemmas; you go to the most extreme situation you can think of.  I shrugged my lips, “Alright then, could you kill a person?”  

Now before you start thinking that my husband and I are psychopaths who spend every single car journey plotting murder, I should probably explain that we don’t.  We’ve just been watching waaaaaay too much Killing Eve.

It’s back this weekend for Season 2; are you as excited as I am?  I’m so ready for another helping of Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s razor dagger-sharp script-writing, more scene stealing fashion and two of the most complex, well-written female characters on the box (three, if you include Fiona Shaw’s Carolyn – which I totally think you should because she’s awesome).  But mostly because, finally, more Villanelle!  Played by the brilliant and beautiful Jodie Comer, she’s become a bit of an unlikely icon and – yikes, dare I say it? – role model?  Probably not for the cold blooded killer bits, but for just about everything else.

I mean, there’s a reason why tailored suits are everywhere at the moment, along with frou-frou pink tops and dresses (who can forget that psychiatrist scene from Season 1?).  And it’s not just the fashion, it’s her playful, devil may care attitude that we’re all hooked on; she does and wears whatever the hell she wants, speaks her mind, and is as tough as the Balenciaga Biker Boots she stomps around in.  There’s a beautiful brutality to her that I think we all fancy injecting a little of into our own lives – whether that’s wearing something eye-catching and extravagant, to telling someone exactly what you think of them.  To their face, with a serene smirk.  Sorry not sorry, baby.

Phoebe Waller-Bridge explained in an interview that crafting the character of Villanelle (originally created by the writer Luke Jennings in his book Codename: Villanelle) came from continually asking herself the question, “What would I do if I wasn’t afraid?”  And I think that’s the question we should all probably be asking ourselves every day in as many variously worded ways as possible.  It’s the only way to acknowledge the fear holding you back from being the most explicit and honest version of yourself, and then shake it and be that person – devil may care. “What would I wear today if I wasn’t afraid of being stared at?”, “What project would I take on at work if I wasn’t afraid of failing?”, “What would I say to that person if I wasn’t afraid of being rejected?” ad infinitum.  As long as the question isn’t, “Who would I kill today if I wasn’t afraid of being caught?” then you’re golden.

Killing Eve is back on BBC One this Saturday at 9.15pm.  Smell you later.  🔪

 

How to Bounce Back from Burnout

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About a month ago I hit THE WALL.  I’m not talking literally, of course, and neither am I talking Game of Thrones (…which would probably be for the first time in oh, I don’t know… SEVEN years?).  You know that scene from Run Fatboy, Run?  The one where Simon Peg is running the Marathon and he hits that metaphorical wall?  He’s knackered; he physically can’t move another step forward and mentally, he’s ready to give up.  Well, that’s kind of how I felt about a month ago (minus the marathon). Things had been a bit busy and I’d just kept on burning through – as you do – but when things became quiet again and I stopped to think, I suddenly realised how tired and uninspired I was feeling – mentally, I just didn’t have any fuel left to keep that fire going.  All the little things I enjoyed doing on a weekly basis – like cooking, writing and walking the dog – suddenly felt like a mammoth task.

I was burned out.

Burnout isn’t just about feeling tired; it’s a total and utter max-out in energy – period.  You don’t just feel tired, you feel drained of that fire that keeps you going on a day to day basis – your personal combustion engine.  And once that goes, forget it.  You know the creative energy that you need to be able to come up with new ideas at work and feel inspired to take on new tasks?  All out.  All that social energy you need to maintain relationships and forge new ones?  Gone.  The motivation to go out, to get some exercise and stick to your usual, healthy routine?  Nada.  If you’re feeling tired, overwhelmed, uninspired and are struggling to keep up with your friends and maintain your usual healthy routine, then all signs point to burnout, baby.

And it’s not just me; how many times have I heard the phrase, “I’m so ready for my holiday now…” in the past few weeks?  We all seem to be thirsting for that summer break – just a couple of weeks away from the desk and a bit of time to get that groove back.

But, what if that holiday is still a few weeks away and you’re feeling so burned out that you’re smoldering out your ears and snoring at your desk?  Well, here are five ways to get bouncing back from burnout.

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1. Strip Back Your To-Do List

You know when you’re on the computer and you’ve got a hundred different windows open at once (with about twenty different tabs in each on the go, as well as The Sims 4 running in the background…)?  Some days you can handle it, but definitely not when you’re approaching burn out.  Time to take a look at your to do list and see where you can lighten your load.  I mean it’d be easy to ditch the whole thing, but just sit down for twenty minutes and see if there’s anything you can strike out and put off until you’ve got the energy.

2. Sneak in Some “Me” Time

“Me time”, “Self Care”, whatever you want to call it – if you’re heading for burnout taking a little time to do something that’s guaranteed to either relax you or put an instant smile on your face is a must.  Sometimes a little bit of what you fancy goes a long way, and sometimes you need a couple of hours or a day or two to just do you – whether that’s something as simple as a soak in the tub, a takeaway, a walk with the dog or treating yo’self to something special – reminding yourself of what feels good will stop you collapsing in on yourself like a black hole post supernova.

3. Focus on NOW

Time forget about… time!  Or least shed the stress that goes with it.  Forget your monthly, yearly, big picture goals for a while and just focus on getting back on track NOW.  You don’t need the stress of worrying whether you’re going to fall behind when you’re trying to bounce back from burnout.  The less stress and worrying, the better.

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4. Reconnect with your Support Network

If work’s been keeping you busy and you’re feeling burned-out then you probably haven’t had time to see your mates in a while.  Time to meet up with your faves over coffee or head over your Mum and Dad’s for a Sunday Roast.  Reconnecting with the people who know you best can do a lot to remind you of who you are and how to be that best version of yourself.

5. Have a Break

You don’t need an expensive holiday booked to get a break away from the day to day grind.  A break can be as simple as a morning spent on the sofa catching up with your favourite shows!  (Can I recommend Fleabag?  I binged it last week and IT IS AWESOME).

Have a great week everyone! (Don’t work too hard 😉 )

 

Why we need to stop turning 30 into an Expiration Date

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Today’s my birthday.  I’m 32 years old, which is crazy to me because the truth is that most days – in my head – I still feel like I’m 17.  And I suppose I still am in some ways; I still listen to the same kind of music, I still love doughnuts just as much (and more to the point still eat them for breakfast sometimes like I did when I was 17), still have a crush on Robert Downey Jr, still have the occasional volcanic eruption on my chin, and I still (and always will) think that mayonnaise is rank – get it the hell away from me.

How do I feel about hitting 32?  I feel good.  Better than good.  Which is strange because for a long time I was absolutely terrified of hitting my thirties.

I feel like during our twenties we’re made to feel like our thirtieth birthday is an expiration date of some kind.  You know, that by thirty we’re supposed to have travelled the world, ticked a few things off of our bucket list, met “the one”, know our personal style, have our own place, feel ready to create little humans (if we haven’t already), have reached a certain point in our chosen careers and just generally have life figured out.  We spend our twenties making Before 30 Lists of things we want to do or accomplish – and that’s not even taking into account society’s ideas about what we should have achieved before reaching the big 3-0.  And because of that we turn our thirtieth birthday into an expiration date.  The real life version of what midnight was to Cinderella… minus the pumpkin and glass slipper.

As I take another step into my thirties I can safely say that I’m happier and more comfortable in myself now than I ever was in my twenties.  And that’s not because I ticked everything off my 30 Before 30 List, or because I have life figured out – I really, really don’t.  Who does?  But I definitely understand myself a little better; who I am, who I’m not, and who I want to be.

We need to stop turning 30 into something to be feared and instead treat it as something exciting.  There’s something empowering about turning thirty.  It’s a whole new decade.  A whole new you… if that’s what you want.  You might not have x, or done y, or been to z, but hopefully you’ll know yourself a little better, and what and who matters to you the most.  And at the end of the day, those things are more important than whether you’ve backpacked the world or run a marathon or partied until the sun comes up.  You can still do all those things in your thirties, by the way.  No one’s stopping you!  😉

Happy Birthday to meeee! 🎈

6 Spring Things I’m Craving

This time of year always feels like a push.  Whether that’s the sun trying to force its way through the grey blanket overhead, the Daffodils pushing up through the mud, or even if it’s just the desperation to shed the layers and slip into something a little more summery 🙂  Yeah, I’m gutted we haven’t seen snow – AGAIN – (we seemed to be short-changed every winter on that one…), but I’m so ready for Spring!

Light!  It’s so dark and gloomy all day long at the moment, I’m craving those lighter, longer days and evenings.

Bare legs.  I’m not a huge fan of tights it has to be said (prickly bum, anyone?).  I’m not quite ready to say goodbye to jumpers and scarves yet, but tights can do one.


Tea and Cake and outside.  Being able to sit outside and eat and drink in the sun.  It’s such a fine thing.

Our garden to be full of flowers again.  We planted so many bulbs at the end of summer – daffodils, hyacinths, tulips – and now I can’t wait to see them bloom.


Burnt Barbecue Sausages.  I’ll have mine on the dark and crispy side, please thanks (even though a recent study showed that burnt things probably cause the Big C… *sigh*  What doesn’t?).  Probably more of a summer thing I know, but you never know when you’re going to get the good weather and sometimes Spring surprises everyone.

Somewhere New.  We’re off on a short break to the New Forest in a few weeks, and I can’t wait to explore a new place 🙂  (If you’ve got any recommendations I’m all ears!)

What Spring things are you excited for?

Christmas Eve to Christmas Day

I was going start by saying that I can’t believe that Christmas is over already – but I feel like everyone always says that.  We spend so much time shopping for presents and getting this and that ready and mentally preparing ourselves and psyching ourselves up for the big day that of course it’s going to fly by.  It’s only 24 hours after all.

For me this Christmas most definitely flew by; mostly because it was the first time Sunny and I hosted the big day, so I spent most of it whizzing back and forth between the kitchen checking the turkey was okay because oh my God I was not going to mess it up.  Luckily my Mum was around to offer a second opinion on whether the turkey was cooked through or not, and I had plenty of hands ready to help when it came to washing all the pots and pans up.  It was full-on from start to finish and a hell of a lot of work, but worth it; it was amazing having all our favourite people in one room to celebrate 🙂

On Christmas Eve we had everyone over for a huge buffet and drinks.  We ate plenty, played games, listened to Christmas music and sat by the fire (…who needs a real one when you’ve got a handy app, eh?).


On Christmas morning Sunny and I opened our stockings in bed…

…And then we had two rounds of opening presents with Sunny’s family and then mine. 🙂



Sunny managed to track down a Roses de Chloe for me.  It’s my favourite perfume (which is saying something as I’m fussy as hell when it comes to the stuff) and it’s been discontinued (why?!!!!).  But meh, what ya gonna do?  I’m just going to have to go easy on this one!



My brother and his girlfriend got me this cute panda mug from Homesense, and I bought this string of clip lights to display all the instax snaps we took over Christmas 🙂



I completely forgot to take a picture of my plate piled high with turkey and pigs in blankets – but by the time it hit table after four hours spent in and out of the kitchen I was ready and raring to scoff.  Cooking Christmas Dinner isn’t hard; but getting the timings right is a bloody nightmare.  I seriously overestimated how much room I had in my oven for a start so I had to borrow my brother’s oven (lucky he only lives around the corner!) and even though I thought I’d timed everything down to the second, the turkey took it’s sweet time in the end so that plan went out the window!  Live and learn. 🙂

After dinner we had some drinks and played one long round of Cards Against Humanity.  We all learned some horrible truths about each other – and it was hilarious.  Hearing my Dad’s voice jump two octaves every time he had to read out his cards was priceless – and we laughed so hard that Sunny immediately ordered the expansion pack.

Anyway, I’ve seen my last day in the kitchen out – tonight we’re ordering a massive Indian Takeaway and braving a second round of Cards Against Humanity.

I hope you had a lovely Christmas wherever you are!  I hope you spent it with your favourite people eating plenty of bad food 🙂