Here’s To the Women

Happy #InternationalWomen’sDay, which is probably my favourite day to skim social media, because today between the ads, the clickbait, and Trump’s mis-tweets there are so many stories of amazing, strong, fearless women.  We got this!

Me?  I’m not sure if I’m strong and fearless, in fact, I can think of more times when I’ve been the exact opposite.  But, I’m almost certain that during those weak and fearful moments, 9 times out of 10, I’ve been picked back up by womankind.  So, let’s raise a glass (or a mug, in my case!) to the women who scoop up other women and help them to stand tall again.  Here’s to them and their small acts of heroism.

Here’s to…

…my Aunt, who tells the most amazing stories, has travelled the world (sometimes even on her own) and is absolutely determined to learn how to use her computer.

…Brown Owl, for letting me phone home as many times as I wanted on Brownie Pack Holiday when I got homesick, but also for absolutely refusing to let me go home under any circumstances!  Would I have ever gone to University or moved to London if I hadn’t survived that week away from home?  Who knows.

…the “Swot Brigade”, I mean sure, it took us about a month longer than everyone else to work out that we could roll our skirts instead of just wearing them down to our ankles (the fashionable midi skirt wouldn’t come into fashion for at least another ten years), but  hey, we were our own brand of cool and stuck up for each other all through High School.

…the Bishop Girls of 2001, who decided that it was high time that girls were allowed to choose whether to wear skirts or trousers to school.  It was my first experience of feminist protest and we won!

…my Mother-in-Law, for losing months of sleep working on a case against the local health board whose negligence killed your mother, and for helping make my big move to London so much easier than I thought it was going to be.  Oh, and for cooking Aloo Gobi just because you know it’s my favourite 😉

…Rach, who bought me Chicken McNuggets at the end of the second year when I had no money left (of my overdraft) and was bawling my eyes out because I’d just said goodbye to my future husband for a whole year.  For telling me that she always looked forward to my Night Out Debriefing MSN Blog Posts and Photographs.  For teaching me that when Easyjet batters your luggage beyond recognition that you’ve got a right to storm up to their desk at the airport and demand that they damn well pay for a replacement – and for so, so, so much more. ❤

…the Random Old Lady on the Saturday Morning train from Swansea to Cardiff on the 17th of November 2006, who told me that I had vomit in my hair and offered to get me some water and paracetamol when I emerged from the train toilet in the midst of my first real hangover.  Cheers for that.

…my Year 7 English girls, for being so scary smart (watch out, those girls are going to run the world), for letting me know when my eyeliner was “on fleek”, for teaching me what “on fleek” means, and for that time that I said I wanted to be a writer when I grew up for saying, “Aren’t you already grown up, Miss?”

…Missy, who kicks ass in Westminster every day, never turns up empty-handed and ALWAYS sends a thank you card.  For trying some of my worst culinary creations, including a Kirsch Cake (vom) and a Jelly Baby Cheesecake (diabetes on a plate). She’s the finest lady I know, and the most hilarious drunk.

…my Year 12 Computing Teacher, for being a women who thought computers were cool and for making me feel like a total badass for being one of only two girls in my year to study for an A Level in Computing.  (Oh, and for that time you accidentally told us to “go ahead and shove our floppy dicks into the drive”)

Nina, for being my first fan. 😉  And all the other blogger babes.  You guys inspire me every single day.

…Is it me or is this slowly turning into my Oscars Best Actress speech…?

…my Mamgu, who instilled in me the importance of spoiling oneself with tea and cake and other sweet things.

…my Year 12 History Teacher, who told me to stop sniffling and get studying when I failed my first AS History paper.  You taught me that it’s okay to fail as long as you don’t give up.  Because of that pep talk, I worked hard and totally aced the resit. 😉

…my Mum, for inadvertently starting my obsession with Women’s History (I know you don’t remember teaching me about Madame de Pompadour when we went to Versailles, but yeah, you did.  That one’s on you!).  For being so brave when Dad was sick.  For having the spirit of adventure whenever we went on holiday and forcing me to try everything – no one has the “when in Rome” spirit quite like you do.  For insisting we stop and take a photograph ALL THE TIME.  For introducing me to eye-makeup remover (I’m so sorry I ruined so many of your towels growing up!), and for teaching me how to make the perfect Victoria Sponge… and then for not complaining when I decided to ruin it by experimenting with it.  For encouraging my car-singing (“I should be so lucky” – you, not so much for having to listen to it over and over again!).  For not being afraid to laugh loudly on a quiet airplane in the middle of the night.  And everything else.

Here’s to the Women.  Which women are you raising your mug to today?  ♀️

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! 🎈

Why building self-esteem involves building up everyone else’s first

I’m standing in the queue at H&M.  I only popped in to “have a quick look” but whaddya know?  In the space of twenty minutes I’ve managed to rummage the rails, make not one but two trips to the fitting room, snap an awkward mirror selfie and ended up in the queue for the tills with half the shop draped over my arm.  And that’s when it happens.  There are a couple of girls at the head of the queue who are talking and laughing.  They’re looking my way, I’m sure of it.

Thirty seconds ago my full attention was on the pink off the shoulder top I picked up and whether it’s going to make me look like a bottle of Pepto Bismol, but now it’s 100% on the girls and the way they’re laughing.  At me?

Oh God.  It’s my hair isn’t it?  They’re laughing at my hair (who isn’t?), I think to myself, running a self-conscious hand through the back just in case it’s sticking up.  Nope.  Okay, well maybe there’s something on my face?  I did inhale a Lidl cinnamon bun earlier and what’s the betting the icing is all over my chin? I wonder, as my tongue takes a sneaky swipe at my lips.

I come up empty.  They could be laughing about last night’s episode of Love Island for all I know, but no, they were looking at me so immediately in my head I wage war.  I laugh inwardly at them, taking pot shots at their bad eyebrows, their clothes, the claw-like fake nails and even faker fake tan.  I’m throwing thought-daggers at them until they pay for their stuff and walk away, without even a glance in my direction; completely unaware of the poisonous thoughts I’ve been brewing.

For a long, long time, that’s what I did.  Throughout High School and my early twenties I was obsessed about what other people were thinking about me and I automatically assumed that whatever it was and without any evidence, it was bound to be bad.  I dealt with it by doing exactly what I thought they were doing; I thought bad thoughts about them.  It was a quick way of reassuring myself, of feeling better about my own “faults”.  I poked fun of badly blended foundation to feel a little bit better about my terrible acne.  I pulled faces at people’s clothes to feel a bit better about what I’d thrown on that morning.  I snorted at bad writing and sloppy grammar and assumed stupidity to make myself feel more confident about my own words and feel better about being a “swot”.  Of course, I never spoke those thoughts out loud, though.  Honest.  I was far too shy and uncertain of myself to do that.

I thought that in doing this I was building up my own self-esteem, but in fact all I was really doing was just making myself more and more insecure.  Distrustful of others and spewing negative thoughts – and negativity in general – all over the place like vomit.

Then, in my late twenties something clicked.  Call it Saturn’s Return or the impending approach of the big 3-0, but something changed.  It wasn’t so much that I stopped caring about what other people thought of me, I was just tired of going to war over it.  I was bored of wasting my time and energy in pursuit of something I’d never know, and wasn’t really any of my business anyway!  I wasn’t ever going to be able to root around in people’s minds and find out what they really thought of me.

So I gradually changed my mindset.  Instead of throwing mental daggers at someone when I thought they were talking about me, or thinking about me – I shook it off and countered with a compliment.  I thought something nice about them.  I complimented their smile, or their attitude, talents, clothes, makeup.  They were just thoughts to begin with, but soon enough I started to say them out loud too.

Soon, instead of assuming that everyone was thinking bad things about me, I started to realise that it was entirely possible they might be thinking nice things too.  If I was doing it, then other people must be too, right?  Suddenly, I wanted to know what those nice thoughts could be.  Maybe they thought my hair looked good, or that I’d killed it with my liquid eyeliner for once?  Maybe they liked what I was wearing or – who knows – maybe they thought that I was funny, pretty, smart… talented even?  Wow.  People are actually really nice!  (…Mostly.)  And maybe I am all those things.

By building up everyone else’s self-esteem, I’d somehow inadvertently built up a great big tower of self-esteem for myself.  The truth is, if you go shooting negative thoughts at others, you’ll be just as wounded by the kick-back.  So send out some positive ones instead and maybe you’ll get some positivity back 🙂

Have a good weekend everyone! ♥

My September

I think I’ve just about come to terms with the fact that it’s Autumn now, which is weird because growing up I was definitely an Autumn kid.  I loved the changing trees, the frost and darker nights.  I used to love and loathe September in equal measure when I was a kid; hating it because it meant going back to school (and work, when I worked as a TA.  Meh.), but loving it because it meant a fresh start and the chance to change things up a bit.  Anyone else prefer to set goals and make resolutions in September instead of January?

Continue reading “My September”

In My Kitchen


→ Which three words best describe you in the kitchen?

Greedy, Experimental, Neat (when you’ve lived without a dishwasher, you learn to use the same spoon in every pot and clean as you go to avoid a mountain of washing up!)


→ Three ingredients that are always in your kitchen cupboard/fridge.

Hot sauce (Sunny practically drinks the stuff), Avocado (Yeah, yeah.  I know, *eye roll* right?) and Eggs – I hate running out of eggs!


→ Favourite Mug

During the whole moving house thing, if there’s one thing we learned it’s that we own a lot of mugs.  A  lot.  Sunny used to collect one from every city he visited and I just love mugs.  My favourite has to be this pink, “Central Perk” style mug though, which my dad says is more like a soup bowl.  But I love it.


→ What’s the strangest ingredient/utensil/whatever lurking in your kitchen?

This thing. ↑↑↑  Can you guess what it’s for?


→ Favourite breakfast.

Probably dippy eggs. 🙂

→ Favourite dessert.

Lemon Meringue.  Always.  I’ve scoffed a whole one on my own many a time.  Good times.


→ Name three kitchen utensils you couldn’t live without.

A very sharp knife, a wooden spoon (for baking), and a spatula as flat and as flexible as a yoga instructor’s stomach for flipping pancakes, quesadillas and omelettes.

→ A food you hate.

Salad Cream, Carbonara Sauce, Mayonnaise… I live in fear of the service station sandwich because they ALWAYS contain mayonnaise.  Ugh.


→ Favourite filthy food hook-up 😉

Hot dogs.  The filthier the better.


→ What food could you eat every day?

Italian food; pasta, pizza, risotto.  Nom.