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30.9.17

Men: What To Wear on a First Date

Having dated on and off for the last two years I have noticed how different men approach dates in terms of effort when it comes to how they dress.

Casual seems to be the main style these days, if not a little too casual at times. I'm all for someone expressing themselves and being comfortable, however I do feel that sometimes there should be a little more effort put in.

Having a look on the Jacamo website I put together some ideas, a wish list I suppose, of different tshirt/jumper/shirt options to wear on a first date which still give that comfortable, casual feel, but without looking like you have just thrown the first top on and made no effort.


TOG24 BERRETT MENS DELUXE T-SHIRT    FRENCH CONNECTION DOT POCKET T-SHIRT   TOG24 PAYTON MENS DELUXE T-SHIRT




CAPSULE CREW NECK JUMPER REGULAR  WILLIAMS & BROWN SHAWL COLLAR JUMPER   CAPSULE PLUM CREW NECK JUMPER



BEWLEY & RITCH KAMAR SHIRT                    LEVI'S BARSTOW WESTERN SHIRT              JACAMO MAST

28.9.17

Benefits of Solid Oak Furniture

After years of buying cheap, unsubstantial furniture, I decided it was time to invest in some good quality, solid bedroom furniture.
The pros of other materials being cheaper, and lighter to manoeuvre (also easier for a single lady to build) didn’t quite outweigh the pros of buying something a lot more convenient and long lasting.


For Charles’ room I wanted him to have something that would see him through a lot of years, so chose solid oak.
I chose high standard solid oak furniture for many reasons. One being that I feel it will be suitable as he grows up. Unlike white plastic wrapped furniture, which can still sometimes have that “nursery” feel to it, I feel solid oak is a versatile, quite grown up and will be suited to any theme or style of room.

New England Bedroom Furniture

The benefits of solid oak also enticed me to make my purchases.

When it comes to maintenance and upkeep, I love how easy it is to sand down or buff out any scratches, stains or marks. With two young boys and two cats it is inevitable that there will be some form of damage at some point to the furniture. With a drawer that was drawn on by a 1 year old I was able to simply sand it down and paint it to suit the theme of the room.

The fact that the wood is solid and would potentially survive house moves and being climbed on by said children, is another positive to spending that extra bit of money for better quality and piece of mind.


Bordeaux Rustic Oak Bedroom Furniture


I also like the fact that with solid oak you can mix and match it with other types of furniture, materials and fabrics especially when creating a shabby chic look.

Elodie Grey Oak and Pine Bedroom Furniture

26.9.17

She Didn't Listen

She was struggling. Crumbling. Broken.
I sat next to her and told it it would all be ok.
She didn't listen. 
I wrapped my arms around her. I told her that she was strong. That she had just lost her way. That it will all be ok soon.
She cried.
She still didn't listen.
I wiped her tears. I brushed my hand gently, comforting, down her face.
Her breathing grew heavy and fast.
I told her to be calm, to count ​to ten. 
She didn't listen.
I held her. I told her to just let it all out.
She talked about how alone she felt, how she felt like a failure.
How she doesn't feel like she can cope with life anymore.
I told her she isn't alone.
That other people feel the same.
But she didn't listen.
I rubbed her back and held her hand.
I wanted her to know I was there, to feel me next to her.
But she couldn't.
She was so consumed in the darkness.
Unable to hear.
Unable to see.

23.9.17

Someones Interval

One day you will be worth more.
Worth more than a "I'm bored, fancy coming round/fancy some company?"
Worth more than a "I want a cuddle" 
Worth more than messages, and a flirt, just to boost someones ego.
Worth more than just some fun.

One day you will be seen higher than you are now. 
Someone will see the real you. 
The person with a kind, loyal heart.
The person who laughs, and cries. 
Who can take life seriously when needed and then take every single thing as a dirty joke.

One day you won't be someones interval. 
You won't be the one who fills a gap whilst they look for someone better.
Whilst they decide on what they want. 
Whilst they take a break from someone else to decide if they are happy.

One day someone will compliment you and mean it.
With no hidden agendas. 
They will say it because they mean it.
Because they can't help but to look at you and to tell you how beautiful you are.
To tell you how happy you make them.
To tell you how, to them, you are perfect. Flaws and all. 

One day someone will be constant in your life.
Not dipping in and out as and when it pleases them.
Just popping up when they need you.
Taking advantage of your kind heart. 

One day you won't be someones interval.
You will be everything to them.
Just as you deserve.

When you figure out how to revive your light you realize your worth in a humbling very grateful way...

20.9.17

Five Things | Reasons You MUST Watch Blood Brothers

Before both of the boys arrived, and before my marriage ended I used to go to the theatre quite a lot with my mum.
We would go to the theatre in our town or travel to Norwich and go shopping then to the theatre or for dinner then the theatre.
It's something I've really missed about this new life.
8 years ago I had a newborn baby and my first opportunity to leave him with daddy and to have a little evening out with my mum. She'd seen this musical called Blood Brothers, heard it was good so got us tickets. We were looking forward to it, even though we knew nothing about it.
We were a little confused when we sat down and heard other people in the audience mention having their tissues and all discussing how many times they had been to see it.
I felt like being a little smug and turning round to say "I have tissues, except they are in my bra. Guess which new mum forgot to wear breast pads"...little did I know that tissues would not only become handy for that reason, but also because of what we were about to watch.
Our eyes were soaked, we were sobbing in the car on the way home and crying for a couple of days after.
My mum has vowed to never go back because in her words "I won't pay to see something that is going to make me cry".

Me.....I cry so often that it's natural so I didn't mind.
In that time Blood Brothers has come back this way a couple of times but each time I've had no one to go with. Not quite brave enough to go alone. So when I saw it was coming to Norwich this year...a week after my birthday I knew I had to get myself tickets as an early birthday present. Yes, I know. I am so good to myself.
I immediately spoke to my work colleague who is a friend of the theatre and asked if he could get me two tickets the day the tickets went on sale. I knew I had to go and had to be close to the front...as close as possible.
As a friend of the theatre the tickets were released to him sooner and being the utter gent that he is he got me two tickets, in the second row.
I have been on countdown for it for soooo long and when my best friend agreed to come with me...a Blood Brothers virgin herself I just hoped and prayed that she wouldn't cancel on me. (A first date to the theatre is probably a bit much for the guys on Tinder)

I was so ridiculously excited, to the point my Dunlop Dance came out (and that only happens when I go to the TT) and I kept heavy breathing and had fidgety hands, especially as the music started and the actors came on to the stage.
I don't want to give too much away (which is really super hard), but here are Five Things I love about Blood Brothers and five reasons why you MUST go and watch it.


Lyn Paul as Mrs Johnstone

When I went 8 years ago as I said, I didn't know too much about the different characters. Any mother will automatically connect with her straight away. Since then I have watched various videos on Youtube and have seen different actresses play this character, however, after seeing Lyn Paul in this role 8 years ago I was delighted that she was back again this year. She is absolutely incredible and her voice gives you goosebumps. And when she sings, and you are so close to the front that she is looking at you as she sings, it is amazing.

Mickey Johnstone

Mickey was by far my favourite character when we went before. His cheekiness, and the heartbreak are enough to make you completely fall for him. 
I already knew that Lyn Paul was playing Mrs Johnston again but wasn't sure who was playing Mickey or Eddie. When the characters first came onto the stage I knew that the actor playing Eddie was different but couldn't make out the guy playing Mickey...not until later when he came bouncing onto the stage as a 7 year and I smiled a massive smile and said to my friend that it was the same actor, Sean Jones, as the last time I went.
I don't think I could ever watch someone else in that role as he plays it SO well and perfectly transitions through Mickey's different ages without the audience ever really being confused about how old he now is.
I don't think I've ever seen an adult play a child, a teen and an adult so well.
The final scenes make me crumble. Unlike 8 years ago, when I almost stood up and shouted at him because I had got into it so much, thankfully this year I resisted that urge. However, I desperately wanted to run onto the stage to hug him and to look after him. Proof right there at just how good his acting is as I was so taken in and completely forgot that it's not real.

Humour

I completely forgot just how funny this musical is. I'm not going to lie, there is a massive amount of heartbreak and I think I focused and remembered that more than the comedy aspect. However, that's not necessarily a bad thing, as I found it took away the aspect of waiting for the point where I knew the floods of tears would be coming. 
I am a real giggler and get full on laughing fits and there were two points in particular that I really had to hold back and keep the laughter in because I knew I would end up snorting or having to walk out to calm down. 

Music

In terms of songs I don't think Blood Brothers has the best songs but for me it's not about that.
However I do have my favourites...the main one being "Tell me it's not true". The best video I could find on Youtube features Melanie C as Mrs Johnstone. To her left you will see "Mickey"...the same Mickey who was in the two shows I have seen. I'ts not a great video at all but you can get an idea of the song and the emotion in it. If anyone in the theatre has a dry eye or doesn't even have a lump in their throat then I would be shocked.

It makes you think

I don't know if this is necessarily true for everyone, but for me, I know that I really enjoy something if I am still thinking about it and talking about it hours, days, weeks, months and even years after I've seen it.
As a twin, there is a massive element of Blood Brothers that gets to me. A certain fear and something that has always played on my mind for years. Again, it would ruin it to write about it. 
I also find that something has really got to me and has affected me if I come home and straight away Google to see if I made sense of certain things, and if I go onto Youtube to listen to the songs again. 
And like this time, I headed straight to Twitter to praise both Lyn and Sean because I think it is so important to let them know personally if you have enjoyed their performance. 
To have the balls and bravery to stand in front of people and do that for so long is amazing, especially when they are as good as they are and when there are moments that are really intense.

Oh I just love it! I urge anyone and everyone to go and see it...and if you need a plus one...I'm willing to travel!

19.9.17

What NOT to say on a first date...Part Two




As dating goes I've never really had a bad first date, until this year. I feel like my good run of dating happened last year and now...well...3 first dates in 2 weeks and all gave me enough to make me want to write about them.


"Have you got greys?"

Seriously, 15 minutes into sitting down I was reading the menu and he came out with that. I didn't quite hear him properly so said "pardon" and he repeated it. Thankfully, yes I do have greys and am quite ok with it. I wasn't at one point and going back to blonde from the darker hair is partly to do with trying to cover the greys or at least to blend them in. I didn't expect my date to point them out and to mention it so loud.

Burp...

Yes, burping just minutes into a first date. Not a quiet "oooh, excuse me burp either". Three loud and proud burps in a row.

Spitting

Soooo unattractive. 

"I've got 15 Tinder messages waiting for me"

Well don't let me stop you from reading them then. Go head, Mr Popular. Didn't realise I was dating such a stud when your Tinder photos actually reminded me of Mr Bean.

"I've got IBS so I need to be careful about what I eat. I love a Calzone but the last time I ate one I was straight on the toilet when I got home, I'm never sure how long it takes until it will go through"

And this is exactly why I dreaded every dinner date with him or eating out in public. Fair enough if it is said quietly but not loud.

"Oh, I just farted"

Nice location for dinner, nice food, nice drinks and then....he laughed and farted and could have got away with it...but decided to point it out. This was after spitting in his beer when he "laughed"...I wasn't convinced.


"My ex, my ex, my ex"

I don't want to know about your ex. I want to know about. I am getting to know you, however, if at the end of this there is a quiz about your ex I am sure to get 10/10.


"Dinner only cost £26! That's a bargain. Really pleased with that"

Ok so firstly, hello cheapskate, and yes...dinner only cost £26 because I bought the drinks. 4 drinks in total that came to the same cost. 

What NOT to say on a first date...Part One

As dating goes I've never really had a bad first date, until this year.
I feel like my good run of dating happened last year and now...well...3 first dates in 2 weeks and all gave me enough to make me want to write about them.


First of all lets look at the guy who had a drink waiting for me when I arrived, ok, slightly dodgy as he could have slipped anything in there but we shall gloss over that.
As I arrived he didn't stand up to greet me, no hug, nothing. Which was probably for the best but also an indication of what was to come.
Within 5 minutes he was telling me the "honest situation with him and his ex" and how they are still living together and until 5 days ago, has still been sharing a bed.
Clearly he hadn't read my profile stating I didn't want to meet anyone with an ex still on the scene in that way.
So as I sat there not quite knowing which facial expression to pull or how to fake my body language to not show how uncomfortable I was feeling, he then talked about threesomes.
5 minutes into the date he talked about threesomes!
Now, I'm an open kind of woman and will talk about sex, however, not 5 minutes into the date and not in the way he was telling me.

As we got onto the discussion of tattoos and piercings...I think I might have managed two words at this point, he let me know that his penis was pierced. And at one point was pierced three times.
Not only that, but he had pierced it himself, and only now had one piercing left in...he had a photo if I wanted to see.
I politely declined.

After a while of him still talking at me, we had gone inside. He gave me countless...COUNTLESS...facts about Whetherspoons and their evening processes, confidential information about their security and staff issues (and no, he didn't even work there!), kept giving staff an awkward thumbs up and head nod (which I tried to counteract with an awkward "help me" grin) we sat down and he discussed how he and his wife went to go through IVF.
I listened and was sensitive to this subject even though I wasn't fully in the room at that point and was wondering how the hell I was going to avoid an awkward goodbye at the end of the night.
I remember trying to focus on what he said and two sentences passed and I realised he had changed the subject. He mentioned not being able to do DIY to which I gave a little "awwww well nevermind. Not every man can"...assuming he meant putting a shelf up, changing a light switch...and then it clicked...he didn't mean that kind of DIY.
Holy sh....what do I say? What is he expecting me to say?! How can I get out of here?!
I somehow managed to giggle and stumble away from that conversation and the moment of him trying to hold my hands occured. Asking if my nails were sharp I dug them into the palm of his hand and as he went to then hold my hands I pulled away and made an awkward joke.

Thankfully, it was finally time to leave. I am far too nice so gave him a hug and then said how cold it was and with him walking one way I quickly walked swiftly to my car, totally unsure of what the hell I had just been through but also able to laugh about it and to be relieved that this is my first awkward first date and other than that...I was thankful that I didn't fancy him either.

Whilst he tried to text me the following morning I did a little of the small talk thing and then told him there was no "connection" or "spark" there for me so I wouldn't be seeing him again.
With a reply of "oh ok. no worries" I was grateful that experience was over.

17.9.17

A Sunday Morning

Once upon a time Sundays were our "proper family day". Like any other "proper" family we would plan that one day of the week when my ex-husband wasn't working and would do something. 
The last two years Sundays have become a day that is just like any other. Except it comes with pressure. Every other weekend I have the day to myself and will generally find an excuse to go shopping, or laze around the house, not being at all practical.
The other Sundays are spent fighting the urge of a comfortable, non-anxious day at home...except it's with two little boys and staying in isn't really the best option when they are likely to get bored, need to blow off some steam and are likely to mess my house up even more.

Over time I have become jealous of people who have these perfect, "proper" families, or even those in a "blended" family who are all able to enjoy this family day together. 

Yesterday however my best friend asked if we wanted to go and see her horse. Despite being friends for a year now I haven't yet met him and thought it would be a fun, different thing to do. Plus the reaction from the boys when I mentioned it to them was an indication that we would have a good time. 
Also it was my excuse to spend time with Amy's two year old daughter who I absolutely adore. Not only is she the most beautiful little girl, she has an amazing personality and always has me laughing, without really trying. 

The weather wasn't too bad and after putting on our wellies we followed Amy to the field.

I'm not really into horses and am a bit of a wimp when it comes to stroking them usually but there's something different when you are with someone you trust and when it is their horse. As soon as he came over to the gate I was amazed at how handsome he is, and I think in all fairness I never really appreciated the size of a horse. 
After everyone else easily and gracefully climbed over the gate I made a pretty good job of drawing attention to myself and creating a fuss. I got over however and managed to not fall...however had a bum that was now green with the moss from the wooden gate. 

The time we were there was so lovely. I actually felt super relaxed and like I could have easily spent hours and hours there. 
I took my "big camera" along and snapped away the whole time we were there, every now and then letting out little squeals of excitement because I liked the photos I was taking and because my passion for photography was coming back. Those days when I would go for a day out and come back with 300 photos of our memories from that day.
I had moments where I just wanted to soak in the freedom the children had and the fact that I felt relaxed, and happy to be spending this little bit of quality time with my favourite people. 

Time to say goodbye, and struggling to get Charles away from the horse he had fallen in love with, we headed to the supermarket and normal life resumed. But I couldn't wait to get home and go through those photos (over 100 in around an hour and a half) and relive it so soon after. 

And rather than focussing on what I no longer have, I felt grateful for having these two special people in our lives and realised that a "proper family" isn't essential to our happiness. 
Getting out, letting go, and being ourselves however is essential. Especially with people we love.



14.9.17

First Dates

After two years of dating and not exactly the best of luck, I think I am now at that stage where I have decided to be fussy. 

I don't just want to date someone for the sake of it. To get an attention boost and to have that feeling of having a social life.

I think I now know what I want. I know what type of man I want to go for. 

I want to give it a little time and make sure the conversation is good and that there is a connection there via messages before I meet them in person. 

I want to make sure I have that feeling of excitedness and nervousness when I meet them. If that's not there, it seems pointless to even go on a date.  

​I am at the stage where I won't "put up" with anything. I won't give too many chances for someone to treat me right. If at any point I feel like something isn't right, I want to be at the stage where I am able to say "Actually, I am worth more than that" and to not take any shit.

I think that for so long I had the wrong image when I was looking for someone. I went through the "I don't fancy them but I'll date them and give it a try stage", I went through a stage where someone had to look a certain way. I went through a stage where I seemed to focus mostly on "would they be able to meet my friends" or "what would my friends say about them?". 

I've never really focused on "actually, would they make me happy? Could I have a social life with this person and be able to sit at home and relax and have a good ol' spoon with them". 

I guess I now feel a little empowered. I feel a little less like I need to impress someone else and a little more focused on someone else impressing me. 

First dates may still be horrible. And I dread them. 

But with the right frame of mind, and knowing what I want, makes it so much easier.​