Tag Archives: just sayin

Don’t Look Back, The Past Has Nothing To Say

24 Jul

Life is a funny thing. When we are living in the moment we feel our emotions with full force; when we are unhappy we can never see that there will be light at the end of the tunnel, when we are in love we can’t picture life without that euphoria, and when we are happy we can’t imagine any other way. We believe wholeheartedly in our youth, and the spot in which we stand right then and there.

But isn’t it amazing that when we have the power of time on our hands that we look at things in a different light? I spent some time reading some very old posts if mine this week, with the view to work out how my writing has improved and how I can strive for more, and I felt myself wanting to turn back to hold my younger self’s hand and tell her everything would feel better soon.

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Maybe it’s the invincibility of youth. Maybe it’s the nativity of younger years. But maybe we can learn from how we felt and how we reacted, and pull it forward to make ourselves better people.

I have had so many emotions running through my veins; the fear and adrenalin of striking out – ending a relationship, moving to a new city, leaving a job. Vie felt devastating sadness of ending relationships that I thought would last forever, both romantically and platonically (and more recently felt a shadow of that sadness when I read through posts from during those times) and I’ve seen extreme joy – the birth of my god-daughters and the pleasure of watching them grown into tiny people and experiencing their unwavering love. I’ve felt the winds of change and the waves of destiny; stepping off a plane in a country I’ve never been in and being aware of the opportunity in front of me and the chances I might have, and all of these things have shaped the person I’ve become.

Now I’m a bit more serene, yet a heap more confident in myself. I don’t care so much about what the world thinks about me, but am more confident in my belief in myself and being comfortable in my own skin. And I’ve learnt that however forceful the feeling s, however intensely you feel it, it will dissipate. It won’t vanish, but you will come to get used to it, and it will feel like an old friend. Comfortable and consistent. I miss my Granddad each day and although it creeps up on me sometimes and I feel it as keenly as the day he died, mostly it hugs me and holds my hand and I smile wistfully.

How has your life and experiences changed you as a person?

On Saying Yes and Opening Doors

2 Jun

A few years ago I watched the film “Yes Man” with Jim Carey, and a succession of bad things happened. When my friends asked me why on earth I had done things, all I could justify them with was “well, I was being more of a yes person. Rather than hiring a movie and watching it in my joggers, while eating ice-cream at speed” I thought this was fair enough. They thought me insane (April, this finger is pointing directly at you) and I soon learnt from my behaviour like a cow running at an electric fence, and resolved to go back to my comfy old NO (or as my super confident god-daughter might say, N – O spells NO!!)

But then I moved to New York for a month (“New Yoiik!” As the locals call it) alone, and decided that to enjoy my time here, I must say yes to all the things.

This weekend was a fine example of when saying yes turns out totally awesomely.

On Friday night, I said yes to drinks with my new work team. I don’t normally go out for Friday night drinks anymore, and the reasons are threefold. 1) Had got to the point where every night was drinking after work night, and I was fat and flumpy. 2) I saw no point in going for a few after work and then going home, and also saw no point in going to the pub for a tap water. 3) I liked my pjs more than I like my workmates (and I really like my workmates).

But I was being polite, and so I went out for drinks. And had a lovely time. And then, a fantastic guy who hails from San Francisco and whom I had known the grand sum of 10 minutes, invited me to a charity fundraiser.

Sounded fun. I took a cab across town with a stranger whose surname I didn’t even know, and mixed with all his friends. I bought tickets to a raffle for a Nicks game. I drank beer and danced. I had fun. I then shared a cab home with one of the friends, and split the bill with her. Perfect.

The next morning I woke up slightly worse for wear, and congratulated myself for stepping out of my comfort zone and doing something. So I did it again.

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Well, not really. If you read this blog often you will know of my great bloggy friendship with Jules (her amazing blog is here). You may not know that Jules lives in New Jersey (fuggedaboutit!) which isn’t far from Manhattan. At all. But people think me strange when I say “I’m meeting my friend. Well I’ve never met her, but she’s nice!”

So she came to town and we went for wine and champagne, followed by seafood, plus cocktails. We sat in the sun, we laughed and we talked, and although we had never met before it felt like old friends were catching up.

It was awesome.

So in summary, my sermon today ends with step out of your comfort zone, do things people think you are crazy for and enjoy yourself!

Have you ever met another blogger? I was really sad to miss Sam in London, was on my way to New York!

CTRL+ALT=DELETE

28 May

When you go to school, they tell you that you will probably only remain friends with 3 people by the time you are 30. You look around you at all the faces of the people you deem to be your BEST FRIENDS EVER and you vow that the teacher is old, not very nice and doesn’t know what she’s talking about.

But how many friends that you went to school with do you still see? Regularly enough to class them as a friend, rather than an acquaintance? I look at my close friends, and think about where they came from. Mostly from work, if I’m honest, some friends of friends from school that I made friends with, but on the whole only 2 very close friends from my school days. And weirdly, my infant school days.

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The concept of friendship is done to death, isn’t it? you have friends, in some cases you have enemies, you have frenemies (you know the ones, the people who you meet at parties and then sneak a jellyfish into the conversation and sting you with some off the hand comment) and these friendships strengthen and weaken depending on external factors in your life and theirs, depending on your location, and oftentimes, what you partner thinks of them.

But what happens when you get unfriended? It sounds like playground nonsense, but it happens more often that you think, and there is absolutely nothing you can do about it. sometimes you notice and shrug it off, thinking that you probably would have done the same eventually, and sometimes it really hurts. The worst is when you can’t work out why

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I’ve had a couple of them in the past, and one really bloody hurt. I was in my early twenties, and I went out with a couple of my close friends for some drinks. One of the girls, who I deemed one of my closest friends, was there,and pretty hammered. And so was her boyfriend, who kept being pretty inappropriate. In the end I left early as I wasn’t sure what to do, but I went to say goodbye to her first. She screamed me out in the middle of the bar and accused me of coming onto her boyfriend. I went home (totally sober and driving) figuring it was probably best to talk to her in the morning when she wasn’t drunk. We never spoke again. I called sporadically for 6 months or so, and then just gave up. The worst thing was that the other friend then sent me a text to say we had grown apart and she didn’t think we should see each other either.

It sounds like a sketch from Mean Girls, doesn’t it? But it hurt. Especially as these were the girls I had gone to school with and thought I would be friends with for life. And I questioned it for the longest time, wondering what I could have done differently in the situation and what I had actually done wrong, before finally accepting that I handled myself just fine, and this was just one of those casualties of life.

I firmly believe you have to shed to grow, and we are all guilty of unfriending now and then (although possibly not quite so harsh as my one!)

Have you ever been CTRL+ALT+DELETED from someones life?

Information Overload

16 Apr

We live in a world of constant approval and updates – the first thing the majority of us do when we wake up is scroll through our smart phones browsing social media; what our friends are up to, what our peers have been doing and how we measure up. We get coffee and we watch the news, and then we head to work where we sneakily check Instagram, tweet here and there, and wait till we go home, where we spend the evening doing it all again. Consumer brands are reporting that their biggest online sales times are coming from these periods, where we sit watching TV yet can’t focus, tweeting away or purchasing on iPads and phones.

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It doesn’t say much for quality time with our families and loved ones, does it?

A lot of it falls down to constant marketing; being shown products geared towards an aspirational lifestyle and being asked to buy into lifestyles we can’t yet afford. The results are detrimental to lives up and down the country with people being tied into credit agreements and wanting things before they can technically have them.

We need to start living for today, rather than chasing tomorrow, as for some people, tomorrow isn’t coming. By treating life like it’s the last day we will spend living it, and by appreciating what we have rather than constantly striving to gain what we haven’t got, we will start to see the magic in the moments we are living now, rather than looking back and wondering where so much time has gone.

What do you do to switch off from the world? UNICEF recently launched a pretty cool campaign to provide water to people who don’t have it. by not touching your phone for increments of 10 minutes, the phone companies will donate to the charity. It makes you realise quite how regularly you reach for your phone during the day.

I vow to make the most of my trip to Vancouver, and turn my phone off. I want to enjoy my time in a new city, exploring and visiting new places, without having to check to see what the rest of the world is up to.

How do you switch off?

Eating My Way Around: Cape Town Fish Market, London

30 Jan

This week, I met with one of my best gal pals, and we visited our meet up haunt, Cape Town Fish Market (Oxford Street, London). It’s a restaurant just off Oxford Street, and it does the most amazing seafood. It even has the tag line “any fresher and you would need a fishing rod”, and the fish swim around in massive tanks, which adds to the whole drama of the place. It’s lovely.

They have a great offer for card holders, so we often meet up on a Tuesday and gorge on the most delicious sushi; California rolls with tempura prawns and a mango wrap, melt in your mouth sashimi and all different types of nigiri, plus wasabi mayonnaise, kohlrabi sauce and of course, soy glaze. It’s a bit pricey, but with the deal card it makes it really reasonable for good sushi (and I am a massive sushi snob) and honestly, I would go on a non deal night, it’s that good.

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Sushi, it makes miso happy

They also have a fairly extensive menu, including my personal favourite, the surf and turf. You think you know surf and turf, right? Hunk of steak covered in prawns?

You can’t even begin to imagine.

This surf and turf is out of this world, and features a real twist on the classic. Instead of steak they present you with twice cooked pork belly, and replacing the prawns are some dainty little scallops. The whole thing comes with wilted spinach, and is by far my favourite meal out. in fact, I love to try different things if I go to the same place twice, but on this occasion, I JUST CAN’T. I fear that I might get food envy if anyone else chooses it and I don’t, so I hedge safely and choose my favourite. And I am never disappointed.

This is my local go to when guests from out of town visit as it’s a bit of a crowd pleaser, and although its busy if you book you are generally guaranteed a table. The staff don’t rush you (I was there 20 mins before my friend this week and they happily let me sit with my wine and browse Facebook) and the general feel of the restaurant is happy and chilled. Just my jam.

Have you been? What is your favourite place to take guests when they are in your town?

People Are The Biggest Problem Faced

27 Jan

Customer service. Its something that we love and hate in equal measure, and flip on a hairpin at the slightest notice. If done well, someone going above and beyond their job role to help you out and deal with your grievances quickly can brighten your mood and give you renewed belief in humanity.

Done wrong, and it’s a right nightmare.

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We have a local supermarket that is much cheaper than the others, and for this reason, they do things a little differently. At the till point, you are sped through like you are part of a competitive trolley dash, and the staff are rude to the point of you actually inconveniencing their lives.

The funniest was the other day when I was in there buying a few bits, and the guy on the till, who sported a “duty manager” badge, spent the whole time distractedly talking on the phone. He was so distracted that once he had put my items through, he forgot to ask me to pay, and started ringing in all the groceries from the man behind. I can be charitable, but there is no way I’m paying for a complete stranger’s weekly shop.

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Wouldn’t it be great if you could get customer service for your life? Some of the most difficult things that we experience in life are often made better on the advice of others, os wouldn’t it be great if you had a dedicated line you could call up to put you back on the straight and narrow, and help you stay motivated / achieve your dreams?

Just imagine. Your New Year’s resolution is to cut out something, and make your diet far healthier. You know what you should be doing in theory, but wouldn’t it be perfect if you could jump on Skype and talk through with someone to give you hints and tips that you hadn’t thought of? Or maybe your dream is to travel the world. If you could drop an email to someone with your hopes and dreams, and them come back to you with realistic ways to achieve your goals, wouldn’t your life be so much easier?

Just a thought.

What would you get life customer service help with?

Walking in A Winter Wonderland

5 Dec

I love Christmas. I used to say I didn’t, but I was a teenager and didn’t like anything. Now I love when October comes and the air starts to crisp up  in anticipation, waiting for the onset of the cold snap and the prospect of all the festive fun to come.

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This year, Christmas feels to me to be tinged with a bitter sweetness, the first year I will wake in the morning and not see my Grandfather, dressed in his brushed cotton shirt with a cable knit jumper over. The first year I won’t hear the air peppered with swears when he realises he has cooked the goose upside down in the pan for the fourth year on the bounce, and the first year I won’t see the glee in his face as he shakes the presents and throws the wrapping paper over his shoulder.

Nonetheless, Christmas is exciting. My goddaughters are 6 and 2 respectively and still believe in the magic of the season (and so do I for that matter) so we will try to seek out father Christmas in the days before the main event, and make mince pies just in case he hasn’t had his fill by the time he gets to their house.

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And it’s a time for new traditions. This year, the boy and I exchanged advent calendars and Christmas jumpers on the first, when we also listened to Michael Buble (I love him and I don’t care who knows) and made the first round of mince pies. He was very thoughtful, so rather than getting chocolate in my calendar I got a Yankee Candle one (spot the diabetic). Most people forget so I was very touched!

Last night I came home and my housemate was making gifts; windfall chutney in cute little glass jars, and so I wrapped all the gifts I had bought and drank cups of tea with her. as soon as the tree comes we will adorn it with little toadstools and gingerbread lights to make it the pretties (and also fairly gargantuan for the size of our flat) tree in all the land.

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I’ve bought some silly napkins that look like Father Christmas’s suit when you tuck them in to your collar, and my family will be made to wear reindeer antlers or other silly headgear at the table.

It’s a time for being with the ones you love and celebrating the fact that there is a day when you can throw away the rest of the world and all congregate.

And I think that’s the magic of Christmas.

What are your traditions and rituals of the season?

A Warm Smile Is The Universal Language of Kindness

18 Oct

Yesterday was one of those days. You know the ones, when you step in a puddle on your way to the Tube, get barged about and arrive at the office looking like you’ve done a few rounds with a hurricane in a boxing ring.

The day got worse and worse, and a one point I sat in the loo and thought longingly to the cosiness of the bed I had left that morning, pillows all shaped just so and duvet wrapped round my like a cosy cuddle. Its days like this that your brain only deals in days beginning with an ‘S’, where you can wake up slow and ignore the fact that the weather outside means that the chances are high that you may have to start a collaborative ark building project with the other inhabitants of your flat block, submitting any ‘good wood’ for the cause.

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Anyway, this post isn’t about bad things. OH NO ITS NOT.

Something truly lovely happened to me yesterday, and I wanted to tell you all about it as it touched me.

I got an email.

It began:

“First, let me apologize for bothering you on your email but since you are the only person I know (that I don’t really know but I do read your blog) who lives in London I could really use your expertise.

My family, husband, two teens( boy 15, girl 13) and myself are planning a trip to London”


It went on to ask me where I thought good to go in the city, what to bring and where to see, and it really brightened my day. Not only that its not just my Granddad reading these days, but that someone thought of me when they needed some help. Paying it forward. It’s the right thing to do.

I guess the moral of this story is to help people. Altruistic acts are what makes the world go round, and what makes people think the world is still a nice place. That one email, however innocent, made my day all the better, so thank you so much Leslie, from Florida, whoever you are :)

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I’m in the process of pulling together all the fun things to do in the city, but for the time being I’ll share my favourite resource here; a great little secret if you are ever coming to London. I love it because even as someone who has lived in the city over 2 years, I feel like I have barely scratched the surface.

I Know A Little Place in London has a weekly update of pop ups and features across the city, and their Facebook page shares the most compelling images. It even inspired me to go to an outdoor Lido (which was essentially just Kensington Lake)in the summer, and that’s saying something!

Do something to make someone else smile every day. Its just nice, isn’t it?

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What has someone else done recently that made you smile?

I know I have been a little quiet of late, but I am slightly addicted to Instagram so if you fancy a visual representation of what I SHOULD be blogging about, give me a follow (on the right).

xxx

“Children See The Magic Because They Look For It”

16 Oct

Magic comes to those who make it, and I strongly believe in the sorcery of believing everything as a child. Children have an alarming clarity at times, and the ability to be able to see the world from a different point of view; a stance so far unaffected by politics and sadness and life events that willshape their future and colour their perception.

When I was a kid, my parents and grandparents revelled in the theatre of the Tooth Fairy and Father Christmas, with mince pies bitten and carrots carefully nibbled when we came bouncing through on Christmas morning. My dad still wildly claims that one year he REALLY DID hear Santa on the roof (although that was the year he got drunk and also claimed he had been abducted by aliens when we found him asleep round the toilet the following morning), and I believed in the tooth fairy for far longer than I should thanks to a timer switch in my Gran’s house and a set of grandparents with vivid imaginations.

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And I do the same for my Goddaughters. You won’t catch me debating the truth in the elves or if Rudolph’s nose really shines; if you can’t believe in the magic of children and the awe of the way they see everything then your world will be a smaller place. Every year I write them a letter from Father Christmas in response to their Christmas lists, alluding to being good and nice to Mummy, and ‘find’ it on the doorstep on my way in. Lilly loves to announce to everyone she knows that Father Christmas answers her, and that she absolutely has to be good to be in with a chance of getting “a dolly what poos” for Christmas this year. The mind boggles.

I love to lie on the grass in the summer with my little dumplings and play the cloud game – seeing if we can spot the different layers of clouds shaping dragons and princesses, cars and trains, for the wind to blow and the picture to change again. I play this all the time and often get laughed at for being dreamy and whimsical, but when I have two chubby little hands in mine, fingers entwined and a captive audience, I just know I can see a princess in a castle waiting for her prince, or a dog with a bone looking for the sun. And I love to hear the excitement in their voices when it comes to counting down to the visit from the big man himself; will he eat the mince pie? Will he not be too full after eating all the other mince pies from the other children? What if Rudolph is too tired to fly?

As JM Barrie once said, “On these magic shores children at play are for ever beaching their coracles. We too have been there; we can still hear the sound of the surf, though we shall land no more.”

As much as I moan about mince pies in the shops in August and people carolling way too early, I’m super excited about their little faces when the tree is decorated and the Christmas pjs are out :)

What do you love most about the season?

I’ve written about magic and children before, if you enjoyed this you might enjoy these posts:

Mary: The Truth about the Toothfairy

Those Who Don’t Believe In Magic Will Never Find It

Tell Me Sweet Little Lies

Age Is But A Number

16 May

Today marks the 27th anniversary of the day I was born, a day my mother’s life became considerably more awesome. As a child I was a complete primadonna, scared of getting muddy, refusing to eat most foods and reluctant to admit that my baby sister was something that was staying around. As a 27 year old im scared of getting muddy, sure, but I will eat anything within a mile radius and am reluctant to let my little sister leave when we spend any time together. What a difference over a quarter of a century makes!

The fact that I am now 27 is a bit of an issue for me; my brain has a power struggle with things that I think I should be doing and things that I am actually doing, causing minor meltdowns when I think that I have missed something off the list. As an over achiever, I long for the days when I was at school and papers got marked, exams got scored and you knew you were bang in line with your peers. Thanks Facebook.

For example, when having a chat with my mother over the weekend I casually asked her how old she was when she met my Dad. 22. How old she was when she married him. 24 and how old she was when she had me. 26.

I then dramatically declared myself “behind the curve” and announced that I would be a spinster surrounded by cats, growing old in a hoarders house surrounded by old cardboard boxes and things that I had formed emotional relationships with for no reason other than attachment, like bin bags. Sure, I may have been watching too many of those compulsive hoarder shows, but the fear was still there. I ate a whole lot of cheese (I might be old now and my cheese choices have matured from orange square cheese to goats cheese, but cheese is still my comfort food of choice) and went back to my lovely urban flat, minus children and significant other half  to cook and clean (makes me feel calm, don’t judge) until I proudly announced that “I liked it when my flat smelt of swimming pools” and I wasn’t even joking.

My housemate (God love her) then proceeded to read me an article about things that would make me feel old, and they did. So it worked.

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The main killer that took me from ‘strangely happy about the fact that I am turning 27’ to ‘wait while I go slash my wrists with my OAP bus pass” was the fact that Luke Perry, the first TV star who I was in love with in 90210, is 45. Goddamit, 45??!!!! The Backstreet Boys are also rocking their 40s, and according to this article, not too well given the hair plugs and protruding beer bellies.

If you fancy getting hit with the full list, here you go.

The moral of this story is that after a brief chat with myself where I pondered my existence, I realised that I don’t actually want to be 17 again. I had bad hair, hadn’t mastered the art of contact lenses and ……….. TEQUILA.

I rest my case.

What makes you suddenly realise you’re a grown up?

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