Dear Diary · Food · Heels

Everyday is a school day

You know that old expression, you can’t teach a old dog new tricks? It’s absolute bollocks, I’ve learned a few new things in the past couple of months, including that warming your coat before you put it on is the very definition of bliss. No, you’re getting old.

You can scare any man with 3 words.

And no, they aren’t ‘I love you’. The look of sheer fear on a man’s face when he hears the words ‘girl’s group chat’ is one of my favourite things. I’m not quite sure what they are imagining, but trust me lads, we’re mostly sending each other cat videos and discussing food. We aren’t judging your bedroom performance out of ten like an episode of Strictly gone terribly wrong.

 

That being said, ever pissed your girl off and waited about 20 minutes for a text back? That eloquent text that tells you in detail, exactly what a knobhead you are? That was crafted by committee pal. Don’t do anything that you don’t want her friends to know.

You can learn how to walk in heels

 

Bit of an obvious one to be fair. I used to be the girl who danced all night without ever taking my heels off, but then I spent 3 years flitting round Paris in flip flops and trainers, so I lost the knack somewhat. I became Queen of flats, I even wore them walking down the aisle as a bridesmaid a few months ago.

 

Then, I bought boots and only realised when I got home that they had a pretty substantial heel. I am not one for returning stuff so on my feet they went. The first couple of days were hell on earth to be fair, especially when I made the very stupid mistake of climbing into my friend’s loft, only to realise that descending a ladder in heels should be classified as an extreme sport. Fast forward to today when I can run in heels, (I mean for a train. If anyone can actually run a 5k in heels, hit me up. That shit needs recommending to the palace, it’s got to be an OBE at the very least.) I feel extremely short on the days I wear flats, and I’m back to wearing heels for hours on end. Learning new skills at 27, I’m impressed with myself.

 

Customise your McDonalds

 

Some of you may be way ahead of me here, but I was recently inspired by a double McChicken Sandwich (sadly only available in Australia) and whacked cheese on my order. I kid you not, it is a bloody GAME CHANGER. Plus, because it’s custom, it’s made fresh. Just don’t try it at 2am, I can imagine the staff giving you evils, because who’s got time to be messing round for a drunk tool at that hour?

Uncategorized

Why you need to take your Mary to meet Donald

It’s Cervical Cancer Awareness week this week, and I thought I would throw my two cents in. I wanted to write about this last year, but I hadn’t even launched the blog and was scrambling to get everything ready for launch day. (Still not a clue on why I wanted to launch in the busiest month of the year).

10 years ago, we were all shocked as Jade Goody died aged 27. Her death sparked an extra 500,000 women attending their smears. Fast forward to today, and we are now at a record low attendance rate.

I can sort of understand the fear and not wanting to go. Nearly three years ago, I was confronted with the dreaded letter. I was outraged, especially as I wasn’t even 25 yet. It doesn’t help that the so-called ‘helpful’ leaflet is infuriatingly vague. Typing this has made me laugh as I remember screeching at it, ‘WHAT DO YOU MEAN ‘YOUNG AGE’?! DEFINE YOUNG FOR HEAVEN’S SAKE’. I was very tempted to chuck the letter in the drawer and forget about it, but I booked my appointment anyway.

On the day (I booked the whole day off work, if I’m having a stranger have a look up my nunny, there’s no way I’m going back to the office) I sat in the waiting room frantically texting my friend. I can’t remember exactly what was said, but I have a feeling it was along the lines of please come and rescue me, this is the complete opposite of a relaxing day off. My name was called, I went white and went in.

My nurse was frankly, a hero. She took one look at me, sat me down and explained in layman terms exactly what was about to happen and when I could expect my results. Now, I wouldn’t recommend a smear test as a fun afternoon out, but it really doesn’t hurt. The tool reminds me of the brush that they use when you’re having glitter nails. Needless to say, I haven’t had glitter nails since. It honestly took about 30 seconds. Undressing for the test took longer. Top tip, don’t wear skinny jeans when you go. It just makes things a tad awkward. I still got a sweet for being brave though.

Frankly, I thank God that I booked my appointment. My results showed that my cervix had been having a whale of a time behind my back, and pre-cancerous cells had been detected. Treatment wasn’t exactly a barrel of laughs, however it’s over now and I don’t have to worry about it. If I hadn’t gone, I have no idea what could have been. The friend I was texting in the waiting room, she booked her appointment after I went, and she had the same. We’re both happy, healthy and she now has a gorgeous baby boy.

So, the point of this rather long and rambling blog post, please book your appointment. The nurse isn’t going to take one look at your foof and recoil in horror, you’re not going to be ripped apart by the speculum (which I’ve renamed Donald, as speculum is a vile word), and they’re not going to have to get a full team of nurses in to get your sample. More importantly, it really could save your life.

Dear Diary · holiday · work

Let’s all take a step back from our inboxes.

Hello everyone!
Once again, I find myself apologising for the length of my absence. So, what have I been doing? Hen do’s as per normal, I found my perfect lipstick, I’ve been swanning round like a typical basic blogger in not just a mac, but a pink mac and drinking my bodyweight in Pumpkin Spice Latte. But mainly, I’ve been working.

I didn’t realise quite how much and how hard I’d been working until time off comes closer and I started to take a step back. I’m very tired. So tired, that I’m not sure that tired can even describe how I feel right now. When I look back over the past six months or so, I’m actually shocked at myself. I cancelled plans with my best friend to get a presentation finished. I blew off a date to work late. (Only to blow him off a week later because the footy was on, clearly he wasn’t the love of my life). I worked so much overtime that on my days off, all I could do was sleep and try to recharge.

I think one problem with my generation is that we became ‘adults’ (if in name but not reality) during the recession. Unemployment soared just as we were supposed to be going out and getting jobs and starting our careers. If you’ve ever been unemployed, you’ll know that gnawing, anxious feeling in the pit of your stomach as the days go by with no phone call, no emails, no answer to applications, just silence.

The result of this seems to be that once we are lucky enough to get a job and start our careers, we tend to behave like a horse with blinkers on. We charge ahead, forgetting about the rest of the world. We work late without complaint, we take on a huge amount of stress and we generally just work our sassy little arses off.

I’m not saying this is unique to ‘millennials’ (Words cannot describe just how much I loathe that phrase, I basically have to chase my eyeballs across the room every time I hear it), however it definitely is something I’ve noticed with people in my rough age bracket. Now, I’m here to say, we all need to breathe a bit.

Yes, we need to set an example to the younger generations. Yes, go out and achieve your dreams and show the sexist generation exactly what us young women can do. But take the time to lie back once in a while.
Stop answering calls on your day off. Use your holiday. Plan a night out with your friends and get drunk and giggly. Go out dancing until the sun comes up. Take enough photos to fill a photo album. I don’t want my goddaughter’s to be like – erm, Auntie Jess? Think she’s that permanently stressed woman who we see once in a blue moon. And that’s what I’ve been for the past six months.

So to my lovely, patient friends, I’m sorry, I’ve seen the error of my ways. I’m back, and I’ll never let work take over my life to quite that extent again. To the rest of you, it’s really not that important. It can wait until tomorrow.

hen weekend · holiday

Winster Hall – Pretending to be a Princess for a weekend

Afternoon lovelies.

Again, huge apologies for my massive absence from the ol’ blog. Yet again, work has been manic, and it’s come to that time of year. Some of you may know what I’m talking about. Wedding season. It’s become a running joke, every year I get invited to at least two weddings. I’ve been asked to be bridesmaid four times, and have gone on so many hen do’s I’ve lost count.

I’m actually planning a post on how to make a hen do amazing, but more on that next time.

Last weekend, I went on a hen weekend away to the frankly stupendous Winster Hall. Now, full disclosure, I work for the agency that markets the property, however I can honestly say that I would have happily booked regardless.

From when we pulled up, I was instantly indulging my fantasies of being a 17th Century lady of the manor. Every room has been beautifully and sympathetically decorated. I genuinely wandered around with my mouth open; it was easily the best holiday property I have ever stayed in.

The location is amazing, it is in a gorgeous village where you can literally walk for 2 minutes and be in the countryside. However, drive for 30 minutes, and you can be in Buxton, Bakewell, Matlock and Matlock Bath.

There is a local shop literally 50 yards from the property that sells everything you can think of, which is extremely useful should you be a last minute packer like me, and get away and realise you have no shampoo. I swear I’ll grow up at some point.

There is a pub, The Old Bowling Green, which is less than a minute’s walk from Winster Hall. Now, the hen works in the medical field, so we all dressed up in surgical supplies. Some pubs would not be amused to see 12 women in scrubs and surgical masks; however the staff and locals seemed tickled and welcomed us with open arms. It was so good, we went back for Sunday lunch and they not only recognised us, they asked how the rest of our weekend had been and if we’d enjoyed ourselves.

On the Saturday night, we had a murder mystery night, which the property leant itself to perfectly. The downstairs of the property could have been designed with entertaining in mind, the kitchen gave most of us ideas on how to decorate, and the dining room was ideal for sitting together trying to guess who the murderer was. (Spoiler, it wasn’t me, I was just a blackmailer).

From the beginning of the booking process, the communications with the owner could not have been any clearer or welcoming. Every single one of our group remarked on how much they loved the property and how they didn’t want to leave. If you have a big group who want to go away, relax or just go and chill, I could not recommend Winster Hall enough. You’ll feel like a princess, and come home refreshed.

Dear Diary · Uncategorized

Why we need to keep hope alive

The mood in Britain is rightly quite sombre at the moment. In the last 3 months we’ve endured 4 terror attacks, a snap election resulting in a hung parliament and a horrific inferno that claimed the lives of dozens of people.

To me, it’s starting to feel like the opening chapter of The Half-Blood Prince. To those of you who have never read it, (if so, get yourselves down to Waterstones THIS INSTANT) the Muggle Prime Minister is experiencing catastrophic event followed by catastrophic event due to Voldemort wanting to spread terror amongst the wizards. I have never been more convinced that Harry Potter is real than during the last few months.

We have watched with mounting horror and anger as it seems that Britain is vulnerable in a way that we have not experienced in our lifetimes. Those of us with loved ones in the police and security services are trying to hide how scared we are when they go to work. And you know what, I have had ENOUGH.

Yes, get angry with the government for failing to protect people in poverty. Yes, feel sickened by the kind of people who can hurt children at a pop concert. Yes, condemn a man who thinks that it is right to drive a van into a peaceful group of people leaving a mosque.

But at the same time, celebrate what this country actually is. The people who ran selflessly into danger at every attack. The outpouring of help and support at every disaster. The very fact that after each atrocity, people quelled their tears, pulled their shoulders back and carried on their lives as normal.

Do you know what I did on Friday night? I went home, had a glass of wine, closed the blinds and danced round my living room like a lunatic. (Huge apologies to the neighbours who probably thought a tone deaf orchestra had moved in.) I’ve also made a list of things that make me happy, and I’ll try to do it all over the coming days and weeks.

Things like lying on my best friends sofa watching bad TV, playing on a trampoline with my beautiful goddaughters, having a cold beer on a hot day, having a catch up and pizza mid-week, listening to my musical Spotify playlist full blast, rereading my favourite books in the sun, painting my nails and booking spontaneous trips away.

So my advice to you all, hug your babies a little tighter, make a list of your own, and celebrate the fantastic people we have right under our noses. To quote a man much wiser than me: “Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”

girl problems · summer

Problems every girl has with summer

I’m baaaaack! Soz about the frankly inexcusable absence, work has been insane over the past couple of months. Plus, it has got to that time of year when everyone wants to be out and about, rather than slumped under a duvet, binge watching trash TV. The bastards.

Now that the weather has improved slightly, I started thinking about the issues it brings with it.

The sheer amount of stuff we need to carry with us.

The sun being out seems to mean that I end up going out a lot more. My admittedly huge bag has got even heavier lately. Like a deranged Boy Scout, I need to be prepared for anything. Deodorant, extra make up, a spare change of clothes, a book, magazines, an umbrella in case it suddenly pours down, the list is bloody endless. Mary Poppins would be impressed with my bag, I swear.

Side note – does anyone else struggle with umbrella etiquette? For example, when walking down the street with a brolly and you come across another person with a brolly, the two won’t fit on the same pavement. What happens, who moves to the side? Or should I lift mine so it’s higher than his? Why has this never been covered in school? WHERE IS THE UMBRELLA HIGHWAY CODE?!

Make Up

You know the story. You get a bit of a tan, (or in my case, a shitload more freckles) and all of a sudden your foundation doesn’t match. Feeling smug, you get yourself down to Boots and get a new shade. Cut to getting ready, and yes, your foundation is beautiful. However, what you didn’t realise is that all of your lipsticks are more suited to snow than sun. You panic, and decide to fall back on the old faithful, the smokey eye. Would have worked perfectly, if a bit dramatic for your mate’s BBQ starting at 2pm, except it’s 30 degrees and before you know it, you’re rocking the full KISS look. Save yourself the bother, get a coral for daytime and hot pink for evening. Trust me, it’s easier.

The amount of prep needed

When it’s tights weather, you can get away with skipping shaving your legs for a day when you’re being lazy in the morning. Come the glorious weather, my routine has about doubled. Between shaving, exfoliating, moisturising, trying to wrestle my hair into a summer appropriate style, I’m exhausted before I’ve even left the house. I’ve also had to start planning my outfits. For a girl who loves a lie in, it’s bloody traumatic having to think about what underwear I need 3 days in advance.

For all my moans, I adore the sun. I love how it makes everyone a bit happier, a bit sassier. I love spending evenings with my lovely friends, sitting on the grass with a pint. I love how everything looks just a bit prettier. If only I had an assistant to help with all the extra admin, I’d be even happier.

Uncategorized

My favourite shows to binge on Netflix

Come on, who doesn’t love Netflix? Home of cheesy films, documentaries and box sets, I love being under a blanket while watching something. Preferably whilst shoving a lot of junk food into my gob. I thought I would round up a few of my favourite shows to binge watch over a rainy weekend.

iZombie

Now I tried to explain this one to my friends a couple of weeks back and I agree, the premise sounds insane. Basically a Doctor is turned into a zombie and to feed her need for brains, takes a job in a morgue. She then ends up accidentally solving a murder, and the show goes from there. It is bloody amazing though, it’s witty, it has a stellar cast, and each week there is a story that either makes you laugh or breaks your heart. I actually think it’s a good replacement for Buffy, it has the same sort of Scooby Gang feel and each season has the same build up to the Big Bad. Give it a go, you’ll thank me later.

Stranger Things

If this is the first you’re hearing of Stranger Things, you’ve either been living under a rock or you’ve been in prison. Now, I freely admit that I’m a huge wimp when it comes to scary films and I had to be persuaded into watching this. I am so glad that I did. I gobbled up every episode and the finale left me breathless. The fact that there’s a second season makes me ridiculously excited. Even if I do end up sleeping with the lamp on and flinching every time the light flickers.

Reign

Now this is as cheesy as a fondue. It’s loosely based on the early life of Mary, Queen of Scots. There’s also some kind of nefarious plotting going on, and I very quickly lost count of how many people have been murdered, lost, tortured or imprisoned. It’s also ridiculously addictive and you end up really rooting for some of the characters. The costumes are absolutely gorgeous and some of the shots end up looking like paintings.

Brooklyn Nine Nine

My go to if it’s been a long day at work and I just need cheering up. It follows a group of detectives based in a small precinct in Brooklyn. There’s not one character that I dislike, the in jokes do actually make me laugh and it just feels like sitting watching a group of friends pissing about. It ended on a cliffhanger last season before breaking for 3 months, I’ve basically been impatiently jiggling my foot ever since.

Sherlock

When I first watched Sherlock, I was so annoyed at myself that I’d never watched it before. Each episode lasts an hour and half and it could last a lot longer and I’d be happy. I love the flashes of humour, the beautifully staged shots and the stories that leave you guessing until the very end. Although I wasn’t a huge fan of the latest series, I’ll quite happily sit and watch the first 3 series without a break.