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.

Uncategorized

Buffy turns 20

Buffy celebrated turning 20 on Friday. That’s right, 20. Now, like many things, I was late to the party and only watched Buffy in the entirety about 3 years ago. I adored it from the start. I love the snarkiness, the in jokes, the Scooby gang, I love it all.

Buffy was different from the start in that it’s a young girl running at the monsters, not being chased. There was never the impression that a girl can’t do what a boy can, in fact it’s the opposite. (Sorry Xander).

On a different note, the males in the series were, to be frank, absolutely bloody beautiful. Angel covered the whole dark and brooding angle, Xander pulled off the geeky look, Riley had the whole fresh faced vibe and then there’s my boy Spike. Cheeky, gobby with a keen sense of style (Billy Idol copied him yano). There’s a fight scene in one episode where Spike goes tumbling into a big gravestone. He picks himself up, all indignant and ruffled feathers. ‘HEY. These are WET!’ Brandishing his beautifully painted nails. I laugh every time.

When Buffy wanted to be, it was genuinely hilarious. I watch Pangs, Tabula Rasa and Something Blue when I need to giggle. Every episode there was either a funny moment, a funny line or even a funny monster.

On another note, when it was focusing on serious issues, it could break your heart. There is a moment in The Body that sums up grief in a way that hasn’t really been replicated. Anya, the thousand year old demon turned human is struggling to understand death.

‘I don’t understand how this all happens. How we go through this. I mean, I knew her, and then she’s- There’s just a body, and I don’t understand why she just can’t get back in it and not be dead anymore. It’s stupid. It’s mortal and stupid. And-and Xander’s crying and not talking, and-and I was having fruit punch, and I thought, well, Joyce will never have any more fruit punch ever, and she’ll never have eggs, or yawn or brush her hair, not ever, and no one will explain to me why.’

Buffy also covered addiction, coming out, the burdens of growing up and many more. And it did it with style. Buffy was at heart an outsider, and from reading testimonials this weekend, that helped a lot of people feel less alone growing up.

Buffy is a cult hero, and a bloody legend. The show was all about building your own family, and how friends can be more important than blood relatives. It’s about facing your fears and doing it anyway. She saved the world. A lot.

Uncategorized

How to be a Gentleman

This post is based at you, you lucky fellas.

Now Country Life published a list on how to be a modern gentleman. Now, some are pretty boss like knowing how to unhook a bra one handed, breaking up with a girl face to face and never kissing and telling. Others on the other hand are beyond shite. Sings lustily in church? Can sail a boat and ride a horse? Tips staff in a private house and a gamekeeper? Get to fuck. I thought I’d give you lads out there some actual useful tips on how to be a gentleman.

  1. Before a night out, your girl will want to get her tan sorted. Seeing as we are not double jointed, you will need to do her back for her. Man up, do it and stop complaining about getting St Tropez on your hands.
  2. The next day, even if you are as fresh as a daisy, volunteer to go to Maccies for the hangover food. She’ll think of you as her saviour. Easy.
  3. You know those really comfy trackie bottoms that you love? They don’t belong to you anymore. We feel teeny tiny in them, so now they’re ours. Give in with good grace.
  4. Her best mate is an absolute fitty. You know nothing will ever happen but it’s still nice to look am I right? Wrong, dickhead. When she’s showing off the photos from Saturday night, she’ll be watching you like a hawk to see your reaction. Mention something like, “Sorry babe, didn’t realise she was in the photo, I was too busy looking at you.”
  5. If in doubt for a formal event, wear a navy suit. Amazing what it’ll do for you.
  6. It’s 3am, you’ve had a hard week and actually stayed in for once rather than gone out with the lads. Your lady rings, pissed and wanting an hour chat. Do not have a strop on the next day. Instead as she’s cringing, tell her how nice it was to hear her voice. You’ll be rewarded.
  7. If she sends nudes, tell her how amazing she looks. If she doesn’t want to, don’t pester. Nothing turns us off quicker.
  8. Do not talk about your ex. We already know her name, what she does and what her best mate looks like. Talking about what she was like in bed, how she never got moody and how she always laughed at your jokes is a pretty easy way to find yourself on the couch if you’re lucky, back at your Mum’s if you’re not.
  9. When she says she wants you to meet her friends, do not turn up in trainers and with your lads in tow. Make an effort, buy them drinks, listen to their men drama, tell them that your mates aren’t good enough for them. Do you WANT to be bitched about from now until eternity? Our mates are our families.
  10. If she’s got that angry face on, you’ve been snapped at twice in 10 minutes and you’re not quite sure what you’ve done? It’s all your fault you knob. Get down to the shops sharpish and bring back a present.

We can be a tricky breed, we know exactly what we want, we can turn from an angel to the devil within 2.3 seconds and we expect a lot from our blokes. Follow these rules and if in doubt just agree with her. After all, if we’re princesses then we need our blokes to be princes.