Month: March 2017

Feelgood Friday [1] – be yourself, whatever your age

With there being such a lot of misery, horror and nastiness in the world right now, it can sometimes be difficult to see good things. So I thought I’d start a new mini series of nice stories that make me go all warm and fuzzy inside, and I’ll be sharing them on Fridays.

This week’s pick is this story about a 90 year old transgender lady who has only just recently come out after living a lie for most of her life.

She says she knew she felt like a girl from the age of 3, but in those days being transgender wasn’t a recognised condition and the word didn’t even exist. It wasn’t until the 1970s that she heard the term and finally had something to relate to.

The two bits of this story that give me the feels are:

  • That her wife knew her “secret” and would buy her jewellery and dresses, and treat her as a woman when they were at home.
  • That she’s finally getting hormone treatment enabling her to have the body that matches her mind, even at her advanced age. God bless the NHS for not discriminating based on how old she is, and for giving her a chance at the life she craved for all those years.

Just look how happy she is!

90 year old transgender lady

Lovely stuff.

Have you seen anything that’s made your heart happy this week? Let me know!

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

That’s not journalism

It’s been a historic week here in the UK – Article 50 has been triggered and we’re the first EU member state to leave the union; Nicola Sturgeon has garnered support for a second independence referendum for Scotland; our future as a nation is currently in a state of flux as no-one really knows the implications of either of these actions.

But this is how the Daily Mail (an abominable racist mainstream UK newspaper pretending to have the best interests of the country at heart) reported on the meeting between these two political heavyweights.

Daily Mail Teresa May and Nicola Sturgeon

What. The Actual. Fuck.

Seriously? Seriously? The writer of this article (amazingly, a woman) and the editor of the rag honestly believed this was a good idea?

Would previous Prime Minister David Cameron have been subjected to similar treatment? Of course he bloody wouldn’t!

Words fail me.

Daily Mail, you’re a disgrace to journalism, a disgrace to publishing and a disgrace to reporting.

Thanks, as always, for reading!

What were you thinking part 2 (from an unexpected source!)

If you laughed / scratched your head in bewilderment at the sartorial faux pas by the Topshop designers, I raise your disbelief and give you Gucci.

Yes, Gucci. Renowned fashion house, stalwarts of style, designs desired all over the world.

Are these the ugliest shoes ever? (this is a semi rhetorical question, if you can find an uglier pair then please let me know).

Gucci have gone to the trouble of giving these horrors a pretty name (Ilse, in case you were wondering) but the fact that this is succeeded by the description of “sock sandal” makes Ilse the girl no-one wants to be associated with.

And whilst Topshop’s jeans could be described as throwaway fashion at £45 (not by me, I hasten to add), these sandals cost an eye watering $1200 (that’s approx. £1000 at current exchange rates).

Now, in order to cater to the masses shouldn’t the inner foot come in lots of different colours, in the same way as foundation shades? Say, for example, you were wearing them under jeans and you were dark skinned, would people think you’d had your own feet amputated and were wearing prosthetics? I have a feeling I’m over thinking this, but enquiring minds need to know.

On the plus side (and there has to be one, right?) the sock part can be removed, leaving just the shiny red sandals. Phew.

Gucci Ilse red sandal

Is this a designer look that will filter down to the high street? Expect to see sock sandals in a Primark near you soon!

Thanks, as always, for reading. x

One person does not represent an entire religion

In light of what happened in London yesterday, the above is something that we all need to remember. I was dreading reading the inevitable comments from racist bigots, Britain’s First supporters, UKIP voters and some Brexiters saying this would never have happened if we were stricter with our borders.

London

Luckily I’ve seen very little of this ilk. And, based on today’s news that the attacker was British born, it would be nonsense anyway (not that haters are ever stopped by facts).

I don’t think anyone can be surprised at the attack. Surprised at the location and method, yes. But surely we’ve all been expecting something, if we’re truthful. My only surprise is that it has taken so long after the Paris and Brussels attacks. And that’s testament to our police and intelligence service, and their commitment to keeping the general public safe.

It seems very much that this attacker was a lone wolf. It wasn’t a carefully orchestrated attack. A guy driving a car at people and then stabbing with knives isn’t on the same scale as the armed terrorists who killed so many revellers in the Bataclan, or the timed multiple bomb attacks in Belgium. That’s not to say it’s any less serious – of course it isn’t – but it does seem to suggest that there’s nothing that could have been done to stop it, which again leads back to the great job being done to foil bigger, more complex terror plots.

It’s heartening to see and hear people pulling together, reiterating that terrorists won’t win, and standing proud in protection of our nation and the values we hold dear. And while we must pay our respects to those who’ve been injured or tragically killed, we also need to be mindful of other people who weren’t involved but will be affected – Muslim students turned against by fellow pupils, Muslim parents and their children being racially abused in the streets, Muslim shopkeepers in fear of their livelihoods being retaliated against. These people are innocent victims too; tarred with the same brush purely because of their religious beliefs or colour of their skin.

In the wake of any mindless tragedy, strength comes from deep within, from the power of community and humanity. Don’t let terrorists take that strength away from us by inciting divisions.

RIP to PC Keith Palmer and the other innocent victims.

Thanks, as always, for reading. x

Oh Topshop, what were you thinking?

Have you ever put on a pair of jeans and wished there was a window to your knees?

No? Then you’re not the target market for Topshop’s latest denim design.

I can’t think who they think the target market is, but somebody somewhere thought there was a gap in the market for a pair of jeans with see through plastic knee patches.

So many questions. The main one being “why?” Followed by “why, why, WHY?” Followed by “wouldn’t they make your knees sweat?”, “wouldn’t they steam up?” and “WHY?” quite a few more times.

I could write at length about how fecking ridiculous these things are, but what would be the point? I think everyone reading this knows how ridiculous they are, without me helping you along in the thought process!

(Do take a moment to read the product reviews though, if you fancy even more of a giggle)

Not quite as bad, but still downright ridiculous are these party skirt jeans, which are also available on their website.

Topshop skirt overlay jeans

Topshop – Twit of the Day!

Thanks, as always, for reading. x

It’s been emotional

I’ve been an emotional wreck for the last few days. I don’t know why I’ve been so touchy, but that’s life. Not really the best subject matter on International Happiness Day – sorry!

Be Happy

It started with this story which had me in tears at my desk on Friday, Seriously, it hit me right in the heart and I had to go and shut myself in the toilet for a sob. 7 year old Filip’s Mom died when he was just 2 years old and is buried in Poland. Now Filip is dying from leukaemia, and his wish is to be buried alongside in his Mom so she can look after him in heaven. That poor little boy. His photograph broke me, the story broke me, and his Dad’s crowdfunding efforts to grant his boy’s dying wish broke me. And, no offence to anyone reading this who believes in religion, but stuff like this is further proof to me that God can’t possibly exist, because why would an entity that’s supposed to be good ever ever cause so much pain and suffering for an innocent child?

I never really donate to crowdfunding efforts but I couldn’t not chip into this one. The nice news is that they’ve smashed the initial £6,500 target, so poor little Filip will be reunited with his Mom when the sad time comes.

On the back of that (and crying over it again on Saturday as I was telling my Mom about it) I got all emotional about our impending move. A couple in their late 50s came to view the flat, with a view to just the man buying it. They’ve been together for over 30 years but don’t want to be together any more, even though they’re still great friends. And that made me really sad. People try so hard to find love, and when it comes to an end I think that’s heartbreaking (unless someone cheats in which case it’s bloody good riddance after smashing up their stuff and badmouthing them to anyone that will listen).

Those tears (which came after the viewing was over!) soon developed into a full on blart fest about leaving the flat. We’ve been so very very happy here. We only intended to stay for 5 years but have been here for eleven, and they’re the happiest years of my life. I know it’s only bricks and mortar but I feel content, safe and settled here. And while the new place will be great, it’s still a big wrench to leave our little space in the sky.

Crying about moving on to better things in life, nuts eh?

So, there you have my uplifting take on International Happiness Day – ha! I can’t say I’m any happier today, and I don’t know why! I need a bang to the head!

In spite of all that, I actually had a nice weekend; family time and Indian food for my Mom’s birthday on Friday night, friends time at a gig on Saturday night, and husband time on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

What have you been up to?

Thanks, as always, for reading. x

5 things estate agents suggest to help sell your property

Our flat is going on the market today! The estate agent has taken pictures, made a floorplan and is getting it listed online and in their branch. It’s exciting and nervewracking and lots of other complex emotions.

In the lead up to today we’ve been making sure that our home is in as good a condition as it can possibly be. So we’ve been painting, decluttering and somewhat depersonalising (prospective buyers probably don’t want to see our band artwork or the husband’s bongos – not a euphemism!)

I also had a quick Google to see if there are any other useful tips we might not have thought about. We’ve all heard the suggestion to bake fresh bread and brew coffee to entice buyers, but here are 5 others you may not have heard.

Top tips for selling your home

  • Flowers on the table. Makes sense. Nice scent, a pop of colour; this is something we can totally do.
  • Make your bed, using bedlinen to match the room décor. Bit of a nobrainer this one? Who’s going to leave their bed unmade?
  • Remove selected interior doors to give the illusion of space. Eh? Where are you going to put the door? And what about the hinges that are left behind? To me this would just look like you’re a bit trampy or you’ve had a fight and one of you have smashed the door in!
  • Take a sofa out of the lounge, again for the space thing. WHAT? That’s bonkers! If I went into a lounge with only one sofa, in my head I’d think the room is only big enough for one sofa and it would definitely put me off. And again, WHERE DO YOU PUT YOUR “SPARE” SOFA???
  • Park high end cars on the driveway. OK, so I’ll just go out and hire a Range Rover and a Porsche to sit there until my home sells, god knows when!!!!

Have you come across any bonkers house tips that make absolutely no sense? Moved or are moving house? Hit me up!

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

Moseley Park and Pool

A couple of miles outside of Birmingham, right in the middle of Moseley is a beautiful hidden park. I say hidden, because you wouldn’t know it existed unless you knew, if that makes sense. The main entrance can be found down an alley way that runs between two shops, and the only other two entrance gates are hidden away from view on two parallel roads.

At 11 acres, with a huge pool, it’s been in existence as a public space for over 100 years (previously being part of the gardens of Moseley Hall) and is now part of a charitable trust, meaning it can never be sold off or developed (phew!)

It costs £45 a year to be a member of the park, or free day keys are available for a returnable deposit of £10. By charging for membership the Trust is able to raise valuable funds, and it also means the park is looked after and respected by those using it.

In recent years they’ve started hosting festivals there too – a Jazz, Funk & Soul In July (read here about last time I went) and a Folk in September (read about that one here). Chaka Khan is playing this year, that’s pretty cool!)

Last Monday the husband and I took an unscheduled day off work to sort some estate agent stuff, and went for a lovely Spring wander round.

It was a lovely sunny and still day, and the reflections in the pool were magnificent.

See the houses over yonder in the pics above? If you’re very lucky very rich and you live in one of those, you have a gate to the park right at the bottom of your garden! Although the key costs you £10 extra per year than us mere mortals who have to use the tradesman’s entrance.

Watching ducks floating so serenely is very…serene, isn’t it?

Look at the colour on that mallard’s head. So shiny – I wonder what conditioner he uses?

Moseley Park 9

Although the trees are all still very bare, we spotted some burgeoning blossoms and spring flowers.


The air felt full of promise that spring is truly upon us. The continuing good weather last week and this has proved it! It feels so nice to know that winter is on it’s way out and there are light nights and (hopefully) sunny days ahead.

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

Grief – 6 months on

Today should have would have been my Dad’s 60th birthday. Instead it’s 6 months since he died. 6 months. Half a year. That’s ages, right? Think how much can happen in 6 months.

I don’t know where I expected to be, grief wise, 6 months down the line.

Grief

People say that time is a healer, and I know that to be true. But, so far, time only makes things worse. For me, anyway. I feel like it’s getting more difficult to accept that my Dad is gone, because it’s so hard to comprehend that I’m never going to see him again. That all this stuff – 6 months worth of life and living and things – is happening without him and I’ll never be able to share it with him.

At first it just felt like I hadn’t seen or spoken to him for a while (even though that very rarely happened). But it gets more and more real as time goes on.

Today hurts every cell of my being. I ache with loss.

My Dad had an opinion on so many things, and he never hesitated to share it. All this house buying and selling malarkey would have been equally exciting and infuriating to him. He’d have been frustrated on our behalf with errant estate agents and sloth like mortgage applications. He’d have been excited at our moving and renovation plans. It’s almost impossible to comprehend that he’ll never visit our new home.

We speak about him often, in general conversation or around specific subjects. I’m very close with his wife, who is so young to be widowed and who he loved so much. Having her gives me a closeness to Dad, because she is so vivacious and full of life – their life and her own.

We talk about them

But, ultimately, there is no rulebook to feelings and dealings. Some days just thinking about him makes me cry, while others I feel pure joy at the memory of him. So many times I think that I must phone him to tell him about something that has happened at work, and then the fleeting moment where he’s still on the end of a phone is gone, to be replaced with abject sorrow.

What am I saying here?

It sucks. It still sucks.

I guess it will always suck.

I just wanted to put something into words, to mark today, to relive his memory.

Thanks, as always, for reading. x

The Lent Diaries – What Ellen Wrote

This feels like a bit of a cheat post to me, because I generally write original content (whether its any good or not is a different matter!) But I just have to implore you to read my friend Ellen’s blog, which at the moment is focussing on her experience of giving up sugar and alcohol for Lent.

Lent

This is not for religious reasons; more Ellen being a stubborn so and so, and proving to herself that she can do it. Which I applaud massively. I’d much rather support other people giving things up than do it myself. Things like Stop-tober and Dry-January are bad enough at 30 days, but Lent is a whole 40 days which, if you can’t do the maths, is a whole 9 days – or 1.5 weeks (almost longer).

Anyway, back to Ellen’s diaries. They’re insightful, funny and more funny. I think you’ll enjoy them. Even if you don’t, you’ll be grateful that you didn’t make such a nuts decision! (sorry, Ellen)

Let me know what you think! Thanks, as always, for reading! x