Sheep in boots

Yes, I know that’s the wrong animal. But “bear” with me. I’m not “barking” mad.

(sorry, not sorry)

Sheep in boots

So, a few weeks back, the husband asked me if over the knee boots were “in”. The reason being that I’d ordered some, and he’d seen Caroline Flack (his celebrity crush > good taste!) wearing some on Twitter.

He thinks I’m a fashion follower.

Of course he doesn’t realise that I’ve been trying to get some for about 5 years. He doesn’t realise because I hide all the boxes and parcels and bags as I try to find the right pair.

And also, I know I’m not.

The problem I have is slim calves. Which sounds like a real first world problem. But actually is a ballache. I can’t buy off the shelf long boots, and I’m too tight fickle to pay for high end or custom made. I want Primark prices but not Primark fit.

The solution is stretch legs. Not my legs. The boots. I need some that are made from shrinkwrap fabric. Elasticated legs.

This year’s escapade started with an order from Deichmann. After the success of my stompy ankle boots, I thought that was the way to go with long boots.

Deichmann over the knee boots

They turned out to be slightly too baggy round the legs, but apart from that were lovely, if that’s the look you’re after. For me they were a bit too stompy. I wanted something a bit more delicate (like what I am, ha!)

Then I tried a pair in Prmark that seemed everything I wanted – from the front.

Primark over the knee boots

When I turned sideways there was a big flap of unfilled fabric around the calves. I don’t blame Primark. I blame myself…

After that, I turned to Tesco F&F. I ordered a flat pair and a wedge pair. The flat pair were a little bit principal boy.

Tesco flat over the knee boots

The wedge pair had some elastication but were a strange mix of fabrics. And I didn’t really want wedges.

Tesco over the knee wedge boots

So I turned to ebay. Good old reliable ebay. And I found a pair described as “stretch”. With calf measurements that suggested they would fit.

So I took a punt.

Ebay over the knee boots

They’re not skintight, but they’re pretty good. better than anything else I’ve seen or tried. And it means there’s space underneath to wear tights, leggings or jeans.

Plus they’re round toed, so I don’t¬†look like I’m auditioning for Pretty Woman (the over 30s version, obvs).

So, is this a happy “follower of fashion” ending?

I wouldn’t know. Ask the sheep ūüėČ

 

 

All I want for Christmas is a new…big toenail

I’m currently living in the aftermath of an incident.

(building some drama!)

Toes

I hate masks. They freak me out. Even the fun ones. I think it’s because you can’t see people’s eyes properly.

Anyway. The husband bought a Guy Fawkes/Anonymous mask around Halloween time. I don’t like it.

Anonymous mask

On our recent day off, he randomly put it on. I ran off. He chased me. So we had a Benny Hill style race around our flat, with me freaking out. Naturally I headed for the bathroom and shut myself in.

Thinking it would be safe to leave after a few seconds (what with the husband having a short attention span), I gingerly opened the bathroom door. The coast was clear. Then he poked his head round the corner, still wearing the blasted mask. I screamed (I know, it’s not like I didn’t know it was him!), retreated into the bathroom, and got my big toenail stuck under the door.

Carnage ensued. I swore (a lot). I blamed him (a lot). I poked at my toenail (a lot) expecting it to fall off.

So far it’s still attached, but feels very loose. It’s turning a rather peculiar colour. I have no doubt that it’s going to fall off and leave a big old ugly gap where my toenail should be.

Wah!

Last night I painted all my toenails metallic cherry red (it’s the equivalent of turning the radio up when you hear a noise in your car – just pretend it isn’t there). Now it’s started to ooze with goop.

I don’t think that bodes well.

(sorry for the TMI!)

I’m now mourning all the pretty sparkly sandals that I can’t wear (ok, it’s winter and I don’t wear them anyway).

Can you buy false toenails?!

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

5 things you only know if you dye your hair red

While red hair is incredibly cool, it’s also an incredible pain in the ass at times.

Red hair

Here are 5 things you’ll be familiar with if you’ve ever gone scarlet.

1 – It fades. Really quickly and disappointingly. If you’re naturally blond you’ll start to look pink. You need to colour it at least every 3 weeks to keep it at it’s best, which is expensive and time consuming.

2 – You can’t use white towels. Staying in a hotel? Take your own (or face the wrath of the laundry people who have to bleach/throw away your towels after use). One year, on holiday in LA, I hid my hotel “hair towel” in the wardrobe every day before housekeeping came in so I didn’t have to wreck a new one whenever I washed my hair. You can imagine the state of it when I handed it back at the end of our trip.

3 – If your hair is longer, you can’t leave it to dry naturally – unless you want pink stains all over your t-shirt/jumper/pyjama top.

4 – Swimming pools are a source of worry. “No I didn’t get my period in the water! It’s just my head leaking!”

5 – It can be annoyingly wardrobe limiting. Rendering a chunk of your existing wardrobe redundant.

Have you got any hair colour tales or disasters? I’d love to hear from you!

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

Are you HIV positive?

I bet your immediate response is “absolutely not”. But do you know for sure?

News of Charlie Sheen being HIV positive doesn’t come as a surprise to many people. By his own admission he’s been promiscuous and indulged in drug use.

Charlie Sheen

That’s not to say he deserves to have contracted the disease, as some media outlets and small minded individuals seem to be suggesting.

When rumours began last week about a Hollywood A-Lister about to be exposed, many people’s first thoughts turned to Charlie Sheen. The reporting was dramatic and OTT, and in many ways irresponsible. Such furore serves only to remind people that HIV is still a very stigmatised disease, and does nothing to reassure those who have already been diagnosed that they are accepted in society. Of course it’s a big deal, and our thirst for celebrity news and gossip means that of course there will be interest in the story. But it would have been far better for the media to take the approach of here’s a guy who’s lived a life of fun and is paying a sacrifice for enjoying himself – let’s support him and use his story to educate and inform the general public that this could happen to them. Headlines suggesting Hollywood women were living in fear of who it might be and whether they themselves would be affected were clearly there to garner attention and sales. It was suggested that he’s been practising unprotected sex in the time since his diagnosis and deliberately putting people at risk. Now that he has come forward to tell his own story, he vehemently insists that he hasn’t.

Back to whether or not he deserves it. Only a nasty and sadistic individual would suggest that anyone deserves a life limiting disease (with a few exceptions, of course). No-one truly deserves to live their life with the shadow of disease and an uncertain future hanging over them; not least one that still has the power to turn a person into a social pariah. HIV isn’t sympathised with in the same way as cancer or heart disease. There is still a blame culture around it. Maybe people are trying to say that he openly led a life that put him at higher risk of contracting HIV than your average Joe. And maybe that’s true. But when you’re a world famous film star with money and a love for women and booze, who can honestly say they wouldn’t go crazy once in a while?

In truth it doesn’t matter whether he had unprotected sex thousands of times or just once. The risk may have been higher, the odds more against him, but remember this – HIV happens to people from one sexual encounter with an infected person, or one infected needle. Just once.

HIV and AIDS aren’t at the forefront of most people’s minds when they have unprotected sex. It seems such an uncommon disease; certainly not many people know someone who has contracted HIV (or at least someone who is living with it openly) and so we have that “it won’t happen to me” mentality. Unwanted pregnancy is still at the forefront of most people’s minds; perhaps followed by chlamydia. HIV isn’t talked about. It isn’t in the media and it isn’t in the mainstream, and so it remains this silent elephant in the room that we only consider when we’re faced with it, and then our response is to judge and condemn.

Shame on the people who have been blackmailing him. Shame on them for making him feel guilt and fear. Shame on them for perpetuating the misplaced rumour that HIV is a dirty disease. Shame on them for manipulating him into parting with cold hard cash to keep them quiet about his business, to the point where he has come forward not through choice, but through no choice.

So, what now for Charlie Sheen? Well, he’s now “the famous actor who’s HIV positive”. Which is a real shame, because it wipes out years of his career. Then again he’s been “the famous actor who’s off the rails” for a while, so perhaps it’s a long time since anyone thought of him in terms of his acting prowess.

Hopefully he’ll use his position positively. Because, like it or not, he’s now a figurehead for HIV. In every news article, whether about his illness or not, he’ll be referred to as Charlie Sheen, the HIV positive actor. It shouldn’t be the case, but it’s true. And so hopefully he can remind people not to put themselves at risk, not to put fun before being sensible, not to live a crazy life and screw the consequences. Hopefully he can show that HIV can happen to anyone; not just gay men, not just drug addicts. It doesn’t avoid you because you’re rich and famous. And hopefully he can help to destigmatise what is still an emotive and divisive disease; showing that it can be controlled with medication, that he can still live a full and enjoyable life, and that HIV most certainly is not the same as AIDS.

So, back to the original question. Have you ever been tested? I have. I found out that a boyfriend had been cheating with numerous other girls. For my own peace of mind I decided to get checked out for everything. And sitting there, waiting for the results, was petrifying. The duty of the doctor to tell you that, if the result is positive, you may never get a mortgage or health insurance (I don’t know if that’s till true, this was many years ago). That you could be discriminated against by your employer, your friends and even your family. That everything in your life will change.

It’s hardly surprising that people aren’t keen to share their news.

Are tattoos on women becoming more mainstream?

X Factor, whether you like it or not, is mainstream Saturday night TV. So it’s great that Rita Ora consistently shows her tattoos on the show.

Rita Ora tattooed bicep

Rita Ora tattooed wrist

OK, so Cheryl is known for having tattoos but, aside from the one on her hand, they’re generally hidden from view (what with her not getting her bottom out on TV, as much as I’m sure some people would like her to!)

Cheryl Cole tattooed bottom

Rita has quite a large and visible inking on the inside of her left bicep, as well as her right wrist, amongst others.

Not only that, I’ve recently noticed a tattooed McDonalds worker in their new advert. I can’t recall seeing any tattooed females in an advertisement before.

McDonalds advert tattooed girl

Tattooed males have been mainstream for quite a while, and represented positively in the media (not the bad boys they once were). David Beckham is lauded as a family man and ambassador for Great Britain and he’s extensively tattooed, including his hands and neck which at one time was for the realms only of the real hardcore of society. Most young boy bands have visible tattoos these days, with sleeves seemingly de rigeur. One Direction have a large collective collection of inkings and their fan base runs from very young girls through to fully grown women (although possibly for different reasons!)

In the past, public representation of tattooed females tends to be quite extreme – those who have a lot of coverage (like Jodie Marsh). It’s good to see a woman in a workplace on TV (I know she’s an actress, but even so).

One of my main bug bears has been the lack of tattooed models on everyday websites. ASOS, for example, uses a majority of tattooed male models (including, most recently, one with ink on his face) yet there never seem to be any women. This reinforces the stereotype that tattooed women are very much an exception, and can’t be used to sell an image or product. Why is that? Does it suggest that tattoos are off putting and undesirable? Strange, when beautiful women like Megan Fox and Angelina Jolie are inked.

So I was pleased to spot a couple of female fashion models with tattoos recenltly. Small, but it’s progress.

Boohoo featured this model on an eshot (note the not huge but nonetheless visible wrist ink).

Boohoo tattooed model

And H&M went all out with multiple ink locations, including fingers, on an email advertising party wear, no less!

H&M tattooed model

What are your thoughts on female tattoos? Are you offended by seeing them? Are tattooed men more “acceptable” than women? I’d love to hear your opinions.

Thanks. as always, for reading! x

Christmas considerations

I grew up loving Christmas. Long past when it was cool to do so; long past when most teenagers lost interest. It’s always been such a special and exciting time for me, and my parents always made it fabulous.

When I was 21 my parents divorced, and our family dynamic changed. My Mom’s new partner had two young children, which was just magical for me as a Christmas lover. Seeing their little faces as we lavished them with presents, having a genuine reason to play with lego and dolls again in my mid-20s, the joy of buying toys and clothes for little people; I loved it.

Now we’re entering into another Christmas experience – the kids have grown up and don’t play with toys anymore (wah!)

And these days I find the lead up to Christmas very stressful and, dare I say it, less enjoyable than I used to.

Christmas 2015

Sadly, and completely playing into the hands of all those people who complain about the commercialism of the season, the main reason for this is gift buying. It hurts my brain. And, in a way, it’s my own fault. We’ve always bought multiple gifts for family members, meaning that a bottle of aftershave or a new shirt just isn’t enough. That’s not from the gift recipient point of view. It’s from mine. I have it in my head that there must be oodles of presents to open, therefore increasing the stress on myself!

The trouble is that these days things are so accessible that people tend to buy themselves stuff throughout the year as and when they want something. If we’re lucky enough to be in the position of having disposable income, there’s no need to wait for those shoes/bag/earrings.

Plus, the older people get, the more stuff they already have.

And don’t get me started on gifts for men!

It hurts me that I now look upon the festive season with a sense of apprehension and fear, when I should be concentrating on the fun things like seeing friends, eating, drinking and being merry. We’ve been watching Christmas films for the last couple of weeks but they only serve to remind me that the big day is getting closer and I have little idea of what to buy my family. The German market opened in Birmingham city centre last week and the very thought of it even being there gives me a headache.

On that note I’m off to breathe deeply into a paper bag while making a list of things people don’t even need…

P.S – if anyone has any cool/unusual/inspiring gift ideas, do let me know!

Oh, and while I’m on a Christmas rant, what’s with the mild weather? It’s not even cold enough for a winter coat, let alone¬†for Santa. We need some festive temperatures so I can drink mulled wine without sweating. Because nothing says Christmas less than stripping off layers of clothes and fanning your face with a festive flyer.

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

Twit(s) of the day award – it’s 5 bloody pence!

I haven’t done a Twit of the Day for a while, but in view of everything going on in the world I can’t believe people are making a big deal about the ridiculous non big deal of paying for a carrier bag.

Carrier bag 5p law

The 5p bag legislation has been in place for a while now, and I’m bored of seeing people being so stupid about it. Today I went to the supermarket and still there are people carrying way more shopping than their hands can comfortably manage rather than buy a bag. Palming it off on kids, tucking it under armpits, juggling bottles and cans and packets.

While it’s great to see people thinking whether they actually need a bag and, where they don’t, not having one, it’s also absolutely ridiculous to overload yourself with more stuff than you can handle because of five pence.

Put into context the amount of money many people waste on disposable fashion from Primark, overbuying groceries at the supermarket that get thrown away, or a cheap nail varnish/lipstick/eyeshadow that languishes in a draw because it doesn’t suit us; investing in a carrier bag isn’t that big a deal.

I was behind a man in Superdrug who refused one because he said he “couldn’t afford it”.

FFS!

Sort your priorities people. Bring your own bag if you need one. Don’t make a big deal about shit that doesn’t matter.

And, if you do, I hope you drop your eggs.

Pray for Paris

I’m too sad to post as planned today. I’m shocked, saddened, horrified, appalled, disgusted and scared. Yes, scared. I know we shouldn’t say that, I know we’re supposed to be strong and say that we wont be beaten. That our lives won’t change. That we’ll live our lives as normal, and not in fear.

Pray for Paris peace sign eiffel tower

But you know what? I am scared. Scared for the world. Where are we going? What is our future? If we fight terrorism with bombs, retaliation will happen. If we don’t, terrorism will advance.

I’m scared because I think Britain will be next. We’ve been instrumental in fighting terror with attack. So we’re an obvious target.

I’m scared because I go to gigs; I spend weekends in venues that could easily be targeted to attack large numbers of people. That’s what makes it close to home to me. It could have been me. It could have been the husband. It could have been any of my friends. We love life. We dedicate time to gigs and the pursuit of enjoyment. And we don’t expect these pursuits of happiness to limit or end our lives.

I’m scared because I live near a city. The second city. A target.

I’m scared because the Frankfurt Christmas market has just opened in Birmingham and welcomes 5 million visitors over the festive season. And I love it. I visit it.

So yes, maybe terrorists are winning.

This frame of mind won’t last. Even the Facebook profile update, which puts a French flag wash over your image, gives you the option to make it temporary. So how long until we all go back to normal life? 1 day? 3 days? A week?

Until then? I don’t know. All I do know is that it’s shit. So very very awfully soul destroyingly shit.

Motley Crue – The Final Tour

This time last week I was basking in how great Motley Crue were at the Genting Arena the night before, and how excited I was to be seeing them at Wembley.

Motley Crue band logo

I’ll start this review by saying wow.

Now I’ll tell you why.

Firstly, Motley Crue as a band have been releasing records for over 30 years. When a band has had commercial success for that length of time; touring the world and playing to hundreds of thousands of people, it’s pretty fair to say they know their stuff. They know how to tour, how to put on a show and how to please an audience.

So it’s pretty difficult to review them in the way you would a smaller/lesser known band at a smaller venue.

Even so, there are bands that lose their shine and passion as the years go on; and perhaps their performance suffers as a result. Maybe it’s age, maybe it’s band fall outs, maybe it’s quality of musicianship.

You couldn’t say any of that about Motley Crue’s two performances last week. The stage show was big – there was lots of pyro, millions of lights, fire, and a drumkit on a rollercoaster.

Motley Crue drum rollercoaster 2

Motley Crue drum rollercoaster

Drum rollercoaster

Yep, Tommy Lee’s whole kit was attached to a rollercoaster that came right out into the crowd. During his drum solo he traversed the length of the coaster and back again; going upside down while also spinning around on the drum platform. Pretty spectacular stuff!

All of the big hits were in there with pumped guitar riffs and singalong vocals. Vince was flanked by two hot girls in tiny leather outfits, and why wouldn’t he be? This is a band who were instrumental in 80s rock and really lived the rock and roll dream of sex, drugs and debauchery. They’re over 50 now, yet to watch them you wouldn’t know it. There were no signs of lethargy or slowing down- each and every member of the band was really going for it.

Vince’s vocals have taken a battering in certain reviews I’ve read, and a lot of people decided not to see them again after outdoor festival performances at this year’s Sweden Rock and Download. I don’t think an outdoor festival is ever the best representation of how good a band can be, to be honest. And with the amount of energy and movement he puts into working the stage, it’s hardly surprising he doesn’t hit every single note!

I’ve seen them 6 times in total now, which is a lot for a band I never really thought I liked before the first time, but I can honestly say that I’ve loved each and every show. Part of the brilliance is that there are hardcore fans at their gigs who absolutely live and breathe their music, so the atmosphere and excitement is electric. And the band genuinely seem to care about their performance and giving everything. The visual aspect of the shows, as well as the audio, is above and beyond what a lot of bands do.

At the end, Vince and Nikki stepped onto two mechanical arms which then swept out into the crowd, so they were over and above the audience and playing to people below.

Nikki and Vince

Necessary? Not at all! Imaginative? Yes! Expensive and difficult to set up at each gig? You betcha! But they did it because the passion is still there to deliver a great show.

Nikki fireworks

Nikki finale

Nikki

Nikki Sixx

The finale couldn’t have been more different. The band left the main stage and made their way to a small platform half way in the crowd, lighting their path with torches. Just the four of them; Nikki on bass, Mick on guitar, Tommy on piano and Vince on vocals they sang Home Sweet Home.

Home Sweet Home

Nikki and Tommy Home Sweet Home

Vince Home Sweet Home

Nikki close up

No fancy effects, no bright lights – just the band in a pared down, intimate (well, as intimate as you can be in a sold out arena!) and emotional goodbye.

Crue famously signed legal documents stating that they will never tour again, so there was always going to be a lot of hype to this tour. Sceptics would say it’s a sure fire way of selling out venues, which they did. And of course there’s lots of sadness from lifelong fans that they’ll never see them again, but going out on a high was a good move. The fans will be left with nothing but positive memories of a great live goodbye.

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

Lurgy

I hate being ill. I mean, I know everyone does, but it just feels so unfair. I have too much to do to be ill.

Oh, by the way, I have a cold.

I know, right? I’m verging into man-flu territory here!

Actually, I hate having a cold purely because it seems so pathetic. It’s just a cold!¬†And we berate men who make out like it’s life and death. Because it’s just a cold!

But sometimes it does just knock you for six.

I hate giving in and admitting defeat.

I hate calling into work saying I can’t come in because I have a cold. But if you’re veering through the temperature gauge and stripping off your clothes just or some relief; well some offices don’t like that.

Also the girl who sits opposite me is pregnant, so it’s not really fair on her for me to be spluttering in the vicinity of her developing child.

I’m so thoughtful.

I’ve spent the past 3 days in pyjamas at home. Which sounds dreamy, but is now just tiresome. Especially¬†with a lap full of soggy tissues.

PJs and tissues

Husband is cooking dinner, which is lovely of him but I take exception to, because the kitchen is my domain (I know it’s old fashioned, but I feel it’s my job as a wife to cook for him. I make up for it by getting drunk at parties and being carried home).

I go to bed with my nose and mouth smeared in face cream to negate the sandpaper effect of tissues against my skin (I’m a very snotty person when I have a cold; it both amazes and dismays me how much of the stuff one person can produce). My hair is scraped back in a sweaty bun and my skin glistens with sweat. I’m so unattractive and I don’t care.

But tomorrow is another day. I’m done. I’ve given in to my change of season snot, indulging it in lazy days, afternoon naps and paracetamol every few hours, as sometimes you need to do in order to recover fully, and now it’s time for it to sod off. I don’t get paid for this shit (literally, because it’s a new job, I don’t get sick pay for the first year).

And I have gigs and clothes and food to blog about.

So thanks for indulging my whinging, and a big fat sneezy snotty sorry for being such a bore!