I feel like I’m in mourning

Dramatic? Yes.

Truthful? Absolutely!

I’m shocked, saddened and angered by the Brexit vote. I expected it to be close, but I didn’t think people would actually follow through with it and vote against stability, certainty and security.

It feels like we’re in freefall.

I’m genuinely worried for the future. We have no allies now. No-one who wants to back us up. Except maybe America if that buffoon Trump gets voted in (which I would say is a very real possibility). So we’re basically a terrorist target and I wouldn’t be surprised if Russia comes sniffing around as well.

Some interesting statistics:

HOW AGES VOTED (YouGov poll)

18-24: 75% Remain

25-49: 56% Remain

50-64: 44% Remain

65+: 39% Remain

I read an article earlier this week about an older man who voted based on what his 17 year old grandson (who wasn’t eligible to vote) wanted. As he said, the younger generation have a lot longer to live with the results. I think that was a very noble and wise decision (perhaps some other older voters should have considered doing something similar).

Here’s the split, in case you haven’t seen it.

EU referendum how the UK voted

I predict that there will be another Scottish referendum and they’ll vote to leave the UK – and who can blame them? In fact I think we’re taking a liberty calling ourselves the “United Kingdom” anymore because this decision is clearly going to split our home nation.

I don’t blame David Cameron for resigning,  but the thought of bumbling Boris as leader of our country scares me to death.

The MD of the company I work for is taking some solace in the Article 50 side of things; in that until it’s invoked (which David Cameron is saying he won’t do during his remaining term) then proceedings won’t begin and that buys us more time. I wouldn’t be so sure. European leaders are calling for a swift clean exit. It’s going to be an acrimonious split for sure.

I feel terribly terribly sad. Bereft, even.

And the price of wine is predicted to rise…

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

5 things about the EU Referendum vote, on An historical and potentially life changing day

I’ve posted before on why I think the EU Referendum is a bad idea. If you don’t have the time or inclination to read it, the summary is that the general British public are too stupid to make a fully informed decision. I realise that’s a sweeping generalisation, but as today has gotten ever closer I’ve been very alarmed by some of the comments and opinions I’ve heard from the average Joe Bloggs.

My vote is cast and I’m 100% certain I’ve chosen the right option.

UK EU referendum ballot box

For the record, and because I’m in no way ashamed or protective of my decision, I’m firmly in the Vote Remain camp. This is based on personal circumstances, commercial circumstances and what I believe is the right move for Britain. I truly believe in stronger together.

Some people hold their personal political beliefs very close to their chest, and I very much understand that. It can cause hostility. Last year I got into a conversation in a bar with a man I didn’t know following the General Election. We were chatting merrily about all sorts of things, and the conversation turned to politics. When I revealed that I’d voted for the Conservative party in the Election, he literally turned his back on me and wouldn’t speak another word. This was a man in his 60s! Very immature and extreme behaviour, but indicative of how strongly some people feel.

I don’t believe in trying to influence people’s voting choice as it is a very personal decision. But when people are quite blatantly being uneducated and voting for ridiculous reasons I admit to “pointing things out” (you may have noticed, if you read this blog regularly, that I’m rather opinionated and vocal!) The husband, on the other hand, has been quite vociferous in his disdain for people voting in the opposite camp to him (even his own Mom!) and last night he seemed to be on a one man social media political tirade. Having said that, he had a horrendous few years where he got involved in a forced company buyout and making redundancies during the last recession, so he’s keen to avoid the threat of another economic downturn. His methods might be questionable (the phrase “uneducated idiot” has been used more than once) but his intentions are good.

Here are 5 things I’ve either thought, heard or read during the lead up to the referendum:

Thought: Boris Johnson – great as a guest presenter on Have I Got News For You, not great as a Prime Minister (also, as commented by a friend, how can you trust a man who can’t even control his hair to control the country?)

Heard: Various stories of people who want to retire to Spain but are voting out (WHAT????) Or even people who have second/holiday homes in Spain but also intend to vote out “because Spain needs our income for their economy so they’ll be kind to us”. Good luck with that.

Read: “Not everyone who votes out is racist, but everyone who is racist will vote out.” I’m alarmed by how many people are using immigration as their sole reason for voting out. All immigrants seem to be put into the same category, when of course there are massive differences. Leaving the EU won’t stop illegal immigration because, by it’s very nature, people don’t need permission to do it. Also, economic migrancy is different to fleeing-your-home-country-due-to-war migrancy. And many migrants who come here are non-EU members anyway (e.g Syria). There seems to be an opinion that we’ll leave the EU and there’ll be no more “bloody foreigners” coming in. Ridiculous. Also, why is it that people who come to the UK are immigrants, but when British people move abroad they’re ex-pats?

Thought: Many people who want to “Take Back Control” (and if you watched the BBC debate with Boris Johnson and Gisela Stuart on Tuesday night you’ll fully understand why that statement grates on me – it was uttered every other bloody sentence) actually dislike the Tory government. So by voting out they’re relinquishing their secondary support network to stop the Tories doing exactly what they want in the country, as the Tories will have sole control. There’ll be no European intervention around maximum hours and human rights, for example.

FACT: If we leave, the EU member states are under no obligation to negotiate favourable trade deals with the UK. There seems to be this arrogant notion that Europe needs to trade with us and will be fair. Really? Put it this way, If someone told me they no longer wanted to be my friend, but they’d come on a night out with me when they wanted to, I’d tell them to bog off. Europe is more likely to make an example of us by making life difficult in order to discourage other member states from leaving. The company I work for does a lot of business in Europe. In contrast, when we ship to non-EU member country Norway, we pay 25% duty. Multiply that by 27 other EU member states and that becomes a big problem to UK businesses who currently have a large European market. And that’s assuming that they don’t impose even higher duties and trade restrictions.

In truth, anyone who enjoys holidays and travel, works for a company who trades in Europe or enjoys the current low mortgage rates from the Bank of England would be a hypocrite to vote out, because you’re making life more difficult for yourself. There is no evidence to prove that leaving the EU is good for Britain. Our Prime Minister thinks we should stay, leading Captains of Industry think we should stay, and the President of America; arguably the most powerful man in the world, thinks we should stay. Pretty compelling.

More to the point, Nigel Farage and Donald Trump think we should leave. That in itself is all the evidence I need.

On that note, I’m off to collect my holiday Euros, which I bought in advance for fear that the unthinkable happens and the exchange rate goes tits!

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

Days out: The Rolling Stones, Exhibitionism

Part of the husband’s birthday present from me was tickets to go and see the Rolling Stones exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery in London. I say “tickets”, it was actually one ticket, because the other one was for me! Buying tickets as a gift generally means that I get to benefit too (unless it’s something hideous that I have no interest in, and then he can have the pair and take a third person of his choosing).

It would be unfair of me to class myself as a fan of the Stones. In fact I always maintained that I didn’t really “get” them. I didn’t grow up with their music and a lot of it seems fairly uncomplicated compared to stuff that I listen to. But when they announced a gig in Hyde Park 3 years ago, and a lot of my friends wanted to go, I was definitely up for it. Partially because of good old FOMO (which I’ve posted about before), partially because it could have been a piece of history (I mean, they are getting on a bit), partially because I was curious, and mainly because I fancied a day out with my friends.

In truth, it’s right up there with one of the best days I’ve ever had, EVER. It was so much fun, the weather was great, the setup was great, everyone was happy and smiling and The Stones were amazing. I really understood the hype that day. The atmosphere was electric, they sang all the hits and seeing them live definitely made me look at them in a different way.

Anyway, back to the exhibition. The entire Saatchi Gallery is devoted to it from April until October this year, which in itself is no small achievement as the Gallery spans multiple floors and usually houses multiple exhibitions at once. Entry is timed so you have to book your ticket for a specific day and time slot, which are spaced 30 minutes apart. Once inside it becomes apparent why this is done, because you’re taken on a journey through various gallery spaces with various media delivery, so it’s obviously a way of keeping numbers controlled and ensuring everyone gets a fair crack at seeing everything.

Going on a Saturday at 11.30am I expected it to be really busy, but we arrived pretty much on the dot (thanks to a delayed Virgin train) and walked straight in. It’s incredibly well done, starting right from the early beginnings of the band, through the 60s and right up to present day. There’s such a varied amount of information – memorabilia, original instruments, hand written song lyrics, artwork from across the decades; film, music and costumes.

Oh, and of course the obligatory giftshop, where you can buy an umbrella for a snip at just under £300 – perfect for these rainy days we’re having at the mo.

Unfortunately no photographs are allowed inside, but I did snap these sculptures out in Sloane Square.

The exhibition takes around 90 minutes to get around (I mean it could take longer, if you pored over every artefact, but that’s how long it took us and we felt happy that we’d seen everything).

Have you been? Would you like to? Are you a fan of the Rolling Stones?

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

The Happiness Tag

Now that my head has stopped rebelling against happiness (so dramatic!) I thought it was time for something lighthearted to lift the mood. That’s not to ignore the terrible stuff that has happened since (RIP Jo Cox) but sometimes humour is needed in the depths of despair.

On that note, I  was tagged by the lovely Dannii Jane at A Beautiful Thing to talk about things that make me happy. So here we go!


The rules for this tag are simple. List 5 things that make you happy, 5 songs that make you happy and then nominate 5 bloggers to complete this tag.

5 things that make me happy

  • Sunshine. Instantly lifts my mood and makes me a nicer, happier person (and easier to live with too!)
  • A really good meal. That sense of yummy enjoyment when food is speaking to your very soul.
  • Holidays. Planning them, but more so going on them! Seeing stuff, visiting places, taking photos, lying on a beach – I love everything about getaways.
  • My balcony in summer. I love planning colour schemes and potting new plants, watching them grow.
  • Singing along to powerful songs – the likes of Mariah and Whitney – trying for (and missing!) the high notes and doing the whole fist grab warbly diva thing!

5 songs that make me happy

  • Chris Isaak – Wicked Game

This song reminds me of my husband, we used to listen to it loads when we first got together and it reminds me of that time.

  • Motley Crue – Smokin in the Boys Room

This was always the first song I put on the jukebox in the many nights we spent in the Rainbow Bar & Grill in West Hollywood, LA. It’s so fun!

    • Temper Trap – Sweet Disposition

I loved this song from the first time I heard it. When we were at the Rolling Stones Hyde Park gig a few years ago I was running round trying to find some friends who’d travelled separately (Hi Cookie and Sadie!) We kept missing each others calls and texts and struggled to get in touch due to poor signal and then I found them when this song was playing. I will always always remember it for that.

  • Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince – Summertime

The ultimate summer song and one that never fails to make me stop what I’m doing, smile, dance and singalong. I truly believe it’s the best summer song ever! You know I’m right!

  • Finally, a very unseasonal one! Mariah Carey – All I Want for Christmas is You

I can’t listen to this without singing. I sing it so badly and I don’t even care, that’s part of the fun! It’s the ultimate Christmas song that I also do a weird hybrid pirouette dance when I hear it at home to make the husband laugh. For that reason he plays it on purpose when I’m doing other stuff, because he knows I’ll drop everything and come and dance in the lounge!

I’m actually not going to nominate anyone specific because I don’t want to put anyone on the spot, but if you’re reading this and it sounds fun then please get involved! And don’t forget to leave me a note in the comments with a link to your post so I can check out your answers.

Happy Friday and thanks, as always, for reading! x

Back to reality…

…except not.

The last week has been eventful in many ways. Download was muddy (oh so muddy), drunken (oh so drunken) and muddy again (did I mention the mud?)

I got overly drunk, which to some seems funny but, in retrospect, I’m pretty pissed about because:

a) I should know better

b) I’m too old

c) I missed out on stuff I would have liked to see

Still, it seemed like a good idea at the time, and I haven’t hurt or upset anyone (quite the opposite, I’ve been a source of comedy it seems) plus how else was I supposed to deal with the mud? (I know, I mentioned that).

Reality has taken it’s time to join forces with me ever since, and I’m not sure we’ve quite connected yet.. The news of the Orlando shootings filtered through but seemed so very far away until the bands had finished and Monday’s hangover kicked in, and then the inevitable social media skim to see what we’d missed really hit home. I was especially angered by the Sky News reporters who refused to acknowledge a blatantly homophobic attack for what it was. Good for Owen Jones on walking out. I’d have lost my rag way before that.

The drive home, which should have taken an hour, took 2 and a half, due to someone who’d climbed up on a motorway gantry sign and been in situ for 18 hours. The worry was obviously for his mental health, but I’ve seen no conclusion as to why he was up there either way.

A bag of muddy clothes proved too much for my washing machine which then stubbornly jammed up to cause me even more headaches. Big thanks to my very understanding manager who granted me a last minute extra day off which I used to sleep in until I could face my domestic disaster (which now seems to be resolved, fingers crossed).

In truth my head is still not fully connected; the cataclysmic weather and humidity is playing havoc with my sleep and I feel somewhere quite detached between the muddy fields of Donington versus the expected nirvana of sun and all the bands; the disappointment of spending a lot and not seeing enough; the rabid disbelief of death and politics (seriously, between idiotic referendum speak and the very real threat of Donald Trump I worry for the future of the world) and my ongoing headache which may or not be a mix of stressed hangover with bad weather head pressure and cumulative three day lack of sleep. It’s not a hugely pleasant place to be, but is a very real result of my own excesses (combined with those awful awful real life events that we all seem so powerful to prevent).

On that note I’m feeling rather cross with myself and the dullness of this post, so I’m signing off with the promise of lighter heartedness to come!

Sweet dreams people, and thanks as always for reading! x



Days out: Black Country Living Museum

It was my Mother-in-Law’s birthday last Sunday so I suggested a trip to the Black Country Museum. M-i-L is in her 70s so has memories of some of the things there and, from a selfish point of view, I haven’t been for years and really fancied it!

The museum recreates life from the 1900s through to around the 1950s in the “Black Country”, which is the part of the West Midlands in the UK that was dominated by heavy industry during the industrial revolution and became known such because of the black layers of soot and coal dust which settled over the area. Legend has it that Queen Victoria drove through and lowered the window blinds on her carriage so not to have to look at the grimy landscape. Despite all that, people from the Black Country are known as “salt of the earth” – hard working, straight talking, down to earth people with no airs and graces.

I’m originally a Black Country girl, born in West Bromwich, although now I live in South Birmingham and have done for the past 10 years.

The museum has a range of “living” exhibits; houses reclaimed from demolition or clearance that have been painstakingly rebuilt brick by brick within their grounds; a working mine to demonstrate the conditions of miners during the industrial revolution, chainmakers, old cars, a running tram, an old fashioned fairground, chemist, bakery, sweet shop and general stores. Many of the buildings are manned by volunteers in period dress who will chat and answer questions and show the history of the time. Two of the main attractions are the pub (The Bottle & Glass) which serves traditional ales and the fish and chip shop which serves traditional fish and chips cooked in beef dripping and served in paper. I can confirm that they are very very good indeed!

There’s also an 1800s school where visitors can partake in “lessons”, a canal boat trip which takes visitors through the canal tunnels and into open caverns which were mined in years gone by, and horses being led along the street!

I think it’s so important for places like this to exist, and I do wonder what the future of them will be when the generation of people that remember some of the details first hand are no longer around. Considering a lot of kids these days don’t even remember time before mobile phones, I can imagine this is quite mindblowing for the younger generation!

Here are some pictures from the day.

The museum is great value at £16.95 for an adult ticket (or £15.95 if booked online in advance) and the ticket is also valid for a whole year, so you can return as many times as you like, which is ideal if you live not too far away, like me.

Have you ever been to the Black Country Museum? Let me know!

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

Anger management and Pretty Woman

Remember the scene in Pretty Woman where Vivian and Edward are in the bath, and he’s talking about being angry?

“I was very angry with my Father. It took $10,000 in therapy for me to say that, I do it very well, don’t I? I’ll say it again. Hello, my name is Mr Lewis and I’m very angry with my father”

Pretty Woman very angry

It doesn’t take therapy or thousands of dollars or even having a bath with Julia Roberts for me to realise I’m an angry person. I go through phases, and sometimes it’s completely irrational, but there you have it!

Some things that have made me angry recently:

  • The sentencing in the high profile US rape case (you can read yesterday’s post about it ICYMI). As more details come to light, including a defence letter written by Turner’s friend who claims it wasn’t rape, it was just alcohol and that the judge shouldn’t be so politically correct, the more angry I get.
  • Idiot drivers (to be fair this happens most days, I have a 30 mile motorway commute to work and the inability of some people to drive like a sensible human being astounds me regularly)
  • Rude drivers (seriously, you drive badly and then have the cheek to flick me the bird?)
  • Stupid decisions made by people who should know better
  • My appearance, more specifically why have I allowed myself to gain more weight than I would like but yet I still can’t stop eating (mmm, food)
  • The Stradivarius website for not making it clear how to return an order
  • Reports of restaurants and businesses still turning away Guide Dog owners from their premises (I work in the sight loss industry and it’s amazing and astonishing how many people still flout the law)
  • My arrogant downstairs neighbours and their annoying offspring who seem insistent on spoiling my peace and quiet
  • The people who think it was ok to break into my friends car and steal his possessions that he worked hard for
  • Life in general. Yes, sometimes I’m just angry with life!

Back to Pretty Woman, which most definitely does not make me angry. It’s my favourite film of all time, I can pretty much speak all of the dialogue when I’m watching it (which is a real treat for whoever’s with me at the time, obvs). Not so long back I posted a pic from the polo match scene on Instagram and my friend Ellen and I (Hi Ellen!) had a “quote off”. There was not one phrase or saying that Ellen posted that I didn’t immediately recognise and could place within the film. It’s an achievement I’m strangely proud of.

It’s a bit of a funny film really, when you look at it overall, because although it’s a romantic fairytale, let’s not forget that Vivien is a lady of the night and Edward pays her for sex. So, at it’s core, it’s a cheap tale of a rich man exploiting a young girl for sex.

But it’s so great!

I recently read an article on alternative film endings; details of what the director planned originally. The Pretty Woman one broke my heart to even think about! Can you even imagine?!

The screenwriter J.F. Lawton revealed that the original ending was “completely different”. Firstly, they don’t end up together; even worse Edward drags Vivian from his car, throwing her onto Hollywood Boulevard, where he first picked her up. He then chucks money at her, saying: “You’ll regret it tomorrow if you don’t take it. You’ll regret it the minute I drive away.” Lawson added: “The film ends with Kit [Vivian’s prostitute friend] and Vivian on a bus bound for Disneyland… with Kit anticipating a fun day financed by Vivian’s week with Edward, as Vivian stares out emptily ahead.”

You can read the rest of the alternative endings on the Glamour Magazine website.

Thanks, as always, for reading!

A shocking miscarriage of “justice” against women

There are so many things wrong with the story that I’m posting about today that I can’t even fully articulate how I feel about it.


In case you haven’t seen it or don’t have time to read it, let me give you a précis.

A student went to a party, got very drunk (by her own admission) and then woke up in hospital having been sexually assaulted by a student behind a rubbish bin. She had no recollection of the assault, or the perpetrator, but luckily two passers by had seen the attack and dragged him off, keeping him pinned to the floor until the police arrived.

So far, so standard, right? I mean that not all flippantly. But unfortunately this is not an unusual story. Too many males of the species seem to think that a drunk woman is fair game for them to treat as they please. Thank god for the passers by, who not only reported it, but actually got physically involved to ensure the attacker was caught.

Here’s where the story gets nasty, and the victim of the attack gets assaulted all over again. Despite an overwhelming 100% guilty verdict by the jury, the attacker was sentenced to just 6 months in prison. To put that into context, the maximum sentence the judge could have passed for the crimes he was found guilty of was 14 years.

Miscarriage of justice

The reasoning the judge has given for his leniency is that this was the attacker’s first crime, and that a lengthy incarceration would have a sever impact on him.

Yes, that’s right, the judge is considering the feelings of the attacker over the victim.

At this point it’s probably worth noting that the attacker is a white male, a privately educated student with a promising swimming career ahead of him. He hopes to become an Olympian.

It’s also worth noting that the judge is an ex student of the same university.

I don’t necessarily believe white privilege is a thing, and I certainly believe it’s bandied about recklessly and inappropriately by those wishing to excuse their own behaviour, but in this case it seems a worthy explanation. If this was a black guy with previous convictions from the wrong side of the tracks, I have no doubt that the sentence would have been more severe. But the crime would have been the same. The effect on the victim would have been the same.

Incidentally, the victim has done everything she can not to be a victim. She stood up in court and faced the scumbag who tried to take away her dignity and privacy that night and she read a 7000 word statement detailing what she has been through and how it has made her feel. That statement has been released publicly and you can read it here. I implore you to do so. It’s lengthy and at times hard going, but it’s honesty and rawness should be read my men and women alike. A sexual assault isn’t just something a woman can get over, whether justice is served or not. It will remain with her, in one form or another, forever. It will shape her future, regardless of how she tries to not let it.

What we are seeing here is another example of the feelings and rights of women not being taken seriously. Instead, the attacker – who’s name is Brock Allen Turner – has the law on his side, despite he fact that he broke it. The judge said he doesn’t believe Turner is a future risk. Really? Because giving him the message that he can rape a woman with little recourse for his actions certainly raises a green flag for him to believe that his behaviour wasn’t “all that bad”. Further not helped by his deluded and arrogant father, who asked the judge not to throw away his son’s future on the basis of “20 minutes of action” during his 20 years of life. I kid you not. “20 minutes of action”. If that’s not a living breathing misogynistic pig then I don’t know what is. He points out that his son, who likes to cook, hardly eats anymore, and will never be his previous happy go lucky self. Really? That’s a defence?

He also believes his son can play a powerful role in spreading the message about excessive drinking and promiscuity.

Let’s be clear here. There was no promiscuity. This was a predatory and non consensual attack. Let’s also stop any suggestion that the victim “deserved it” because she has been drinking. She did not invite this attack. She did not want or choose to be violated. She shouldn’t have to apologise for being drunk. She shouldn’t have to apologise for anything.

There’s a petition in place to recall the Judge on account of his appallingly bad sentencing and inability to understand the severity of not only the case, but his leniency.

Please sign.
Thanks, as always, for reading. x

My first…part 4!

Another first of the month – wow! And it’s a pretty grotty one here; rain and cloud and general gloom. Welcome to Flaming June!

What June does mean is Download festival! Which is something I never thought I’d hear myself say, even as recently as 3 years ago, but here I am preparing for my 3rd one in a row and feeling very excited.

The decision to go to Download was a flippant drunken one. You see, I’m not the festival type. I don’t do rain and I don’t do camping and I don’t do wellies. I don’t do big crowds and I don’t do stinky toilets and I find a lot of rock music too heavy or shouty.

What the hell was I thinking of even suggesting it?

Honestly, I don’t know! It seemed like a really nice thing to do for the husband after a few glasses of wine (he’s a lifelong rock fan and used to go to Donnington when it was Monsters of Rock). By the following morning I was already half full of regret but it was too late; the tickets and accommodation were booked.

As I said, I don’t do camping, so it was staying in a guesthouse or nothing! I like home comforts, a dry bed and a bathroom. I can’t possibly imagine how anyone can enjoy themselves if they’ve had a quick wipe down with a wetwipe and their clothes are swimming in mud. But to each their own!

Oh, and we booked VIP guest passes in additional to the standard tickets, so we could go in and out of the guest area which has better toilets, less queues, bars, places to sit, undercover areas and additional entertainment, At £100+, on top of the £160 ticket, it’s pretty expensive, but £35 a day just for a more hygienic loo break is worth it!

So the car was packed full of clothes for every eventuality and we had plans to meet up with friends who went every year. We got ourselves settled, got ready, and called a cab to the festival site.

And it was AMAZING! The buzz collecting our wristbands and walking into the main festival arena was electric. There were hundreds of people, some dressed up, some dressed down, some already drunk. Everyone excited and up for having a good time. The sun shone all weekend meaning we could sit on the grass and chill out with drinks when there were bands that didn’t interest us that much. The food was really good; with food trucks and cuisines from all around the world. We went on the fairground and I screamed my head off. We drank Sambuca shots from a converted VW Campervan. We sang along at the top of our voices to Aerosmith and swooned over Steven Tyler.

I loved every minute.

This is my favourite picture of the weekend.

Download 2014 me and my husband

In fact it’s one of my favourite pictures EVER! It was taken by an ex work colleague of the husband’s, who is now doing very well as a photographer. I love the reflection of the circus tent in hubby’s sunglasses. It never fails to make me smile and fade off into hazy memories of an amazing weekend.

Read about last year’s wet and muddy Download here!

Are you a festival go-er? I’d love to hear from you!

Thanks, as always, for reading! x