A celebration of love past, present and future

On Sunday, the husband and I were invited to a renewal of vows ceremony. Some friends have been married for 20 years, and they wanted to celebrate and cement their commitment to each other. They’ve been together for 25 years and have two children.

I think this is such a lovely idea. 20 years is a long time to be with a person, especially from a relatively young age. People change and grow and develop – sometimes in different directions. Marriage isn’t just about a fancy wedding day and a honeymoon. And it isn’t always easy, either. A good strong marriage faces challenges head on. A husband and wife must work together to build and keep a strong marriage; especially when pesky kids are involved!

So many people seem to bail out these days; divorces are commonplace within 5 years or even less. I think it’s partially to do with the “want it all” society we live in. If something isn’t meeting expectations then it’s easy to get rid of it and try something else.

It was an absolute joy to see Chris and Charlotte commit to each other all over again; to see the love in their eyes and hear the emotion in their voices as they spoke of what they mean to each other.

I might have had a little cry!

Here are some pics.

Lovely, right? I love love!

Thanks, as always, for reading, x

Well done to the Team GB Olympians!

So the Olympics is over and Team GB are back on home soil.

Team GB arrive back in UK

What a fantastic games for all of them – medal winners or not. To have such discipline, strength of character and determination to reach a level where you represent your country over and above anyone else in the same sport is mind blowing.

Of course the fact that we came second in the medals table is pretty special; not least when you compare the number of people living in Britain compared to the US who stormed ahead. With a smaller pot to pick from, we did really well for an ickle old island.

I don’t like sport, mainly because I’m no good at it. I have no natural aptitude. I don’t believe that it’s the taking part that counts, and I don’t believe that practise makes perfect – not in my case. In my primary school years (up to age 11) I always got involved, but that was things like the skipping race (which I always won easily…can we just take a moment to appreciate that?) When I hit senior school sports day was made up of real events, like hurdles and shotput. I excitedly put myself forward for the discus, as I did pretty ok in PE lessons. On the day I threw it a paltry 8 or 9 metres, and was severely trounced by the other competitors from other classes. That was my last foray into sport. I used to get my Mom to write me a note so I didn’t have to go to the lessons where sports day teams were being chosen; rendering myself unpickable by way of my absence.

But of course success comes not just from talent. It comes from the commitment to honing that talent, and making the life changes necessary for it to shine. Strict diets, strict training and strict routines are all important. Sacrifices have to be made. It takes a special kind of person to stick it out in order to become world class.

I didn’t watch huge amounts of Olympic coverage, but some of the highlights, for me:

  • The Egyptian women’s volleyball team, playing in body covering clothes since a rule change that enables them to participate without shaming their religion
  • The British 10 metre synchronised diving gold medal for Jack Laugher and Chris Mears
  • The men’s and women’s relay team acknowledging the difference that Lottery funding makes to them
  • That Usain Bolt photo

Usain Bolt olympic photo

  • The fact that if super cycling couple Laura Trott and Jason Kenny had been their own independent country, they would have been 13th in the medal table. That’s out of 207 countries participating!
  • Russian Ilya Zakharov’s absolute shambles of a dive in the male 10 metre diving final, and his doggy style entry into the pool (yes I know I’m a mean person, but it was hilarious!)

Ilya Zakharov diving fail

And some lowlights:

  • The shameful sexism in the press around female presenters outfits and the input of winning female athletes male partners
  • The appalling attitudes of some Twitter users in negatively judging athletes’ bodies
  • Poor press coverage of the Tom Daly and Dan Goodfellow bronze medal synchronised diving win – one UK newspaper only showed a picture of Tom Daly, while the another referred to the winners as “Tom Daly and his synchronised diving partner”
  • Greg Rutherford’s girlfriend receiving shocking sexual violence threats via social media because he “only” won a bronze in the long jump
  • Ryan Lochte thinking he could get away with false robbery accusations to cover up his own inexcusable behaviour.

Nice touch by British Airways painting a gold nose on the aircraft that flew the team home! However, on Absolute Radio yesterday they said that the ratio of glasses of champagne to team members on the plane was only just over one to one. Miserable sods! After 4 years of training I’d at least expect to get sizzled on the way home!

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

Five things I love about Instagram, on World Photo Day

I’m always late to the party with social media. I remember declaring that I didn’t “get” Facebook or see the point of it, long after many of my friends already had accounts.

Similarly, I only got an instagram account just over a year ago.

Little did I expect to love it so much!

Here are five things that make it one of my fave social media platforms.

  • It’s so pretty! Such vibrant colours; sometimes it’s like looking into a world of make believe.

Images: sprinklesandwiches and catoinamsterdam

  • It gives me wanderlust. All these places in the world that I might not even have considered before.


Image: The_naughtyfortydiaries

  • Food porn. If I can’t be eating great food then the next best thing is looking at it.


Image: thebodycoach

  • It satisfies my nosy streak. Like taking an illicit peak through the curtains into someone’s everyday life, except without the fear of police action or a restraining order.


Image: archer.t.j

  • It’s my very own photo timeline that I can look back on and remember things, memories or experiences, but not in a traditional way

My instagram

Image: moi!

What are your favourite things about instagram?

Oh, and leave me your links so I can follow you.

(and feel free to follow me – thisandtatt

Thanks, as always, for reading. x




If cancer had a voice…

…it would sound like Vincent Price in the Michael Jackson Thriller song. Creepy and eerie and taunting.

If cancer had a face it would be twisted and ugly and distorted.

If cancer had a conscience it wouldn’t take over innocent people’s bodies and minds. It wouldn’t cause pain and fear.


(image from Medical News Today)

But it doesn’t. Instead it’s stealth like in it’s progression; silently attacking, spreading, taking over.

Last time I posted about my Dad’s illness I was full of admiration for how he’d continued to live a full life; travelling and socialising and eating out.

Since then his condition has deteriorated fairly rapidly. And now we’re faced with the finality of his last few weeks, as confirmed by a palliative care consultant.

Now talk of hospice admission, sticks for support and a wheelchair is our horrifying reality. Life changing days ahead where things will never be the same again.

I’m full of sadness. Fear. Hatred. Upset. Anger. So many destructive emotions as we try to come to terms with a life without him in it. We’ve known the time would come. It’s played on our minds, silently taunting, for over 2 years now. But all of a sudden it’s really real. There in front of you. Palpable loss. It hurts so much.

Hold your family tight, people. Spend fun filled days and joyous evenings together. Hug each other. Don’t keep secrets. Say things that need to be said. Show you care.

You don’t know how long you have left.

Thanks, as always, for reading.x


Channel 4’s Naked Attraction

Last night I watched an episode of Naked Attraction; the new dating show on Channel 4 where people choose a date purely on physical attributes.

For anyone outside of the UK, or if you haven’t seen it, a chooser stands in the studio faced with 6 coloured boxes, each containing a completely naked person. The shutter on the box lifts up in stages, revealing first the person’s bottom half, then mid section, then head. At each stage, the chooser must eliminate one naked person and give their reasons.

Naked Attraction Channel 4

Let me start by saying I’m not a prude in anyway. I don’t find nakedness offensive or embarrassing, I don’t turn over the TV when a sex scene is on and I’ve sunbathed on a nudist beach (tip, it’s not fun when things start to burn). But I just find this programme completely unnecessary and gratuitous.

Sure, it’s delivered in a “this is a social experiment and aren’t we all great for pushing the boundaries and being cool with nakedness” manner. They throw in scientific facts, like what it might mean if someone has a toe fetish (bleugh). But, in truth, it’s just a headline grabbing cheap titivation show. And I can’t imagine for one minute why anyone would choose to go on it!

As I said, nakedness is fine. It’s how we all come into the world. But in the days of catch up TV, and the internet, why would the average Joe want their bits immortalised forever more? Think it’s bad when prospective employers search Facebook profiles and Google? Imagine knowing your new boss has probably seen your short and curlies before they’ve even interviewed you?

I just don’t like how purely appearance based this show is. I mean, we’re all guilty of judging people on looks. You fancy someone or you don’t. But this is going one step further. This is looking at men and rejecting them because of a hint of ginger pubic hair. This is eliminating women because their boobs aren’t quite big enough.

A guy on yesterday’s programme was looking at the women’s bits closely and making comments about their neatness. “That one’s all very tightly packed” was one observation. I had a pang of “mine doesn’t look like that!” And if I’m thinking that, then how many other (younger and more impressionable) people are doubting themselves too?

The female chooser, an attractive women with two children (whhhhhyyyy do that to your kids?) stated “it’s like Christmas – all these men in boxes. I’ve never been faced with 6 penises before”. I’m sorry but peens just aren’t attractive. They’re not pretty. It’s what they stand for (oo-er) that’s the good bit. But when they’re just there, well, they’re just there!

Most of the contestants, both men and women had no pubic hair. I know that’s a preference of many people, but I don’t think the percentage on the show is representative of real life. One woman with a Brazilian was judged as trying to show her maturity by still having some hair. Realllly? Who knew?! (heavy doses of sarcasm). My point there, is this bringing unrealistic expectations to young people growing up? After all, this show is the kind of voyeuristic crap kids will be watching and then switching over the minute their parents walk in. Is it teaching people that what’s underneath your clothes is more important than what’s in your head or heart?

Negative comments on floppy foreskins, big nipples and hairy chests – all of which are completely natural – don’t exactly promote body confidence in someone who might have one (or all!) of these attributes!

Maybe I’m being too deep (ahem). Maybe it’s good that nudity is being normalised? I just think there are better ways of doing it than inviting strangers to ogle each other.

The one redeeming feature is presenter Anna Richardson, who I’ve always loved on TV. She’s smart, she’s spunky, she’s attractive and funny. And, as she rightly pointed out, as someone who’s swung both ways who better to stand in a room full of naked johnsons (a willy word I hadn’t heard before!) and vaginas!

You can’t really argue with that!

Have you seen it? What do you think? Am I being a boring old maid??!!

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

Bodies change, and we need to get over it!

Coming back from a summer holiday (did I mention that?!); seeing people wearing less clothes than we’re used to on a day to day basis, you kind of realise even more so that people come in all shapes and sizes.

Bodies change...and that's ok

I have to admit that, before I went away, I was feeling pretty annoyed with myself for not losing any weight and not looking the way I wanted to in a bikini. I still felt that way when I arrived and even more so by the time I got home (a week of food, booze and lethargy takes it’s toll on a girl!)

But then, when I rationalise it, it’s pretty daft to:

a) restrict myself and enjoy life less for the weeks or months leading up to a holiday, just to fit a beauty ideal

b) think that other people are looking at me and judging me

The truth is, my body looks how it does because of the life I lead. I enjoy life. I enjoy food. I enjoy drinking. I don’t enjoy exercise!

When I was in my late teens and early 20s I was blessed with a high metabolism. I didn’t gain weight, whatever I ate or drank. I looked great in a bikini!

Now I’m in my late 30s (bleugh!) my metabolism has slowed down and I look less great in a bikini!

But you know what? I’m happier now than I ever was when I was younger. Not physically – I’d rather look the way I did then, if possible! But mentally and emotionally I’m content. And that’s way more important than a change in my body weight. It’s to do with mental strength, life experiences and feeling settled.

In my 20s I was single, riddled with insecurities, coming to terms with mental health issues and wondering where my life was going. Now I’m happily married which comes with the addition of eating out with my husband, takeaways with my husband, drinks with my husband (sense a theme?!) I have more financial security which affords me more holidays (which means more eating and drinking!) I know my own limitations and try not to beat myself up over things. I’ve also experienced life stuff like redundancy and my Dad’s illness which sometimes makes me think “fuck it, life’s too short not to indulge in the good stuff”.

I haven’t quite bounced back from the holiday mind set of eat, drink and be merry. I’ve already made excuses for not going to the gym (the weather’s nice; bad drive home from work; I just don’t want to!). So it’s no wonder the pounds aren’t retreating!

We’re conditioned to think that a beautiful body looks a certain way. Magazines perpetuate the myth that larger women or older women shouldn’t wear bikinis. Yet, in Greece, I saw older ladies, bigger ladies and everything in between wearing a bikini with pride. And why shouldn’t they? It’s hot, you need less clothes and comfort is important. I bloody hate swimsuits; they’re icky and sticky and you can’t tan your tum. If someone doesn’t like how you look in beach wear, they can bloody well look the other way.

I’m as bad as anyone for judging people. I think that’s just the way we’re conditioned. But I’m trying to change that about myself. Instead of looking at an overweight person and thinking they shouldn’t be wearing something, I’m teaching myself to squash that thought and replace it with “good for them”. Because if they’re ok with it then it really isn’t anyone else’s business.

I think I’ve reached the end of my meandering now. I’m not even sure there is an end! And I know I’m a hypocrite, because I’m still sitting here thinking I’d like to shrink my tummy. But I do know that, as I get older, trying to look after my body for strength and longevity becomes as important as weight loss. I want to look and feel more healthy.

But, of course, looking great in a bikini would be a bonus!

I’d love to hear your thoughts; hit me up in the comments.

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

My first…best friend

This month is my Dad’s sister’s birthday. My Dad’s sister, as in my auntie. Unusually, she’s only two years older than me. We spent a lot of time together growing up, so she was my first best friend.

My Mom and Dad were young when I was born, only very early 20s, and my Nan and Grandad on both sides were always around to help them out. Because of the closeness in age between me and my auntie, I used to stay over lots. We played with the same toys, had the same Christmas presents and even dressed the same! My Nan used to knit us matching cardigans and my Mom would make us matching skirts. We looked like sisters, sometimes even like twins!

Me and my auntie

I’m on the right – spot the matching nurse outfits!

When we were little she used to take advantage of her status sometimes, by making me call her Auntie if she was being bossy. We used to argue, as close family does. We were laughing only last week about the time she punched me on the nose and gave me a nosebleed! I would stay at her house for days and weeks on end during the school holidays. We used to go out on our bikes and make dens in the garden using deckchairs and my Nan’s old net curtains. We’d put on dancing and singing shows for my Nan and Grandad on Saturday nights. My first holiday was with her, in Ibiza when I was 6 (read about it here).

When I was 8 and she was 10, my Grandad died. He was only in his 50s and had a massive heart attack. She was sleeping over at my house that night. It changed her life forever.

Losing a parent so young, so unfairly, could have made her into a bitter person. She could have gone off the rails. But she didn’t. She was a tower of strength to my Nan who, understandably, lost the plot at being widowed so suddenly. She was very quickly thrown into being an adult, helping around the house and being a support network. She never complained, even though I know life was really difficult for her.

As we got older our lives took different directions. I became something of a party girl while she settled down with her now husband. She has two amazing kids, an enviable outlook on life and positivity for days. She’s so incredibly helpful, going above and beyond to organise Christmas parties for the kids of her work colleagues and family get togethers. She’s strong willed and strong natured whilst being laid back and fun. She amazes me in her approach to life, her stoicism, her parenting and generally being a great human being

I don’t actually call her Auntie these days! But I’m proud that she is.

Love you Manda. x

Thanks, as always, for reading! x