Tag Archives: family

Does Kirstie Allsopp want to send women back to the dark ages?

kirstieI was so disappointed when I stumbled across this article by The Telegraph in which Kirstie Allsopp, of Location Location Location, had been interviewed on the topic of fertility and female careers. Allsopp is one of those women I always had time for because she seemed to have great values and a good head on her shoulders, but I can’t help but feel really let down and quite angry at her comments in the article.

The woman who fronts Location, Location, Location with Phil Spencer said that if she had a daughter, her advice would be: “Darling, do you know what? Don’t go to university. Start work straight after school, stay at home, save up your deposit – I’ll help you, let’s get you into a flat. And then we can find you a nice boyfriend and you can have a baby by the time you’re 27.”

Wow. For someone who considers herself a “passionate feminist”, she seems awfully concerned with our basic biological drives and reasons for existence. What about our rights as women and about all the hard work campaigners have put in over the years to fight on behalf of women for fairer treatment both in the workplace and surrounding the having of children and retuning to work? Fair enough, it isn’t a perfect system and there are a lot of faults and there is a hell of a lot more work to be done to ensure women are being given equal pay and opportunities. But at the same time, a lot of people have worked very hard to enable our society to have the choice – the choice of education and a career, the choice to create a life for ourselves before creating a new life that dominates our own existence. Does Kirstie realise that by pushing these ideas on a hypothetical daughter could leave her without the opportunity to make this choice for herself? I am truly grateful to have had this choice, because I have always wanted an education, to learn and to study in order to benefit my career. I want a job I can love and be passionate about and I deserve that, as does everyone, regardless of their gender.

Steven DepoloWe deserve the right to choose when we want to have children, fair enough our biological clock is ticking and physically we may find ourselves unable to have children if we wait, but does that mean we should turn our own lives upside down and rush into the huge responsibility of raising a family before we are ready? One look at Jeremy Kyle will show you several reasons why rushing into having children and families before we are mature enough to deal with the relationships and the outcomes is a dangerous thing for society. Look at how the children suffer when they parents are more obsessed with sleeping around, drinking and screaming at them than raising them. Then look at how this affects the next generation when they repeat the same model of behaviour. Before you know it, we have a society of layabouts with an attitude that everything should be handed to them and they shouldn’t have to work because they are raising a family. They rely on the state and we end up in huge debt. Sound familiar? (Yes, yes, I know not all young parents are like this, but one walk around my home town will show you a lot who are.)

“Women are being let down by the system. We should speak honestly and frankly about fertility and the fact it falls off a cliff when you’re 35. We should talk openly about university and whether going when you’re young, when we live so much longer, is really the way forward.

At the moment, women have 15 years to go to university, get their career on track, try and buy a home, and have a baby. That is a hell of a lot to ask someone. As a passionate feminist, I feel we have not been honest enough with women about this issue.”

Fair enough, she raises a valid point when she talks about our biology and the fact that there is limited time for women to be able to have a baby, and as I have discussed before it can be life changing and devastating for couples to realise they are out of time. But does that mean we should be rushing and neglecting ourselves in order to raise a family we are not ready for, with a partner who might not be suitable, in order to continue the human race? It just seems sad to me. I’m sure if I came to a point in my life where I had met the man of my dreams and wanted a family but was nearing 40 and suddenly found I could not have a baby of my own – I have no doubt that would be devastating. But, there are a huge range of options available, whether IVF, surrogacy or even adoption and I think, or I hope, that would pacify me and would be enough. But I certainly don’t believe for one second that ditching university and my career in order to have a baby at 18 would have been a useful solution. I would have resented the baby for holding me back and I would not have been happy.Gabi MenasheI’ll be honest, my maternal instincts are not that strong. I have no deep-seated desire for children at this moment in my life. I can appreciate cute babies and love to hold and play with them, but I also love giving them back to their parents. I’m not in any way ready for children at 24 and I’m not afraid to say it. I actually had a dream the other night that I found out I was pregnant right before going travelling and I was so upset, it ruined my life. I see life as something that should revolve around you and you alone at a young age – call me selfish if you want. I feel quite strongly that your teens and twenties are about learning about yourself, who you are, and developing that by experiencing as much as possible, learning as much as possible and growing as a person so that in turn you can help your children do the same. This is done by working hard, playing hard and achieving things to be proud of while asserting your own independence. I feel Kirstie’s comments hark back to an age where women had to rely on their partners for financial and emotional support when raising babies, now I know lots of women who manage all by themselves.

These days your career is something you need to work on from as young as possible. As my boyfriend is finding out now, messing up your exams when you are younger can leave you in a job you hate, education is great key that is handed to us on a plate when we are young but some choose not to take advantage of it. By passing these exams young and by putting the time into placements, work experience and a degree, you can really help yourself in the long-run (I’m not saying this is the only option, just using myself as an example). Those who go back to studying and working later on often find it much harder because you don’t learn as easily as you get older and after a long time away from study and work it can be a real shock to the system. So if we women are to forget everything we learnt at school by going off and having babies and raising them for the next twenty years before heading back to work – who is going to employ us? With no experience and no education – who is going to employ us over those with qualifications, experience and a great CV?tipstimes.com/pregnancy

“I don’t want the next generation of women to go through the heartache that my generation has. At the moment we are changing the natural order of things, with grandparents being much older and everyone squeezed in the middle. Don’t think ‘my youth should be longer’. Don’t go to university because it’s an ‘experience’. No, it’s where you’re supposed to learn something! Do it when you’re 50!”

I had hoped by the end of the article, might have a change of heart, but sadly it was not the case. Perhaps she is from a generation of women who put their careers first with many sacrificing families along the line. But I know so many strong, incredible women, my mum included, who had a great youth, trained and studied, had fun, fell in love later on and met a great man, who took time out to have children and went back to work as a nurse, but has now become a lecturer in healthcare. Say that’s not a success story, I dare you. For every case of heartache and sadness over not being able to have children, there are countless couples who have their own children, find another way and adopt or just live with it and still have a fantastic life. I refuse to go back to a time when having babies was the sole purpose of a woman’s body. I am here to learn, to experience and to live my own life before I create another.

I’m not saying that Kirstie’s ideas wouldn’t work for some people, but for many it would be holding them back and could create a country full of unhappy families and unfulfilled dreams which I think is far more dangerous than a couple of families who sadly cannot have children. Watch the discussion continue on BBC’s Newsnight.

How do you feel about Kirstie’s comments? Would you like to change your life around and focus first on family and then your career?

Why I HAVE to travel and why some people just don’t get it

seaEver since announcing my plans of jetting off next year, I’ve spoken to a lot of people, friends and family, who are all very excited for me. But on the flip-side, I’ve also heard from a few people who don’t seem to understand why I feel the need to jet off to the other side of the world when I have a good job, a long-term partner and friends and family all around me here. I’ll be honest, when these things were pointed out to me, I just gaped at these people and just replied, “You don’t understand.”

It’s become clear to me that there are two main types of people in this world – the adventurous and the cautious. I think that we all have elements of both in us, but at varying levels and it just depends on which way your own personal balance tips. I would never argue that one is better than the other because we need a healthy combination of both for society to survive – without the cautious we could all be dead, likewise without the adventurous, we might never have flown to the Moon. But, I do think that the two extremes find it very difficult to understand the life the other has chosen. For example, I have chosen to up sticks and go travelling alone, leaving everything behind me. Sure that could be seen as a big risk, I might not find a job when I return, I might no longer be in a relationship and I might have nowhere to live. BUT, I feel I would regret it so much more if I didn’t go. I know that there are many who would not understand why I want to do this because it is not something they would consider doing.

I understand because I know so many people who have done the complete opposite of me, the ones who started families and set up homes, got married and settled down instead of taking the university and work route that I followed. I really admire the people who have done this, mainly because I am impressed that they have felt so strongly that this is the path they wanted to follow and because they felt ready for all of this. At nearly 24, I certainly don’t feel ready for any of that, especially when it comes to raising children, but I am so impressed by those that do. This is what helps me to understand why they feel so surprised by my decision, because I know that I felt exactly the same when hearing about their plans. Neither is right or wrong, just different.402843_10151043139357617_1461972852_nSo why do I feel the need to travel? Here are my reasons:

  1. I want to see the world, to taste and experience everything out there. I want to learn and meet people and see things I never knew existed. I know I must satisfy this curiosity or I will always wonder.
  2. To escape. As my wonderful friend put it, like she, I just need to quit life for a bit and to take a break from it all. I’ve been constantly working and in education since I was five-years-old and I want to give my head a rest.
  3. I need space to figure out my next move, both career-wise and geographically.
  4. I will regret it for the rest of my life if I didn’t go.
  5. Who says that travelling won’t help my career and will lead me into a new path? It might mean I go into travel writing or even leave behind writing altogether if I am so inspired.
  6. I miss having time to read and write. Between my job, festival work and blogging, I have no real time to really get into reading a book like I used to at university and I miss it. I miss having no distractions.
  7. I want to get out of my home-town and experience something different. I want an excuse to leave that doesn’t mean moving away immediately.
  8. I need to leave my job – I feel I have progressed as much as possible in my current job and think that the only way to go further is to leave and start afresh elsewhere.
  9. I have been saving for a really long time, but never knew what for – now I want to have that rainy day where I splash out on the best experience of my life.
  10. I really, really want the chance to do something completely by myself. I have never really been alone, I have always been surrounded by friends, family and my boyfriend and this is my way of proving to myself that I can cope.
  11. That amazing job that is out there waiting for me will still be there a year from now, or another one will be in its place – the opportunity to go travelling might not be there.

Why do you feel you HAVE to travel the world? Or what is it that keeps you at home?


Turning back the clock – meet little Lucy and the rest of the family!

Mum, Laura, Me and Dad

Mum, Laura, Me and Dad

I found an old photo album over the weekend and the pictures were so cute that I just had to write a post dedicated to them – so many family memories of holidays, moments and of course all the obligatory fights with my sister. I have to say that the biggest thing these selection of pictures proves is that I was determined to be a princess judging by my wardrobe!

Me and Mum with baby Laura

Me and Mum with baby Laura

Me, baby Laura and Dad

Me, baby Laura and Dad

And here is the family on holiday, picture taken by myself as everyone chows down. Our family holidays were a big part of the year and we often would go on summer holidays and stay in villas with my grandparents when we were growing up. Seems like a lifetime ago now – and I guess it was really!

Nanny, Mum, Dad, Laura and Grandad on holiday

Nanny, Mum, Dad, Laura and Grandad on holiday

Laura, me and Nanny

Laura, me and Nanny

And here’s another one of me with my Nanny and sister. It seems like such a long time ago, now coming up to 10 years since she died.

Me, Dad and Laura

Me, Dad and Laura

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Me and Laura with Sammy the rabbit

Me and Laura building snowmen in the back garden

Me and Laura building snowmen in the back garden

Lots of funny memories of times with my sister – mainly the hilarious fights we used to have are what I remember now! Pretty legendary by any sibling standards! And a final picture of me with Sammy the rabbit – he was a little bugger who loved to nibble and bite, but despite all the wires in the house being sacrificed to him, he was part of the family!

Me with Sammy the rabbit

Me with Sammy the rabbit

There you are – a little slice of my childhood in pictures!

Some of my favourite pictures of 2013

These first few days of the new year have been spent thinking back over the past 12 months, over the amazing memories, over the mistakes that have been made by both myself and others, and of course, the hopes and dreams I had and achieved, or didn’t. Here are some of my favourite memories of 2013, captured, by myself, in a series of photographs:

House of Boobs visit King's Lynn

House of Boobs visit King’s Lynn

Still not entirely sure what the heck what was going on in this picture but we were all a bit tipsy and had been playing lots of games including a hula-hoop competition that my team won! The university girls all came to visit, and although they are not all in this picture, this one best sums up the chaos and fun of that weekend.

Me and the boys go to Jaguar Skills

Me and the boys go to Jaguar Skills

An epic, and very messy night, I still don’t remember much of what happened, but I know that I was with my boys and having an awesome time at Jaguar Skills and Matrix & Futurebound earlier in the year at the Waterfront in Norwich.

Glamping at Sedgeford

Glamping at Sedgeford

This picture might not have any faces in it, but it perfectly expresses what my weekend Glamping with the girls was all about – a freebie treat for my best friend’s birthday – it was a great blag and a fantastic weekend filled with barbecues, gossiping, wine and good fun. We drove all over eating ice creams, chilling in gorgeous coastal pubs, and fed the goats on site – it was so much fun and some well-deserved time with amazing friends.

Mr T - loving the sunshine

Mr T – loving the sunshine

My gorgeous little tortoise, Mr T, was loving the sunshine this summer and spent hours exploring our garden, testing the boundaries and generally making me laugh by pushing things over. We built him his own enclosure, which he loved, and he spent so much time out there, we even lost him in a few times when he wanted to sleep outside!

At Wyndstock in the summer with the boyfriend

At Wyndstock in the summer with the boyfriend

One of the best festivals/events I have ever been to – loved playing lawn games and croquet in the sunshine, eating cream teas at the fete, swing dancing and going to literary talks before watching fencing matches – such a variety and we all ended up dancing with our dirty bass faces in the woods until dawn – Amazing.

Hideout Festival

Hideout Festival

Partying from dawn until dusk with the ‘we stay out all night’ crew, meeting up with more amazing friends out there in Croatia and making lots of new party pals was an amazing experience that I will never forget. It was also the deal-breaker for certain other friends and I’m glad that it happened, although it may have broken a friendship up, it also forged many others that were far more worthy than this one. Not even half the people who should be are in this pictre, but this sums up the holiday – dancing to Vogue as the sun rose over Zcre Beach.

London Hen Do

London Hen Do

Definitely not the most attractive photo of the three of us, but we’re besties to the end and this was an amazing night celebrating my best friend, Rachel Auker’s engagement before her wedding a few weeks later. We headed to London to a posh hotel for cocktail making, a nice meal, spa session, night out and lots of fun. It was a fab trip and a great hen do – the perfect send off for my friend before her wedding! Especially when we ended up racing through Piccadilly Circus at 4am on a rickshaw!

Pig racing - just one of the many crazy moments at Secret Garden Party

Pig racing – just one of the many crazy moments at Secret Garden Party

Secret Garden Party was an incredible festival and an amazing weekend of fun and madness with the boyfriend – it was like Disneyland for adults and I loved it. Watching Bastille play in the sunshine was one of my favourite moments, and the fireworks after Faithless will always stay in my memory. So much happened at this festival, and so many amazing pictures were taken, but I just felt that this best expressed the randomness of the event. Can’t wait for next year!

Three best friends at the Wedding

Three best friends at the Wedding

Here I am with my beautiful best friends at Rach’s wedding, which was the most beautiful wedding ever, Leanne and I are bridesmaids. It really was the most perfect day for Rach & Vito, they really deserved it after waiting so long just to be together, and we all had so much fun. Such a wonderful day and it really was amazing to watch two people who mean so much to me tie the knot.

Boomtown Fair

Boomtown Fair

The most insane place I have ever been and with a great bunch of people – it was a crazy weekend and one I will never forget. I love this picture, it looks like a vintage photograph of a festival and this was one of my happiest days of the year so I am glad someone captured the moment. I will always remember this day and how amazing it was – the things I saw and did. So much fun and I can’t wait to go back this year.

Sister sister time at V Festival

Sister sister time at V Festival

My birthday present was tickets for me and my sister to go see Beyonce perform at V Festival – such a good present! We had a great day out at the festival and we managed to see loads of amazing acts including a special secret performance by Wretch 32!

Ireland for the Wedding

Ireland for the Wedding

An amazing long weekend away with the boyfriend and his family for a beautiful wedding with lots of delicious food, Irish music and plenty of booze. It was such a beautiful place and I was so glad we could get away just the two of us after being with so many others all summer at the festivals – some much needed couple time.

House of Boobs reunion

House of Boobs reunion

Me and my beautiful ex-housemates were reunited for another weekend of sleepovers, snuggles, food, Disney movies, drinking and dancing – it was a perfect weekend with my girls and gave me the fix I needed to make it through to the next reunion. Still miss my girlies so much though!

Zombies & Sub Focus

Zombies & Sub Focus

A bunch of us went on a Zombie fun run before heading to a Sub Focus gig in Norwich one weekend – it was brilliant! Stupid fun running around in the woods pretending to be zombies before heading to the union to dance the night away to Sub Focu (one of my fave DJs) and get smashed. Such a good night and a great chance for me to make up friends with a girl who I had earlier fallen out with.

Natural History Museum

Natural History Museum

Me and the boyfriend went on a little trip to London to the Natural History Museum and it was one of the best days out ever! We saw all kinds of animals, learnt loads of facts and just had so much fun walking around getting excited about everything like little kids.

Fatboy Slim

Fatboy Slim

Major Lazer

Major Lazer

Basement Jaxx

Basement Jaxx

My three best gigs of the year have to put altogether, both Major Lazer and Basement Jaxx were with the boyfriend and Basement Jaxx was my absolute best of the year – also my birthday present! Fatboy Slim was incredible and all the boys came along – such an epic night!!

Christmas with the family

Christmas with the family

The year was finished off with the perfect family Christmas – what more could a girl ask for?!

A perfect Christmas with the Ruthnums

Merry Christmas to all of my readers, I hope you had a wonderful day and spent it getting very merry with all your lovely families. I had the most wonderful Christmas to date thanks to my fantastic family and friends, I must apologize for the lack of posts on here this week, but I have just been so busy that it was impossible to find the time to sit and put any together!

I spent Christmas Eve rushing around like crazy trying to get all of my wrapping done and picking people up, dropping them off, helping with baking mince pies and trying to catch up with friends. Amazingly, I managed to get everything done and even found time to have dinner out with friends before joining them later at the pub for some festive drinks. It was lovely to get the whole group together because throughout the year we are often separated with some scattered around the country through work. It was a fantastic chance to get together and catch up, to see how everyone would be spending Christmas and to listen to some fab festive music.

After an evening with the boys, and joined later by the girls, including one of my best friends who had rushed back from Reading/Oxford way to spend Christmas Eve with us – it was amazing to see her after a few months apart. We headed home at a responsible hour – none of us wanting to be hungover the next day!

On Christmas Day, I awoke bright and early and after a big family breakfast, including my Grandad who normally goes to my uncle’s for Christmas to see my young cousins, we headed over to Sandringham, the Royal Estate, to see the Royal family attend the Christmas Day service. This is something we are very lucky to be able to visit each year and we have been going, not every year but most, since I was very young. My family always have the tradition of going out for a walk and some fresh air Christmas morning, usually to watch charity swimmers jump into the freezing sea at Hunstanton or to see the Royals at Sandringham – last year we actually made it to both! This year we decided to go for the Royals, even though we weren’t hopeful of seeing much with record crowds there. I’ll be writing a separate blog post all about this with lots of lovely pictures so keep posted for that!

Rocking my Christmas jumper at Sandringham!

Later, we headed home for a glass of Prosecco and a mince pie while we opened presents in front of the fire to warm our frozen toes. It was a lovely cosy afternoon and I’ll be posting separately about our lovely presents and all the treats I received.

Now, on to the important part – the food! We had an incredible roast – the best yet! Made up of turkey and beef, which had been cooked the day before and then heated up in gravy to make it extra juicy. We had gorgeous crispy, but fluffy, roasties and Yorkshire Puds. Parsnips that although not as crispy as we like, were delicious, pigs in blankets, plenty of leek sauce and gravy and of course, some roasted vegetables – a slight tweak on the usual boiled veg. This was all washed down with more wine, Prosecco, crackers and some cute table chocolates.

I was proud to say I actually won a cracker on my first attempt! Normally I am terrible at crackers but this year I won a whisk and some standard rubbish joke – I’ve actually heard all the jokes now and know most of the answers I’ve heard them so much. After dinner, we all relaxed in the living room, had more presents and watched all the usual stuff on TV, The Snowman, the alternative Christmas message, Strictly Christmas special, Call the Midwife and Downton Abbey. A perfect Christmas, rounded off with some homemade Christmas cake that was more brandy than anything, and some cheese, smoked salmon and crackers.

And here is our Christmas cake – the finished, decorated masterpiece! Delicious but damn it is strong! Hope you all had a lovely Christmas as well – what did everyone get up to?

Get the men in your life all wrapped up this Christmas

It seems from all the Twitter chat between the FBL bloggers that some of us are very disorganised this year with several presents still left to buy, but the people we seem to be struggling with the most are the blokes! Whether it is dad, uncle, Grandad or the boyfriend, we are all looking for that perfect gift to no avail. Luckily, I seem to be on top of things, despite feeling completely disorganised, and have actually found the men in my life easier to shop for, possibly for the first time ever! So, I thought, so help out my fellow bloggers, I would create a post with all of my festive gift ideas for the men in my life in the hope it will inspire you to treat the men in yours. Hope it helps!


Let’s start with the oldest and work our way down. I never really seem to struggle to find anything for my Grandad, in his 70’s, he makes it clear to us from the start – he wants stuff that he can eat, drink, listen to or read. Simple as. I see my Grandad every Sunday and we always have a chat about Strictly, music, what’s on TV – he loves An Idiot Abroad – or we just set the world to rights. He always wants to know about what book I am reading and although we don’t have the same tastes – I like political and dystopian fiction while he likes something a bit more feel-good – it’s always interesting to compare. One thing we have bought him for several years now, each time there is a new one out, is the Dreamboats and Petticoats CDs of all the old tunes that he loved when he was my age – he loves all this nostalgic stuff and how could he not? The music was fabulous then and I have to say I also enjoy it. So when I spotted that the musical show of Dreamboats and Petticoats was coming to King’s Lynn Corn Exchange in March, I jumped at the opportunity to get him tickets for Christmas. I know he’ll love it and he’ll be totally surprised. It is a shame it is not for a couple of months, but I’ll get him something tasty to enjoy on Christmas Day.


Next in line is my Dad, who is always a nightmare to buy for. I’ve ended up getting so fed up with him in the past for not even giving us any ideas that I’ve just ended up having to buy him anything so he just had a gift. I’ve since had words with him and told him he has to come up with ideas each year because I like to get people things they really want and will use, even if it means it may take some of the surprise out of what you are getting. This year, I have bought him a lovely, big, snuggly jumper with a fairisle print from Marks and Spencers which will keep him nice and warm when we go out for the traditional Christmas Day walk to go and see the Royals at Sandringham, or the swimmers at Hunstanton. I’ve also got him a rucksack to take on holiday, my mum and him like to go on exploring holidays, whether discovering hidden beaches or walking around a city looking at the sights, but my dad was looking for a bag he could carry around all day without it hurting his back to carry things like sun cream and water bottles, maps and books as they explore. He really wanted one in green but couldn’t find it where we live, but I managed to find one online so I think he’ll be happy.


Finally, Mark, my boyfriend of nearly seven years, is always very easy to buy for. He always gets such amazing presents for me, and I try to do the same because it’s worth every penny and bit of effort to see the smile on his face when he opens it. Luckily, he has similar tastes and interests to me, so for both of us, it simplifies buying things if you know the other person will love it. For example, he has bought me festival/gig tickets in the past and I have bought him an iPod, clothes and kitchen gadgets because he loves to cook. This year, we have placed a limit on our spending at £100 because we both know we can go over the top for each other and neither of us have much money. So far, I have spent just under half that amount on buying him a brand new ‘Lone Wolf’ jumper from an amazing, edgy brand. I may have to explain this – my boyfriend’s last name is Wolverson and to his friends, and everyone really, he is known as Wolfie, so it has become a running thing for us to try to find him cool wolf t-shirts and jumpers. He hasn’t had one for a while and he never really treats himself to new clothes, so I thought this would be a lovely present for him. I have yet to buy them, but I am also planning to buy him some Converse, but will probably wait until we go to Norwich to see his dad’s side of the family the weekend after Christmas so he can try them on and choose the colour. Finally, I am going to treat him to a really nice granite chopping board for the kitchen of his new house. He has just moved in and has yet to furnish the house as he would like it.

And that’s everyone! I really hope my ideas help you to score any last-minute presents and that none of these guys look on my blog in the next week or they will read what they have in their stocking! And if any of our friends happen to look at this and tells him what he’s getting for Christmas – you feel extreme pain on Christmas Day!!! Now I better dash off and stock up on wrapping paper.

Merry Christmas!

It’ll be lonely this Christmas, without you to hold..

It’s that time of year again when everyone is planning what they’ll be doing Christmas Day – what time is the roast, when are you opening presents and whether you’ll be heading out to see the Royals, if, like me, you are lucky enough to live near Sandringham.

The age-old argument over whether it is better to be single or in a couple at Christmastime will surface again as singles prepare themselves for what might be their first solo Christmas after a break-up, they prepare to sit around with the family watching their siblings fawn over their other halves. And what about those work Christmas parties or those annoying uncles? Having to answer the same old questions about when you’re going to find a nice boyfriend and settle down… Bleurgh.

It can be depressing to be single at Christmas if you think about matching Christmas jumpers, finding the perfect present for the one you love and snuggling up in front of the fire. But what about the flip side – you also end up spending a fortune on Christmas presents and face that huge battle of where to spend Christmas!

As someone who has been in a relationship for nearly seven years, but who doesn’t yet live with said boyfriend – this time of year can be just plain annoying. Much as I love my boyfriend, we haven’t moved in together yet – a combination of reasons – mainly money. But the fact that we don’t means that we don’t have any real choice in how we spend Christmas. We are still stuck in that in-between phase where I have to spend much of it at home with my parents, sister and grandfather, which I love, but it is a struggle to even go out with friend to the pub on these days because they have so much planned! I hate to hurt their feelings, and I love every one of our Christmas traditions, from the party on Christmas Eve through to the Christmas Day walk and visit to the seaside and watching the Royals.

Meanwhile, my boyfriend, who now lives with a friend, has spent his last few Christmases visiting his mum’s house for dinner and presents, spending most of the day there, trying to fit a visit to his father’s house, an hour away, to see his grandparents and  spending the rest of the time tucking into cheese boards and getting drunk at his new house. We both love Christmas and spending it at our different homes, but I can’t help but long for just one Christmas where we could spend it just by ourselves. We could eat ridiculous amounts, stay in our pants all day and although I would force him to watch the EastEnders Christmas Special, we could watch whatever we liked after!

It is difficult when you are in an adult relationship, but are unable to live together because there are so many demands put on you by other people and it is so hard to refuse because you don’t want anyone to feel left out. Also, you yourself do not want to miss out on doing anything or seeing anyone. But it is so hard when everyone wants a piece of you – it is just impossible to fit in Christmas dinner with every branch of your own family, and everyone in your boyfriend’s family as well! I don’t think there is really any remedy for the situation other than to run away, shut up and get on with it, or complain and hurt people’s feelings. Not my style, so I’ll pipe down and get on with it! At least I can escape to his house when things get a bit much with all of my family packed into my house!

How are you spending Christmas this year? Do you face the same couple/family struggles each Christmas? How do you cope?


And a day of traditional seaside fun, with a little extra work!

Today was spent at sunny Hunstanton, where I was a determined woman. After a day off enjoying Norwich, I had plenty to be getting on with at our beach hut. My family own a beautiful beach hut at Old Hunstanton, quite close to the lifeboat station, which we bought as a ruin and have done up ourselves. Now, although I admit I am biased, I would argue that it is easily the best looking beach hut on the whole beach!

The beach hut means a lot to our family, we have always been big lovers of the seaside and as kids spent every weekend at a different beach, but always heading back to Old Hunstanton, which was a particular favourite. My parents bought the hut when I was around 14-years-old, a perfect time for  us to still spend every weekend there, for me to help painting and decorating it, and for us to full it with buckets, spades and all the rest of the traditional beach paraphernalia. It came in handy when, shortly after, my nan was diagnosed with terminal oesophageal cancer which quickly took hold of her body and weakened her severely. No longer could she clamber across the sand dunes with ease, but she still longed to go to the seaside with her family. Having the beach hut, especially so close to the road, meant she could easily get down there and sit within the hut to keep warm and sheltered from the weather but still wouldn’t miss out on a second of family time.

Sadly, she died a year after being diagnosed, when I was 16, but I’m pleased to say we made the most of every last second and that hut carries so many wonderful memories for the whole family. We have since redecorated it and have recently had to have further work done on some rotten beams and weather-beaten parts. This meant a further repainting was required to smarten it up and a bit and I thought I would post some pictured of the progress on here for you all to see.

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Here I am painting away – actually painted from 10.30am to 4.30pm without taking a break! Special attention went to the doors and detailing, while my dad worked on the larger areas and touching up the varnish on the decking.

IMG_3350 Here he is hard at work!

After working for hours in the beautiful sunshine, we started to pack everything away before grabbing fish and chips as a treat and got comfy for the sunset.




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Despite all the hard work, I still made sure that I had time to find sandcastles on the beach, to walk down the hastily retreating tide and pick blackberries. Just some of my favourite things to do at the seaside – and of course, squeezed in an ice cream! It was a fantastic day and so nice to spend with my parents and grandfather. There is still a bit of work left to do on the beach hut, but it should be finished inside and out by next weekend – I will post better pictures then of both inside and outside. And hopefully, the weather will hold so that my photographer friend has time to organise a photo shoot there!


Fasting, dieting or starvation – what ever happened to enjoying a healthy lifestyle?

Fasting, dieting or starvation - what ever happened to enjoying a healthy lifestyle?

I was ashamed to see my mother lovingly unpacking a book she had ordered last night. Unpacking the packaging as delicately as if it were a newborn baby, she squealed with glee and called me over to look at what she had in her hands.

To my horror, it was the new 5:2 cooking book which offers a range of “delicious” meals that are 500 calories or less to help you fast on certain days of the week.

What kind of lunacy is this? On what planet do women believe that they should starve their bodies of nutrition for two days a week in order to be unhealthily skinny and model a body more often owned by the starving children in third world countries?

I think it is disgusting that society has made women feel they must lose weight in such a ridiculous manner that could pose serious health risks – in one magazine article I read that a woman’s reproductive system had actually shut down because her body went into starvation mode and could no longer cope.

But what I think is even more disgusting is the fact that women in society are now stupid enough and naive enough (and sadly, I must now include my mother in this category) to buy into this fad and potentially be willing to cause their bodies serious harm in the process.

I have always been one for a healthy lifestyle and go to the gym or swim three times a week, purely because I love to exercise and as a social experience because many of my friends attend the same gym. I don’t do it to be skinny or loose weight, I prefer to build muscle and tone up which in turn makes me weigh more as muscle is heavier than fat.
I go to the gym because I like to set myself personal challenges and to push myself using machines to build up the weights and resistance I am using.

I also eat extremely healthily, again, because I enjoy it – I love healthy food. I have always craved salad and fish and fruit, but I am also known to indulge in a few cocktails, cakes and sausage rolls!

I eat to fuel my body for exercise, and just as I deserve a rest day from exercise, my tummy deserves a treat from the usual healthy food every now and again. The key is moderation and a good attitude!

Far too many people seem to think that eating less is the key to losing weight when really they need to get off their bottoms and start moving more and faster.

I know it is hard to fit in workouts around a full time job and to have the energy when you get home, but I work a full time job, am studying for a Diploma in Journalism distance learning, have a pretty packed social life and contribute regular articles to a festival website – yet I still manage to find time.

I think there are far too many excuses in the world and far too many lazy people with bad attitudes. Your body is the most precious gift you will ever receive and it deserves the finest in treatment considering the incredible things it allows you to do. Cramming down three McDonalds meals a week and heading to KFC every night for a Krushem is not the way to respect your body.

Hopefully, I have managed to persuade my mother to shred the book and try a better attitude towards working out – one can only hope she doesn’t sneak the book back out of the bin!

In the meantime, hopefully I will be getting out of the gym soon and trying out a combination of yoga classes and bootcamp to test my body in new ways.


After a summer of madness as I trekked across the country, and Europe, to party at festival after festival, it was time to head to Ireland for the maddest get-together of all – my boyfriend’s Irish family for a huge … Continue reading