To Thine Own #Selfie Be True

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Here’s one I took earlier

What is it about the cult of the #selfie? It has to be one of the most interesting and baffling things to come out of the 21st century and specifically off the back of this cray social networking phenomenon.

I am the worst culprit there is, posting several a week. I am sure my friends are sick to death of my stupid face.

I can’t tell you why other people do it but I suppose I can try to explain why I do. Why I can’t go into the bathroom at work on a school day and not take a picture of the nice outfit I’ve chosen to wear.

For me, it’s not because I think I am the bomb. I do not think my latest #selfie should appear underneath the definition of sexy in the Oxford English Dictionary (I’d be at least 100th in line).

I am not the most confident in my looks as a rule. Sure, who is? But I have been horrified in the past by pictures of me caught unawares at weddings and parties. Horrified. So I think part of the #selfie thing is about control. I can delete, delete, delete at will and chose my best angles, my favourite environments, lighting, etc. Horribly vain, isn’t it?

It’s only just now that I have allowed people to capture me au natural in the wild and tag me on Facebook which is why there are pictures of me now that I haven’t taken. *gasp*

I want to record what I currently look like, how I looked before I found exercise, how my body has changed since I started fueling it with better things.

I feel a lot better these days (20lbs down and counting) but I think it’s confidence that has made me look better. For me confidence comes with weight loss, I wish it didn’t. I’m also coming to terms with the fact that even Angelina Jolie takes a bad picture every once in a while†.

As for the #ootd toilet mirror snaps? Sometimes a girl just wants to show off a cute dress. Where’s the harm in that?

So there it is: for me it’s about #control, #cutedresses and #recording #change. Maybe I’ll cut down. Maybe I’ll get worst, who knows?

Incidentally, the other day when encouraging my nine year old step son to get in shot for a family #selfie, he shouted “Nooooo! I don’t want to be a hashtag selfie on Facebook!” and ran away. Sign of these modern times?

Where do you stand on the #selfie? Are you a fan or do you abhor them? I would love to know!

†Yeah right!

On Bees and Efs

A decade ago this would have been a picture of Carrie & co

A decade ago this would have been a picture of Carrie & co

Prompt via The Daily Post (25th July 2014)

Do you — or did you ever — have a Best Friend? Do you believe in the idea of one person whose friendship matters the most? Tell us a story about your BFF (or lack thereof).

This is almost a little too close to home as a topic but fuck it, I say. Why not tackle it anyway?

It’s actually a question I think about a lot and the answer is, I just don’t know. I think not. I mean, do I favour one of my friends over another? Not really. I get different things from different people and they are so different, you can’t really choose. It’s like having to make a choice between poppadums or chocolate and that’s just impossible and cray.

I do have special people who make me feel whole, of course I do but being someone’s one and only Best Friend has felt cloying and insincere in the past. Moreover, I’ve felt like a possession.

I had a Best Friend once. For many years it was all about one girl.

I’m not talking about my high school Best Friend (whom I loved and am still in touch with). I’m talking live together, rites of passage; would have walked on broken glass for Best Friend. She was The One and we went through everything arm in arm.

Leaving our small hometown for the bright lights of the city, broken hearts (hers and mine), jobs, boys, girls, mouldy bathrooms, gay clubs, that time I got hit round the head by a drag queen – we did it all. I moved away, came back, left the country, one of her girlfriends snogged Amy Winehouse – we had our adventures apart, sure but always found our way back together.

Things changed.

I’m not going to use this post to get all vitriolic. Frankly, I did all that long ago. I mourned the end of our friendship more than I have mourned any relationship break up. I loved her, I really did. But people aren’t always the people you think they are, or you change and they don’t.

Oh go on then!

Oh go on then!

Sometimes they’re the ones who change. I can only accept that our time had run out and it was no longer healthy. My Best Friend let me down so spectacularly when I needed her most that I knew for sure that all the love for me she had ever spoken of was a lie. Maybe not a lie but in the end, what does it even matter?

For me the whole experience of being somebody’s Best Friend was to be wheeled out to suit the occasion and encouraged to perform comedy routines. To be possessed like an object. To be told who not to speak to according to how she perceived she’d been wronged. It gets hard to watch someone you love hurt other people you love; harder when the cycle just keeps repeating itself.

But I’m sure her breaking up with me story pushes all the blame my way.

There are too many fantastic stories about her, I don’t know if I could choose. I miss her still, sometimes, when certain things happen. She’s happy now though and god, so am I, so there you go.

I will never go back.

As for how I feel about BFFs now, I’m lucky enough to consider the handful of people I know are there for me come what way, all my Best Friends.

My Person, David. Beautiful Panda. Mix, who inspires me creatively whenever I see her. Ms. Lightle. Lovely hilariously blunt Lauren. Blogging Bestie Ems. My work husband, DBo.

Baby Dee. B.

I’m very lucky to have so many wonderful people in my life and I love every one of them.

As for ultimate favourite friend of all time, maybe it is sad that I have loved and lost in this respect but I think all it tells me is that I need to be my own Bestie.

I’m my OBF.

Adult Visions

Prompt via The Daily Post (23rd July 2014)

As a kid, you must have imagined what it was like to be an adult. Now that you’re a grownup (or becoming one), how far off was your idea of adult life?little girl shoes

I always thought that when I finally became an adult, I would feel like one. That hasn’t happened yet.

Perhaps it’s because I don’t own my own house or have a ‘proper’ job. Perhaps it’s because I don’t have children or a car. I don’t know. All I know is that it hasn’t hit me yet.

When I was a kid I don’t know what I expected from life. I was a live in the moment girl (I think). I loved music and dressing up but I didn’t dream of white weddings and horses like many of my peers. I suppose I assumed it would just happen and I would do all the things people were ‘supposed’ to do when the time came.

I have done some of it but most of my decisions in life have not been very sensible. I guess I equate adulthood with being sensible then. Although, I’m casting my mind back and growing up the only adults I really spent time around were my Mum and her cousin, Aunty Sine.

Both these women were my ultimate heroes, even though Mum was terribly uncool at times (guys she’s my Mum, of course she was!). I think I looked to them as such because neither of them needed a man to get through. Their situations were very different but they seemed so Can Do and found strength in each other. I think maybe I found strength in their strength (plus apart from them, I was surrounded by smelly boys and Star Wars toys, so had little choice).

Later on, I did turn to men for the things I thought I needed – but give a girl a break, at least I learnt eventually that’s just a crock of sh*t. Ultimately, the only hero you need to save you, is you. *VOM!*

Despite these two ladies dragging us up by the scruffs of our necks, all by themselves, I wouldn’t describe them as particularly sensible. I remember the bottles of wine once we were in bed, guys… Maybe then, being grown up is about strength; about just getting on and doing life the best way you know how?

I’ve had some cray jobs (dating agency, adult material mail order, turkey plucking), went travelling instead of going to University, fell in love with stupid boys (who hasn’t?). I’ve lived alone (for a bit) in a strange foreign city, accepted a free tattoo from a man who lives in a hut in Thailand; all of these things make up the fabric of my rites of passage and the end result is: I’m still just a kid at heart. Sensible? No, not really, but strong? Better believe it!

The most grown up things about me, to date, are: 1) I always pay my bills on time 2) I’ve committed myself for life to another human being and 3) I’ve filed my own tax returns (in 2010 and 2011).

So, to recap: how far off was my idea of adulthood? Pretty far, I guess.

I though 30 was ancient and I assumed I would have kids because Mum did and so did Sine. I don’t think I actually pictured the man I would end up with (and I like to think that’s because then, I didn’t even want one).

I thought I’d have a better job, maybe something creative like fashion designer or an artist, like Dad (shame I can’t draw for fudge). Beyond that, I don’t think I had the normal expectations. I knew I’d see the world, make friends, be happy.

Guess really, I’m not such a bad non-adult adult after all, huh?

Things Are Going To Get Easier (Then Harder), Then Easier Again

Write a letter to yourself aged sixteen (via my trusty Writing Exercises)tumblr_n74xzvbK091r7621zo1_500

Dear Christa,

Honestly, this is a hard note to write given that I know how sensitive you are. You’re still sensitive by the way and you cry a lot; happy, sad, angry (especially angry), you have excellently functioning tear ducts. Well done.

Where to start on this very important document though? First of all, let’s get the obvious one out the way: you aren’t even that fat. Over the next two decades, you will wonder what the hell you were even worried about. Right now, aged sixteen, you look pretty great.

When you get to my age you will have more confidence with less to be confident about. Which, when you consider it, is almost as good as having a flat stomach. When you get here you’ll understand.

I realise as I type away at this, that at my core I’m not that different to you. A little bit less insecure yes but still prone to moments of crippling self-doubt. And I still haven’t the first idea what the f**k I’m going to do with my life.

The only difference now is that I know that’s okay. That living a full and happy life is as important as setting the world on fire, although there is still time. There really is still time.

Keep writing though. Write often, write honestly – basically don’t just talk about it willy nilly; do it, okay?

36 year old you is still as hopeful as you are; still deeply faithful to the theory that everything is going to be okay in the end. Still a romantic twat, even after three years of marriage and over six tripping on shoes left in the kitchen (in front of the sink!). Oh, did I not mention that? Yeah… you get married.

I’ll give you a moment to process that. In fact, let’s just talk boys for a second.

Boys are great, as are the men they grow into. They are fun and funny and you’re not sure about them now but you will find this out for yourself. Some of your favourite friends will be and are, boys. At the moment, you are probably doing one of two things as you read this, or both: a) turning up your nose snottily as if to say ‘ew’ and b) thinking about boys again, for you think of them often.

In fact, it’s impossible for you to talk to one without forming a crush and then fantasising about them, like, all the time. You aren’t even particularly sexual by now so those daydreams are pretty tame.

I can’t remember if you’ve even seen a penis yet, let alone touched one. I think you might still be petrified of the idea of them (they’re not that bad).

You should be experimenting by the way, so I’m not going to lecture you on that. Enjoy the ride, for god’s sake. Actually, I’m not going to talk you out of doing any of the things you will do, except maybe one big one. The choices you make will make you into me. Plus, you’ll have stories for later. My friend told me I have the best dating stories the other night, and it made me proud.

So, carry on. Do everything exactly as you choose.

Do me one favour though. When, aged 24, you get your heart obliterated by a bad man (worth it) and you hit rock bottom with a thud, DO NOT accept the offer of dinner with the first person who asks you. This will not be a good scene and it will last six long years that you will never get back. Trust me on that. (You don’t even get dinner).

Although, didn’t I just say all these things will turn you into me? Maybe scrub the above paragraph. But take less shit and remember, when he says you need help, that you are crazy; he’s projecting.

So yeah. You’re a wife and it’s awesome and not at all as you would imagine. You’re not a mother. I don’t think you have any desire to be but just so you know, I’ve decided not to do that. You have a step son though, he’s nine.

You fancy your husband a lot and you like beards now.

There it is, kid. A recap, if you will: write lots, experiment a lot, penises are actually pretty okay, collect stories for later use and don’t let shitty relationship keep you down for long. Oh yeah, and travel, as much as you can afford to and as often as you can. You’re going to love Thailand.

You’re going to be okay, you know?

Peace out,

Christa xoxo

Ps. Your friends trick you into wearing shorts to school round about now. Don’t fall for it, it rains that day and they all bail on you.

Summertime Sniping

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Les chuchoteuses by Rose Aimée Boulanger in Montreal, Canada (via Google)

Last week at some point a horrible woman wrote a newspaper article about fat people. I won’t link to it, not will I utter her name because frankly, I feel like contributing to any publicity for her is what she wants, even if it is negative. At this point I can’t even bring myself to slag her off.

As my nasty ex’s great-grandmother used to say, you just have to feel sorry for people like that.

But. In her article, said woman calls out three “size 18, at least” girls for having the audacity to stand in front of her at the airport and not be ashamed of who they are. Oh, did I not point out that all three were “fat, not chubby” and seemed “unconcerned” about their apparent hideousness? I think they might even have been – whisper it – laughing together like they were happy.

Not one of them had the common decency to be covered from head to toe in black, instead choosing to rock a colourful Summer wardrobe.

Say whut?!

The Fattist let’s call her, for she is a ‘self-confessed Fattist’, seems to think that the world should fall in line with what she deems attractive. This to me is like throwing shade on every man and boy with a naked chin.

Apparently, TF has a weight and size restriction on the things she will tolerate and anybody who doesn’t fall in line with this will pay the price. By being slagged off in a national paper (if indeed you can call it that).

Anyway, she’s obviously just ‘being honest’ and speaking out of ‘concern’ for these poor, disgusting creatures right?

The thing is, she could be talking about me. I’m a size 18. Sometimes smaller, sometimes bigger but I’m that size generally. Should I be covering up for fear of upsetting poor souls like TF? Am I that revolting that I should be considering hibernation?

I hate the whole thing. Yes, it is okay for you to have your own personal tastes. Your opinion is yours. If you really feel that way and think that these abominations are seriously harming their health by eating badly and not exercising, fine. But keep it to yourself.

For a start you don’t know what these girls eat (besides the ‘I kid you not’ bag of crisps they munched while waiting to check in their luggage. On a holiday! The horror!). You sure as shit don’t know what exercise they do on a day-to-day basis. Not all fit people are thin and vice versa.

I’m hardly the template for healthy living but apart from cake too many times a week, I watch my calorie intake and workout at least twice a day for 30-40 minutes. It’s ignorant to assume things when you don’t know.

What seemed to perplex her so much more than the ‘dimpled thighs’ and ‘rolls of fat’ hanging over the tops of their vests was the fact that all three girls seem to be living life without being self-conscious. Again, how dare you, girls? Come on, now – self-hatred is the only obvious state for you, duh.

Personally, if the world were full of more people like those three and less like TF in her size 8-10 dress, I think it might be a better place.

And, while we’re at it, I’d give up the notion of ever being thin for genuine self-acceptance. I think we can all learn from these beastly rule breakers in their Summer gear, pissing off strangers without even realising it.

Now, hand me the motherf**king crisps, bitch!

Please note: I may have paraphrased a tad throughout this post but you get the gist.

To Drink or Not to Drink, It’s None of Your Beeswax!

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Photograph does not belong to me

For a long time I didn’t drink at all. I fended off no end of “You’re so boring” comments, dealt with the distrust of the drinkers around me – stayed clear headed on every night out I went on, despite the highly amusing peer pressure (turns out it still exists in your thirties).

There was no specific reason for not drinking alcohol. Not health, nor allergy or recovery. Definitely not because I was Straight Edge. I just didn’t want to.

People’s reactions to what I put in my glass were the best thing about it, that and the absence of hangover at all times.

But then, I started to drink. Again, for no good reason; simply because I chose to. That’s the beauty of it, it was only ever because I did or didn’t want to.

It’s really cute though when people are all “But YOU DON’T DRINK!” when I order Vodka. It’s like they finally got to a comfortable level with my drinking and now can’t compute that it’s changed again.

It will most probably change back.

If I’m honest, I don’t like spending my cash on something I can’t eat or wear. Spending £50 (even £20) isn’t an option for me of a Friday night. I’ll always chose something better than booze but… I like the odd drink.

I like a cocktail. I prefer Tea.

But what I really enjoy is the choice. To drink or not to drink, that is the question that nobody but me should care about.

Stop trying to label me, hardcore drinkers! I’ll do what I want, thanks.

Kiss and Make-up: A History of My Face

Photo via Google. Not me!

Following a chat with my team this morning about make-up, I thought it might be natural to turn it into a blog post.

A lot of you know about my relationship with nail polish – how obsessed I have been in the past with the latest products, trends and my own designs; how I had thought seriously about turning this into a business. How I still might.

But make-up on the whole has always been a part of who I am and talking about it this morning has brought back a lot of memories. I think the sensible place to start is at the beginning (right?)

My first memories of wearing my own make-up come quite late in the day, maybe around twelve or thirteen. My mum didn’t often wear it (though looking back she was definitely emphasising her peepers with super 80’s mascara), so there wasn’t much around the house. She had a small selection of ‘sensible’ basics that I had a good nose through but nothing too crazy.

So I didn’t really think about it much. I was a tree climbing tomboy though so it makes sense that I didn’t start looking at myself as a girl until adolescence hit.

Having said that my aunt, Sine has these red high heels that I insisted on putting on and clacking about her front room in for years. Until she gave them to me, to own, the best day ever! So I had some notion, I suppose.

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Click to enlarge

My first memories are of over using blue and brown mascaras and being rather heavy handed on the Coffee Shimmer. A metallic brown lipstick by Rimmel, I can’t imagine this shade particularly suiting anyone but yet there it was. Switched up with it’s subtler sister, Heath Shimmer pretty much all my lippy needs were covered.

I wish I had been more experimental with red. There’s a rumour that there’s a shade to suit every person (not going to limit this to just women), but I don’t know. I’ve always felt I look overdone every time I’ve tried a strong lip.

So I’m an eye girl. It’s all about that for me. As I shuffled into my teenage years I found black kohl and I’ll never give it up completely. It’s my signature and maybe it’s old, maybe it’s not cool anymore, I don’t care.

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The greatest compliment I have ever received from a stranger was, “You’ve got eyes like Bridget Bardot”. I credit my kohl for that one. I do know that it’s a strong look though and if I need to look a little less like I woke up in somebody’s bush (ding dong), I’ll skip it. I will never skip the liquid liner (also black).

As I’ve aged, I’ve learned that less is more. My mother always did say this would happen, as I caked my terrible skin in crud and layered on the spider lashes. She was spot on (pun intended).

I never really liked the feel of foundation on my skin, but it always felt like a never-ending battle. You were damned if you covered your face, damned if you didn’t. As I was growing into a woman, having bad skin made me feel inferior; less than a real person. There were times that I didn’t leave the house at all just because I felt so hideous.

Now I wear a primer, minimal concealer/foundation (thankfully I finally grew out of the adult acne of my twenties, I think it was down to stress), a subtle liquid flick and a coat or two of black mascara.

Kohl is optional but I only really leave it out of my routine if it’s mega hot or I have to lookEEMAbsoluteBlackLiner_tn smart. I will always love make-up, I think it’s an incredible tool for so many reasons, I’m just glad I don’t need to lean on it as much as I did.

So what are your favourite brands, products, styles? Do you remember Coffee Shimmer? Do you have any recommendations? Hit me up!

Hoop There It Is

PicMonkey Collage

I’ve slowly become obsessed with my hula hoop.

After I first purchased her, she spent a considerable time leaning against the wall in our hallway. Ignored for the most part, I was too shy to actually try her out. Luckily, with the encouragement of a friend who has taken a hooping course and is magnificent at it, we had a group session during one of our lunch breaks at work and a gang came along.

At first I seemed to be the only one just not getting it, but I’m finally there and getting stronger every time.

Last night I spent 35 minutes in our yard hooping by myself. Salt n’ Pepa’s Greatest Hits provided the soundtrack. Sassy seems to be the way to do it, since there’s a lot of hip action involved.

It’s pretty sexy, once you get over what a tit you look. While I was out there I bumped into every single neighbour we have and the reaction was mixed. The older men looked bemused, while the young couple next door to us thought it looked cool.

That’s the biggest thing for me I think, having gone from being completely non-active to being into keeping fit; getting over myself and how I look to others. Literally nobody cares.

Any way, I’m planning on supplementing what I already do with hooping to tone up my middle. This morning I can feel it in my abs and legs and it feels great. I do want to lose weight but almost as important to me is toning up considerably, so I am feeling pretty good and happy at the moment.

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I think about how much I have taken on in the last three months and I think it’s very much a credit to the gorgeous women I work with. They’re all fit and healthy and incorporate exercise into their every day, whilst still enjoying cake.

I don’t think I would have found the transition quite as easy or fun if it hadn’t been for them. So thanks for the encouragement and all the love, girls!

 

Why I’ll Never Have Money

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I’ve taken steps to stop myself shopping. Removing my card details from all my favourite websites, hiding my credit card in my knicker drawer, that sort of thing. It’s was going okay, except for April and May being the most annoyingly expensive months.

I can’t deny that it’s hard. I like stuff alright? Sue me!

But despite all this, I know my life is a world away from how it was six years ago, when I hated it, wished something would intervene and take me out of it. I hated the man I lived with, was indifferent to the places we visited together (even though some were beautiful) and I despised wherever we were calling ‘home’ during that whole sorry period.

When life was not just lacklustre but unbearable, I would shop because that small high I experienced whenever something new arrived in my possession reminded me to feel something, however fleeting.

Like I said, a world away from now. My backbone is now fully intact and I would never allow myself to be brought down like that again, never ever. I was a victim of an abusive relationship and he never laid a finger on me, it’s that simple.

Now I shop in a much less frenzied fashion and buy things I love. Not to fill a gaping void that will never be full. I buy things to make me look awesome and dress for myself first, everyone else second.

I would be lying if I said I didn’t also want my husband to take a good long look at me and think “Dayum”.

All this said, I have started to see my debts get a teeny bit smaller and a particularly large one that hangs over me is starting to shrink. I’m by no means out of the woods but I can see a light there, waiting for me at the end of the tunnel. I’ll take it.

And poor or not, I’m in love with my life now and that’s so much better than all the stuff in China. Or anywhere.

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