Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Bookworm: No Turning Back by Susan Lewis

This book is the last in a big pile of books my Mum had given to me to borrow and I'm sorry to say like a few of this selection I wasn't particularly a fan.

I found No Turning Back quite hard to get into when I began reading and kept wondering when something big was going to happen.

Lewis' style of writing didn't make for enjoyable reading since she uses incredibly long sentences which seem to go on forever. As a result I found i was regularly going back to reread sections I'd just read to understand what she was saying.

Furthermore I felt the style of the author was rather childish and her outlook on the story/situations seemed the same.

On reading the blurb on the book I did expect this to be a relatively sad story and about serious situations. However any more dramatic events seemed to be brushed over and given a fairytale naivety almost.

It felt as I read on that everything needed to be sugar-coated and the writer wanted to create a happy ending to the situations, as with the final end of the book itself.

At times the endless descriptions of people's appearance, clothes and material goods gave the book a feel of a piece of 'chick lit'. However on picking the book to read I felt under the impression I was about to read a more serious piece, not something so carefree.

Good points
Not exactly tough on the brain, the story is a good route of escapism and doesn't need to be taken too seriously
Overall it has a feel-good nature to it

Not so great
Predictable storylines
Happy-ever-after endings
Poor writing, frustrating writing style

Overall then as you can probably tell I wasn't this book's biggest fan. If you want something not too serious or taxing this could be okay for you, although I felt this is a carefree story trying to cover serious life events.

Coming up... I've added to my reading pile The Good Muslim, A Golden Age, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and The Thread...

Monday, 28 May 2012

The unsolved mystery of the uncomfortable shoe

If you’re A Female and B Wear Shoes you’ll more than likely be familiar with the ever-problematic dilemma of the uncomfortable shoe.

No, I’m not referring to those towering 6 inch high stilettos that make your legs look sooo good but leave you with disfigured toes at the end of a night out or day at work. Oh no these mysterious pain-inducers can take on any form – you know what I mean ladies – the ones that in the shop were super comfortable and fit perfectly, but as soon as they’re let out of their box and placed on your tootsies in real life they rub, pinch and squash their way towards causing as much damage as possible.

For some reason this phenomenon seems lost on guys, I’ve lost count of the times I’ve been asked by men why did I buy shoes that hurt my feet and been accused of stupidity for parting with my hard-earned cash in exchange for blisters and sores.

Obviously, if the shoes hurt when we were in the shop we wouldn’t buy them (well okay, unless they had a huge discount and fulfilled a lifelong footwear fetish for a particular style or label, or really were the only pair that ‘made’ that outfit).

As a tall female (at around 5ft 11 tall), I don’t regularly indulge in super high heels or chunky wedges, since I feel giant-like most days without adding extra height from my footwear. However, this doesn’t mean I can escape from this issue. Oh no, in fact the ‘comfy’ pump and ‘foot-friendly’ flat are often the worst culprits. Luring you in with the idea of soft leather, ‘wide fit’ and of course the lack of heel, these shoes suggest connotations of a happy foot, blister free skin and hours of worry-free walking. Oh no, this is not always the case.

At nearly 30 years of age now you’d think I’d have got a little closer to solving this mystery. After all there could be a number of factors which could influence how the shoe feels on your feet in the shop, compared to when you’re back at home – a key criteria being heat. Obviously if you’re feet are cooler when you visit the shop and then you wear the shoes in hot weather when you are bound to be a little swollen this will have an impact on the fitting. Or if you are/aren’t wearing socks/tights with said boots, shoes, pumps. The problem is that there doesn’t seem to be any sense of pattern to allow us to identify where we’re going wrong and how to avoid footwear buying faux pas in the future.

Plus it’s not limited to new purchases, have you ever found that good reliable pair of shoes you love that are just so comfortable, they are your trusted comrades who get you through rushing to meetings before you put on the killer heels ready for action, or your fashionable friends who look great but are still cushioned. What on earth is going on when these former friends become evil enemies and decide to start hurting and rubbing completely out of the blue? It’s not like they need you to ‘wear them in’, the leather doesn’t need to stretch, the edges don’t need to be softened up and shape to your feet. So why do they suddenly start to ache and turn your tended toes into trampled trotters?

Cost doesn’t seem to matter either. I’ve worn cheap shoes, leather shoes, expensive shoes, plastic shoes, super-soft shoes, wide fit shoes, well-known named shoes, shop brand shoes – they all seem to cause this problem at random.

Take for instance today I have on a new pair of peep toe, red suede, kitten heel slingbacks. I purchased them for a wedding recently and wore them all day and evening at the wedding – super comfy (and super comfy in the shop). Today I wear them for work and just a tiny bit of walking to and from the station, to my office etc, and they are feeling super tight and cutting into my feet.

At the weekend I wore some navy blue wedges which have a sort of padding on the heel area – they felt so soft in the shop, I wore them very briefly at the weekend and they too seemed to rub my toes! My trusty Billabong flipflops from Australia (which now must be around 7 years old!) are still just as comfy as the day I bought them. I guess it may only be a matter of time though before they start to cause me traumas with my toes!

In the past I even thought I’d cracked it and started to buy most of my footwear from the same chain, but sadly after a while they soon let me down too. Having big-ish feet (hey, it’s to balance me out as I am so tall!) I often feel lucky to find a pair of shoes I like and that fit, so having to then worry about how comfortable they’ll be post-purchase just adds more complication than is needed to my shopping experience!

I’m going to – slowly – hobble my way around for the rest of the day and hope I get home and off and on the trains/buses/pathways without too many sores for today. Then go home and try and think of what shoes to wear that I think will be a tad kinder to me tomorrow.

If anyone is out there reading this and you think you’ve found the secret to this please do share it, or else we’re just going to have to accept this is to forever remain one of life’s little mysteries and instead use it as an excuse to treat our poor feet to a few more pedicures at the spa!

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Lazy days in the park

With their heads held high, they gracefully glide across the rippling waters of the lake
Then upside down, ducking down, tail feathers up, the swans take a cooling break

A faint breeze lightly strokes my skin and causes my hair to tickle my face
The sun beating down, causing patterns on my eyelids and tanning each exposed place

Quiet. Peaceful. No noise, apart from the breeze winding its way through branches and reeds
The trees sway gently in the wind, carrying the faint cries of children playing nearby, 'whose in the lead?'

Blankets adorn the grass, laden with ice cold drinks and picnic treats
Potato salad, sandwiches, dips, cheeses and meats

Friends create makeshift pitches and divide into teams
Couples walk past, holding hands and licking ice creams

Nothing to see but trees, grass and clear blue sky
Reading or sleeping, eating or drinking, on this blanket I continue to lie

Occasional quacking from the ducks nearby, furry ducklings travelling along in a long line
Only the heavy pant of a dog or the jingle of its collar makes me jump from my relaxing time

Sunglasses, suncream, summerwear all come out today
Everyone hoping this glorious sun is here to stay

Old couples share memories overlooking the lake from a wooden bench seat
Young children learn to feed the ducks, nervous as the big swans start to gather by their feet

No cares or worries just dozing listening to the occasional bird tweet, duck quack or dog bark
Nothing can spoil hot, sunny, lazy days in the park

Friday, 25 May 2012

Wowed by Warsaw

This week has involved me feeling ill with tonsillitis, having a bad chest, giving myself a scalded arm and on a more positive note travelling abroad for work. To Poland, to be precise.

I’ll be honest with you, when I was asked to attend the pitch meeting in Poland and I found out it was an overnight stay, the main reason I went was for the opportunity. I was expecting Poland to be not that pleasant and judging on my last job (big mistake) that we’d be staying in some run-down cheap as can be hotel. Plus as we all know when it comes to meetings I turn to a bundle of nerves, until I’m actually face-to-face with the people and then I’m fine!

We travelled to Poland on a budget airline (Wizz Air), which I must admit I’d never heard of before and after I panicked about the limited luggage allowance (and then marvelled at my achievements in packing such a small bag) was surprised to find the flight was relatively quick at just over 2 hours.
I’d seen details on the hotel the afternoon before we left and it looked lovely, on arriving I was pleased to find it was just as good in real life! We were staying in Warsaw, in the old town and were about a 30 minute cab ride from the Warsaw Chopin airport.

Well all I can say is wow when it comes to the old town, such a picturesque area. By the time we were unpacked and went out for dinner it was dark and all the little streets twinkled with lights. There were numerous cafes and restaurants with tables outside on the cobbles under big umbrellas. The big squares and beautiful buildings really reminded me of the piazzas in Rome. Shop after shop of ice cream parlours selling huge towering cones and warm waffles seemed a hit too!

On the evening we arrived we took a stroll around the area and were hoping after our meeting the next day we’d have a little time to explore, but due to a long meeting, a studio tour (more later!) and taxi troubles it was not to be.

However, we happened to stumble upon a very quirky looking restaurant – full of decorations/lights/plants/vases and more – and decided to give it a go. It turns out the restaurant is owned by a local celebrity TV chef, so we couldn’t have picked a better option and the pricing was reasonable. I ended up dining on Lithuanian dumplings in a butter sauce, venison in a rich sauce, served with potato dumplings and a apple stuffed with beetroot/red cabbage pickle. This was then greedily followed with a chocolate, rum and walnut stuffed pancake.

Those of you who've eaten food in Poland will know it is very very rich and very very heavy!
Other delicious delights enjoyed over the trip were a super indulgent hot chocolate (which was literally like drinking thick melted chocolate) and some potato pancakes. The house wine (although only a small amount was sampled) was pretty good too!

Perhaps it was the sunny weather that made it so, but all five of us on the work trip said we felt like we were on a holiday, the area was so nice and the fact lots of the cobbled areas are fully pedestrianised make it even nicer. No traffic, no car fumes, no noise – it was lovely!

On the drive from the airport we were also surprised how green it was, travelling to a capital we expected there to be lots of buildings, concrete and dirt. However, there was a long and wide tree-lined road and lots of parks. Of course I appreciate we only saw a minimal amount and we were staying in what I imagine is a more tourist-friendly area, but what we saw we loved.

I guess the only thing that could take getting used to is the people – although the prospective clients we met and the staff in the hotel and the first restaurant we went to were super friendly and couldn’t have been nicer, others were not so. Polish people seem very abrupt and have a quite cold manner about them – or at least that’s what I found on this very brief trip.

Bad points? I guess here I would have to say traffic – the place is swarming with traffic and we constantly hit traffic jams, no matter what the time of day. Plus the cabs we travelled in never seemed to have heard of air con or opening their windows so any experience of driving involved lack of air and lots of sweat, not nice! Ha! I guess other ‘bad’ points I should list was the super slow service in not one but two separate restaurants we experienced at lunchtime (I have never seen anything like it), the waiters from the first restaurant chasing us and demanding we pay for the drinks we never had and also my experience of being semi-trapped in the client toilets we visited (thankfully my colleague helped get me out before we had to call someone from their company!)

Check out some of my pics below (unfortunately I didn’t have my camera so my HTC camera had to be used, not the best quality, but better than nothing!)

Saturday, 19 May 2012

A sense of memory

Back in sixth form college I used to take part in a course called Writers Craft. Our group learnt a variety of writing skills and we had to produce pieces in a host of styles.

This afternoon after being ill since Wednesday and not having been outside since then I've been bored and fed up of feeling ill. However, I then discovered a brownie mix a friend had given me as part of my Christmas presents (don't worry it was still well in date) and decided to use the chance to buy the remaining ingredients needed and leave the flat.

The leaving of the flat for 'fresh air' wasn't the best idea as I just felt like a zombie and made myself feel more sick on returning to the flat. Regardless I got my eggs, butter etc and after lunch I made the brownies.

They smelt amazing, were easy to make, cooked quickly and on sampling one just now I can tell you they are delicious!

The funny thing is though - and what resulted in me writing this blog - is that simply making them bought up a host of memories.

Back in college in Writers Craft we talked about your senses bringing back memories and making the brownies this afternoon I experienced this.

Stirring up the mixture in a big bowl and tempted to lick the ingredients sticking to the edges, I was swept back to my childhood and days of baking with my Mum - my favourite part, like most kids, licking the spoon and eating the leftover mixture stuck in the bowl. Yum.

Thinking back on this I thought of my college course and the time I had to write about going somewhere which reminded me of a childhood memory.

Placing the mixture in the dish to cook I thought back to a more recent memory - when I attempted a toffee apple crumble for a Come Dine With Me evening with friends. Disaster is not even the word! We ended up eating a gooey bowl of slop instead, granted it tasted good, but it looked awful.

Then the rich chocolate smell of the brownies baking made me think back to my last job where a colleague and friend of mine used to make the most amazing brownies. They were delicious, we used to beg her to make them and every time she'd doubt herself and think they weren't that good.

It's funny how smells, tastes, sights and sounds can trigger off a whole host of emotions. For example cigars remind me of my grandad Jack, the smell of jam reminds me of my Grandma, an old disco song reminds me of another Grandad and there's lots more.

I remember experiencing this when I was a teenager and had to attend a family friend's birthday party in the hall where my playgroup was held when little. This is what I used to write my Writers Craft piece at college too...

I walked through the hall doors, the music's bass thumping inside my ears, replacing the childish shrieks and giggles which once echoed around the room.

My feet crossed the familiar warm, oak coloured tiled floor, which was now clear, no screwed up balls of paper, no stubborn blobs of plasticine marking it and no shiny, red and blue Wellington boots lined up by the door. People's bags and coats were draped over tiny silver coloured pegs on the wall, different to the doll-sized colourful coats and bobble hats which adorned them before.

Tears of laughter on everyone's faces were visible and the sound of their merry voices filled the room. Whereas on others before, they would have been tears of anger or fear and the sound of crying or whining would have been heard.

I placed my glass of champagne on the table, no longer splattered with paint. The strong aroma and flavour of my crisps surrounded me and I thought I could almost smell the scent of chocolate and apple juice from snack times accompanying it. Everybody being ushered to wash their hands free of Play-Doh and general dirt from outside. Having to sit sensibly on little stools, and always a few hiding in the playhouse, behind the red, soft, velvet curtains pretending to be eating their dinner, whilst playing 'Mum and Dads'.

That night the only booming instructions being shouted were those of the DJ, trying to persuade people to dance.

What sorts of senses bring up memories for you? Are they always good or sometimes bad?

Guess I better try another brownie now then and see what other memories I find..

Bookworm: Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult

I admit it I own a number of Picoult's books and in the main have loved them all. Sure they always follow a similar pattern - people in a moral dilemma and a court case, but then they also add a different edge with references to a host of issues ranging from paganism, American Indian beliefs, religion, terminal illness, childhood disorders and more.

The last few stories I've read by this author however I have found a struggle and I felt I was growing tired of her writing style - the familiar format becoming too obvious.

Thank goodness for Sing You Home, yes it does involve moral dilemmas and surprise surprise a court case makes an appearance again. However, this time round not only is the issue of IVF tackled but moreover gay couples.

Covering something more controversial like this really drew me into the book. I'm a little bookworm and read whenever I can, but I've been a bit poorly the latter end of this week so I've found more time to read and so have whizzed through this book.

When I first started the book it did bring my mood down and I worried it was going to be a depressing read. However, once I got going I found the main characters of Zoe and Max interesting and I was hooked on how their characters were developing. I also enjoyed learning about music therapy (something lead character Zoe works in as her career).

Good points
Tackles a tough but important subject
Interesting read
Strong characters
As always feels very well researched

Not so great
Bit of a cheesy ending
Some characteristics of the religious characters seem a bit far fetched
Would be good if Picoult could break from the same templated formula used on every book

Her next piece of fiction is Lone Wolf - this time focussing on two siblings torn over what action to take over their parent in a coma. I will likely give it a go, but I can almost predict the book now, something which I think the author really needs to start considering.

Friday, 18 May 2012

Where is Romford?

I've blogged before about being an 'Essex girl' and the impact of your accent. However, today I came across an article specifically focussing on Romford.

This piece featured in the Romford Recorder - a local paper I will always have a soft spot for, since I spent many weeks of work experience at the River Chambers offices from a young age writing, interviewing and researching. If things had turned out differently I may well have begun my full time career there as a trainee journalist.

Anyway, I digress. This current piece asks the question is Romford in Essex or London?

How can you not know where you live or where a town belongs? Well the interesting thing about Romford (and indeed Hornchurch where I've lived since a baby) is that it sits in a London Borough - the London Borough of Havering. It also sits within the county of Essex.

I have a few thoughts (surprise surprise) on this, but my main view is this - why does it matter? Why can't we stay as we are - within both. We live within a London borough, however this borough happens to sit within the county of Essex.

As people who know me will be aware, I an proud to be from Essex and have never felt ashamed of being from here. To judge someone on where they are from, still in this day and age, I feel is rather ignorant and taking a step backwards from where we have reached in society.

All throughout life I've been teased about being from Essex and it's become part of who I am. Don't get me wrong I love the banter and conversations this leads to and I'm not complaining at all. Although it's funny how these conversations never seem to tire.

I imagine there will be people from my local area who feel it sounds more impressive to say they're from London as it creates connotations of a much more positive nature - culture, intelligence, fashion, trendy and more. Yet if you say someone is from Essex you're more likely to conjure up images of fake tan, a whiney accent, lack of intelligence and chavs.

Imagine though to find after all these years of living in Essex, it's all been a lie and I'm actually a Londoner! Rather than speaking Estuary English and living in a heavily stereotyped county, I am in fact an East Londoner with a cockney accent instead.

Although I argue what does it matter and people don't need to label everything, oddly I admit it makes me sad to think I'm not a true Essex girl.

It remains to be seen what will eventually be agreed and how this campaign raised by Romford Life will turn out.

Wherever it turns out we're officially from and living, I'm proud of where I've grown up regardless, but it's going to take us all some time to shift the Essex stereotypes of the residents and area regardless.

Acting your age?

As I sit here feeling sorry for myself - fed up already of daytime TV, reading my book, coughing, aching and napping, I can't help but think of two things - my heavy weekend last week and my upcoming 30th birthday.

Last weekend I went out drinking on Friday night with work colleagues (managing to get lost on a ten minute max journey to the station to get home), then on Saturday I awoke to a bad hangover, realising I was due out again that night. Saturday night then saw me out from 6pm-2am on a 'girls night' out where I consumed a stupid amount of alcohol - although it was great fun at the time!

I suffered a bad hangover as a result - I guess a double hangover combining Friday and Saturday. As people have said previously it does seem as you get older you suffer two day hangovers. This is now certainly the case for me. I in fact still felt a tad tender and very tired on the Monday and my muscles were so achey.

Just when I could do with a relaxing night in I had to attend an industry awards ceremony on Tuesday night for work. During the afternoon I'd started to feel a bit odd too, but again put it down to a very long hangover. Getting to bed about 1am I had a sore throat and woke Wednesday feeling pretty unwell. Skip forward a day to Thursday and I had come down with a sore throat, achey body, swollen tonsils (so much that I struggled to talk/breathe properly) and a pounding head. Today I'm only a tad better and can't stop coughing.

No I'm not using this blog as some sort of sick form, I'm just highlighting what a state I seem to get in from going out. I was saying only a few weeks ago that I'd been feeling like I'd been ill non stop lately and now I'm thinking the same again, but sensing a pattern that it's after consuming lots of alcohol/nights out.

So should I grow up and act my age?

The joke is I honestly don't think I do that much socially and am not out that often. Yet if you speak to people I know they are always making comments of 'out again?' and 'I don't know how she does it'.

I've been thinking a lot lately of when I was young and on nights out seeing 'older' women - thought of as 'mutton dressed as lamb' and 'grab a granny' if I remember correctly. Now I worry that will be me.

I asked my Mum recently that how do you know when you're old do you stop and realise how to start behaving? My friends and I all say we still feel like we did at college and I love going out eating, drinking and dancing. What if I never learn to 'act my age'?

Mum said you don't ever feel your age (or at least she hasn't so far) and she's never particularly felt old, until she looks in the mirror at her appearance!

So is it just how you look that tells you you've aged? Do I need to grow up and stop getting myself in such a state, particularly as it seems my immune system can't cope anymore?

Part of me - particularly when I feel like I do now - feels that yes I do need to calm it down. However, the problem is I think it's good to act young and it is good for you overall. For example a lot of my relatives have always acted young for their age and enjoyed life and as a result have lived long and happy lives. After all I'm turning 30 not 50!

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Is a woman's place still in the kitchen?

I'm no forceful feminist, I don't want to constantly argue women's case throughout life, nor try and 'get one up' on men. However, I'm also not a wannabe Desperate Housewife, wanting to stay at home all day and pander to a man's every whim.

For me, in any relationship, everything needs to be fair - whether it's sharing chores, managing money or sorting social plans.

We all know in the past men were traditionally seen as the hunter-gatherers and women were there to look after the children and keep everyone fed and happy in the home. Times have changed though since then. Or have they?

I often joke with friends that my relationship with my boyfriend is a case of role reversal - I'm the one who goes out drinking and acting the fool, the one who suffers all day with the hangover and needs looking after. It is my boyfriend who takes care of me and complains about my never learning to drink less.

Don't get me wrong, I think that whatever works best for the couple in question is the right way to be, who am I to say how others' relationships should work.

However, it's whether or not both sides are happy that bothers me and I find it shocking how 'traditional' roles for women are still expected and very apparent in relationships today and our modern world.

Women who don't go to a physical office or place of employment, are still labelled as 'just a housewife'.

I don't have kids and until I do I don't really know the full extent of what being a Mum involves, let alone one who stays at home. However from my own Mum and friends of mine who are mothers I certainly think that caring for a person's life, washing, cleaning, cooking, getting up for feeds and lots more surely constitutes a job in itself.

Why is it that we still feel like certain chores or roles in the home and in family life are gender specific? I admit I'm guilty myself of being far too comfortable with letting my boyfriend take the rubbish bags downstairs for me to the binstore. Although, this is more laziness on my part, rather than thinking 'it's a man's job!'

This topic has come more into the light for me lately, what with my Mum finding herself pretty helpless after breaking her leg. My Mum gave up employment once she had me and never returned to work, becoming a stay at home Mum and 'housewife'. My Dad took on the typical role of 'breadwinner' and they stuck to these roles ever since.

The result now of course is that my Dad is - in his early 60s - having to learn domestic life whilst my Mum recovers from her injury. Cooking, cleaning, shopping, washing and ironing.

However I also know more modern couples that act in this way, again not necessarily something the female in the relationship may have chosen.

Why is it in 2012 men still feel they earn the money, so the woman is indebted to them, to do everything within the home? This even seems to be the case when the girlfriend/wife works themselves. How is this fair?

I feel I'm a little unfair commenting on this at times, since I count myself lucky being in a relationship with someone that doesn't feel this way at all.

He doesn't think men and women have set roles to fill and although we don't live together he helps me keep my flat clean and shares chores with me without question. I also know without a doubt whenever we do one day have children he won't shy away from doing his share and would be happy to look after the child, help with feeds and change those dreaded nappies.

So when are people going to wake up to the fact men and women can take on any roles they want and works for them? And when are we going to stop judging those who do take on these 'traditional' roles if it's right for them?

Bookworm: The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

In Victorian times people believed in flowers all having a meaning behind them. As a result there were flower 'dictionaries' created which identified the message behind each floral item. This book uses this idea to tell an emotional tale of an unexpected and 'different' family.

Being someone who's not particularly green-fingered or into flowers (I just like getting given big bunches of bright ones!) I was a bit dubious of this book's potential appeal to me. However, in this instance, Diffenbaugh's piece of fiction was recommended by an old friend, whose judgment I trust, so I thought I'd give it a go.

In actual fact I was glad to have given the book a chance and was pleased to be reading something on my Kindle after a long break too.

At first you may get the impression this book is going to be a depressing read, hearing how the main character has spent a life in care, rest assured this is not the case.

An enjoyable and relatively easy read, the story tells how a young girl who has emotional issues manages to express them through flowers and bloom into a happier woman.

For someone who isn't into flowers, I found I did enjoy learning about the meanings behind each type. Just when the book seemed to take a route towards a sense of fantasy and the idea of the flower meanings having some sort of power, it stopped and remained believable. This resulted in you getting caught up in the meanings and experiencing a magical feel, but still feeling the story being told was realistic.

Good bits
Interesting main character in Victoria
Strong messages and themes throughout
Overall positive feel, but in a realistic not 'cheesy' way

Not so great
At times I thought some of Victoria's behaviour was a little odd and perhaps slightly unrealistic
Perhaps swept over the idea of children in care, by keeping a light hearted feel when dealing with an important topic

Yet again I've found myself feeling sad upon finishing a great book. I was keen to find out the ending, but felt disappointed this reading experience had reached an end.

Next up I'm attempting another Jodi Picoult - last time I found myself a bit disappointed and that I'd tired of her style, let's see if Sing You Home fares any better...

Thursday, 3 May 2012

He loves me, she loves me more

Apparently people like to read blog posts that come right out and say something that causes debate.

Well, I've got one for you - in relationships one person always loves the other more.

Recently this has caused a few conversations at work and with friends outside of work. So I thought I'd put it to you. What do you think?

Think about it. Honestly. Just step back a minute and seriously consider this. If you're in a relationship stop and wonder, or think back to previous partners. Who always seemed to keep giving no matter what? Who truly loved without judgement?

"But our relationship is equal" "We love each other just the same". Rubbish. And I hate to break it to you, but if you're the one arguing this you're probably the one that loves more.

Does one of you tend to back down in arguments more than the other? Is one of you always dreaming of an ideal future of beautiful babies and a wonderful wedding day?

Now I'm not saying this is a negative situation. Far from it, I think this is what keeps relationships healthy. In the same way those couples who 'never argue' leave you rolling your eyes, because everyone knows a tiff now and then does no harm and keeps a spark.

Like most things in life, you need balance. The same is said for love.

It doesn't always have to be the same either, oh no I'm quite open to the fact that this can change. Over the life of a relationship who loves who more will inevitably change, depending on what events you both go through together.

Even if you love someone with all your heart and soul, you may be the one who loves less in your relationship. This is because it doesn't necessarily mean you don't love or care for someone, just the other person loves you just that little bit more. It doesn't make you the 'baddie'.

Of course there are relationships where one person loves less for negative reasons - they're cheating, they've fallen out of love and don't know how to tell their partner - but all I'm saying is it doesn't always have to be this way.

So there I've said it. There's always one who loves the other more in a relationship. What do you think? Am I talking rubbish? Am I nasty for even saying this out loud? Have I spoken about the 'unsaid'? Or am I scarred from past bad relationships? Let me know.

The other thing, someone said to me in our 'discussion' that you're better off being the one who loves less, you'll always be happy and cherished. I tend to agree. But what if you're naturally the bigger lover? Can you reduce your levels of love?

And as for my relationships, who do I think was/is the one to love more?....

You really think I'm that stupid? I'm not writing about that!!

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Mr Know-it-all

Lying here on my sofa in my PJs after a good gym workout, hot shower and a healthy dinner I feel pretty relaxed.

However, earlier on I experienced something that always winds me up - know-it-alls.

If you're a regular in the gym you'll know what I mean - that man or woman who stands by observing. Then gradually they make their way over to a poor, unsuspecting, innocent gymgoer and strike. "Can I just offer you a tip?" "Er just a bit of advice for you" and so on.

Those know-it-all people who think they know best and have the best way to hold the weights, position on machines and settings on the treadmill. They generally don't.

Today I was in work early for client results and so I finished earlier than normal. I purposely packed my gym kit and took it with me to work to ensure I had a workout since I was finishing early. Being up since 5am is tough though and I was pretty tired by the time I finished.

I won't lie I'm just getting back into the gym after a slight break and so I'm finding it hard right now. However, after a few minutes of a walking warm up on the treadmill I cranked up my music and started to run. All that stress and stroppiness started to melt away and I felt good.

Part way through my next block of 20 minutes though - on the bike - I didn't feel so great and decided rather than more cardio my last 20 minute block would be on weights.

Up I went to what I call the 'girly' weights area - these are adjustable machines rather than the numerous dumbells and benches in the 'meatheads' section downstairs.

I started on the shoulder press and then heard the familiar "excuse me..." before a man approached another guy on the chest press and told him how to hold the grips and to put the weight up a bit.

Granted I didn't fall victim to this 'expert', but I had the pleasure of learning his tips and tricks the whole time I was up there.

Don't get me wrong years back a lady tried to offer me some guidance on using the leg press, which I gratefully took on my board and thought how nice she was. That is until I realised she was one of these know-it-alls, she did it to loads of people and had in fact told me incorrect information. Moreover she'd told me foot positioning which could have caused damage to knees (as explained by my boyfriend who used to be a personal trainer so had a bit more idea than said woman!)

Of course these irritants aren't just limited to the gym. They can be found anywhere and everywhere. My boyfriend has had the pleasure of discovering one at his new job. A fellow newbie, this guy has close to zero experience, yet advises everyone else (including my boyfriend who has over 18months of paramedic training behind him) how to do the job. He finishes tutors' sentences in training and directs local people where to drive on the roads.

The problem is that this also means people who do have answers to things often hold back at risk of being known as a know-it-all and annoying people. If you get this feeling, chances are you are not one of these people and are in fact simply trying to help. Whereas know-it-alls seem oblivious to others not wanting to hear their advice.

I'm not going to be one myself and tell you how to deal with these people, but 'just a tip for you' - avoid eye contact with these people at all costs, before you give advice think if you really do know best and if the person in front of you would actually be just fine without your 'help'.