More Pictures of India

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So I've been back from India for a while, and haven't got round to uploading more pictures of my trip yet... until now! I thought I'd share with you some more pictures of India. Just looking back at the photographs of this beautiful (hot!) country is making me wish I was back there again... as I'm typing this I'm looking out of the window at the rain! :(

A picture of some Indian ChildrenA picture of an Indian Bird

A picture of a girl in an Indian Sari

A picture of Indian Architecture

A picture of boys in India carrying out a play

A picture of an Indian Sunset

Indian Doorway

A picture of a child in India

A picture of the Taj Mahal

A picture of some Indian Flowers

Sorry for the picture heavy post! I'll be back soon with even more pictures of India!

What is true happiness?

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Happiness is a funny old subject. Talk about how happy you are, and you're considered bragging; talk about how unhappy you are and you're a manic depressive who should keep their thoughts to themselves and stop bringing everybody down.
It is in our nature to continually search for true happiness. Bumping into people we know in supermarkets or on the street, small talk is made and we are asked "how are you? How's the job?" or "how is the weight loss going?" as if the happiness of our being revolves around our work or the size of our bodies.
I've mentioned before that my parents have very strong work ethics, and I was brought up to believe that you got a good job, earned good money, and only treated yourself to the little things you could afford. Although it was instilled in me to chase my dreams and that anything was possible, dreams came second to making sure you had a good and stable job. You didn't take risks as far as money and work were concerned.
For years I followed this track, trying to achieve happiness by chasing my 'dreams' in my spare time- writing music and performing in pubs in the evenings, going to creative writing courses at weekends, writing essays in my lunch break at work in the dreams of one day being an English teacher to make me more 'happy'. Of course none of these brought me true happiness, but what even is true happiness? And does anyone ever achieve it?
I felt that I was destined never to be happy. I had a good job, I earned good money, so why didn't I feel good?

I'm still young, but through the years I've learned a lot about happiness. As a teenager I did not have a happy time. I certainly seemed happy, and looked okay to those around me, but, for one reason or another, I felt empty and lost. Being the stubborn and very closed person I was back then I struggled with these feelings alone until I couldn't take it any more. After that horrible period of my life and watching those around me break themselves trying to get through to me and find out what was wrong, I vowed to myself that I would never let anything come in the way of my own happiness. For me, nothing is worth working yourself into the ground day in day out just for money or career prospects. Of course, it's nice to have money, but when do we get to do the things that really matter in life? Reading a book in the warm sun, spending time with our children witnessing their first steps, building sandcastles at the beach, holding a loved one's hand, singing loud and out of tune, listening to the sea, smelling sweet flowers, getting messy making cakes, riding bikes feeling the wind in our hair, making memories we'll treasure forever. These are the things that should make us truly happy, yet we don't have time to enjoy them. It makes no sense to me that we're stuck in a cycle of working for 40 years to pay for the mortgage on the house that you can't spend any time in because you have to be at work to pay for it and so on and so forth.

Because of this lack of time and deep rooted yearning for something more, so many views of happiness around us are measured on the superficial things- ironically, blogging being one of them. So many same-y blogs out there, writing about the same products, with same-y photos inviting us in to read about the best, rose tinted parts of their lives. It's not often you find an honest blog writing about how much debt they are in, or how they hate their job or that they're not happy in their relationship. We are all real people with real problems, but we take comfort in and assign happiness to the things that matter the least- how much money someone makes, how many yankee candles they have, which back street but oh so hipster cafe they ate a cupcake in over the weekend.
I believe that a lot of people who seem the happiest are actually the saddest- of course, a lot of them genuinely are happy as larry, which is great. But deep down, behind the Instagram smiles and gifted products, we're all just real people with real problems struggling with our own happiness. But then again, what is true happiness?


BBC 3's The Call Centre

Did any of you watch 'The Call Centre' on BBC3 last night?? If you didn't, you seriously missed out and I suggest you hot foot it over to BBC iPlayer right now! I thought it was bloody hilarious.
While it was on, I kept my eye on the Twitter hashtag and there were mixed reviews. Some people loved it, some people hated it- obviously I was part of the former!

I've worked in a few offices and call centres in my time, and it's not a nice environment to work in (for me, at least). Clock watching, long boring days, bosses breathing down your neck- I've always thought that this atmosphere does not breed productivity or happy workers! Thankfully for the workers at The Call Centre in Swansea, their boss Nev agrees with me! I vowed I would never work in an office or call centre again, but I'd gladly go work here. Employees are encouraged to be silly, there's no dress code, tea and coffee are brought to your desk by an albeit slightly angry tea lady, plus you start your mornings off with a good old sing song because Nev says happy people sell. I honestly think that this Nev has got the best management style I've ever seen. He understands that people who dread coming into work do not give their best efforts, and that to make himself money his staff have to be happy, enthusiastic and actually enjoy coming into work. I've had so many managers who have completely ran their staff into the ground and seemed oblivious to the fact that a happy worker = a productive and loyal worker. Serious props to Nev for being such a good manager!

I could not stop laughing all the way through- I won't divulge too much information for those who haven't seen it, but I'll leave you with this trailer in case you don't know what I'm on about or are wondering who the hell this amazing Nev guy is.

The Call Centre trailer had me at the man in the banana suit.


Pictures of India Part One - Intermission over

I've been back from India for a while now, but haven't managed to get back into the swing of blogging until now. I suppose that seeing all the things I saw while I was over there put a lot of things into perspective for me, and blogging just didn't feel that important to me anymore- I felt that being in India changed me, and I no longer found it as interesting to read about "Look what I just bought!" or "look what was given to me for free!"
I kind of felt that the whole blogging environment was a bit claustrophobic for me for a while, so I decided to take a step back for a little bit. I didn't think it was right for me to write about day to day things like normal, because it just felt a little narcissistic and spoilt to have a website where I can write about myself and all the privileges I have, just for other people to read about.
When I first got back from India I felt bad for having everything that I have, while so many people in the world have nothing- but I do understand that everything is relative and now I hope that I can use the privileges and things I have to do better and help others.

India itself was amazing. A country so vibrant, full of colour and smells and sounds that take your breath away. I loved India so much and I will definitely be going back at some point. The driving took some getting used to- Indian roads are definitely not advisable for nervous passengers!!

I thought I'd kick off my post about my trip to India with some of my favourite pictures of the buildings and sights that I saw, and in my next post I'll concentrate on the work that we did out there with The Leprosy Mission.

A picture of Humayan's Tomb in India
Humayan's Tomb
A picture of Humayan's Tomb in India
Shadows inside Humayan's Tomb
A picture of Sweets on a stall in India
An Indian sweet stall
A picture of Monkeys in a tree
Monkeys just chilling in a tree
A picture of an Indian Truck
Colourful Truck
A car rearview Mirror with reflection
Our driver in Delhi, Mantosh
A picture of an alleyway in India
An alleyway that I accidentally shot whilst just taking pictures out from the window of a moving car. I love that I managed to catch the man walking with his buckets.
Hindi Writing
Hindi writing on the wall
A picture of Red Fort Agra
Red Fort, Agra
I hope you look forward to seeing and reading more about my time in India! I promise I won't leave it so long next time ;)

Why I love learning

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A picture of some books to illustrate why I love learning

I love learning new things. I always have done, and I hope I always will. This thirst for knowledge was instilled in me from a young age by my parents, who always wanted me to do well in life and have the opportunities they never did. Saturday mornings as a child were spent in my Mum and Dad's bed, learning Capital Cities, inventors and ways to remember the Five Great Lakes (H.O.M.E.S - easy!) Lazy Sunday afternoons were spent having family quizzes to see how much information we'd retained from the morning before, and every evening I was given a word of the day from the dictionary to use in a sentence.
I was fascinated with these words and went through endless stacks of books, taking it all in, using vocabulary well beyond my age. By age 8 I was done with every book in the reading corner and had moved on to my Mum's Virginia Andrews and Catherine Cookson collections. I would read them as I walked home from school, while I was in the bath, when I was supposed to be sleeping- every spare minute I had, I was reading. I wrote poems and short stories, and when I was 11 I had a poem published by Walkers Crisps ;)
When I was 12 I came second in cringeworthy TV show 'Britain's Brainiest Kids'- are you getting a picture of how geeky I was as a kid? In the end I shot myself in the foot with my own cockiness- I was clever and I knew it, and made the fatal mistake of picking 'Literature' as my final round when I had the first choice and could have picked Pot Luck. Big mistake. I swear I could have taken that trophy home if I'd not been such an arrogant idiot. Still haunts me to this day, not that I'm bitter or anything.

Although I've lost a lot of the intelligence I used to have, the yearn to learn (smooth) is still there. I like to know why, and how, and never accept anything at face value. I believe learning is an amazing thing, and often need to remind myself not to get too caught up in routine that I can't spare a minute to learn something new. The brain is just incredible, and the fact that there is so much information out there that I am so clueless about, so much knowledge that my brain is waiting to drink up and is capable of holding just astounds me. Apparently we only use a tiny percentage of our true brain potential so it's mind boggling to think what could really be achieved if we train our brain to expand, and to use more of itself. The opportunity to learn is endless. Even if I learned a new fact every day for the rest of my life, I still wouldn't make a dent in all the things there are to learn in the world. And that is why I love learning.


Desiderata- Max Ehrmann

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A picture of Desiderata by Max Ehrmann
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Desiderata is one of my favourite poems. It's more like a piece of life advice than a poem, but it's beautiful none the less. I thought I'd post it as it's been a long and tiring week so far for me, and hopefully this can inspire you if you've had a bad week so far too!

The lost art of letter writing

The lost art of letter writing
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I love hand written letters. (See previous post about hand written postcards here.) I love sitting down with a notebook and a pen, and just writing without a plan or a structure; writing whatever comes into my head. There's something so personal about writing and receiving a handwritten letter- it's nice to think that someone sat down and took the time to tell you about what's been happening in their lives recently. Facebook, Twitter and Email are great for keeping in touch with friends and family, but to me it's just not the same.
I've always loved letter writing- as a kid I wrote letters to anybody and everybody! Friends who had moved away, penpals, love letters, my sister, even my diary was a series of letters (I was very inspired by Anne Frank's diary!) As I grew into a teenager I started writing letters to people that I had no intention of sending, as a way of dealing with my feelings and to help get things off my chest. I used to love 'telling' people what I really thought of them and then either ripping it up or burning it (I was very emo as a teenager- I loved to write by candlelight whilst listening to Ani DiFranco and having a sneaky cigarette out of my bedroom window- I was desperate to be 'beat generation'.)

Anyway, as a lover of English in general I've always found it much more natural for me to put things into written words rather than to speak them out loud. Thankfully, since I've moved out of my Parents and became my own person I've changed, but I never used to be able to speak about feelings and emotions very well and bottled a lot of it up; so letter writing has always been a kind of sanctuary, a safe haven for me.

This Mother's Day I didn't have a lot of money to buy my Mum a nice present like she deserves, so I decided to write her a long heartfelt letter- my Mum is just like me and doesn't talk about feelings, but I'm determined to make her see the light and tell me she loves me all the time :p

In my letter I wrote about everything that I was thankful to her for, everything about my past that I regretted, and apologised for being a selfish and horrible tearaway teen. I told her all the reasons why I love her and all the things I've realised she sacrificed for me as a child. It's funny how you never realise what your parents do for you as kid, until you're an adult.
It was a very easy letter for me to write, although I cried the whole way through it. I think it's the best letter I've even written.

On being unique

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Everybody wants to be unique. From the 'totally wacky' people who obviously try too hard to be zany and amusing, to the I-want-to-be-unique-by-following-an-alternative-crowd type people, everybody is trying to put their own stamp on things. To truly discover who 'they' are and run with it.
The thing that slightly freaks me out about discovering who I am, is that I am not really unique in myself. I am a culmination of two different people; my parents. Obviously I am not entirely one or the other, but I am only the person that I am, because I inherited my values and qualities from them.

I have my Dad's nose, and my Mum's eyes. My Dad's short temper, and my Mum's wobbly legs. My Dad's 'quiet thinker' side, and my Mum's shyness. I believe in what I believe in, because my parents brought me up that way. I love to learn, because my parents pushed me to do well at school and spent Sunday mornings teaching me the capitals of countries, the names of the five great lakes, and the names of scientists and inventors. I'm stubborn because I inherited it from my Dad. I got my dark hair and pale skin from my Mum.

I'm not saying it's a bad thing, because I owe everything I am to them. But it's mind boggling to think that every single characteristic or quirk about myself is just a combination of genes and the environment I was raised in. If I'd been born in a different family, I wouldn't be myself as I am now at all. I'm not really me, I'm just a fifty/fifty product of one sperm, and one egg. Weird.

Carol Ann Duffy- Rapture

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Rapture by Carol Ann Duffy
A terribly small photo, but I have a different version of this book at home and the cover is not as appealing, so couldn't take a larger picture of my own copy!

I have mentioned before that Carol Ann Duffy is my favourite poet ever. I love everything that she writes. You know when you read or listen to something that you just click with, and it has you nodding  like a fool the whole way through? That's how I feel when I read her poetry. This is my favourite collection of hers, as I am a complete sucker for love poems. Especially unrequited love poems, which feature quite heavily in this book! The newer cover that was released for Picador's anniversary is just beautiful, too.

I thought I would share my favourite poem from Rapture. I don't quite know why it's my favourite, but there is something about it that hits me right in the heart. Like all of the poems in this collection, it has the most powerful imagery that just takes my breath away. I love this poem so much that I even have a tattoo of the closing sentence.

I want you and you are not here. I pause 

in this garden, breathing the colour thought is
before language into still air. Even your name 
is a pale ghost and, though I exhale it again
and again, it will not stay with me. Tonight
I make you up, imagine you, your movements clearer
than the words I have you say you said before.

Wherever you are now, inside my head you fix me

with a look, standing here whilst cool late light
dissolves into the earth. I have got your mouth wrong, 
but still it smiles. I hold you closer, miles away,
inventing love, until the calls of nightjars 
interrupt and turn what was to come, was certain,
into memory. The stars are filming us for no one.


Top Ten Epic Songs

Top Ten Epic Songs
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If you don't like music, I don't think you and I can be friends, and you should immediately stop reading this blog and go into a dark, dark corner to hang your head in shame. (Only joking! Please keep reading.)
I absolutely love music. Music makes me so happy. I love all sorts of music- jazz, rock, acoustic, reggae, classical- you name it, I like a bit of it. I love that with music, there is a song for everything. My 'I feel shit and want to wallow in my own self pity' song, my 'reminds me of being on that party boat in Gran Canaria' song, my 'getting jiggy' song (don't laugh, we've all got one), my 'YES!! BEST NIGHT DOWN THE PUB EVERRRR' song; to me, music is more than just a good tune.
When I listen to music, I like to close my eyes and feel the lyrics- it's an amazing feeling when you find a good song that you can really relate to. I think I feel like this because when I was younger, I used to write songs on my guitar (terrible 16-year-old-emo-songs.) As the name of my blog suggests, I love poetry, and I see song lyrics as a kind of poetry.

My favourite songs are what I call 'epic songs'- ones that build up into a massive crescendo that leave you breathless and goose pimply. I have compiled a list of my top ten favourite 'epic songs' to share with you all- I haven't embedded the videos as it might make my page take too long to load on slow browsers, but I'll link the song title to the respective YouTube video. So if there are any songs on my list that you haven't heard, please give them a listen!! (These are in no particular order as I couldn't choose.)

1. Moulin Rouge Soundtrack- El Tango de Roxanne
I'm a sucker for musicals, especially ones directed by Baz Luhrmann. I absolutely love this film, and the soundtrack fits it so well. This song = perfection. I think it's the combination of the two lead parts being sung at the same time that gets me right in the gut!

2. Hans Zimmer- Chevaliers de Sangreal
Another soundtrack- The Da Vinci Code. I adore music like this. When I listen to this piece of music, I always picture someone running over cliffs? (What a twat I must sound.)

3. Damien Rice- I Remember
Damien Rice is one of my all time favourite musicians. The addition of Lisa Hannigan's perfect vocals combined with the orchestral ending gives me shivers every time.

4. James Arthur- Hometown Glory (Adele Cover)
Don't be hating okay? James Arthur is my guilty pleasure! I am not ashamed to say that I downloaded his X Factor album, and this is my favourite of his from the live shows. His voice makes me weak at the knees anyway, but when that dub step beat drops, I totally go all fangirl!

5. Red- Take it all away
The best part of this is approximately 3:50 in. Please listen to this song and don't be put off by the almost four minute wait! Insanely good.

6. Death Cab for Cutie- Transatlanticism
An old classic- such a self indulgent song for an old emo kid like me! Best listened to while drunk, bitter, or drunk on bitter, or all of the above.

7. Dry the River- No Rest
I always want to sing out the chorus at the top of my lungs. I LOVED YOU IN THE BEST WAY POSSIBLE!!! Everyone can relate to this, surely?! Sometimes, maybe, I also always imagine I'm in a music video whenever I listen to this on my iPod while I'm walking along. Emphasis on the maybe...

8. You me at Six- Fireworks
The last minute of this song is crucial. Full of teen angst with an undertone of betrayal. Perfect.

9. Mew- Comforting Sounds
I wish this song could last forever and ever and ever. Full of power and so amazing!

10. Twin Atlantic- Free
Not necessarily a song that builds up into an epic crescendo, but it makes me rock out and sing along in a scottish accent. That's got to be a good thing!

I hope you enjoy at least one of these songs. I had to think long and hard about my favourites to include. Let me know if you enjoy them!


I wish I was a cat

Ginger cat sleeping

At my mum's last night we got round to talking about the good old days when you were a kid and didn't have to worry about paying bills or going to work. The worst thing in my life when I was younger was not getting invited to the cool parties, forgetting my homework or trying to figure out how to sneak alcohol into the house without my mum seeing. It's funny how these things seem so important at the time.
I wish I could go back in time and live the good old days again! Being an adult sucks!
Failing that, I wish I could be a cat. I'd totally spend all my days napping, eating, getting stroked, and napping again. Win!

Book Review: You had me at hello by Mhairi McFarlane

A book review of You had me at hello by Mhairi McFarlane

You had me at hello

Yesterday after visiting the doctors, with the thought of a whole afternoon and evening free to myself whilst Jody was out sledging with her cousin, I decided to nip into Asda and have a mooch around the book aisle. I wanted to curl up in the living room for the afternoon with a cup of tea and something good to read.
Although I normally gravitate towards memoirs or wartime fiction, I headed towards this book straight away. I kept picking up other books while this was in my hand, and put them back every time. For a while it was a tough choice between this and Shadows of the Workhouse by Jennifer Worth, but something told me to go with my instinct and read this book instead, and I'm glad I trusted it!
I got home at 4pm, kicked off my shoes, put the kettle on and sat down with the book and a Belgian bun - which ended up being much needed sustenance in the end, as I didn't stop reading until 10:39. Yep, 6 hours and 39 minutes later, I had migrated to my bed and was still eagerly turning the pages while Jody was trying to get to sleep. The only reason I put it down was because Jody was blathering on about turning the light off. I even woke up early this morning so that I could catch an extra 45 minutes reading time before getting ready for work!

Let me tell you, this book is a must read. The story line centres around Rachel and Ben, who met while studying English at Manchester University. It follows Rachel throughout the twists and turns of adult life, and explores the many feelings that come rushing back when she bumps into a married Ben, ten years later. Packed with wit and humour, each situation that Rachel is put in had me chuckling away- annoying colleagues, social faux pas- all mixed with one liners and the occasional awkward moment. Far from being the 'heroine' of the book, Rachel seems to be completely relatable to someone like me- she has flaws, and makes wrong decisions- but that's what makes her all the more real.
Mhairi McFarlane is a true gem of an author. Each page had me nodding furiously along, rolling my eyes, cracking a smile and even shedding a little tear; sometimes even a mixture of all four. McFarlane expertly changes the mood of an entire page with a simple poignant phrase that takes you from stifling a giggle to wiping tears from your eyes in 0.2 seconds; no mean feat I'll have you know. Her ability to convey the many faces and depths of human feeling just through the written word is so impressive to me. The way that empathy is evoked page after page- it's like a roller coaster of emotions.
This book is so much more than 'Chick-Lit'. It's independence, it's learning to stand on your own two feet, it's blossoming from a child to a woman, it's finding the courage to break out against settling for less than you deserve, it's irrevocable love and the all consuming heart ache it can bring. It's about every day life continuing around you when you just want the world to stop so you can get off. It's so real life you could forget that it actually isn't your own life (or maybe I just get really attached to fictional characters?) Speaking of characters, the ones in 'You had me at hello' stay so consistent throughout, I felt like they were my friends. There's at least one person in this book that will remind you of someone you know in real life!

I'm so upset to have finished the book, I can't explain how sad I am! I wish the book was never ending! That's how I judge a good book apart from others- how much it calls to me to read it when I should be doing other things, and how sad I am when I finish! I thoroughly recommend this book to anyone- it doesn't matter if it's not normally your cup of tea. I'm sure you'll love it!

I've also been talking to/harassing the author on twitter (@mhairimcf) and she's super nice. She's told me 'You had me at hello' may soon be turned into a film- you'll have to read the book before it does so that you can compare the two when you go see it!

Now that I'm lonely and pining for another alternate world to bury my head in, please feel free to suggest some good books for me to read, or if you've read this book, let me know your thoughts!


Positive body image

Obtaining a positive body image

I do not have a positive body image. My thighs rub together- there, I said it. My 'thunder thighs', my 'chunky monkeys', my 'tree trunks'- they touch when I walk. I don't have an enviable gap in my legs that you could fit a bus through, but I do have a great big hole in my favourite jeans where the fabric has worn through. Annoyingly, this is the second pair of the same jeans that it's happened to in about five months. The sensible part of me said, “send them a picture! Write a complaint!” but the self conscious part of me shrunk away, thinking, “what if whoever reads it sends it to everyone in the office, and they all sit there nibbling their salad leaves laughing at the poor fat girl whose massive legs have worn holes in not one, but two pairs of jeans?” My finger hovered over the send button, pondering over what meant more to me- my pride and dignity, or the chance of a £10 voucher. Naturally, the chance of a freebie won, but I still felt completely embarrassed.
I've been 'plump' since I was about five years old, so I've had my whole life to get used to the teasing, the name calling and the feeling of insufficiency that comes hand in hand with being overweight. I've also always had big legs, and always had a complex about them. On holidays I wrapped up in sarongs and long t-shirts, staring jealously at the girls in skimpy bikinis with their long, bronzed limbs. In swimming classes I tiptoed to the edge of the pool before dive bombing in, throwing the towel mid-jump, hoping no one would see me in my ancient cossie. I've spent my life hiding my body, ashamed of it's lumps and bumps, wishing I could be like the popular girls, the models that graced the covers of magazines, and the actresses I adored. The message is all around- you'll be more successful in life the slimmer and prettier you are. For a swarthy, overweight, uni-browed adolescent that's hard to take in. I've wasted a lot of time and energy hating parts of myself because society made me feel like I should. I felt like I should be more concerned about preventing cellulite, or how to lose a stone in two weeks, or what to wear to bag myself a love interest. I, like many other young and impressionable people, have spent time formulating ways of becoming someone I am not to feel I could would be worthy of love and attention. My self esteem has been at rock bottom from constantly comparing myself to other people, and continued to be for a long time.
I know there are plenty of other women out there just like me, who share the same insecurities- the women who still can't let their other half see them in the buff without covering up their wobbly bits, the women who feel self conscious or second best in a room amongst other women; all because of the media's perception of beauty that is in our face everywhere we turn.
Some people are naturally slim, whilst some people are naturally overweight- not just because they like cakes, but because of underlying medical problems such as hormonal imbalances. Some people are perfectly happy with their bodies whatever shape they may be, whilst some people are constantly trying to lose a few pounds. I used to be one of the latter. Then I got a grip and threw the proverbial two fingers up at anyone who tried to make me feel inferior for being me. I suggest anyone else feeling embarrassed or ashamed of their bodies does the same.

Making Routines Work for You

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I forgot to add this post last week. It's the new article I wrote for BitchBuzz:

Beady eyed readers may notice my blog has had a little facelift. Once again I asked Gillian from Elevator Musik to design my new layout and once again she has surpassed herself! I love my new blog design! I would really recommend her to anyone looking for a freshen up or complete blog overhaul. She seemed to read my mind- it may help that I was a bit more specific this time about what I wanted but it looks just as I pictured it. Again, she was super easy to contact and had no problems going in and changing little things I was picky about. I don't think she is taking on many new customers at the moment due to uni work, but if you are happy to wait til she has more spare time then contact her and see if she can help you :)

Signs and Symptoms of a mid life crisis

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I think, at the grand old age of 23, I am having a mid life crisis. I just feel so completely and utterly disappointed with life. This is not what I imagined being a 'grown up' would be like!

I like my job, and I have a great relationship as well as great parents, so technically I don't have a leg to stand on. I just feel so down that this is all life will ever be for me. I'm a great believer in making your own fate, and in the past year I've completely changed career paths so I'm a lot happier in my job, but it's just the situation of work that gets me down. I know I risk sounding like a spoilt brat but it's so disheartening that we're all stuck in this cycle of work, eat, sleep (unless you're very privileged and lucky enough not to have to do so.) I find it very hard to get that work/life balance as I need to work long hours to be able to get as much money as possible to cover my bills, which leaves me with hardly any time to spend with loved ones and unwind. And when I do get time in the evenings, I spend it watching dreary TV until bedtime because a) Jody doesn't really do much else as she prefers spending her evenings chilling out, and b) it's the only time I get to spend with Jody so I'd rather be watching crap soaps with her than upstairs reading alone. Plus I have neither the money nor the friends to go out and do anything else. And when I do make plans, I feel too anxious to follow through with them and end up cancelling in panic.
Having had a full time job since I was 16, and my own house since I was 17, I've never had that period of youth where you just go out and experience things without worrying about responsibilities. I've never gone to University, or gone travelling, or gone out every weekend with my friends, or had the luxury of spending an entire wage packet on one frivolous item. I feel like I wanted to grow up too fast, and now that I am grown up, I spend all my time wishing that I could be a kid again.
But I'm only getting older, and the chance for me to have a second youth is getting slimmer and slimmer by the day. This is it, and this is likely all it's ever going to be. Work until you're too old to work any more and you're too old or ill to enjoy the time to yourself. Then you're gone! The stark realisation of 'the circle of life' is, quite frankly, shit.


Easy ways to save money in January

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January is so glum, and boring, and I feel miserable that all the festive decorations are coming down. I don't know about you, but I'm also strapped for cash this month from too much celebrating!
Here's my latest BitchBuzz article about how to save money in January:

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