A Teen Dream?

I had a shocker of a time as a teenager. From age 13-16, life sucked. Maybe I’ll write about it one day, but for now let’s just say I wouldn’t go back and do those years again if you paid me in cold hard cash and pretty handbags. When I was 16, things started to change and that was largely due to the people I met, the group that pulled me in and the confidence it gave me. Some of those people are still my closest friends. The kind of ‘don’t speak to for months, then it’s like no time has passed at all’ people. You know the kind.

Anyway I got to talking about these people and that time with new friends this weekend and it got me thinking. I was a teen in the mid 90’s. No one had a mobile phone let alone access to Facebook or Twitter (our school only got internet access in 96. On one computer in the library. That you had to book to use!). If we wanted to find out what was going on in each other’s lives, we had to use the landline (after 6pm) or meet up. In person. We rarely made plans. The summer evenings were for hanging out. But we never made ‘appointments’ or sent iCals. No, we had the ‘circuit’. Our circuit was a network as much any social media platform; only ours was a network of roads, within a self defined area of my home town. Our way of finding each other was to go to those roads. Our plans went as far as “Stay on the circuit. I’ll find you” We didn’t know where each other would be, we just trusted that one or more or us would be there somewhere. And we were.

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6th Form Me circa 1996

Teenagers today would never need to be so haphazard. Every meet up can be planned and re-planned and cancelled and locations changed at the ping of a message on any one of the hundreds of social media platforms available. And that makes me just a little sad. Surely it takes some of the spontaneity and indeed camaraderie out of those fleeting years. Or maybe it doesn’t, who the hell am I? I don’t know any teenagers. I’m just making old people assumptions. But in my eyes everyone using the same platforms and having access to everyone else at all hours makes me wonder if these kids wont lose some of the freedom, the uncertainty, the fun I had growing up? Which may or may not be a bad thing. I mean the only time we ever arranged to all be somewhere in advance was for the occasional party at someone’s house. And they NEVER went well (I mean parts of them were brilliant, but something always went awry, usually caused by the same over hormonal girl – not me may I add!) I bet today’s teens could arrange a much better house party than we ever could. We were so unused to organising that we would whip ourselves up into a ridiculously over excited frenzy. Like toddlers hepped up on sugar. No wonder it always went wrong. Today’s teens are so much more sophisticated than we were. I bet they’d never get so excited over a silly house party.

Or maybe they would? I hope so. I hope today’s kids spend as many hours as I did daydreaming about this month’s favourite guy, or deliberating over which dress to wear to the next party, or playing albums til they know all the words off by heart. I hope they have real friends, who they can muddle through these bonkers years with, people they can be themselves with, whatever that may be. The new friend I was talking with this weekend, was of the opinion that teenagers have been homogenized and that there is no opportunity for sub-cultures to exist or develop any more. I hope that’s not true. An entire generation of teens thinking and doing and being the same thing, is going to result in some fucking boring adults.

Do you have teens? What do they reckon to all of this? Do they think I’m just old and out of touch? I’d love to know.

 

 

Life with Baby Kicks

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

Slimming World Update – Week 75

Hellllloooooo!

I promised I’d update you this week. And here I go!

So last night was the final group before Christmas – Tuesday instead of the usual Wednesday and despite it being so close to the big day, it was important for me to weigh in. Partly to know where I am right now and partly so I can know exactly how I do over the next week or so. As last Friday saw me drinking my own body weight in wine and eating an entire bag of Metcalfe’s Salt n Sweet popcorn when I got home, not to mention “recovery toast” the next day, I knew this weeks result might be a bit of a shock. And was it ever.

I lost 3.5lb!

I can’t tell you how shocked I was. I can only put it down to all the dancing we did on Friday night (it was fantastic and I feel the need to go dancing again soon!) It means I have lost 6 stone 9.5lb (93.5lb), 2 stone 9.5lb since last Christmas! Get in! It was so unexpected and it’s MADE my Christmas. Already. And it’s not even the big day yet!

So the next few days I will be going fairly easy on myself syn wise and that’s my choice. Obviously there’s the main meal, but alongside that I have a BOX of cheese in my fridge (we plumped for Gorgonzola, Yarg and a Port flavoured one with a Stilton core I don’t even know the name of, this year) as well as two boxes of Hotel Chocolat chocolates (we decided to go for a small box of Christmas and a small box of boozy flavours). These next few days will be decadent for sure. But I also have the wherewithal to make proper meals. Casseroles, soups, proper wintry fare. Gone are the days when the Christmas holidays saw me existing on a succession of one snack food after another, all washed down with vast quantities of Quality Street. I mean what’s the point? Seriously? What kind of a gift is that to give myself? Heartburn, nausea, stomach cramps, not to mention the weight gain. No thanks – you can keep them for me.

It’s not all about the food for me. I’m excited about so many other things this Christmas. I’m excited for Ben to be at home with us for 11 days, the longest he’s had off work in bloody ages! I’m excited to see my baby open his gifts on Christmas morning and for all of us to play with them together. I’m excited to go for walks with my family, watching Oscar grow in confidence and understanding of his surroundings. I’m excited to catch up with friends, be that in person, or digitally (Skype soon Michelle?). I’m just excited for Christmas. A little peace and a lot of love.

I also wanted to take this opportunity to say a huge ‘Thank you so much’ for all your support this past year. I know lately things have been a bit hit and miss here on the blog (bloody life getting the way hey?!) and for that I’m sorry. But whether you’ve stuck by me from the beginning or are new to my ramblings, you have all been more of a blessing than you could ever realise. If I could give you all a gift it would be to have the Christmas you want. as full or as peaceful as you would want it. To taste every mouthful you choose to eat and to mindfully and thoroughly enjoy it.

I’m not even going to pretend I’ll be blogging over Christmas – I wont (although if you follow me on any social media I’ll be sure to make you sick of the sight of me – links are in the side bar!) My next weigh in is on 30th so I promise to check in after that!

HAVE A WONDERFUL CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!

Big loves

Lisa

xxxxx

Merry Christmas from my little guy

Merry Christmas from my little guy xx

 

 

Slimming World Update – Week 60

Konnichiwa!

Sorry I spent most of yesterday going all Japanesey and I think it’s rubbed off a little. I definitely want sushi this weekend (where we live we only get fresh sushi on Saturdays! If that doesn’t class an area as rural then I don’t know what does 😉 )

So yeah, yesterday. I wasn’t planning to weigh in last night, as I was up in London. I was planning to wait until Thursday morning and to be honest I wish I had. But I made a concerted effort to get back last night and although I arrived late, Sara very kindly weighed me after everyone had gone. Which was lucky. As I never, ever weigh in in jeans I decided to take them off. Yes that’s right ladies & gentlemen. I weighed in in just my pants and tshirt. Didn’t make any bloody difference though. Still gained 0.5lb (Total lost 6 Stone 2lb).

So I could use the event in London as an excuse (sushi, nibbles and lots of drinking mostly of the non alcoholic variety). But to be honest I’ve had a shitty cold all week and I know I’ve gone over my syns. I’ve been tired to my very core, but whilst in my pre child days I would just moan and mope about, retreating to bed when I felt truly terrible, that just isn’t possible now. Not even a little bit. So what do you do? Dose yourself up and carry on, ignoring your body’s pleas to lie down. And occasionally having more food than you need. It’s not like I went out and gorged on cake or anything I swear, but I’ve had big bowls of bran flakes and sultanas when I know I haven’t had the syns for it, that sort of thing. Meh I could make excuses all day, but thems are the facts and there’s no point mithering over them.

What I have done this week is achieved LOADS. Yes I’ve had a so so week at the scales, but in real life I’ve had a great week (apart from the crappy cold of course). I kept my son fed, watered, entertained and interested for most of the week and blimey that in itself is a triumph when feeling like pants! I managed to get our shit together enough to go out on various days and not only that we also had people over. One day I fed two toddlers and a baby all at the same time. Big up me!

I wrote three full size blog posts, one more than normal, which have all be incredibly well received. No mean feat when your toddlers naps are getting shorter by the week.

I cleaned the kitchen from top to bottom (for some mad reason) including cleaning the cooker. What the hell? I honestly cleaned like the Queen was coming to tea. Which is possibly why Ben’s mum is now coming to visit at the end of the month. She saw I’d been cleaning and felt it best to come while it would still be in a fair state. And after once coming down with the winter vomiting bug during one visit, who can blame her!

I got myself some freelance work administrating a Parent Blogger Leaderboard. So it’s using software I’ve used previously, working with a community I’m already involved with. What’s not to love about this? It’s only a few hours a month, but it’s some kind of income again. Hoo flippin’ Rah!

The washing machine threw an epic fail last week, chewing one of my Bravissimo bras up in the process. Seriously, it ripped that sucker to pieces! Vicious! So on Saturday we went back to the lovely Bravissimo shop in Guildford to get me a new one. I thought I’d better check my size while I was there (as the cups on the existing ones were starting to look a bit like they had room for storage at the top!) The lovely fitter, Hannah (who fitted me last time funnily enough) immediately told me the cup was too big (which I knew) and went to get me another couple of sizes to try. Going down a back size was even mentioned, but in the end we kept the band the same and just went down a cup size. The difference was obvious and immediate. And so comfortable. So in the end I guess the washing machine did me a favour!

Bravissimo  - Guildford

Bravissimo – Guildford

Little treasures!

Little treasures!

I went up to London, on my own, to meet a group of people I’d never met. If that doesn’t deserve a little pat on the back then what does? Seriously Let me know. I went to The Beni Girls Bash, a blogger event at Benihana in Chelsea. I will write more about it soon, but suffice to say I had the most amazing day, meeting the most interesting people (one of which I ended up chatting to about SW – haha I find them where ever I go!) and eating some, not always the most optimised but, truly delicious food!

Boats full of sushi - now that's a flotilla I could get behind

Boats full of sushi – now that’s a flotilla I could get behind

Chicken Teryaki - which they placed directly in front of me. With a fork!

Chicken Teryaki – which they placed directly in front of me. With a fork!

I took this selfie on the way into town and received THE most overwhelming response.

July 2013 to Sept 2014

July 2013 to Sept 2014

I liked the picture, but oh my life the response has been incredible. People I’ve never met have been commenting on it and Slimming World Head Office sent me this tweet. I’m a little bit bewildered by it all if truth be told, but I am so grateful.

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So yeah it would have been nice to be able to come here today and tell you about a loss, but hey – look at the week I’ve had! And after all, isn’t that what this journey’s been about all along? The numbers are just that and yeah you want them to move in the downwards direction on a mostly regular basis, but for me, the life losing weight has given me is so much more than a number on a scale.

Have great weeks people!

xxx

 

My one year Bloggiversary

OK so I’ve just noticed something and I had to share.

I’ve been blogging for a year.

Well over a year actually. I wrote my first ‘proper’ post on 7th July 2013. I remember writing it like it was yesterday, on my phone, sat in the Friary Centre Costa Coffee in Guildford. It was about Primark. Random I know. Do I share it again? I didn’t actually share it the first time round. It’s not really that interesting. But hey, I guess it’s kind of important because it’s where I started. In that case here it is:

I’m having an afternoon off from mummy duties and spending a bit of alone time in Guildford. I needed to get Oscar some more short pyjamas (as the ones our friend Becky bought him for his birthday are proving such a hit). So my first instinct was to go to M&S. They have always been a staple of O’s wardrobe, providing good quality basics at reasonable prices. So anyway I went straight there and got exactly what I wanted. Short pyjamas, three pairs, for 12.

However, as all my maternity/holiday/savings finally ran out this month I’m on something of a budget drive. It’s not that I wasted money before but one of the things I always worked hard for in my life was the ability not have to budget. But needs must and anyway I think “hmmm I wonder if Primarni has anything cheaper?”

I don’t often go to Primark. Not because I have anything against it per se, just as a plus size I’ve never found anything to fit me in there. I have also found the children’s section, particularly for young boys, to be woefully small, especially in the Guildford branch. But as I’m trying to careful with my pennies (well not my pennies but that’s another post) I thought I’d check it out.

It was a mistake and a complete waste of time. Not because, as I suspected, they had nothing I wanted. They did have some really nice little boy clothes. No the problem with Primark was the people in Primark. I’m not talking about the staff, who seemed present and helpful. No I mean the customers.

I know that makes me sound like the worse kind of snob and to some extent it is the people themselves. The kind who will leave their babies screaming in the buggy whilst they rummage for a bargain. It upsets me but who am I to judge?

No, I think its the environment that brings out the worst in people. The low prices somehow send out a signal that this store isn’t really worth caring about thus clothes and shoes and accessories are thrown about with complete disregard rather like a jumble sale. I even found myself taking less care than I ever would in M&S for example. It was then I realised I needed to leave, empty handed.

If you do want to, I think Primark is one to do first thing in the morning and midweek. Other than that I think I’m going to stick to M&S and shop the sales.

Blimey! Don’t I sound posh! I like this post. It helps me see how much I’ve developed my own style – one much less formal than I began with!

I had no vision of where this blog would go back then. I still don’t to be honest. All I know is it’s opened me up to so much more in life than I could ever have imagined. I always secretly harboured a desire to write. Not a novel, I don’t have the patience, but something. I kept extensive journals as a teenager and I’m so glad I did. I love reading them back now. They show me how far I’ve come, but also remind me of the time with such clarity I can practically smell the 50p shots of whiskey and taste the kisses of teenage boys. It’s powerful stuff. Maybe I’ll feel the same about these posts when I’m older, or more to the point when Oscar is older. I’ll look back and wonder what on earth I was worrying about all those years ago.

I think blogging has also helped me to find a voice. To look at my life, really look at it, and decide who it is I actually am, or want to be. I’ve been much more honest in writing than I ever would have been in person. But being honest with myself has made me much happier and positive in real life too. Someone came up to me a toddler group to ask me about this blog a few weeks ago and then proceeded to tell me why she wouldn’t want people knowing stuff about her. I could only say that whilst it’s not for everyone, being so honest with the world (and consequently yourself) is bloody liberating. I’m not sure she understood and to be fair I don’t think I would have had I not pushed myself to do this!

My last post was actually written on my bloggiversary (is that a word? It is now!). It was also my 100th post. 100 posts in a year? I’m pretty proud of that. Proud of the volume of writing and proud of the fact I kept at it. Yay me! However, I think I mentioned my lack of patience before 😉 and I’m certain that I wouldn’t have kept going had it not been for the awesome feedback I get from the people that read my words, you, every time I write. It baffles me and yet at the same time makes my heart happy. So yay you too!

So here’s to us. To a year of writing. And to many more years to come.

Cheers!!!

Cheers!!!

 

Virtual Family

I don’t have a large extended family. And the family I do have is scattered, fragmented and as generally dysfunctional as most. I don’t think it’s different or special in that way. This weekend my mum was visiting from Devon to celebrate her 60th birthday. I can’t remember how we got onto the subject and maybe it was the passing of such a significant birthday that put her in a reflective mood, but we started talking about ‘the family’ and in particular Cousins.

I have three cousins, all siblings. I was nine when the first was born and in secondary school by the time the third arrived. By then we had also moved away from the Midlands to Devon. Beyond occasional updates from my Nanna, I grew up knowing very little about them. But I don’t feel I suffered because of it. I personally don’t feel there was ever a relationship to be had there. My sister who is closer in age to the oldest cousin may disagree but I’ve never felt I should feel more for my cousins than I did.

Social media can be a blessing and a curse. I’m particularly good (don’t ask me how) at internet research (curse my flitty mind that will jump around a problem rather than focus 😉 ) and talking about la famillia made me curious. What are my cousins doing now? They’re all in their twenties and yeah they’re all on Facebook. Time for a bit of FB stalking! My oldest cousin has changed his surname, which made it harder to find him, but find him I did. It also made me wonder whether he’d actually changed his name or if it was just a FB thing. People do it. Or if he has, why has he? The youngest two are now dancers/performers, which doesn’t really surprise me. It was something they both did religiously as children, so they’re all over the internet, meaning I found out plenty despite their locked FB pages. Then there’s Twitter. The youngest is an avid Tweeter with over 10K tweets. Most of it was normal 21 year old dancer buff, but I also found out some really personal stuff about her life choices.

I started to regret looking. I felt a bit creepy knowing this much about people I only had a passing interest in. Its not even like we were close or played as children. But the youngest looks so much like my sister I couldn’t stop looking in wonder at her pictures. Was she a nice person, was she happy? I surmised that she’s happy she’s in the business she is, but deeply insecure about certain aspects of it. But then this is social media. Can you ever really tell anything about a person and their life from a bunch of tweets?

It also made me think just how much of ourselves we put out there on the internet. Yes we can change our FB setting to Fort Knox level of security, but that means jack if you use Twitter or Instagram or any other myriad of social media thats out there. I rarely use Twitter (just can’t get my head around how negative it can be) but I have other accounts. I write this blog, which is free and open for all the world to see. It’s my choice to write here, and I have to be OK with the audience it could potentially reach. It’s a truth I think we’re all well aware of, but in order to sleep at night we push to the back of our minds. And the saddest thing for me is it’s not the strangers who could be looking at my pages without me knowing that worry me, but those closer to me, like extended family.

I thought about following my cousins on Twitter, or friending them on FB, but I knew I’d just be doing it out of curiosity. And if it bothers me to think they could be looking at my stuff then maybe it’d bother them to know that’d I’d been looking at theirs. Maybe their parents don’t yet know the things I now do. Maybe they don’t want their parents to know. I hope thats not the case. If I can find out this easily, anyone can.

I closed my cousin’s Twitter page and went to check my security settings.

And Google my own name.