The Redundant Life

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My job, my lovely lovely job in the brilliantly wonderful ad agency has gone.

It has moved down to London without me, like a 23 year old bright eyed graduate leaving home with stars in her eyes. Along with the rest of my lovely lovely team’s jobs, it’s migrated down the M1 to the big city for bigger and better things.

Obviously I, the mum of two children who are well and truly happily based 40 miles north of London, have not moved with my job. Remember when I left my previous job in London to spend more time with those children? Yep. I had to say goodbye once again.

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In a not-so poetic metaphor: redundancy is rubbish. This is the first time it’s happened to me and it’s been well and truly awful. Seven of us in total have been left without jobs in the department move and in truth it’s been a very sad situation. I loved my job, enjoyed going to work very much, saw my colleagues as friends and confidantes and to have that taken away quite swiftly was a bit shocking. As one of my work buddies put it (though she brilliantly illustrated this through the medium of unicorns so it was obviously heaps better) you go through the different stages of redundancy; you’re gutted, then angry, then you accept the news, return to being sad, and then move on to being mind-numbingly drunk.

Only I missed out on the drunk part because I had a stinking cold. WHY ME, WORLD?!

My team left a week ago and I had my final day in the London office last Thursday, having agreed to work from home to help manage the new staff bed-in for a couple more weeks. But it’s difficult, it’s hard. I miss my work friends, I don’t have a job to go to when this one ends and I’ve never been in this situation before. I am a fan of routine, I like knowing where I’m working, when I’m working, where I’ll be in six months (as much as I can, anyway). Not knowing makes me nervous. Not earning makes me nervous. Kids need shoes and all that.

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I have, however, enjoyed being a bit more present in the children’s lives. Being able to dawdle on the school run and chat with the other mums rather than scoot straight off to the office has been lovely. Taking Hux to pre-school (I was always at work for the 9.15 start) is amazing. Not having to plan my free time down to the second is pretty cool. I have freedom for the first time in a long time.

It’s a shame you can’t use freedom to buy your groceries, eh?!

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I know I will be OK, I always am. I work hard and I will find work again, whether it’s freelance or in a new agency, I have faith that a combination of my career history, work ethic and the universe will make sure the next step is a good one. Until then, here’s to that freedom.

And if anyone needs a freelance digital guru you know where to look (here! here! here!).

Sometimes It’s Hard To Be A Woman, But At Least We Have Karma

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Sometimes you just have one of those weeks. Those weeks when you feel you’re tired and unmotivated, nothing goes right, you hate all your clothes and you just want to crawl back into bed and sleep your weird mind-funk off for a couple of days. Maybe only to be woken by someone bringing you sausage rolls or cheese toasties. And as we’re in fantasy land I’d like to specify Jamie Dornan to be the one bringing me baked goods, if you please.

I realised I was having one of those weeks by Wednesday this week: I’d ugly-cried at Call The Midwife (seriously took me hours to get over that episode), the jacket of Rachael’s new book, a random advert I don’t remember and the finale of The Office (ALL THE EMOTIONS). I’d diagnosed myself with manflu on Monday having been flat-out knackered with a sniffle all weekend and dosed myself up on chamomile tea and sympathy. My productivity was low which is always the worst feeling for me and I felt like I couldn’t even put an outfit together (the horror…).

Jamie Dornan never appeared, FYI.

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I generally felt out of sorts and not myself – blaming January with its freezing skies and miserable commuters – until Mother Nature reminded me that HEY, I can eff up your week just cos you’re a WOMAN. And so I switched my blame from January to my bloody bloody hormones.

I’m fairly lucky with my womanly ways, as it goes. I remember being a teenager, listening to songs about love and passion and the cruel cruel world and just having all these FEELINGS. These teenage feelings that nobody really knew what to do with, least of all me. Back then it was all so new – the hormones, the boyfriends, the dealing with life – there was soooo much dramatic teenage turmoil that usually ended in screeching at my mum and wailing on my bathroom floor about how life wasn’t fair (sorry mum).

Now when I feel a bit hormonal there’s more grown-up situation of tucking yourself into bed nice and early to watch an uplifting film (my go-to is 500 Days of Summer for happy or sad situations), treating yourself to a glass of wine at the weekend or browsing TED Talks to re-ignite your inspiration. There’s more geeing yourself up by listening to Bruno Mars, cooking a lovely dinner and browsing ASOS.

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The grown-up version of hormonal turmoil is much more pleasant, it has to be said.

But it’s times like this that really re-affirms my faith in the universe. I know I’ve mentioned this before and I still feel a bit ridiculous writing this down – 19 year old me thought ‘Karma’ was nothing but the title of a Culture Club song – but since I started my singleton journey 2 years ago I have really felt the universe looking after me when I’m feeling a little bit rubbish.

It’s the little things. Sian, my lovely manicurist, giving me 3 extra stamps on my loyalty card because she knew I was having a hard day. An odd man at Costa telling me my cold-ravaged hands were beautiful (all down to you, Sian). The man at the tapas place around the corner from work giving me 10% off and sneaking me a free glass of wine. Winning a £50 voucher for Boden, one of my favourite shops. Sam at Ena Salon inviting me in for a haircut and making me feel (and look!) so good that I left walking on air.

Seriously, if you need a re-style please go and see him. Sam is hands down the best stylist I’ve ever been to and the blow-dry he gave me this time around was nothing short of magical. It made me feel like a million dollars. Look at all these smug selfies I took after visiting him!

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It’s more than that though – karma is how other people react to you when you’re having a slightly rough time. It’s how you react to other people when they’re experiencing the same. It’s when you know you haven’t been the best person you can be and something external to you recognising that – a broken egg shell at the supermarket or a rude shop assistant.

Bear with me on this, I think ‘Karma’ may be the only religion I’ve ever believed in.

Today is Friday so I have declared that The Week of Funk will be officially over. Bring back my productivity, my excitement, my ability to get dressed. Hormones are SO 2014…

2015, A Late Welcome

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Although I haven’t written my summary of 2014 yet I’ve spent a hell of a lot of time thinking about it. It feels like 2014 was a really big year; I reached the end feeling the best I ever have. Professionally, emotionally, personally. The year has been pretty brilliant, if not a bit of a character builder.

Throughout the year I can safely say I’ve made mistakes, found myself in situations I’ve then had to extract myself from, learning lessons along the way. I can safely say I’ve never worked harder or pushed myself more than in the last 12 months, but contrary to what I always believed it turns out that hard work, it makes me happy! Who’d have thought it? Despite the onslaught of early mornings, late nights and knackering days I’ve been surprised at how much satisfaction the feeling of a solid 12 hour working day brings me ;) My eyes have more bags than John Lewis but I think they call this character building, and it works.

Clarity is a good word that I’d give to 2014. Everything in my life now feels clarified, concentrated, meticulously crafted. I feel like I have a wonderfully curated – small but wonderful – circle of friends that has shrunken slightly but in an entirely positive way.

I’ve found out things about myself that I didn’t know before, from what makes me happy to what I need to stay sane in my work and dating life (er, quite a lot, sorry bosses and boys). There have been times where I have prioritized work above everything else and I’ve achieved so much, but striving for a better work/life balance in 2015 is definitely something I need to aim for.

I’ve found clarity in the sort of person I want to be, and realised what behaviours in others I can tolerate and which I cant. I have little time for negativity in others and seem to have developed a mindset of constant positive thinking.

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Without hugely bigging myself up I think I have ended the year a much nicer person. I’ve become a lot more aware of my own spirituality and place in the universe (seriously, 2013 me would be rolling her eyes big-time at this) and I really try hard to be the best person I can. I like to make life happy for other people and have been finding it easier to cut the bad wood out.

I have a love and hate relationship with New Years Resolutions. On one hand, why is it only this once a year that we’re widely allowed to take stock and make positive changes? On the other, what a great time to take stock and make positive changes… so this year I have resolved to keep on keeping on. A couple of little resolutions never hurt anyone, am I right?

2015 will be a busy one – I turn 30 for a start – so I’m keeping it simple. Keep being nice, keep working hard (but balance it with family life), keep enjoying and working on my health (EAT LESS BUTTER) and just have fun. Laugh lots, spend time with wonderful people and stop being hung up on not getting enough sleep. And above all, think positive thoughts. AND WRITE, always keep writing!

It feels good to be in 2015. I’m happy to be here.

PS: Looking back – January 2014 / January 2013 / January 2012 (can’t believe I used the phrase ‘New Year New Me’ without irony) / January 2011

 

Toyah Wilcox, Bingo And Me

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What did you do last Thursday?

Watch TV? Eat pizza? Read a magazine? Take a bath?

That’s my usual Thursday regimen, too – yeah, I’m wild – but last Thursday was a little bit different. I’d been invited to take part in a Twitter Q&A with the legend that is Toyah Willcox in association with the team behind The Sun’s online bingo show! You can’t get more modern than that when it comes to interviewing a celebrity, can you?

The last Twitter Q&A I did was way back in my Vice Magazine days of 2009, very hungover, with Mariachi El Bronx, a heavy metal band from New York with a Mariachi side project (well, duh, don’t all heavy metal bands?). I had a feeling this one might be slightly different…

I’m a big fan of Toyah. She lives in the Worcestershire town I grew up in and widely regarded as a local legend so I was really excited to chat to her. I’d been invited down to The Sun’s jazzy studios (plied with the promise of wine, even!) and was excited to meet their celebrity crew – Brian Dowling and Rustie Lee – but as many of the best plans are this was scuppered by a baby with a temperature. Baby Hux: killing off my celebrity social life since 2012 ;)

And so we were to do it over the phone… and here it is! Lovely Toyah on the blower to me! We had a grand old chat with questions being asked of her via my Twitter feed (some more sensible than others)…

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So here it is: 13 things you’ve always wanted to know about Toyah Willcox. All in 140 characters or less.

Q: Who are you backing on I’m a Celebrity?
A: I think Melanie Sykes is amazing!

Q: If you could learn another language what would it be?
A: French. Because that allows you to watch lots of European movies. And my second choice is Spanish

Q: Do you brush your teeth before or after breakfast?
A: As soon as I get up! But then also after breakfast, too

Q: What’s your favourite Tube stop?
A: I love Westminster – you can feel the history there

Q: Have you ever owned a Toyotah?
A: No! I tend to drive Peugeot

Q: Have you kept her ‘Most Fanciable Female’ award from Smash Hits? (Kim Wilde was runner-up….)
A: Yes! I keep all my awards in my London home in my office.

Q: Your brilliant album Desire is the only one to never get a cd reissue. Will it ever see the light of day again?
A: I own the rights to desire & am holding it back for the right time…

Q: If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
A: I’ve never been to Bali and have always wanted to go

Q: Do you keep your ketchup and eggs in the fridge or out of the fridge?
A: both in the fridge!

Q: Which 5 people would you invite to a dinner party?
A: Joan of Arc, David Bowie, Florence Nightingale, Ozzy Osbourne, Queen Victoria

Q: The eighties: which outfit would you bring back and why?
A: Thunder in the Mountains – slashed black suede dress: perfect for rocking out on-stage!

Q: Who was your favourite Teletubby?
A: LaaLaa as I am very short – we had that in common. 

Q: What is your favourite way to relax?
A: I love the simplicity of walking, either in the city or countryside

Next week’s celebrity guest on The Sun’s bingo channel is another legend of my childhood, Dave Benson Philips. Join along at the Romance Room tomorrow from 7pm, and remember – Have A Ball!

Huge thank-yous to The Sun Bingo for supporting MTT and introducing me to the legend that is Toyah Willcox ;) 

 

 

 

Be Safe, Be Seen

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As the clocks have now gone back – ugh ugh there aren’t enough words to say how wrong it is waking up in the dark – The Co-operative Funeralcare have launched their national Be Safe, Be Seen campaign. They donate their special yellow high visibility pin-on badges to primary schools all over the country with the aim of helping to keep them safe after sundown.

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They kindly sent some badges over for us and our friends to help kick-off the campaign. As soon as they arrived both Elfie and Hux wanted to put them on (though one of those people was a little more camera shy than the other). Road safety is so important and is something I’ve always drilled into them so it’s a campaign we’re all really happy to support.

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(Please note my son’s amazing pink and green nails, insisted on when he saw me painting mine red)

Here are some really great tips from The Co-operative Funeralcare to discuss with your children this winter and a wonderful video to help them better understand road safety:

  • Looking out for and encouraging your children to be aware of hidden entrances or driveways when crossing pavements.
  • Making sure your children walk on the side of pavements away from the traffic.
  • When crossing the road your child should always choose a safe place and time to cross. It’s always safer to cross at a pedestrian or patrolled crossing.
  • Avoid crossing between parked cars as drivers won’t be able to see children who do this very well.
  • It’s important to stop at the curb, look both ways and listen to traffic before crossing. Pedestrian crossings can still be dangerous if care is not taken.
  • All pedestrians should wait on the pavement until all the traffic from both directions has stopped as this is the safest time to cross. Islands are often provided in the middle of the road, so children should treat each half as a separate crossing.
  • Children should avoid playing near busy roads as they can often forget their surroundings and become unaware of the dangers on the road.

For more information on The Co-operative’s valuable work educating children on road safety, do pop along to their website and have a read.

This is a Netmum’s sponsored review.

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I am a member of the Netmums Blogging Network, a unique community of parent bloggers from around the UK who have been handpicked by the Netmums team to review products and brands on their behalf. I may have been paid expenses and have been supplied with a product sample for this review, but retain all editorial control. All my Netmums Reviews will display the Netmums logo within the post.

Hello, Is It Me You’re Looking For?

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I DID IT AGAIN.

I got so involved with work/The X Factor/doing a North of England tour (the Lake District is lovely even in the rain, innit) that every time I sit down to write something here there is NOTHING LEFT. Which is a weird feeling to have.

I actually got home from work with two tired and screaming children a couple of weeks ago and just felt this thing of not having anything left to give anyone at all. No energy to talk, to parent, to email, to read. If I remember correctly to make myself feel better I just had a massive mug of tea – because that’s how I roll these days – and went to bed at 8.30pm after one of those self-pitying weeps that makes you feel much better.

It was a great feeling, though, because it means I am giving everything I have. And I’m all about making the most out of life at the moment (and probably read too many celebrity self-help books, but hey-ho), and with all that lovely stuff that is part of our busy life I go to bed each night knackered but happy.

Happy, apart from I don’t see my friends enough AND I MISS THEM. That means you, Amy. And Bryony. And Lizzi. And Steph. Don’t forget about me!

You can console yourself with the fact I have six half-finished blog posts sitting in drafts currently. You have to look forward to gems such as: “DATING TIPS FROM SOMEONE WHO DOESN’T HAVE A CLUE!”, “HOW TO BE A PARENT”, “WHY I AM NOW A FEMINIST” and “OH GOD NOT FROZEN AGAIN”. One of these posts does not exist, but is a phrase I utter on the regular… I will let you decide which.

One of my biggest problems currently is that I have started reading again. Books by women I admire and aspire to be like when I grow up – Bryony Gordon’s The Wrong Knickers, Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In and Sali Hughes’s Pretty Honest (also: Graham Norton’s The Life And Loves Of A He Devil). The issue with reading such fantastic aspirational stories is that they leave me a bit stunted creativity-wise. Like if I am writing I MUST make myself as interesting as I can like my new found heroes. Which is about when I crumble under the pressure, make myself another cup of tea and turn to Netflix.

Told you, ROCK N ROLL down in here.

Anyway, after a quick jaunt to the glorious Boden press show today and some time with one of my favourite bloggers I do feel a little bit rejuvenated and ready to tackle more writing. I love my blog so much, I just need to grab my snatches of inspiration when I’m not so tired.

In 2017, maybe? Wait for me, readers!

This weekend I’m heading over to Mumsnet Blogfest to speak on a panel about monetising your blog and am looking forward to catching up with my buddies in the Blogging world – do come and have a listen if you’re there!