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Last Night

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I was woken up at about 2am by my bladder, a recent standard occurrence, (possibly due to me getting oooooolld.) So I eventually mustered up the effort to sneak to the bathroom like a ninja, trying not to wake up the other half…

Probably no more than a few seconds later my other half is woken up by what he thinks is the sound of running water. Presuming that we had left a tap on somewhere, he sneaks out of the room like a ninja to investigate, believing that I am still asleep next to him…

Flash forward again, to me sat on the toilet having a wee in the dark, door closed (I didn’t want to turn the light on as I’m half asleep). Next thing I know, whilst mid-stream, the door in front of me starts to creak open really slowly, horror movie style.

I am quickly imagining being brutally murdered whilst sat on the toilet.

As the door finally swings open fully a black figure of a man is stood in the doorway, his face in the shadows.

I scream.

To my surprise, he screams.

Then he steps into the stream of light and… yes it’s my partner, the water he had heard was in fact my pee. Lots of swearing and laughing followed!

And we’re both now traumatised.

Doing Squats with Ben & Jerry’s

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Why is being ‘healthy’ so hard?

Yes, I follow all the Instagram pages of success stories, “easy low calorie recipes”, “10 minute fat buster moves”. It’s all “easy”, “simple”, and attainable, apparently?

Sometimes I’ll have a few days, or even weeks, were I’ll be really good. I’ll eat some broccoli by choice, and do some sit ups etc. and feel fab.

But then there are times if I have a bad day at work, or if I am feeling down, I’ll just get home and collapse in front of the tv and eat 2 pieces of gammon, some ice cream and an entire Toblerone in one sitting… (which I may or may not have done last night).

How do people have the motivation to keep it up?

I once had a picture of myself in a bikini (back when I was relatively thin for about 6 months due to being ill previously- definitely not the way to get fit I must add!) set as my phone background so that every time I opened my phone it would remind me of the goal. Then after a while it felt weird and almost self absorbed.

There are times when I don’t even care about loosing weight. I just enjoy my life and get on with it. As long as I am happy who cares?

But even the most strong willed of feminists can’t avoid the surrounding pressure of society to look a certain way. Even if some of the trends are obviously impossible.

I just want to feel confident. I want to feel sexy. And when I do eat healthier and exercise I do feel good.

Damn I love ice cream though.

Neighbourhood Watch

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The sun is shining, and so like many Brits, desperate for any ounce of heat on my pale milk bottle skin, I came and sat out in the garden. (When I say garden, I mean the tiny yard of fake grass at the back of our terraced house). As I sat there, soaking up the rays, dreaming of life on a beach somewhere drinking a pina colada, I glimpse something out of the corner of my eye. The head of a small child quickly appearing and disappearing over the top of the wall. Every time, the child staring directly into my soul.

I suddenly remembered that the next door neighbours have a trampoline.

Ah well, I thought, we are all neighbours here, we can all be outside and enjoy the weather.

I closed my eyes, and returned to the beach.

Then the whispers started.

“I can see the lady next door”

“Jump in the middle then you can see her”

“Oh yeah I can see her too”

*murmured giggles*

“Throw it over”

I open my eyes and what appears to be a white plastic horn has landed near my feet.

(Have these children decapitated a toy cow? Who knows? Are they going to try and decapitate me? Pull off one of my horns?)

I now hear presumably mother of said children hollering them in, shouting apologetically over the wall.

This is the second interaction I have ever had with our neighbours since we moved in 5 months ago. The first one being when a parcel got left at their house over Christmas and I had to knock on to go get it. A perfectly pleasant interaction, but a very swift and to the point transaction, without any dilly-dally.

It got me thinking. (A dangerous activity in itself.)

What is the correct social etiquette for interacting with a neighbour?

Back in the day my parents always seemed fairly friendly with our neighbours. Not best buddies per say, but would definitely give each other Christmas cards, and would say hello with general small talk when passing on the drive. When I was younger I would go out and play with one of the other girls who lived a few houses down.

Flash forward to present day, and I don’t even know our neighbour’s names.

I know where they like to park their car.

I know what time in the morning their baby wakes up to start screaming.

That’s about it.

In the classic American films you see the neighbours come over with a big basket of fruit, and you get the whole Ned Flanders act, “Howdydiddly!”

At the end of the day, we are just separate people living our own lives, that just so happened to buy houses on the same street. Being civil and friendly when necessary should be all that is required.

So why does a part of me feel that an introduction is needed? Do I crave the overly-friendly welcome, and the big neighbourhood barbecues? I’ll bring the potato salad and then we can all get our hair cut by Edward Scissorhands…

When the reality is that I’m far too socially awkward for that, and we live in Warrington for Pete’s sake, not Pleasantville on the Sims.

Can You Hear The Wedding Bells?

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According to my countdown app (at the moment I begin to write this), there is 166 days, 10 hours, and 52 minutes till the exact moment the church organist will start to play, and arm in arm with my dad, I will begin the all important walk down the aisle…

When I am reminded of this, half of me is overwhelmed with the emotions of joy and excitement, as well as the nerves.

Whilst the other half of me thinks- shit! We only have 166 days to get everything sorted!

Don’t get me wrong, we have been lucky in that we have had a fairly long engagement, and so many things have been planned far in advance. Stress free, placing deposits with the knowledge that we will be paying for the rest ‘nearer the time’. However, as ‘nearer the time’ is actually now in a few months time, it all seems to be getting a bit more real. The reality of what a ridiculously expensive affair getting married actually is!

The venue, the food/drink, the photographer, the car, evening entertainment, the cake, my dress, bridesmaid dresses, hair and makeup, the suits, the decorations, invitations…

Whilst we have tried to cut costs in a few areas, such as making our own decorations/invitations etc. It’s crazy how much it all adds up just for that one special day.

Yet, I wouldn’t want it any other way.

As a little girl I always dreamed of the big white wedding. Or rather, the multi-coloured quirky wedding that we are bringing to life!

I can understand completely why people wouldn’t want to get married. It’s a personal preference at the end of the day. But it’s just something I always thought I would do without question.

I can also understand how people can turn into the classic “bridezilla”. There is an unspoken pressure for it to be the PERFECT day.

Though I am fully preparing myself for the potentially inevitable clumsy moments:

The moment I will trip while walking down the aisle.

The moment I spill food all over my dress.

The moment someone reveals an awkward embarrassing secret in a speech that no one was ever supposed to find out.

The moment we accidentally knock the cake off the stand and it splats everywhere.

The bad dancing.

The sweaty photographs showing all the wobbly chins.

But those potential moments will be the ones that we will remember forever, and can laugh about in years to come.

When it all comes down to it, the wedding day is just a big fancy party. It’s the marriage itself that actually means something. It will take no more than 5 minutes of the day to sign on that dotted line. So really, what’s all the fuss about?

Shouldn’t we be thinking about what comes after the wedding day…

BULL****!

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With any privileged human there are “first world problems.” Things that don’t tickle my fancy, that may rub me the wrong way, that make me want to scream BULL****!

Got your attention? Great, now let me just rant about the importance of feminism in our society, and how the media has twisted the meaning of the issue to be associated with the now seemingly negative word that is ‘feminism’, and now we are almost afraid to call ourselves ‘feminist’ with the knowledge that we’ll be stereotyped as crazy whining white girls…

Just kidding! (Will save that one for another blog…)

Aside from political issues and personal opinions, I’m now actually referring to the minor trivial things in life that don’t really have that much of an effect on anything, but are a tad annoying. Excuse me while I rant.

I’ll book a few shifts in at work and it will be GLORIOUS weather. I have a few days off, and it’s pissing it down- BULL****

It’s like raaaaiiiiin on your wedding day – Yep, Alanis Morissette knows what I’m talking about.

I am currently using a deodorant that describes itself as, “invisible dry 48H fresh”.

Invisible? Dry? Fresh? – BULL****

Honey, I’m not exactly running marathons here. I just want to be able to peg the washing out without feeling moist pits!

Oh how many servings on the pasta sauce? “Serves 4”. 4 borrowers more like – BULL****

I entered an online competition ONE TIME. I really wanted that all inclusive Iceland trip for 2 in the cute glass pod were you could see all the stars and have hot chocolates with the polar bears (that definitely wasn’t too good to be true). And now my emails are constantly bombarded with messages from “Russian brides” and the rather long winded “nakedbeautiesshowtheirboobsandpussieshere”. I don’t want to see boobs and pussies, I just wanted a holiday! – BULL****

Maybe it’s a coming of age thing, but my body clock will no longer let me have a lie in because my bladder wakes me up at 6am every morning – BULL****

I can have the clearest of skin for months without any social event, but then as soon as an occasion arises were I want to look nice, a huge white headed spot will appear smack bang in the middle of the face – BULL****

The fact that I even care about what I look like at a social event and feel any kind of social anxiety- BULL****

Those women on the sanitary product adverts who are living their best lives, smiling and laughing whilst clumps of their uterus leave their body – BULL****

Show me a woman hysterically crying over a picture of a baby penguin and then yelling at her partner because he’s not crying at the penguin too! Or a woman attempting to scrub and soak the stains out of her favourite knickers because it was the last day and she thought she’d risk wearing them.

Dare I say it, the karma sutra- BULL****

Try doing ‘the plough’ for more than a millisecond without you both getting cramp and pulling your back. Who are we kidding?

“Long lasting smudge free lipstick” – tell that to the lipstick on my teeth – BULL****

One size fits all – BULL****

“Tummy control” swimwear – BULL****

Putting a finger through those fancy tights because you pulled them up too fast – BULL****

The Jeremy Kyle Show – BULL****

As I write this blog I was supposed to be keeping an eye on the beans cooking in the pan but I was too distracted by writing about bull****, the beans started to burn – BULL****!

It feels good to get that off my chest…

The Unknown: A Homeowners Guide

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We have lived as functioning “adults” in a house we can call our own for about 4 months now. It seemed such a long time coming, but then before we knew it we were smashing through door frames (we had to literally take the frame off) to try and force the bed up our unexpectedly narrow staircase!

When people tell you that buying your first house is one of the most stressful things you will ever do, they aren’t wrong! Of course, it’s exciting. Looking around Dunelm for cushions, duvet covers, and various types of spoons- I was living the dream!

Obviously the most daunting part was the legal shenanigans, and applying for the mortgage itself. Being interrogated about your life choices by an overly friendly lady in a bank. Yes I spent £40 last week on cocktails because it was 2 for 1, and they had pretty decorations on top, which looked great for the Instagram- don’t judge me Sandra.

And apparently you only learn that you need credit history, when you NEED credit history. Why did nobody ever mention credit history in school?!

But once you sign the dotted line, and you suddenly have an extra pair of keys in your pocket, the deed is done. The adventure into the unknown can begin…

Now with this being our first time officially living away from parents (university not counting at this point, as that involved the luxury of student loans and nipping back home every now then with a bag full of washing!) there are a few new experiences that come into practise when being a home owner. Some expected, some rather unexpected.

So here my top 10 unexpected discoveries, with a few rubbish tips that are probably wrong and won’t help you…

1. Bin Drama.

– Apparently, it’s easy to forget to take the bin out! You name it, we leave post-it notes, reminders on phones, and even relying on the neighbours bin activity to remind us what day it is.

– Having the bin stolen by a neighbour is inevitable.

-Having to steal back another neighbours bin, but then getting scared of being caught and legging it back down the road, is the only solution.

2. Ironing is for special occasions only.

– Sorry mum, but it’s the essentials only. Ain’t nobody got time fo’ dat.

3. Talking to yourself when home alone is the norm.

– At my parents house there is a pet cockatiel called Charlie. So whenever I found myself home alone I would simply talk to Charlie to keep me company. Not weird at all. What is weird, is when there is no pet or living being with you in the house and you still find yourself having full on conversations out loud… still aimed at an imaginary “Charlie”.

4. Playing music/background noise from tv helps ease the feeling that you are about to get burgled.

5. Dust just appears.

– Everywhere.

– Fast. Immediately after dusting.

– No stopping it.

6. Mysterious orange gunk appears in the soap dish.

– What is this orange gunk? Is it rust? Is it mould? Are we going to be poisoned by the orange gunk?

7. Recycling makes you feel great.

– Is it just me that gets a proper buzz from putting things in the recycling bin? I almost get excited when we finish a box of cereal because then I can put the box in the recycling bin! The beans barely have chance to leave the tin before whoosh in the recycling you go my friend!

8. We must clean the oven one day.

– One day.

– Not today…

– But one day.

9. If you don’t do the washing up for one night it will look like a bomb has gone off in your kitchen and the regret of this aftermath will haunt your dreams.

10. We were spoiled and blessed as children.

Wingin’ It

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Is it just me?

Is it just me that finds myself sitting over a bowl of crunchy nut doubting every life decision I have ever made?

Like a montage of flashing images and video clips in my mind- the good, the bad, and the ugly. They say no regrets, and by the most part I have always agreed with that. There’s no point dwelling on the past as there’s nothing we can do to change what has already happened (unless you have time travel abilities, and we have all seen enough sci-fi movies now to know that usually fucks shit up!) But I cant help but feel the never ending pressure. Pressure to be perfect. And the rush to do it all as quickly as possible, but not too quickly that we don’t enjoy ourselves because we’re supposed to be happy too right?

These are the bizarre thoughts that float through my mind when I can’t sleep at 3 o’clock in the morning. Or when I’m in deep concentration plucking a random protruding hair from my nipple- the perfect time for an existential crisis.

It’s so cliche, but we all long for simpler times. Flashback to when the biggest concern in my life was what to wear for non-uniform day (the most traumatic of school events when the entire world seemed to be a beauty contest). Or the heartbreak of taking fancy to a boy who just saw you as a “friend”.

“You’re really lovely Hannah but I just see you as a good friend.”

“Aww Hannah you’re hilarious. You’ll have to meet my girlfriend she’ll love you!”

“I love you Hannah. Not in that way though!”

“We can just have sex and be friends yeah?”

The criiiiiiiinnngggeeee of it all.

Though it’s funny really. At times, when I am lying in my bed next to my husband-to-be, surrounded by the thick cloud of farts (both mine and his), I look over at him picking the fluff from his belly button, accompanied by the ol’ scratch n’ sniff (you know what I’m talking about), and I think to myself, this is what we were all aiming for in the end. This is love. Who knew?

But even in the happiest of relationships, there’s the pressure of life. What happens next? Mortgage, marriage, babies.

As I write this I can hear the neighbour’s screaming child through the wall. Like clockwork, every morning, it just screams. I feel you bro.

It’s like it’s been hard wired into us that it’s these significant milestones that we must achieve to be accomplished in life. That’s just what people do. You get a job, you settle down, you live happily ever after.

I feel like one day I turned up to six form college and they said, “OK today we are filling out your applications for university, you must now decide what you want to do for the rest of your life.” NO PRESSURE. And that was it. Boom. Career choice.

We filled out an online questionnaire that apparently could tell you what your dream job would be, only for it to come up with some obscure answer of a role that you had never heard of, so just dismissed it and picked something else that just sounded interesting. Now nearly 10 years later (yes I am that old apparently) you can’t for the life of you remember what job that questionnaire told you to do, that you ignored anyway, and you think maybe I should have done that random obscure job role that the online questionnaire that most definitely wasn’t biased told me?!

But I have no regrets. (Hears french lady that was on that specsavers advert… non regrette rien… I’m so sorry I am so uncultured that is the reference I am going for).

I was lucky that I did enjoy what I studied at university in the end. Though I’m not quite in my ‘dream job’ yet. I’m still climbing, clinging, on to that ladder people tend to refer to. A few years ago when people asked me how I wanted to progress in my career, I sort of had a straight answer for them. A rehearsed spiel of hope, ignorant to harsh reality of how competitive the field actually is. Recently I sometimes slip out the, “I’m open minded” comment, which is a another way of saying, “I don’t really know any more”.

Maybe the truth of the matter, the grand reveal, the secret to life itself… is that we’re all just winging it!

Surely it can’t just be me.

Hello Darkness My Old Friend

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So only moments ago I was bent over in the shower, leg cocked up, shaving my legs for the first time in forever because I resembled a yeti, and some part of me has been brainwashed by society into thinking I need to be smooth and sexy or something… (rant over). When I realised that I was stood in a pool of floating hair- oh the shower drain has blocked again. Standard adult life occurrence apparently, but yet another thing nobody ever warns you about.

It’s been nearly 5 years since I last posted a blog. I remember starting it when I was at a pretty low point in my life, having just been really ill, having to suspend my university studies, and with relatively low self esteem.

I guess I needed to vent, to feel heard, and to be reassured.

But then as my non-internet life started to perk up, I started back at university again, I was going travelling, getting more serious with my romantic relationship, the amount of blogging gradually faded, and then stopped.

Until now…

As I desperately attempted to swish the remaining hairs down the drain by hand and a jug of water, I suddenly remembered. I felt the random urge to write a blog post.

A lot has changed in 5 years. I have graduated, been employed in mental health, seen more of the world, bought an actual house with an actual man, and Christ I’m getting married this year! Maybe I am a different person all together, as the new experiences in my life have shaped me into the being I am in this moment. Looking back at previous blog posts I can’t help but cringe. Why did I share that?!? Why did I say that?!? Why am I not locked up somewhere?!?

Maybe I have listened to too much Lana Del Rey this morning. Maybe the orange juice with breakfast did taste a bit funky. But I suddenly feel all deep and pondering like I have something to say…

RUN AGAINST DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

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A few facts:

-2 million people suffered sexual assault, violence, threats, or abuse at the hands of a partner or family member in England and Wales last year.

-This includes both women and men.

-Even more so, it’s estimated that 54% of rapes are not reported.

-This shit needs to stop!

Tomorrow morning myself, my sister, and a group of friends from my fellow Vagina Monologues cast, are doing a 10K run to raise awareness and money for The Birchall Trust, a local charity who helps support and counsel those who have experienced domestic violence, rape and any other forms of sexual assault.

It’s your last chance to sponsor us and donate to the cause, which can be done via this link:

http://thevaginamonolancs.webs.com/donate

Simply click on the yellow ‘donate’ button and make sure you write ‘TEAM FINCH!’ when it asks you ‘any specific instructions’ after you’ve typed in your details, so we know you’re sponsoring us specifically.

We’re trying to raise as much as possible so anything is appreciated!

You can also read more about what the charity does here:

http://www.birchalltrust.org.uk/

Thank you!

Hungover Reminiscing of The Fish Finger Variety

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Sat with a rather sad looking plate of fish fingers and rice (the standard student meal of ‘I can’t be bothered cooking and these are things I have in my cupboard’), whilst attempting to fight off the inevitable post-Halloween hangover, still covered in a red tinge from last nights fake blood costume (despite 2 showers of intense scrubbing), it suddenly occurred to me how much of a deja vu this situation is to last years Halloween… (prior to the, then unknown, dramatic downfall of events)

Of course many things have happened in a year, wonderfully good, severely traumatic, and very much life changing.

It’s all very strange…

Back in university halls, I slotted back into the stereotypical student profile faster than I anticipated. Juggling the stresses of dissertation writing and module deadlines, sleeping patterns becoming increasingly abnormal, any excuse for not wearing clothes and, as obvious by the current meal of fish fingers and rice, food combinations at the height of bizarre!

With final year comes the additional question of *cue dramatic music* what happens after graduation? *high pitched screaming*

22 year old young woman with wild dreams and a lack of funding, dreading the unknown “real adult life”, I need to get my shit together!

But it’s not all doom and gloom!

Nights of laughter and ridiculous dancing are a promise, and with my favourite time of year just around the corner (no, it’s never to early to be excited about Christmas!), I’m hoping the festive spirit will boost my morale and motivate the final push through term till a jolly holiday with family, friends, and the first time celebrating with the lovely new boyfriend- cheesy mistletoe at the ready!

Whilst finer details of the future remain a mystery, fingers crossed (not a fish finger pun) that a sudden brain wave of ideas is just waiting to be discovered…