Friday, 30 June 2017

We cannot continue to ignore our emergency services - they are true heroes

Our emergency service workers are heroes, and it's time people started saying that more.

We've all seen the images from the heartbreaking Grenfell Tower fire, of the firefighters battered, exhausted and heartbroken by what they have endured, seen and come up against. Slumped against walls, trying to catch their breath, unable to comprehend what was going on around them.

We've heard firsthand accounts of the legislations, rules and policies they threw out the window, putting their lives in danger to save others. Stories of firefighters having to write their names on their helmets so they could be easily identified if they died.

We saw images from London recently of police officers throwing themselves in front of terrorists to stop them in their tracks and save lives. Fighting the baddies off with the absolute minimum, hoping to stall them long enough until back-up came. Running into situations head-on, not knowing if they'll be going home to their families at the end of the day.

We've seen doctors, nurses and paramedics rush to the scenes of sheer catastrophe lately. The Manchester bombing, London Bridge, Grenfell Tower, Westminster Bridge - it's been too frequent. These people left their stations, left what they were doing, and rushed to the street to help people in need.

Because, when these people choose a profession in the emergency services and NHS, they do it because they care. They do it to save lives, keep people safe and look after the public. And they do all of those things on a daily basis, with barely any recognition.

They put their safety - and often their own lives - on the line to save others.

They are true heroes.

So why are they not recognised as that? Why, each day, do we glorify others? The term "hero" is banded around far too frequently, yet never deservedly.

I feel this is even more relevant, particularly given some of the atrocious events we have seen in our country recently, but even more so this week.

Earlier this week, MPs voted against Labour's attempts to reverse the long-running freeze on public sector pay.

The pay rate for workers in the public sector has been frozen at just 1 per cent rises since 2010, with the Labour Party tabling an amendment of regret to the Queen's Speech pushing for a pay rise for these heroes.

Tory MPs branded the amendment as a "political game", with one saying that voting for the Labour amendment would usher in either another General Election or a government headed by Jeremy Corbyn.

I'm sorry if I am mistaken, but I thought the amendment was to remove the cap? To allow public sector workers have a pay rise of more than a measly 1 per cent? To show some respect, gratitude and support to those people who work tirelessly every single day. To give a fair and more than deserving pay rise to workers who put their lives on the line every single day.

Tory and DUP MPs came together to vote down the motion by 323 votes to 309.

Wherever your political allegiances lie, this surely can't be defended.

After everything we have seen the past few months, all the praise that has been heaped on the emergency services and the struggling NHS for how they have coped, and this is the thanks they get. Stuck with a pathetic 1 per cent pay rise for the foreseeable future which, let's be honest, after tax/NI probably makes no difference to the wage they take home anyway.

Theresa May doing a meet and greet, and shaking everyone's hand in a line-up, is all well and good. But all this vote shows is that her and her party care more about point-scoring than they do about our emergency services. This was not a game to those workers - this is their lives being played with.

What makes it even worse - if that were possible - is that cheers were heard ringing around the Commons by Tory MPs as the amendment was defeated. They actually cheered.

I am sure - or I would hope - that this was the fact they won in general, rather than what it was they had actually done, but either way it doesn't look good.

It doesn't look good to me, so imagine how it looks to those heroic firefighters who risked everything during the blaze at Grenfell Tower - hearing people cheer at the fact you won't be getting a decent pay rise. Not just a decent pay rise, either, but a well-deserved pay rise.

It makes me so, so angry.

Wherever your political allegiances lie, surely you must be able to see that this is not right? It's not right how Theresa can't locate her magic money tree for nurses, junior doctors, firefighters... But as soon as her minority government needs propping up, she stumbles across a whole money forest and can scramble together over £1 billion for Northern Ireland.

During the recent election campaign, Theresa May was even quoted saying to a woman: "I'm being honest with you in terms of saying that we will put more money into the NHS, but there isn't a magic money tree that we can shake that suddenly provides for everything that people want."

The whole state of affairs makes me feel sick.

I don't often like to get political on my blog - preferring to talk syn free recipes, farting and Love Island - but this cannot be ignored.

We cannot continue to ignore our emergency services in this way. To do so may mean that one day, when we really, really need them, their resources have become so stretched that they're nowhere to be found.

Thursday, 29 June 2017

24 signs your Love Island obsession has peaked

There are two types of people in this world - those who watch Love Island, and those who pretend they don't watch Love Island.

It's the Balearic-based reality TV programme that has taken over the nation.

Camilla has won everyone's hearts, Jonny is public enemy number one, and we now all know the name of at least one member of Blazin' Squad.


Here's 24 signs you're obsessed with Love Island (not that you probably needed that confirming!)

1. You spend your entire day counting down until 9pm.
Eat, Love Island, sleep, repeat.

2. Saturday is suddenly the worst night of the week.
Because, yeah it's nice to leave the house, but 47 hours is too long to wait to get our latest fix of Villa action.

3. You're slowly but surely following all the islanders on every social media platform.
Until they start plugging charcoal toothpaste, cleansing teas and hair thickening tablets, then they'll be unfollowed quicker than two celebs during a break-up.

4. You showed more interest in Jonny and Camilla's romance than your own love life.
We were all rooting for you, Jamilla.

5. Your life was instantly made when discovering you can now buy the Love Island water bottles.
FINALLY!!! For those who haven't yet discovered this, simply download the Love Island app and visit the shop on there.

6. The Love Island app is life.
Polls, previews, pics from the islanders phones - it's every fan's dream.

7. You cried when Camilla cried.
We love you, Camilla.

8. You can't listen to Amber talking about "her type on paper" or putting her eggs into baskets anymore.
Her notebook and egg baskets must be huge!

9. You've had debates in the office over whether Mike was muggy or magic.
His face just screams "muggy".

10. You've thought, at length, about who you'd couple up with if you were in the villa.
And changed your mind every time one of them has acted like a spoon. Except Marcel. He's a God.

11. You're heartbroken to learn we're at the halfway point of the series.
What will life be like A.L.I (after Love Island)?!?!




12. If by some catastrophe you've missed an episode you've experienced the agonising wait of ITV Hub uploading the episode.
Seriously, how can Emmerdale be uploaded within minutes of it finishing and Love Island take hours?!

13. You firmly believe that had Dom really liked/loved Jess, he would have walked.
Because what's the point in staying in Love Island if you ain't looking? As they all say, it's not Friend Island.

14. You talk about the islanders like you actually know them personally.
"Yeah, I really think Kem should just sack Amber off, he can do so much better."

15. You've upped our workout routine after seeing their bodies.
Seriously, though, how good is Montana's arse?



16. Dick sand actually makes sense to you.
Let's be honest, girls, we've all been there.

17. As soon as the episode finishes you de-brief in your WhatsApp groups.
Usually expressing your excitement at tomorrow's episode. 

18. You've considered playing 'The Love Island drinking game'
But aren't quite sure that you'd like to die just yet.
19. You have to resist the urge to shout "I'VE GOT A TEXT" when your phone goes.
Even if it's not a text.

20. You want Camilla to couple up with herself and win.
She's a strong, independent woman who don't need no man!

21. You're always jealous of Montana's snack game.
The girl is always eating, I love her.

22. The fact episodes are now longer than an hour is the best thing that happened since series three graced our screens.
It almost makes up for no episode on a Saturday. Almost...

23. The only thing you're looking forward to about Love Island finishing is going to bed earlier.
It's sad, but it's true.

You may also like: Camilla asked the perfect question on last night's Love Island - shouldn't we all be feminists?

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

You have to try this syn free 'cheesecake'

It's a trend that's been incredibly popular at my Slimming World group for a good month or so now - syn free 'cheesecake'.

I'd tried a variation of it when I first bought grape nuts but I really wasn't sold on it. Given how many people are now trying, and enjoying, it, I thought I'd give it another go.

I have no idea where I went wrong before, but oh my life, it was amazing. If you hadn't known any different, you'd have been forgiven for thinking it was actual cheesecake.



There are many variations on how you can make it, but I stuck to basics making it completely syn free (and perfect for an SP day).

For the base, I just used 40g grape nuts (HEB) and a dash of vanilla essence; mixed it together and squashed it in the bottom. I then added some Quark, sweetened with a teaspoon of sweetener, on top of the grape nut base. Then, simply, top with whatever fruit you fancy.

Other ladies at my group have made the creamy bit by mixing Quark and a flavoured Muller light, but I found just adding that little bit of sweetener to it was enough.

Then, leave it in the fridge to chill. When I made the ones pictured, they were chilling for almost 24 hours.

The longer you can leave them, the better. The grape nuts soak in the moisture from the Quark/fruit/sweetener so turn into a biscuit-like cheesecake base, rather than the crunchy texture they have when fresh out of the box.

We had it for pudding after tea last night and I was still full up when we went to bed. It tasted so indulgent, is so filling, and is a great sweet-treat alternative.

I made one for Tom - who is still on his 'clean eating' programme - and he loved it, too.

He was sold on it because the grape nuts box said high protein, and the Quark is obviously high protein too.

It's one I would definitely recommend you try - whether it be for breakfast, pudding or a sweet snack.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Camilla asked the perfect question on last night's Love Island - shouldn't we all be feminists?

Of all the topics I expected to be discussed on Love Island, feminism is not one of them.

I expected conversations about plastic surgery, sex, the best way to contour, hair removal, how to execute the perfect squat, more sex...

But last night's episode caught me by surprise.

When I saw the preview, and saw Camilla crying because she found out something about Jonny that she didn't like, I never thought it would be that.

As the pair, who seemed to be embarking on a blossoming romance, entered into a conversation in the kitchen the topic quickly shifted to feminism, equality and women's rights.

It all stemmed from whether or not Jonny would pay on a date. He said he would feel emasculated if a woman paid, and wouldn't even entertain going halves. Camilla, on the other hand, said she felt it fair a woman also pay her way and wouldn't like being paid for all the time.

Soon, the pair were in a heated debate about equality between men and women.

Jonny maintained that women were far more equal in today's society than they had ever been, even throwing in a bit of topical politics by stating, quite rightly, that the Prime Minister is a woman.

However, Camilla said the whole problem was that Jonny didn't think there was still a gender gap in terms of jobs, pay, and equality of the sexes. When, quite clearly, there is.

Their conversation ended in tears, with Camilla getting quite upset that she had kissed someone before knowing their beliefs on an issue so important to her.

Hats off to the girl for having such an admirable moral code, I've kissed guys before and not even known their name!

She took a lot of stick on social media for getting so upset, for reacting the way she did, and for raising the issue at all. But it's so important that she did.

Not everyone is going to share the same views, that's the beauty of the world that we live in - everyone is entitled to have a different opinion on things.

When Jonny asked Camilla if she was a feminist she had the best reply ever, asking: "Shouldn't we all be?"




Yes girl!

via GIPHY

Everyone should care about women's rights, whether you're a woman or not. Being a feminist shouldn't be a bad thing. It shouldn't be a derogatory term, or a taboo subject.

Someone who cares so passionately about equality is the kind of person who should be celebrated online. It's an important subject which has now been raised in front of a brand new audience, some of whom have probably never even considered it as an issue in today's society.

As topics of conversation go on Love Island, I think this is probably the most important.

Closely followed in second, of course, by Marcel being in Blazin Squad.

I accept Jonny's argument that there isn't the huge gap that there used to be, the UK has come a long way in ensuring women are on more of a level playing field. But to say, just because the PM is a woman, that there aren't equal rights between men and women is not right.

Camilla's job in the real world means she will see huge inequalities between men and women all around the world. There are societies where women have no role to play except feeding and caring for their man and their family. They're deprived of an education, of a career and of a voice.

We are no way in that situation in this country, thankfully, but Camilla's argument wasn't just about women in this country - it's a global problem that needs to be addressed.

And I salute her for standing up for her beliefs and not just dropping her knickers for the first guy who showed an interest in her. Her integrity, her beliefs and her kind heart make her my favourite girl  by far in the villa.



I really, really hope the producers can find the perfect man for her because the early days between her and Jonny were just my favourite. Her little eyes twinkling and lighting up - she needs that again!

I do concede, though, she is probably in the wrong place if she wants to meet a guy who shares her views on the topic of feminism, gender equality and is willing to enter into an educational discussion. Which makes me very sad.

Jonny was the closest guy currently in there to ticking the boxes, and probably even understood what it all meant, let alone would enter into a debate about it. I can't imagine many of the other guys who are in there, or are lined up to enter, would even get drawn into such conversations.

I really hope, though, that a guy watching resonated with what she said and sent off his application to the Love Island producers, because that's the kind of romance I want to watch blossom on my screen.

Am I the only one who gets mega excited buying suncream for holidays?

We've officially passed the 100 day countdown until our honeymoon.

It still feels like it's an absolute eternity away, but I remember how quick that 100 day countdown went when we started it for the wedding, so I'm hopeful this will be the same.

It's not like we haven't anything exciting happening before we go, either.

My best friend gets married a month beforehand, so as we get closer to that all our attentions and excitement will focus on their wedding and we'll forget all about the honeymoon countdown altogether as we get wrapped up in complete and utter wedding excitement.

In a bid to make it seem like it's almost time to board that big, metal bird, I've started buying suncreams. Nobody can say I am not prepared.

My sister-in-law and her now fiance went to Mexico a few weeks after our wedding - where they got engaged woooo - and she'd had her case packed for weeks and weeks before she went. I took the Mickey out of her for it, but I can see me being exactly the same. Especially now I've started stocking up on suncreams etc. and will need somewhere to store them all until September...


I'm not sure about anyone else, but I get soooo excited when I start buying stuff like that for holiday. I was so giddy when I strolled up to the till in Savers yesterday, arms filled with a range of factors, and dropped them all in front of the girl serving. I was beaming as I strolled out the shop, if a bit miffed I'd forgotten my reusable bag and had to spend an extra 5p on a carrier.

I always end up buying what feels like too much, like with anything else.

I get a fairly even spread of suncreams from factor 50 right down to the low factor oils. Half our luggage allowance ends up being suncreams, and it always looks like we'll have so much leftover, but we never do.

When we went to Greece, we only went for a week, and we went through so much suncream. I think we even had to go to the hotel shop and spend an extortionate amount of money on a bottle of factor 30 and some more after sun because we'd used all our supplies.

Greece was hot, and we were probably unprepared for how strong the sun would be, but we definitely won't make the same mistake in Dubai.

The first few days of our honeymoon will be spent here, and the suncream will need to be plastered on thick and fast to save our pale British skin from the scorching sun.

As yet, we have no plans for the three days we are in Dubai.

Tom has a long list of things he wants to do and places he wants to go and, in a bid to ensure we see it to our first wedding anniversary, I've said no to them all.

You might think I'm being harsh, but wait until you hear the list. It comprises of Legoland, Real Madrid world, Ferrari world...

I didn't say no to him going to them completely, he's more than welcome to go on his own while I lounge on the beach and take hundreds of photos of the famous skyline and scenery for my Instagram.

You'll probably want to unfollow me as soon as we get to the airport, I'll be insufferable for the 11 days we're away.

In all seriousness, though, if anyone has any top tips of places to visit during our three days in Dubai they would be more than welcomed. While I don't want us to have a packed itinerary dictating our every move, I also don't want us to get there with absolutely nothing in mind for what we're going to do and end up just sat trying to make a plan.

I also don't want to spend the days indoors - because we could be anywhere in the world if we're going to be confined to four walls.

When we get to the Seychelles, our plan is simple - relax. The most strenuous thing I intend on doing is turning over on my sun bed to ensure I get even tan coverage. Kinda like a rotisserie chicken.

The hotel we are staying at while in the Seychelles looks absolutely beautiful, as does the one in Dubai, so I am so excited to just enjoy their surroundings.

Only 98 days to go!

Before that, though, I've got some Maid of Honour duties to fulfil for my best friend.

We had the fitting for our bridesmaid dresses last night and they're so, so beautiful it's made me even more excited for her big day. Just 10 weeks to go eeeekkk!

2017 is never, ever going to be topped for us - we've literally got the most exciting year ever!

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

I still look like a convict, but at least my driving licence is updated

It's back, it's back!

I filled the form in right, my marriage certificate was returned to me via special delivery - at a cost of £6 - six friggin' pound!!! And I have a brand new, shiny driving licence with my new surname on it.


Ignore my photo, and the fact it looks like a police mug shot, that is getting changed next August - hallelujah!

I am so glad my ID is back, I didn't realise how much I still used it; even at 25.

Last week, I nipped to Morrisons to get a salad box and some chicken on my dinner. I noticed they were doing a pizza and prosecco offer for £10. The prosecco alone was worth £8 so I was well won over.

I picked my pizza and stuffed the bottle of prosecco strategically under my arm, carefully balancing my salad and chicken on top of the pizza while fumbling with my purse.

Then I remembered - I had no ID.

You could guarantee that this one time, when I had no ID, would be when I would get challenged - and I wasn't in the mood for that.

Before going on my hen weekend I took my friend to Aldi to get a bottle of prosecco. I wasn't buying anything, I didn't even have my purse. But because I was stood with her at the checkout I had to show my ID too. I get the rules and laws behind asking for ID, I used to work at Morrisons so I understand, but it's so embarrassing when it happens to you. Especially when you're nearing 26.

I couldn't be dealing with that situation again, especially when I was only nipping out quick to get a salad. I then had to carefully manoeuvre my belongings to put the pizza and prosecco back in the fridge, and step away with just my salad and chicken.

All is well with the world once again, though.

Unfortunately, the pizza and prosecco offer at Morrisons is no more. *sob*  It's probably for the best, however, given that Tom has now embarked on a super, duper 'clean eating' regime.

I'm not sure a red pepper and goats cheese pizza fits in with the chicken, rice and broccoli diet he has put himself on!

Lazy day guilt should be banished

There's nothing I love more than a chill day. A day of not getting dressed, catching up on the 13 episodes of Emmerdale I've got on Sky+, and not leaving the house.

When I was at uni, this was almost everyday. I'd binge watch boxsets and American TV series, stay in bed all day, and consider it an achievement if I put on a bra.

Now, as much as I love a day doing nothing, I don't half feel guilty. Similarly, when I have a massive lie in - which is now classed as like 10am - I feel 'wasted day guilt'. I used to sleep in until midday, now I have to be up and at 'em by 8.30am to seize the day.

This weekend, we had one of those weekends where we vegged out in front of the television. New Orange Is The New Black was streamed on Netflix and we started binging that on Saturday morning. We broke off to go get ice-cream and take a trip to the garden centre, then went out for tea with family, but that was all for Saturday. Sunday was the same. We broke off briefly to go to the local farm shop before going out for tea again.


It was lovely. So nice to not really do anything and just properly chill and enjoy our home for the first time in months.

But the guilt I felt afterwards, oh it was something else. The guilt of not going out somewhere and making the most of the fact the weather forecast was completely wrong and it wasn't in fact raining and blowing a gale. The guilt of not giving the house a deep clean, and still not finding a home for my wedding dress.

The guilt of 'wasting' two rare days off together sitting in front of the TV watching 10 episodes of OITNB, a few eps of Friends and four episodes of Emmerdale.

Then I remembered, you don't need to achieve every single day.

I didn't have a 'to do' list for this weekend, I knew it was going to be pretty chilled. Since before we got married life has been going 100mph and we both just wanted a quiet weekend at home together.

It doesn't matter that the house didn't get deep cleaned, or that we didn't go outside except to put the recycling out or to eat. It's good, sometimes, to just take stock of everything and do nothing.

It's good to take time out from our busy day-to-day routines, to spend time in each other's company, and to just slow things down. Life moves so quick, passing us by in the blink of an eye, and we are all so busy we forget to soak it all up.

Taking a couple of days to relax and think about nothing except the drama unfolding in Litchfield helped me feel much less stressed and reduced the pressures that constantly feel like they are building in my own head. It's great, watching someone else's drama instead of worrying about your own!

It's vital that we sometimes switch ourselves off from the outside world and just spend some time with ourselves, on our sofa, where the biggest achievement of the day is putting a bra on.

Days spent doing nothing shouldn't leave you feeling guilty. You don't need to achieve something every single day. Life is about moments.

Next time I have a 'doing nothing' day, I'll remind myself that I am not lazy. I am not a big, fat, waste of space blob making further dents into my sofa. I am, in fact, taking stock of my life, using my down time wisely, and clearing my mind, body, and soul.

I'll also remind myself, in years to come, that I should relish these lazy days because, when children arrive on the scene, they will most certainly become a thing of the past.

Friday, 9 June 2017

It's wrong to call this election result "the revenge of the young"

I try not to blog too much about politics, purely because I don't want to open up a huge debate and for people to bicker all over my posts.

Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, on everything in life, and we all have to accept that we aren't all going to agree. Imagine what a boring world it would be if we did?

Everyone has different priorities, different outlooks, different circumstances and different experiences. It's ok not to agree on everything. You may not agree with what I write, but that's ok.

When I have addressed politics previously, it's been with regards to turnout - particularly encouraging younger people to exercise their right to vote.

The first election I could vote in, back in 2010, was so exciting for me. I couldn't wait to go to the polling station and put my cross in the box. I even kept my polling card, in one of my many memory boxes, to remember the moment. It was a big deal to me.

But it's not the same for everyone.

In 2010, just 44% of those aged 18 to 24 turned out to cast their vote; compared to 55% of aged 25 to 35.

In stark comparison, 76% of those aged over 65 turned out to vote.

In 2015, it was even less.

43% of those aged 18 to 24 exercised their right to vote, with 54% aged 25 to 34.

Again, those aged 65 and over had the highest turnout with 78%.

It's staggering, how disengaged young people have become with politics.

That is, until this election. Early indicators show a turnout of around 72% of those aged 18 to 24 in yesterday's General Election. This hasn't been confirmed yet, and won't be until next week, but these early estimates are incredible.

Sky News estimated the turnout among 18 to 24 years olds was around 66%. Even if this figure is true, it's still a substantial increase on the figures seen in the last election.

It literally makes me so sad when I see so few young people turning out to vote. And I don't understand why.

Not everyone understands politics, I get that, but everyone should care. These people, whether you like them or not, dictate the future of our country. Everyone is quick to complain when they can't get an appointment with their doctor for two weeks. I looked the other day, and had to wait 14 days to see a GP at my surgery. I'm pretty sure, what is wrong with me, would have either gone, got a whole lot worse, or killed me in that time. It's no wonder A&E departments are overrun at hospitals.

More than 600,000 people registered to vote in the final 24 hours - around two-thirds of those were aged between 18 and 34.

Some have called this election result "the revenge of the young", but the word revenge is wrong for this. It's not revenge. It's finally standing up to be heard. Having enough of politicians ignoring our voice and speaking out for our own future. Getting tired with newspapers pedalling propaganda, fake news and pushing the ideologies of whoever they have chosen to side with this week. Ignoring commissioned polls, expectation and what we're told is reality.

Even the eve of the election, newspapers and news outlets were predicting Theresa May to win by a bigger majority than Margaret Thatcher. Corbyn's entire campaign, manifesto and role as leader was undermined the whole way through the campaign.

None of the party leaders, apart from Jeremy Corbyn, engaged with young people at all during the short-lived election campaign.

Corbyn was the one pushing for young people to register to vote, Corbyn was the one targeting the younger audience with his policies and his campaign, and Corbyn was the one who motivated the younger age bracket to turn out in such high numbers.

Regardless of whether or not these young votes converted into votes for Corbyn, he is one of the main reasons why so many turned out in the first place. And that can only be a good thing.

I only hope that this momentum keeps going, with more young people continuing to exercise their right to vote, to turn out at elections and have their say on the policies that will shape our future.

It is still unclear how the results of yesterday's election will play out. I only hope that, whenever the next election comes around, young people do their bit again and stand up to be heard.

If turnout really does end up being as high as initial indicators suggest, British politics could change forever.

via GIPHY

Team work makes the dream work

I am still being asked regularly how married life is, and still I have no update. I really wish I could say there had been some groundbreaking alteration to our day-to-day lives, but there really hasn't.

It just feels exactly the same.

Of course, my name change is probably the biggest thing. And what a ball ache that is.

Our original marriage certificate had to be posted to the DVLA in order for me to change my name on my driving license and I have had constant anxiety since the second the woman in the Post Office casually tossed it into the pile to be posted. That was 11 days ago now, I'm praying it comes home soon.

I hate the responsibility of it all, though. I am so worried incase I majorly muck something up.

Changing my name with HMRC was actually the easiest, as I did it all online, but I was terrified incase I clicked the wrong box somewhere along the line.

I wish everything was as easy to update as my Morrisons card and my Boots advantage card!

Other than my post coming through the door under a mixture of names, reminding me daily I still have so many things to change, there really is no difference to the way we live.

Tom still poos with the door open (maybe now I've put it on the internet he'll finally stop doing it!); we still sit and watch trashy TV at night time (currently obsessing over Love Island once again); and I still moan about the Xbox and fart like a trooper.

Before we got married, Tom kept saying "it'll all change once we're husband and wife".

I asked him why, reminding him that everything was perfect as it was. Us getting married simply cemented our commitment to each other, our future together, gave us both a new ring to wear, and saw me change my name. It's a promise, a vow, and a lifetime of love, laughter and memories. Always having each other's back and supporting each other through the rough and the smooth.

We're still goofy, we still disagree on things, I still cook, Tom still washes up - life is as it was before.


But would we really want it any other way?

It worked for us before 6th May, it works for us now, and it'll work for us beyond. We have our own little way of doing things, our own routine, and our own system. 

Tom hoovers, cuts the grass and puts the bins out. I clean the kitchen, sort the food shopping and keep everywhere tidy. 

We're a team - the same team before we were husband and wife, the same team after.

The lyrics to our first dance song summed us as a couple, our marriage, and our life together up perfectly.

Tell me, tell me that you want me
And I'll be yours completely, for better or for worse

I know, we'll have our disagreements
Be fighting for no reason
I wouldn't change it for the world

Cos I knew, the first day that I met you
I was never gonna let you, let you slip away

And I still remember feeling nervous
Trying to find the words to
Get you here today

You make my heart feel like it's summer
When the rain is pouring down
You make my whole world feel so right, when it's wrong
That's how I know you are the one
That's why I know you are the one

Life, it's easy to be scared of
But with you I am prepared for, what is yet to come

Cos our two hearts will make it easy
Joining up the pieces, together making one

You make my heart feel like it's summer
When the rain is pouring down
You make my whole world feel so right, when it's wrong
That's how I know you are the one
That's why I know you are the one

When we are together you make me feel like my mind is free and dreams are reachable
You know I never ever believed in love, I believed one day that you would come along
And free me

You make my heart feel like it's summer
When the rain is pouring down
You make my whole world feel so right, when it's wrong
That's how I know you are the one
That's why I know you are the one
That's why I know you are the one
That's how I know you are the one


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Wednesday, 7 June 2017

We need more love in the world, not less

Poor David Beckham.

That's not a phrase I thought I'd ever use - he's got a stunning wife, gorgeous kids, good health, never has to work another day in his life... He's got it pretty easy really.

But, last week, the DILF sparked debate/controversy/whatever other stupid word you want to use after posting a photo of him kissing his five-year-old little girl.

Here is said image:


I saw it and thought how cute it was. That beautiful bond between father and daughter. A show of affection, a lovely moment to cherish from their holiday, and a symbol of unconditional love.

Unfortunately not everybody is of the same opinion as me.

Those absolute delights on social media, who crawl out of the woodwork ready to slam even the most innocent and special of things, branded Beckham's kiss with Harper as "weird" and "wrong". A similar photo posted by Victoria Beckham for Harper's birthday last year received the same criticism.

WHY?

If you ask me, it's more weird and wrong to not kiss your children, especially young children, on the lips. If the Beckhams want to kiss Harper on the lips then so be it. At the end of the day, she's five - a child!

My mum and dad used to kiss me on the lips all the time when I was really small and, I know, when Tom and I eventually have children, I will kiss them on the lips too.

Some of the comments have asked "what the world is coming to" by him kissing his baby girl on the lips.

I'm sorry, but I'd have to ask what the world was coming to if a father didn't want to kiss his little girl on the lips. She is five-years-old for God's sake!

Someone else said it looked like they were "making out" while others branded it "old fashioned".

Maybe, just maybe, people not showing this kind of affection to their children anymore is what is actually "wrong" with the world. Parents kissing their children is completely and utterly normal - or at least it should be.

A kiss between a parent and a child is a sign of unconditional love.

We need more love in the world, not less. We need more parents kissing their children, more shows of affection and more kindness.

With all the horrible things we see on the news everyday, all the mindless acts of terrorism and hatred around the world, surely acts of love - like David Beckham's picture - should be celebrated and not slammed.

Imagine how much nicer the world would be to live in if everyone was just kind to each other.

Friday, 2 June 2017

Coronation Street need to be praised for their grooming storyline, not criticised.

I'm an avid fan of Coronation Street, I have been for as long as I can remember. To the point where, when we used to go on holiday, mum and dad used to set up several VHS recorders and blank tapes to record every episode while we were away.

I even went on the Corrie tour a few years ago when it opened on the old set - best. day. out. ever.


One of the biggest, 'controversial' storylines I can remember from watching it as a child was Sarah-Lou's teenage pregnancy.

Now, 17 years later, and Sarah's daughter, Bethany, is involved in, arguably, the soap's most controversial storyline to date.

Yet, while it's the most controversial, it's probably the most important. The most important that any soap has ever covered in its history, I would go as far to say.

For those who don't watch the soap, or follow it in the news, Bethany has been the centre of a grooming storyline which has been slowly burning since before Christmas.

She was picked up by Nathan and has been groomed by him since, with him selling her for sex with his sick, older friends.

Last night's show was the most shocking to date, with three of his friends handing over cash to him before heading into a room where she was gang raped.

This morning, I've seen stories online saying that it's inappropriate and irresponsible of Corrie to show the details of Bethany's story and that they've gone too far in showing the dark scenes.

There have also been a number of complaints to Ofcom about it, which I find totally and completely ridiculous.

Child sexual exploitation and child grooming is a massive, massive issue at the moment. It is happening, far too widely, across the country and people are too afraid to speak out about it. It's a taboo subject, and it shouldn't be.

Corrie bosses bravely took the decision to tell this story and I highly commend them for highlighting the issue.

Those who are being groomed, or are victims of child sexual exploitation, don't realise what is happening to them is abuse. They've been brainwashed and manipulated in such a way that they think it's normal, they think it's loving, and they think it's okay.

Yes, the scenes on Corrie are uncomfortable to watch, but what makes it even more uncomfortable is realising that this is happening all over the country. There are teenage girls who are victims of this kind of abuse enduring far worse than we are being exposed to on our television screens.

It's so, so important that Coronation Street tackle this issue and bring it to people's attention. If it can just resonate with one girl that the same is happening to her, and it isn't okay, then it has achieved what it set out to do.

Those who are reporting the grooming storyline to Ofcom are, in my view, being quite irresponsible.

One person tweeted "@itvcorrie how can you broadcast this storyline in this much detail @Ofcom please help our children watching this!!!! #coronationstreet"

That's the exact reason it needs to be broadcast in the way it has, to make children realise that it is not okay and it is not normal. There haven't been any graphic scenes, nor have we seen any incidents of actual gang rape. Last night's episode ended with three men entering the room with Bethany before closing the door. The camera stayed on the door for, slowly zooming out before rolling the titles.

Nothing was actually shown, and it didn't need to be. We all knew what was happening.

It was broadcast after the watershed, too, so in theory, they could have shown more graphic scenes. But it doesn't need to. Leaving it for us to imagine the disgusting abuse makes it worse than they could ever portray.

It's so important that Coronation Street is raising awareness in this way, highlighting the fact that there are sick individuals who target young girls in this way and, more importantly, that there are so many girls who are victims of this.

I understand parents wanting to protect children from the harsh realities of the world, nobody wants their kids to see all the horrible things that are going on, but we can't wrap them in cotton wool and shy them away from reality. Them not being aware of things like this makes it unlikely they would spot it if it were happening to a friend, someone they knew, or even themselves.

Coronation Street have handled the whole storyline in such an excellent way, so that it isn't too graphic or dark for children to watch in the usual 7.30pm slot, and for that they need to be praised, not criticised.

Lucy Fallon, who plays Bethany, has also played the character incredibly. She deserves all the awards and praise for this. I've read lots of interviews with her, too, where she has spoken with victims and survivors of abuse - and that is incredibly telling from the way she is portraying the character.

By raising awareness, the hope is it will encourage victims to speak out and put an end to the abuse they are enduring. And that can only be a good thing.

For free confidential support and advice, 24 hours a day, call Childline on 0800 1111. You can also visit their website by following this link.


I often wonder, would you be proud of me?

It's a question I often ask myself when I achieve something in life - "I wonder if my grandma would be proud of me?"

Growing up, my grandma was my absolute idol. I spent so much of my time with her and she taught me so many things - from nursery rhymes to how to be a good person.

When she died, in 2003, I was absolutely heartbroken. It was my first real experience of losing someone, and it was so hard.

I'd not long since started at high school, so was still learning to adapt to that big change, when suddenly I had another life-changing event to get my head around. I was only 11, I didn't really know how to handle loss.

The only thing I'd ever lost before then were pets, and I'd usually forgotten they even existed - only learning of their passing months after they'd been buried in the garden.

At 25, I've now had more years on this earth without my grandma than I had with. It's weird to think of that, because so many key memories in my life she is a part of.

Every single Christmas she used to come to our house. We used to only be allowed to open the presents in our stockings until dad had picked grandma up. Then we opened all our presents from Father Christmas, family and friends before having dinner.

I remember, every year, comparing her to the Queen when she wore the paper hat out of her cracker.

Days at her house were always fun, too, even though she struggled to be mobile. Whether it was insisting on emptying her kitchen cupboards onto the sofa so we could play shop, or writing her lunch order on a scrap piece of paper and fetching it from the kitchen during my 'wannabe waitress' stage. I remember, so vividly, us walking to the butchers in Brayton to get lunch, getting fresh fish from town and covering it in breadcrumbs to make fish and chips, and always finishing off any trip to her house with an egg custard.

I still eat my egg custards in the way she taught me, and think of her every time.

I remember, too, promising never to eat Aunt Bessie's Yorkshire puddings again after she made them to go with my tea one night and they were burnt to a crisp. I was at her house when my nana rang her while she was cooking tea. My nana could talk for England and kept her on the phone for so long that the Yorkshire puddings were like bits of charcoal. They weren't like mum's homemade ones, and I just always associated Aunt Bessie's with burnt from then on. To this day, I don't think I've had an Aunt Bessie's Yorkshire pud since!

Any concerts we did at school, or with choir, grandma was always there. She bought CDs and kept every single programme from every performance we were ever in. She also kept all the newspaper clippings from whenever we appeared in the paper. She was always so, so proud.

Since I was 11, I've obviously achieved lots in my life.

GCSEs, A-Levels, my degree, passing my driving test, landing a job in my dream career, buying a house, getting married...

I think the biggest life event, which I wished my grandma could have been at, was obviously my wedding. I so wish Tom could have met her, I know she'd have loved him as much as I do.

As we were getting ready, on the morning of the wedding, I had a little moment where I imagined what she'd be like if she was still here. I could picture her, proud as punch, smiling and enjoying the whole day. Of course, all while modelling a whopping great big hat.

I feel silly, sometimes, basing decisions I make in my life on the opinions of someone who is no longer here, and hasn't been for over a decade. I always wonder what she'd make of things I do - what she'd say to me, how she'd advise, and how she'd judge. Because, ooh, she loved to pass judgement on everything! It was brilliant.

I remember every time I used to say "oh my God" she used to give me a sideways glance, telling me off for saying "God" in that way.

Or if I said I was "knackered" - not that I truly knew what that was at 10-years-old - I'd get the same look. The look that you knew meant you weren't to say that in her presence again.

Now, looking back, I probably realise it was more a look of "how on earth can you say you're knackered when you're a child?!"

I do things now that my grandma used to do - I can definitely see her in me.

Whenever she used to come for Sunday dinner she used to sit at the head of the table, facing the window. The window looked out onto our street, and grandma was forever leaning from side to side, trying to see past my dad, to get a look at what was going on.

I, too, do exactly the same. I'll be sat in our lounge, and someone will walk past on the street, and I'll straight away turn to see who it is and what's going on.

As soon as I've done it, I smile to myself, realising my nosey streak has definitely been inherited from my grandma.

Similarly, when someone is eating something straight from the oven/microwave and gasps, saying it's too hot. I always say "because it's come from a hot place!" She used to say that to me every single time, and it so annoyed me. Now I annoy others.

Ooh, grandma would've hated me for referring to her as 'she' there. It was always "who's she? The cat's mother?!"

She hated anything other than 'grandma' too. Granny/gran was a straight up no.

My love of weddings definitely came from my grandma, too. When I was little, and she used to look after me for the day, we used to nip into the back of Brayton church if we saw there was a wedding on. I remember sitting there, in the pew on the back row, with my grandma and auntie Vera watching some randoms get married. I was as obsessed as she was.

It's so weird that my grandma was Dorothy, and Tom's grandmas shared the same name. Grandma Dot reminds me soooo much of my grandma, I would've loved to have seen the two of them together - they'd have been a hoot!

I would have loved to have had more years with my grandma. For her to share in all the exciting things that we have all achieved in our lives and to continue passing on her pearls of wisdom. But, I know, she'll be looking down bursting with pride - and occasionally wanting to berate me for my potty mouth.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

I made the mistake of asking Tom if he liked my hair at the weekend

It's not a question I often ask Tom, but Sunday night before I headed into town for drinks I asked him if he liked my hair.

Usually, I switch between the same three hairstyles each time, so never need to ask if it looks ok. On Sunday I was inspired, after watching back-to-back episodes of Keeping up with the Kardashians for two whole days, by Kim's sleek and simple ponytail.

For those not familiar with the reality queen's 'do, here's some snaps from her Insta.



To say it's a look she frequently dons, there are few photos of it on her Insta feed!

I put some of my hair extensions in to bulk it out - otherwise it was like a limp piece of string, given my hair is thinning at the rate of a balding man - and achieved the desired ponytail effect.

I thought it looked nice and simple, but was aware it was different to my usual looks (which, I must admit, are the same every goddamn time - down and straight; down, straight with a bit clipped/pinned back; or up in a donut-style bun!)

As I was sat downstairs about to go out, I asked Tom if he liked my hair.

He paused. For a long time.

That told me all I needed to know.

His answer, finally, was: "Well, I think it would look better executed in a different way."

Executed?! Fucking executed?! Who are you suddenly? Bloody Mark Hill?

It told me all I needed to know, though - he didn't like it. Throwing into doubt my hair ideas for an upcoming wedding we are going to, where I have envisaged my whole 'look' with this Kim K style pony.

I felt totally self conscious then and had no time to go and do anything else to my hair.


I didn't think it looked that bad!

It could've maybe done with a bit more volume, rather than being so sleek, but now I just look at it and see every possible flaw. I hadn't even noticed my head was that shape before! It looks like a friggin' rugby ball!

It played on my mind all evening, to the point where it was my go-to topic of conversation with every person I bumped into - whether I knew them or not. When I learnt a few girls I was chatting to were hairdressers, I was keen to learn their opinions on the barnet.

They all said it looked lovely. They were either lying to make me feel better, or they did genuinely like it. Either way, they were suddenly further up my preference list than my new husband!

Just kidding, Tom, you are right up there really!

I'm a pretty crappy girl when it comes to things like hair and make-up. I wish I knew what the chuff I was doing, but I really don't. Then, the one time I try something new, I learn the brutally honest way that I can't be like Kim Kardashian. Not that I was ever under any illusion that I could, in any way, pull anything off as successfully as her!

I also learnt that asking your husband for their opinion is just like asking a child - they'll be completely honest with their feelings and opinions.

It dawned on me, though, I would rather Tom were honest about how he thought I looked than lie to make me feel better. Even if I will then tell him to stick his opinions where the sun doesn't shine because I thought I looked fine!

Typical girl that - ask for feedback then ignore it if it's not what we want to hear!

For all those asking if married life is any different, I can finally say yes - he's not afraid to tell me what he really thinks now!



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