How I Honestly Feel About My Weight

This post was originally going to be part of a series where I'd talk about the changes I want to make in my life, but I've since decided to abandon (or at least delay) this series. However, I think I want to write something about body image now. I don't really know if what I have to say is relevant to anyone else, but I'm just going to be honest about how I feel and see where I end up. Right now I'm not sure if this is brave or stupid, but I'm just going to try and write then not edit it too much. Here goes nothing...

Firstly, I should clarify that I don't, and haven't ever had, a 'proper' eating disorder. By this I mean that I've never had a problem with food that has required me to seek medical or psychiatric help. Secondly, I'm a UK 10-12 and my BMI is 22.78, which is in the healthy range. So, in theory, I should be quite body-confident. But...

One of the only recent full-length photos I could find.
I always feel just a little bit too fat. 12 is a weird size; smaller girls might feel horrified at the prospect of being bigger than a 10, bigger girls might dream of being a 12. I look at pictures in magazines, and of nice clothes on Pinterest and, although I know that these women are 6 inches taller than me and the pictures are probably airbrushed, I can't help feeling like that's how I should look. I know that sounds completely ridiculous, but it's how the pictures make me feel. I don't look at other women who are the same size as me and think that they should lose weight, but for some reason I think that I need to. WHY?

I look at photos of myself from when I was 16, and I can see that although I felt fat, I was thin. I know that my perception was skewed then, so in theory I know that it's probably skewed now. But I just can't believe this deep down. WHY?

I absolutely love food and eating. If I could accept myself with a few wobbly bits, and continue to exercise as often as I do now, I could be a healthy weight and eat more or less what I want without feeling bad. Yet I keep making myself feel guilty for eating. WHY?

The irony of all of this is that the thing I hate the most is probably the fact that I spend so much time thinking about this. The logical part of my brain tells me that I should just decided what size I want to be, work out it's associated food/exercise requirements, get to that size, then use my brain for something more important. But I can't quite accept the way I am now, and I can't quite change it. WHY?

I say horrible things to myself about how fat and ugly I am. I have been through periods of binge eating and then making myself sick, even though I know that this is bad for me (hell, bulimia can even cause heart failure). WHY?

I also know that a woman is far more than her body shape, dress size or BMI. I read fashion blogs by beautiful women of all shapes and sizes, and I genuinely think that they all look fabulous, yet I absolutely cannot apply these compliments and believes to myself. WHY?

On reflection, I should have just called this post 'WHY?' but that's not a very informative title.

Does any of this ring true for you? I can't be the only one (I hope!). Better still, does anyone have any answers for they 'WHYs'? Do do you just think I'm a whining bitch that needs to STFU feel grateful that this is all I have to worry about? (I'm totally aware of how 'first world problems' this whole post is!)

I'll be having a proper think and, later this week, I'll post some thoughts on what I might do about all this...

Tag You're It!

Last week, Leanne tagged me in her Tag You're It post. I don't normally do them, but I was feeling a bit nostalgic for those questionnaires you used to email to your friends when you were about 16... Seriously, I loved filling those things in, so there's no way I was going to miss out on this one.

The rules :
Answer the 11 questions set.
Set 11 questions for the people you tag.
Mention the blog who tagged you.

My questions from Leanne:

If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be and why?
Deep and meaningful answer: I'd like to value myself more. I think that if I could achieve this it would help me to be loads  more confident and assertive. Superficial answer: I'd like nicer teeth.

If you could be anyone else for the day who would it be and why?
Probably one of the kids I work with. I would love to know what is going on in their heads.

What's your favourite thing about blogging?
Probably the feeling of 'community'; reading other people's posts (I love having a nosey at other people's lives!), chatting to other bloggers on twitter, getting comments, etc. I just have to build up the confidence to go to a real life blogger meet up one day! 

Who is your all time favourite band?
There are a lot of contenders for this, but I'm going to say Pulp. I think. The Futureheads and The Cribs are always good fun live.

What was the first gig you ever went to?
Reading Festival in 2004. I was 18, and I got firmly bitten by the gig-going bug...

What's been your favourite age to be and why?
Every age has had its ups and downs, but I think I'm pretty happy and settled now. The worst time was probably my teenage years; the phrase 'your schooldays are the best days of your life' is a load of old rubbish.

What do you love to do in your spare time when you aren't blogging?
Eat. Watch TV or comedy DVDs. Read (I go to a book group once a month). Go to gigs. Explore London. Eat a bit more. Meet friends for dinner/coffee. Going out and dancing.  Gym. Oh, and work. I have an awesome job.

Who is your favourite blogger?
Me. LOLZ. I can't choose one.

If you could be any type of animal which would you be?
Either something in the sea or a bird... I think I'd like to be some kind of fish that lives really deep in the ocean, because you'd never been able to experience that properly as a human. Although the same goes for flying.... Can I be two animals? Actually, if I'm bending the rules, I'll be a fish in the morning, have a nap as someone's pet cat, then be an eagle all afternoon. 

What is the kindest thing that you have ever done for anyone else?
I don't know really... I try and do little things whenever I can. I have lovely friends who are always doing kind things for me, and I think it's all the little things that matter in the end. I hope I'm as kind to my friends and family as they are to me.

Sum yourself up in three words.
Motivated. Silly. Neurotic.

I tag:

Beth from Little Miss Busy
Corinne from skinnedcartree
Jen from Sail The Ship
Alice from An Alien World

My questions:
What really irritates you?
What have you done that's made you feel really proud?
What's your favourite flavour of crisps?
Snog, marry, push off a cliff: Ross, Chandler, Joey.
Cats or dogs?
If you could only listen to one album for the rest of your life, which would you choose?
Have you ever been on TV?
Which four fictional characters would you like to go to the pub with?
If you won £20,000, what would you spend it on?
If you could make one food completely fat and calorie free, which food would you choose?
Tell me about a time when you laughed so hard that you could hardly breathe.

Feel free to answer the questions, or do the post, even if I didn't tag you...

Weekend Wanderlust: Isles of Scilly

Like Cornwall, if no-one knew that Cornwall existed.

As far as I'm aware, the Isles of Scilly tourist board haven't started using that as an advertising slogan yet (well, unless they've read my mind) but they should. Because that's exactly what it's like. Gorgeous sandy beaches, clear blue sea, coastal walks, more pubs than you can shake a stick at, ice creams, cream teas, pasties, little boats... And no massive crowds. It's as close to paradise as you're going to get without leaving the UK.

Here's some pictures from my 2003 trip (excuse the poor quality, I resorted to taking photos of photos!):

I'm gong back there in August and I can't wait. In fact, daydreaming about this is getting me through these cold winter days. I'm definitely going to try snorkeling, and maybe some sea cannoeing this time. Well, I will if I can fit it in between the cream teas and pub lunches...

Do you have any holiday plans for the summer?

Positive Tension.

Before Christmas I got a lovely present from Alex, who was my blogger secret Santa (expertly organised by Char). The photo doesn't really do justice to the gift, which was a handmade, Northern Lights themed notebook. Blue is my favourite colour too, so it's pretty much perfect for me.

But what to use it for? I didn't want to fill it with to do lists (although I love those as well), so I thought I'd use it for my own version of the popular Jar Project. Which makes sense, because it's much easier to write things in a book than it is to fill up jars with bits of paper. Besides, what do you do with the jar when it's full?

So, I'm using the book to write down the positive things that happen each day. Now, I don't think this is going to cure me, or make me feel wonderful all the time, but it does help a little bit to go to bed reflecting on the good things that have happened. It also helps me to realise that there probably won't be a day where I have absolutely nothing to write. So, yes, it may not be the solution to all my problems, but I'll do anything that's a teeny, tiny step in the right direction...

Are there any little things that you do to help you stay positive?

Snow 2013

I know, I know, you've seen a million of these posts. I'm not apologising though, I love snow and I think it makes everything look beautiful. Here's what I saw on my snowy walks last weekend...


I know it causes chaos and turns people into idiots, but I really do love the snow.

10 Things You Don't Know About Me

Actually, the title of this post should be '10 Things You Don't Know About Me Unless You Know Me In Real Life'. If you do know me in real life (hi, Mum!) none of this will be remotely interesting to you. Sorry. In fact, if you follow me on Twitter, you might know some of this stuff. I'm not really selling this post, am I?

If anyone's still reading (if you are, I admire your tenacity) here's the list:

I love sitcoms.

My Dad is obsessed with ferries and ships. Not sailing ships, but cargo ships and passenger ferries. On one family holiday to Wales, we had a day out which consisted of getting a ferry to Ireland, eating some chips at the ferry port, then getting the same ferry back to Wales. 
I used to get seasick as a child (see above).

My favourite colour is blue.
When I was little I wanted to be the first woman to walk on the moon. Then I decided to just be a teacher instead. Neither option has worked out particularly well. 
The only food I don't like is Branston Pickle. My brother loves it, and challenged me to eat a fork-full to prove that I loved him. I managed to get it in to my mouth, but had to spit it out because it made me gag so much. *shudders*
When my brother was about two, I told him to go and stand in the road (I wanted to get him into trouble). He nearly got run over. This might explain why he tried to make me eat the pickle. 
I don't have a facebook account.
I didn't eat a kebab until I was 22. Haven't looked back since. Mmm, garlic mayo...
I had a pet goldfish (called Paul) that lived for 19 years. Before you ask, my Mum definitely did not replace him. He was massive (well, for a goldfish) and therefore not easy to replace.

Tell me something I don't know about you...

Good Stuff #3

Some of the good stuff that's been on my phone for a while... I think most of it got neglected in my Christmas posting binge, probably because it wasn't festive enough. Sorry for the photo dumping (just think, if I had Instagram, you'd have to put up with this crap all the time...). 

Afternoon tea and panini from Chives in Watchet.
First Creme egg of the year.
My Mum's amazing steak and vegetable casserole.
I actually cooked something for once...

A special Christmas message for Dave.
Fake Christmas: fuelled by Mint Matchmakers.
Face paint.

In case you're wondering (you probably aren't, but just in case), I've totally wimped out of publishing my 'making changes' posts. I think maybe I'm a bit scared of baring my soul when anyone could read it. I'll probably post the body image one at some point, but I've decided it's better to leave work/career off the blog entirely...

Anyway. Food and fun are where it's at. I've decided.

4 books I loved In 2012.

Totally and utterly spoiler-free, I promise!

This time last year, when I was writing my 30 Before 30, I decided that I needed to get back into reading, and aim for 100 new books before I reached the big 3-0. I've been doing pretty well (by my standards) and I managed 26 last year. Here are the ones I loved:

The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. As a fan of teen fiction, I'm ashamed to say that I didn't read these books until this year. Catching Fire (the second book in the series) was definitely my favourite of the three, I loved the fast pace and found the plot genuinely unpredictable. Phrases such as, 'It's a real page-turner' and 'I couldn't put it down' are bandied about in posts like these, but, well, it was a real page-turner, and I really couldn't put it down. I found the characters and the world created by the author captivating, and disturbingly believable. And, yes, the book is better than the film. 

Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson. One of those books that I've been meaning to read for years, but hadn't quite got around to. In fact it took a crazily-reduced copy in the HMV sale (hmmmm) to encourage me to finally buy the book and read it. I loved the way that the main character's relationships with God and her mother were explored; they managed to be simultaneously unusual and entirely realistic. The action is interspersed with metaphorical fairy tales and, although some of them were less than subtle, I liked the way that this made me reflect on the plot and characters. Thought-provoking, moving, and not quite what I was expecting. I like it when a book surprises me.

The Woman In Black by Susan Hill. My only regret about reading this book is that I waited until after I'd seen the film.  Not deliberately, but because I saw the film on the spur of the moment and I hadn't been particularly interested in the book before this. Scary and disturbing, but in a much more subtle way than the film. I think that in a way, seeing the film first slightly ruined the suspense that is expertly built up in the book. If you haven't seen the film yet, I'm begging you to read this first! 

Ordinary Thunderstorms by William Boyd. I love a thriller, and this was an extremely good one. It follows an ordinary man whose life is turned upside-down by an extraordinary event. The sub-plots keep the story fast-paced and interesting, and they're expertly woven together as the story develops. Gripping, intense and realistic. The detail with which the characters and locations were described made it feel so believable, which is a real achievement when you take into account the extreme nature of the novel's events. I'm desperately hoping for a sequel. 

What was your favourite book of 2012?

The 100 Day Spending Ban.

Yes, I've unashamedly jumped on another blogger bandwagon. I'm about three days away from wearing disco pants and reviewing a Glossy Box (that's a lie, I'd never pay for a Glossy Box. Does anyone actually pay for a Glossy Box?). 

This particular bandwagon, however, suits me down to the ground at the moment, because I'm on a bit of a mission to reduce my expenditure. It's pretty simple really; 100 days of no non-essential spending. I started a few days ago, so I have to keep it up until April 24th. Easy! (Ahem).

Here's my personal rules:
  • Absolutely no buying of clothes, shoes or accessories.
  • No nail varnish, or any make up (except foundation, if I run out).
  • No toiletries, unless I run out of any essentials. Note to self: Soap and Glory hand cream is not actually essential.
  • No 'food on the run'. So, no paying for lunch at work, or buying sandwiches at train stations because I was too lazy to plan ahead.
  • No magazines.
  • No music, DVDs, or books.
  • No home stuff.
  • No stationary, unless it's absolutely necessary and I've made 100% sure that I don't already own the item in question.
Wish me luck...

Are you on a spending ban? How are you finding it?

Makes: Soft Toys

Introducing my latest creations...

I knew I wanted to make something to give my Fake Christmas buddies so, after far too many hours deliberating, I decided to try making some small soft toys. Once I'd made a pattern it was actually pretty simple, and everyone seemed to like them. I'm not really sure what they are, and I don't have a name for them yet... Any ideas?

What do you think? I wish I'd made one for myself now! 

P.S. I will be posting the 'Making Changes' posts, I've just temporarily lost my nerve! 

Making Changes: The Beginning

I'm going to be totally honest with you.

Things got a bit shitty again.

To be honest, they still are, which means that I need to hurry up and learn some very important lessons:

I am not superwoman.
I cannot do everything and I shouldn't feel bad about that.
I need to look after myself.

(Source, found via Pinterest).
I ended up having another (brief) hospital admission in December, and it's given me some time to think about what I need to change in my life. I did think twice about documenting this on here, because it feels quite public and I don't want to come across as self-obsessed or overly introspective. In the end though, I think it will help me to have these 'resolutions' documented, because it'll encourage me to actually try and follow them. So, feel free to skip these posts if they're not your bag. I won't mind, honest.
I've divided it up into separate posts: work, career and free time; weight, looks and body image; friends and family.
So, more to come, I guess... 

Weekend Wanderlust: Watchet, Somerset.

I'm originally from West Somerset, from a little town called Watchet. Yes, that's pronounced 'Watch-it'. In fact, during a particularly shit Saturday job I had as a teenager, I had to wear a 'hilarious' t-shirt that proclaimed, 'You've got to watch it in Watchet!' *shudders*

Silly names, crappy jobs, and emotionally scarring t-shirts aside, Watchet does actually have a few things to offer the unsuspecting visitor (who probably got lost on their way to somewhere else). Over the Christmas break I went on a few Christmas-calorie-burning walks around the town and snapped away like a proper tourist. 

We have a marina, dontchaknow? 

The West Somerset Steam Railway. 
Personally, I'd rather have something that actually connects to the national rail network, but you can't have it all...

Sometimes it's nice to look at your own town through the eyes of a tourist; it's far too easy to miss what's right on your doorstep.  

My Zatchels Bag

Just before Christmas, I was lucky enough to win a Zatchels bag in Kristabel's giveaway. I chose the cream and chestnut bag from the Harmony collection, because I thought it looked a bit more exciting than a plain chestnut bag, but was still quite classic. 

I did think about getting a patterned bag (I love a polka dot, me) but I thought the plain ones would go with more outfits. I feel like I definitely chose the right one, because I absolutely love it. 

Right, photos!


Is it possible to be in love with a bag? I think I'm in love with a bag. Send help.

10 Fake Christmas Photos

I recently explained why I love Fake Christmas so much, and this year didn't disappoint. Here's what occurred...

There's always room for Mint Matchmakers.

Normally we 'Rate The Boys', which is fun. This year we played 'Slate the Boys' which was much better. Yes, I'm bitter and twisted, what of it?

Everyone was super-generous with the gifts.

A slightly different take on the Christmas jumper... Arise, Sir Cliff.

@feebug enjoying her '100% unofficial' 2013 Cher Lloyd annual. 
Got to love a quality Secret Santa gift.

FOOD! I love food. Mmmmm, food.

This is my last Christmas photo dump for a while (about 11 months to be precise), I promise. Thanks for bearing with me!