Life has changed a bit since then though hasn’t it!
As I re-read the post back, I thought “Have my clothing needs and wants changed since then?” And yeah, they probably have a little bit, and I imagine I’m not the only one who feels like that. So I’m doing a ’22 remix – the key pieces of clothing I feel I need to function and feel good in my life:
I’m all about a piece that’s a good ‘throw on and go but looks like effort was made’ and a blazer is that for me. I usually prefer one that’s a proper fit (as in not oversized) and doesn’t have anything too fancy about it so it’ll go with a lot of other things in my wardrobe. This one is from Simply Be (it comes in quite a few colours- I also have it in pink and white) and I’ve gotten lots of wear out of it in the short time I’ve had it.
Stompy ankle boots
I mean, I think any kind d of black ankle boot is a must, but the past year or 2 something a bit tougher has been my go-to because they go with virtually everything in my wardrobe and I’m less likely to fall over. The ones I’ve been living in for the past few months are from New Look (sold out now but this pair from ASOS are very similar) I’ve also got some with faux pearl detail on similar to these.
A selection of belts
I’m not talking loads of belts! I have some with gold and silver hardware, some with more details and some that are simple. The idea is to use them to elevate or elongate a look or change the shape of an item. The styles I wear most are this one from River Island that I’ve worn to death for every occasion, and this one from ASOS which is a bit chunkier and more casual
Any shape that you prefer, any texture/magerial that feel most comfortable in. I’m still very much a basic stretchy skinny jeans gal on the daily because they work for the office, the weekend, evening, everything.
Before I specified certain kinds of dress, but I’d just say a style that YOU feel good in. For me that’s usually something tiered and midi length. I’ve bought a few really good ‘can do day or not’ frocks this year from Simply Be which is where this one is from.
Matching (and cosy) loungewear
Rather than just leggings and sweatshirts (of which I still have and wear often) I’ve found actual loungewear to be my preferred option at home. When it’s a little chillier I’m the morning or right before the heating is due back on, having something in a snugglier fabric has just made things feel that bit nicer. I’ve enjoyed wearing sets like this one from Boohoo because I like a bit of a matchy matchy situation.
The kind I’m referring too aren’t for sleeping , they’re for those days when you’re at home and just want to feel a bit extra! Some silky or satin feeling is always a winner – I love nothing more than to wear this silk robe from IDentity Lingerie (gifted for a previous collab) to do little more than a face mask and binge-watch a box set. I’m also a big fan of feather PJs which, if you get the right pair, you deffo can leave the house in.
I’m definitely not a capsule wardrobe kind of a gal, lord knows I’ve tried! But I do have some preferred methods of doing things, which are these:
– I tend to go by the mantra “if the shoe fits, buy it in every colour” – if I find a style of clothing I like, I’m highly likely to buy it in at least 1 or 2 other colours! – I try to shop more responsibly and only buy clothing I really love and believe I will get a decent amount of wear out of. – If there’s an item of clothing I see on social media that’s been gifted to somebody a similar size to me, I’ll see if they have a Depop/Vinted account and are selling it on. I’ve done that a few times in the past year and it’s saved me ££ for something practically brand new. – I don’t beat myself up if I impulse buy a couple of items here and there. If it turns out I don’t like it or haven’t worn as much as I though, I can return it, sell it on or donate to charity.
It’s been finished for a little while but I decided to publish it now as a lot of you will have a bit more time during the festive break to look at holidays for next year, so this may make a nice easy bit of reading.
Greece has definitely become ‘my place’and somewhere I enjoy and feel most comfortable going on holiday in recent years. I’ve been to a few more Greek islands and the mainland but I was pretty young and only have hazy memories to be honest! So this should probably be called ‘Ranking the Greek Islands I’ve visited as an adult’.
Islands are ranked from least to most favourite, although I will point out that enjoyed my time visiting every one of them!
I stayed in Agia Marina on the Northwest, which is the opposite side to the overly developed tourist areas. This trip was what I’d describe as an ‘mature girly holiday’ so our main priorities were to sunbathe and have some nice food and drink in the evenings, which we definitely did. The absolute highlight of the week was our visit to the old capital Chania, which is just gorgeous and vibrant. It was in Chania I ate at what I still regard as one of the prettiest restaurants I’ve ever been in, Ella Taverna (it doesn’t have a website or I’d link it).
I’ve talked about my travels to Myknonos quite extensively at the time. What I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned in any of my blog posts is this – we accidentally turned up for our flight 24hrs early so had to pay for another night in the airport hotel / parking. I also realised I’d forgotten to pack any bras so used the extra day to hotfoot it to Manchester and rectify the problem! Even though I saw exactly the same sights as those plastered across social media there were a few things that surprised me, including just how rough the sea was and how busy the tiny little streets were! Our hotel was called Paola’s Town, and lovely as it was it was in a kind of bad location – technically 900m to the centre of Mykonos Town but that was down a very steep road that had not pathway and no lights, which made the journey a bit stressful. That said, we enjoyed some amazing food and drink and a visit to Mykonos Vioma vineyard. Given that the main action and aesthetic is in Mykonos Town which we explored extensively, coupled with the fact that it’s hella expensive for food and drink, I probably won’t be making a repeat visit.
This is the most recent island I’ve travelled to on this list, which we picked because we’d been to Zakynthos the year before so thought we’d try out it’s neighbour. We stayed at White Rocks Hotel in Lassi which was a nice but set out in the most bizarre way. We had a room overlooking the sea and public beach which was lovely but inexplicably the room also had a massive window that looked through from the toilet to the bedroom that was not pleasant! There also weren’t any footpaths or lighting from the hotel to the resort which made going out after sunset a bit dicey (a la Mykonos). I’m not sure if it was because of COVID or whether it’s simply how Lassi is, but things felt a LOT quieter than I would’ve expected for August. We spent a couple of nights in the capital of Argostoli, and lemme tell you things were bouncing over there! I was surprised to find Kefalonia was quite extra and boujee – think flower arches, living walls/ceilings and pristine white interiors. It looked amazing! We made sure we got out and saw a bit of the island too, and everywhere we visited was just as pretty. Greek food is hands down my favourite, but we also had the chance to sample some traditional Kefalonian food too which was a nice change. And we got to see some turtles up close which was a highlight!
Kos has gained its ranking for purely sentimental reasons – it was mine and the Mr’s first proper holiday together when we were newly engaged. We stayed at the Cleopatra Superior in Kardamena which was fine, just your average kinda ‘this is our base’ hotel, although we did have a great view of the mountains, sea and pool from our room. We didn’t leave the resort once or even do much during the week we visited (we went on a boat trip where I got really sunburnt, rented a pedalo and did an afternoon of mini golf, which I lost at) so didn’t see any of the island or try any new foods etc (basically, all of the things we love to do now). We were just a couple of 20-somethings in love and that was all the entertainment we needed! I would be put off returning again splely because of flight times and the sizeof the airport – we had to queue outside to get in and then were basically in a constant queue all the way through check in and departures until we boarded in the early hours of the morning!
Zakynthos was very much a last minute decision – I’d been made redundant after a few months on Furlough andwe’d had another couple of holidays cancelled. We had time, money and Boris said we could so thought why not! It was hands down the most pleasant airport experience I’ve ever had in August – not a lot of people, socially distanced and everything running on time. I think because it was last minute and we just wanted to chill our expectations were low, but we were pleasantly surprised. We stayed in Tsilivi which was pretty buzzing with lots of places to eat and drink (although at the time there was a midnight curfew). We stayed at the Contessina Hotel which I had mixed feelings about – the aesthetic and staff were lovely but some of the rooms were badly laid out/inaccessible and they didn’t provide adequate sizing of things like robes (the Mr and I are distinctly average sized but even the XL didn’t come close to fitting either of us). We took a couple of trips to explore the island, spent the day at a beach club and enjoyed some of the best Greek food I’ve ever tasted. I remember feeling insanely relaxed about life and what was coming next with finding a new job etc, so I think this break put me in the right headspace that led me to where I am right now, so I’ll always have find memories of this trip. I’d be more than happy to go back again.
Santorini was absolutely, 100% everything I wanted and more, I’d love to go back! I wrote about it quite a lot at the time – a guide to the island hotspots, best things to do and a guide to Greek food so feel free to click any of these links if you’d like to know more. Literally everything you look at is beautiful and it’s dead easy to get everywhere. I was told before going that it was pretty expensive, but I didn’t find that at all – everywhere was reasonably priced for food, drink and activities. We stayed in Kamari and could literally see the resort from the airport, if I was going back I’d stay there again as its a nice place in its own right and super easy to travel to other places from.
If you’re interested in seeing more of some of these holidays, head to my Instagram and check out the highlights section or scroll back through the grid to take a look at some more pictures. Unfortunately Kos and Crete were pre-IG so there’s nothing about either of them, but feel free to get in touch with any questions and I can answer or do another post as desired.
I’m not sure if anyone even does these kinds of posts anymore, but since I’ve been largely absent from the internet this year I thought I’d still continue the mini tradition of posting my Instagram best nine. Pics count down from 9 to 1 and I’ve written a bit of context with each.
9 – Holiday style
In August I jetted off to Kefalonia (which I definitely intend to write about one of these days…) and wrote about how I’d lived in this tomato red skater dress (I know it looks more orange in this light) since buying it, as I’m sure I’ll continue to do when the weather is warm enough to wear it again!
8 – WFH life
I was home alone wearing a lot of loungewear for 3 months and trying to do something cute I spotted on New Look’s feed. Nothing more profound than that!
7 – The post-trolling bounce back
I wasn’t really feeling myself because I got trolled really badly on the photo I posted right before this one (feel free to check out my Instagram to go and see said photo, it was also a Reel), it ended with someone saying I looked like I was definitely going to die from diabetes. Lovely eh? However, this day I was going to get my hair done and to to lunch for the first time since restrictions eased so had made an effort and was feeling alroght about myself. I was kind of annoyed at letting the keyboard warriors affect me tbh, but hey I’m only human.
6 – London calling
My first time back in London for 3 long years! I took a bit of time to check out some old haunts and some I’d never been to before that I’d spotted on Tik Tok (feel free to give me a follow on TT if you happen to be on there) including Neal’s Yard where this pic was taken. It turned out to be about 30 seconds away from the area we usually stay in! We also checked out Ballie Ballerson which is one of the most fun nights out I’ve had this year- great music, great food and cocktails, lots of juvenile fun to be had.
5 – Boujee PJs for days (and days)
I bought this set from River Island to wear on Christmas day 2020, I love the Daily Sleeper ones but couldn’t justify the £300 price tag! The feathers on mine get EVERYWHERE though…this photo was a Saturday afternoon in lockdown where I simply thought “hey, I’ve adulted enough today, let’s dress up and have some fun”. There’s real gin in that cocktail glass and I drank it all! Apart from the bit I spilled over myself trying to take this pic…
4 – Where what the hell you want
If you’ve been with me since somewhere near the beginning of my blog, you’ll know that my body has changed over the years. Right now it’s on the bigger side of where I’ve been before, and I veer between being absolutely fine with how I look and feeling desperate to change. I’m trying to find a middle ground between feeling OK about myself as I am whilst taking steps to create a mind and body that I’m happier in more often than not (not 100% happy, because I don’t think that’s achievable). On this day I was in my back garden in the summer heat in a bikini and felt good, so I posted this pic.
3 – Go shorty it’s your bithday
I enjoy trying to do some kind of fun photo setup for my birthday each year (not sure whether I’ll still think its fun as the number goes up). I spotted a pic on Lucy Wood’s Instagram feed that gave me the inspo for this – I ordered some party bits from Amazon and hung them in my beloved Wisteria tree.
2 – More birthday shenanigans
As my birthday fell on a Monday, the Mr took me out the day before for a bottomless pizza lunch (aka pretty perfect afternoon out). I’d just bought this Floral dress from Simply Be and this was its first outing. I felt awesome in it and got some lovely compliments too. It became one of my most worn clothing items this year – I lived it so often that I bought the jumpsuit and skater dress in the same print, which I’m now equally obsessed with.
1 – Don’t let life pass you by!
It may have been the pina colada talking, but when I wrote this caption I wholeheartedly meant every single bloody word of it. Even though the alcohol buzz has long since worn off, I stand by it. You can’t wait until you feel “good enough” to go on holiday, go to a restaurant, basically live your life. If you do that you’ll miss out on so much.
And that’s it for another year! I’ll leave links below the past few I’ve done if you have a spare 5 minutes and you’re feeling nosey.
Everybody deserves to feel a million dollars in AND out of the house. amiright? Trick question, course I am!
I’m a firm believer that feeling good about yourself is for all year round, however the change in seasons can sometimes make us feel a bit less like our best selves. So what better than to slip into some sexy silk nightwear* and enjoy a bit of self care as we inch close to towards sipping pumpkin spiced lattes and turning up the thermostat.
This gorgeous black dressing gown is by IDentity Lingerie and is made of Japanese Silk. The maxi length and luxurious feel of the silk make me feel boujee AF; I can step straight out of the shower and have a cuppa (pretty much as I did as these pics were taken) and feel glam. I already have visions of sitting next to the Christmas tree sipping Bucks Fizz wearing this!
Moving on to what’s underneath the robe, satin pink pyjamas*, also by IDentity Lingerie. Same luxurious Japanese silk but lighter weight which means they’re a great for warmer nights or snuggling up underneath blankets near a roaring fire.
IDentity Lingerie also have some slips and long pyjamas in the same material, so you can feel glam in something that suits your style. Not forgetting their beautiful selection of lingerie if you want to take that glam sexy feeling out of the house…
Ive always been a ‘change into nightwear within five minutes of entering the house’ kind of a gal, having beautiful chic nightwear just makes it even nicer. Add in a bit of self care – face mask, something nice to drink, maybe a bit of chocolate and some easy watching on Netflix – and that makes my autumn downtime sound pretty near perfect!
Long time no speak…not gonna lie, I didn’t realise that it had been 4 WHOLE MONTHS since we last caught up! Time flies when you’re…well, busy! Here’s a brief snapshot of what’s been happening in the world of Jenny Chat:
Finally had my grey roots covered
Had both COVID jabs
Went on the radio a few times
Had a few date nights with the Mr
Met up with friends, ex-colleagues and people I haven’t seen in forever for brunch, lunch, dinner, coffee and walks
and I *think* dear reader, that’s about everything!
I didn’t intend to take a break (definitely not such a long one) but in my humble opinion, there’s no point publishing something if I don’t think it has any valid reason or opinion behind it, so I didn’t.
My blog will always feel a bit like home, and I’m not planning to move any time soon.
As always, thanks for following/reading/commenting, there will be more for you to enjoy soon 😊 in the meantime feel free to come and say hey on Instagram or Tik Tok where I have been hanging out a little bit more often.
This week, the press and social media have been set alight by a photo of one Ms Khloe Kardashian. I’m not going to include the image because Khloe’s made it crystal clear that she’d prefer it not be seen any further, so I want to respect that. Khlo was relaxing by the pool in a bikini on a hot day, make up free (as I do myself on holiday) when someone took a quick snap of her. Said snap found it’s way onto Instagram and the world and his wife have had an opinion about it ever since.
I guess by publishing this post, I’m now throwing my hat into the ring of this conversation. But it’s not to criticise or offer an opinion, it’s to offer a bit of perspective.
So, here’s the thing. Nobody gets to decide how a person feels about their appearance but that person. No matter how many people tell you “but you look amazing”, “you’re beautiful”, “don’t be so silly it’s not that bad” they can’t make that person feel it themselves. And (most crucially, I feel) if a person has gone through years of being criticised about their looks, constantly compared to others and have struggled to find their place within that, you can’t be surprised when they do things like photoshop/good lighting/flattering poses to look the best you can. So, if they freak the fuck out when an image unexpectedly comes out that could put them back into that negative public arena, that’s a pretty reasonable reaction.
I relate to this, like a LOT. I wrote this post a little while ago about how I’ve spent most of my life listening to other people’s opinions of my appearance – good, bad, unsolicited, from friends, from strangers, in admiration, in disgust, in insecurity. It’s confusing, exhausting and never ending. And I’m just a regular gal! I don’t have a TV show, millions of followers or get followed by photographers everywhere I go, so I can only imagine how much worse that kind of attention could feel.
I’m sure a lot of us have also seen a photo of ourselves that we’re not 100% happy with, but maybe your mum’s taken it and you think it’s going to sit untouched in an album somewhere, so what’s the harm? Until your mum forgets to delete it from her phone and it accidentally posts it on Facebook with all the others photos and you immediately call her up and be like “delete that RIGHT NOW”. That’s all that’s happening here, except my mum’s Facebook isn’t publicly stalked by ‘journalists’ looking to make a quick buck with the Daily Mail, so the impact is much less widespread.
Koko – you’ve always been my favourite Kardashian. I hear you, and I hope others take the time to really hear you too. I stan.
*This post is about body image and weight loss. Please don’t read it if you feel this may negatively affect you.*
If you’re a long time reader of my blog, or you’re a friend of mine in real life, you’ll know I’ve been through a few changes in my life. We all have I’m sure.
What you may not know is that I still don’t feel like I fit in. I don’t feel like I know what my place is, or should be in the world, because of how I look. Or because of how others feel about how I look.
A bit of a walk through the past explains the why, but not the where. Please read with an open mind and an understanding heart.
I had a distinctly average looking body for my age (I’m cringing at how awful that sounds to say, but this is where the mind of childhood Jenny in the 80’s/90’s went, as well as those who looked at her) in some photos you could even argue I was fairly slim. But, not as skinny as some of my classmates it would seem, even then. Girls at my school learnt very quickly that the best way to hurt someone’s feelings was to insult their size. I was told I couldn’t play leapfrog in the playground because my ‘bum was too fat’, when I started dance class I was called ‘elephant in a tutu’ both by girls who were supposed to be my friends. Once, I was even punched in the stomach by a boy in my class.
So, things got better for me at high school? Did they bollocks!
Boys were interested in girls bodies, girls knew it, and girls had further refined their weight-related insults. When I was about 13, I was with a group of friends when one said “let’s all say how much we weigh” so we went round the table, and when they got to me I told the truth (which was about 8st and I was a size 10-12). After a few moments, one of them said “oh no, Jenny is the heaviest” and they all gave me a sympathetic smile. I knew for a fact some of them had lied but didn’t say, because I didn’t want them to be embarrassed, or to look vengeful myself.
It was around this time that my Grandad started to make regular comments about my weight and how I looked. He’d recently gone on a much needed health kick, gotten fit and lost weight, and I was apparently his next target to ‘fix’. Even my mum made the odd comment – once she said if I lost enough weight over the school holidays she’d buy me a whole new wardrobe and all the boys would fancy me.
Came out of a serious relationship, lived alone, thought nobody cared about me, ate what I wanted and partied hard. During this time I received probably the most horrific comments I’ve ever had, some from people I didnt know. At work I was described as someone’s before image, “she looks amazing now, she looked like you before”. Someone else asked why I was so fat when I ran around busy all the time, and an older gentleman who had health related weight issues told me “we have to to be careful, people like us, fatties”. This was around the time I was newly in a relationship with the man I’m now married to and I was so worried all the time thinking ‘why the hell does he want to be with me when everyone else clearly has such a low opinion of me??’.
Mid to late 20s
I was married, had an active social life, and was (now I can look back with a more objective eye) a pretty average body size. Because I consumed too many sweet and high calorie things, towards my later 20s I decided I had to change how I looked after myself so that I could feel more positive and less lethargic. I figured making changes before I hit 30 would be easier than making them later.
I’d made the aforementioned changes, feeling more lively and I looked different. Quite different actually. It was the first time I’d ever been considered a ‘slim girl’ in my whole life. I went through moments of being proud of myself for making changes I felt I needed and sticking with them, actually looking in the mirror and feeling aright about myself, yet confused by how other people’s opinions of me suddenly changed.
Any time I posted a photo on Facebook, dozens of acquaintances would comment calling me a skinny minnie, saying I looked amazing and asking for my ‘secret’. In the real world I had strangers come up to me to telling me I looked good, van drivers honking their horns at me when I went for a walk. One time, a car full of blokes stopped in the middle of the street and shouted things about my arse out of the window. I’d NEVER dealt with anything like this before and I felt overwhelmed and embarrassed by it. I wasn’t doing anything to invite attention, I was just out in the world going about my life.
Despite this, people were still mean sometimes. When I’d go to check my weight and measurements every week (I personally found this helped track my progress) I’d be tapped on the shoulder at least once and be asked “why are you here to get weighed love, you’re already dead skinny?”. There were points when my friends didn’t seem particularly friendly either. They weren’t impressed that I’d stopped drinking, chose meals more carefully when I went out, and they weren’t shy about letting me know. They would make neggy comments to me, or say our other friends looked nice but would never say it to me like they used to. They told me I was boring or acting like “a bit of a pyscho” about my diet. Even now, if I bring up my weight or how I look, they will ‘remind’ me I was “not nice to be around” .
My family, on the other hand, were bloody delighted with my progress. They would never miss an opportunity to tell me “how much better” I looked and how worried they used to be that I was killing myself before but were too scared to say anything. You’d think that’d be nice, but it made me feel almost as awkward. Had they all been judging me behind my back for years? But STILL my Grandad wasn’t pleased. He still thought it I hadn’t lost enough weight loss I was “too wobbly” (I was, so what) but I’d learnt to tune him out a bit by then.
I re-entered the world of work (after spending 5yrs at uni) and had to deal with some very toxic people. The result? Started drinking, eating more sweet and high calorie food, none of my clothes fit me anymore. I felt sad that I’d undone a lot of my hard work and angry that I’d let hateful people drive me to such a low and vulnerable point. By the time they exited my life (not nearly soon enough) the rot had set in quite severely. I’d been blogging about three years at this point, yet could barely even look at myself in the mirror and before taking photos and going places to write about in my posts.
This was also the time the Facebook acquaintances reappeared. This time, the opening line was usually “so what happened to you?” or “you look a bit different now.”
No neggy comments from the family, but don’t worry, they’ll be back soon…
And this brings us nicely to where I am today. Which, to be honest, probably isn’t that nice.
One toxic work situation ended but I somehow found myself in another about six months later. This time it was much, much worse and lasted twice as long. I comfort ate my ass off, got the biggest I have ever been, hated myself and the rest of the world for pretty much everything. And I must’ve fallen pretty hard into the depths of despair, as I had family and close friends begging me to get help. When speaking to my friends about wanting to lose weight and feel more comfortable again, the response I got was “yeah definitely, but don’t go crazy like you did before. You got too skinny and it wasn’t nice.”
I then gained a few ‘Furlough pounds’ as a lot of people did, and that’s when Grandad finally decided to pipe up again and let me know once and for all how disappointed he was in me. I know its difficult when dealing with the older generation; they have no filter or concept of how their words can be perceived, but let me tell you his cut deep. Phrases such as “we need to walk you/weigh you”, “So what clothes are yoy wearing now?” And “I’m trying not to hurt your feelings here but you really need to do something about this” have hurt my feelings a lot, to the point where I’m welling up as a type this. I have a mirror; I know what I’ve looked like before and I know what I look like now. I know what my goals are and how to achieve them. Behind the scenes, I may even be quietly doing just that. But you think I feel like turning into Jane Fonda after someone I love has ripped my self confidence a new one? No I do not.
So after reading that, do you know where I fit in, how I should feel what I should do? I figure I may as well invite comments at this point; enough people have given them anyway up to this point and I’m fresh out of ideas at this point!
Thank you for making it to the end of this post, and for getting here with (hopefully still) an open mind and understanding heart. I appreciate it lots.
And just like that…we made it through the first month of 2021.
Based on progress to date, I think a lot of people believe 2021 is going to be a ‘hold my beer 2020’ to 2020. However, I’m confident it’s more of a sassy spectator, more “I could go there and eff things up better than you, but I’m too busy doing hot girl shit”. Thoughts?
I liked doing these round up posts last year – they reminded me of the good stuff that happened each month which can only be a positive thing! So they’re back again for 2021, but I *may* play about with the format just a teeny bit. Lemme know your thoughts after this one.
How to get away with murder: I watch S1 E1 ages ago but never continued for some reason, then saw loads of people raving about it online so thought I’d try again. So glad I did (although I find all of the drama just a teent bit stressful at times). I’m currently up to S3 so no spoilers please!
The Serpent: If you watched this I’m sure you’ll agree that the styling choices were as compelling as the story. I’m really into true crime, so after finishing this I consumed every piece of information I could find about the real events online. It’s extremely troubling how little the lives of tourists seemed to matter until Knippenberg made them listen.
Cheat: Spotted this on a Gogglebox ep ages ago and it recently dropped onto Netflix. A lot more twists than I originally expected.
Rupaul’s Drag Race S13: thrilled its back (if ever we needed the power of drag, it’s now) but I’m less thrilled with the format change it started with, especially when it turned out to be a pointless ‘twist’. I have a few queens I’m taking early interest in – Gottmik, Olivia Luxe, Denali, Rosè and Tamisha Iman.
Rupaul’s Drag Race UK S2: is it too much Drag Race in one go, or is it completely fabulous and just the right amount for a winter lockdown? I say the latter. I liked S1 but I really like S2. I can’t name my early faves because I like almost all of them right now.
Cooking from scratch: I got a Pinch of Nom cook book for my Secret Santa gift and it’s been well used. Most of the recipes are straightforward, very tasty and include a lot of varied ingredients. I somehow feel more accomplished and ‘well’ after a whole month of this, so I need to find a way of making sure I keep this up when I’m back working in the office.
Celebrating hubby’s birthday: first (hopefully not first of many) lockdown birthday of the year done. I decided to make it into a slightly more boujee affair (because that’s what 36 yo men care about, clearly) by making a balloon arch, getting tapas takeout from one of our fave restaurants and ordering a chocolate fudge rainbow cake from Desserts Delivered who I’d highly recommend.
Picking up old (ish) hobbies: I’ve been trying to re-establish some of the positive hobbies I picked up during L1 (sadly, I couldn’t include sunbathing) so I’ve been back at the podcasts which you’ve seen, continuing with Spanish lessons and creating more content for Tik Tok and Instagram (though IG is totally doing me dirty on Reels and won’t let me upload or film them properly)
Exam board drops Zoella for promoting sex toys on her website: Well this was a left of field story! She’s a 30 year old woman who’s entitled to write about things that are important and interesting to her (as I do, albeit with a few million less readers) as she’s done throughout her career. Her audience have *mostly* grown with her so will be a similar age. I doubt she asked to be put on the GCSE syllabus, it’s not exactly #ad territory is it, so isn’t going to effect her life. 16 is old enough to have sex in the UK and I’m willing to bet some of them have read Zoella’s blog post with interest. Let’s not slut shame the girl for wanting to promote pleasure in a pandemic.
Influencers in Dubai: If you have to go away for work for several days and have some down time to hit the beach for a few hours, nothing wrong with that, but I suspect its more the other way around in a lot of cases ( i.e. work being a tiny portion of the trip). Go to work if you cannot work from home is the official line, people are clearly just playing a bit fast and loose with that aren’t they. But, if you’re in Dubai for whatever reason, just own it and be honest. Don’t try and use social media to pretend you’re still at home. People will see you and call you out.
So, what’s in store for Chapter 2? See you this time next month to find out…
Me too! This is the first time for me; in Lockdown 1 I was on Furlough/redundant and Lockdown 2 working from my regular office, so working from home has been a pretty new thing for me to get used to. I’m still finding out better ways for me to work all the time (including using my existing organisation hacks) but today I’m sharing what’s been working for me since the start of the year. If you’re not doing some/any of these right now, I’d encourage you to try them out to see if they’re able to hell you as well.
Separate your work space
Some homes mean it’s not always possible to work in an entirely different room, but choosing a separate are in your home to work from is essential for me. I’ve chosen to set up a comfy home office on the other side of my lounge – I would rarely choose to sit there otherwise (there’s no view of the TV, another bonus in this instance) and there’s a massive chair that allows me to spread comfortably and avoid my sciatica kicking in. At the end of every day, I put my laptop down and leave it in this area until I start again the next morning. On a Friday evening, I pack everything up and put it away until Monday.
Listen while you work
You’re probably used to hearing people work and chatter around you when you’re at work in the office, so when you’re working at home the silence can be deafening. I’ve found podcasts the best way to recreate this at home, because it’s like a friends chatting that you can dip in and out. Music and TV are too distracting to me because of the visual element and because inevitably a song will come on that I want to dance around to (which I could, because I’m at home and nobody’ll see me, but your gal’s got work to be getting on with). My faves include Rich T’s Throne Room for my Drag Race chat and Katherine Ryan: Telling Everybody Everything for general real talk.
Take breaks (yes, that’s plural)
In the office you’d normally get up from your desk to make a drink, nip to the loo, drop something off in another department. Make sure you still get up for the equivalent time every hour or so. When I first started WFH I felt compelled to be glued to my laptop constantly just to prove I was still working and ‘on it’. Well, guess what? I’m usually more productive when I’ve had five minutes to stretch my legs, drink a brew and empty my bladder a couple times a day. Oh, and take a lunch break, and I mean your full whatever’s-in-your-contract lunch.
Leave the house
Without a commute and in between food shops, it can be easy to forget you haven’t been outside for ages. Make a conscious effort to have a little bit of time outdoors every day (or a few times per week) to nip to the corner shop, mooch into your village or even enjoy a hot drink in your garden if you have one. You just don’t realise how much fresh air and being out if the house helps until you’ve actually done it.
Don’t forget your hobbies
Home is primarily for YOU and is your haven, so remember to use it to do things you enjoy outside of working hours. This could be doing a new hobby, one you’ve always had or something you started in lockdown 1 but promptly dropped when the pubs re-opened. For me, it’s writing blog posts (thanks for reading, by the way), learning Spanish, cooking from scratch and having at least one hour each day to watch a couples-sanctioned series (which is usually some kind of thriller or murder show).
If you’re WFH and looking for some ways to cope with it better, I hope this helps a little bit. We all have stuff we’re battling against right now, so if there are ways to make things easier I’m all for sharing that around.