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.
There’s a lot going on the world right now. Some stuff is still kinda new that we’re only just learning to deal with after a few months. Other things however, have been around for a while but haven’t been given the attention they need or deserve. Until now.
If you know me in real life, you know I’m a talkative person (I’m not called Jenny Chat for nothing). However, there’s one subject I stay uncharacteristically quiet about outside of the privacy of my own home, which is mental health.
I personally find it very hard to open up about mental health struggles I’ve experienced. I feel uncomfortable about having them, I don’t want to be viewed as ‘just another statistic’, and that’s before I even start to think about how other people might treat me as a result of knowing I might be going through something. That’s just how I feel about myself, it has nothing to do with anybody else or what they’ve had to deal with.
There have been points where I’ve scraped along the bottom or my proverbial barrel in life. During those times I’ve screwed up the nerve (because talkative doesn’t equal confident folks) spoken to people in the hope of getting support, or maybe just some kind words.
Unfortunately, I got neither.
I’ve written below a handful of the resoinses I received, the ones that really stuck out for me and continue to stick with me. I’ve written these as they were said to me and without any emotion.
Former Manager, 2002. “Why would you think you were depressed? You’ve got a good job and a decent wage, there’s nothing wrong with your life. OK well I suppose if you’ve been told you should be signed off from work I’ll allow it this time. I expect you to ring me every couple of days to check in with me, and if you’re better soon just ignore your doctor and come back early.”
Locum GP, 2009. “what do you mean you feel stressed, what you have to be stressed about? (I tell him) Oh that’s nothing; if you want to know about stress you should try doing my job. You just need to go to the library and get a book on how to relax, there’s loads of them.”
Former Manager, 2016. “You can’t get upset and cry un the office. Someone else in the office could’ve been really really affected because they’ve had very serious mental health problems, so we can’t have other people being upset seeing you like that”
CEO, 2017. (I wrote a letter to my manager explaining how I felt because I didn’t want to say it in person and get upset. This letter was then passed to their manager and they asked to talk to me about it) “I’ve read your letter. I’ve heard you’ve been saying stuff about wanting to crash your car so you don’t have to face work or whatever, but you’ve been here for 5 minutes. Other people who’ve been here since day dot can act a certain way, but those rules don’t apply to you.”
Counsellor, 2018. “I don’t really know what to do with you here and how you can sort it out” (side note: this one has actually become a running joke in my household because of how unbelievable I found it at the time. I continued to attend sessions for several weeks, even though I received similar comments, because I thought I would be seen as a failure or not committed to improving my mental health)
GP, circa 2019. “I think you should just dealing with whatever your problem is now instead of expecting me to just give you a prescription”
Hr Adviser, 2019. – (After explaining I’m having a problem with a senior colleague and need some assistance in resolving). “Well, he’s like that with everybody, even me. I understand you made a complaint to your line manager about this too. Are you saying wanting to put in a formal grievance? I wouldn’t recommend this given that you’re clearly not in a good state of mind.” – “Are you having mental health problems?” (I answer yes and say I’ve thought about crashing my car so I don’t have to go to work) “so you’re clearly not happy. You need to find something that makes you happy. And off the record, if that’s not working here…”
Hr Adviser, 2020. (After explaining I’m working in a toxic environment and I’m struggling) “I know some of the things that have been said, but I’m not willing to get involved in anything to do with that department because I’m worried people will think I have some kind of personal vendetta.”
Company nurse/informal counsellor, 2020. (After explaining troubles working in a toxic work environment, and them saying they would have a think about what to advise) “I’ve spoken with the Head of HR, and they said you should be able to address things like this in your communication sessions” (I ask what kind of communication sessions) “Don’t you all have a meeting every week?” (I say yes, a meeting to relay each team member’s jobs for the week only, this is not pastoral) “Oh right, I was told you did. I dont know then.”
So if you wonder why some people don’t communicate when they’re struggling, here it is. It could be that they’re afraid of getting a negative response like one these, or it could be that they’ve mustered up the courage to open up and been met with a response just like this (as I was).
The story is this: It’s OK to not be able to empathise, understand or know what to do. What’s not OK is deliberately choosing to be insensitive. If you can’t choose to be kind, don’t choose to be a dick instead.
*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.
I consider myself a pretty organised person when it comes to work. Although I can easily adapt to changes of flow, tasks and deadlines, I work best when I feel in control of that, which being organised helps me to achieve.
Thanks to years of wanting to be the best organised I can, I’ve developed some strategies that help me, which I thought I’d share. There’s nothing ground-breaking or innovative here; just simple tips to organise, prioritise and convince your brain that you’re doing a good job (which of course, you are). It’s worth the five minute read for that I reckon!
I’ve mentioned this before in a previous post, but I use Trello to create my to do lists for general work, social media and blog content. I have a board for each which I separate into lists and colour code in order of priority (you’ll see in my next point that I’m a fan of colour coding). Because I work remotely some of the time and so do my colleagues (especially at the moment) this is also another way for everybody to have hands on a project or catch up with what you’re doing at a glance without 172627 emails being exchanged.
For a number of years I’ve used this system to track the progress of my workload, and its exactly what it sounds like. No rocket science here! For a handwritten list (I still have one of those as well as my digital one to get the satisfaction of crossing something off) I use highlighters to colour code, for Trello I use the labels function:
Green = done Yellow/Orange = in progress Red = can’t complete/need further assistance to complete
This one is a bit school kid psychology, but is certainly helps keep me focused on my priorities and finish each day feel good so I’m with it!
Take a few minutes before starting your day (or a few at the end of the day before if that’s easier) to write down three key things from your to do list that you must do today in order to feel like you’re in control and winning. Just three. And if it gets to the end of the day and those bad boys are all struck off, then go you! Of course, you probably have more than three things you need to do in any given day, but focusing on these few means that you know no matter what, you achieved something important to your daily work.
It’s simple, but DEFINITELY something a lot of us forget to do is we oerceive we’re swamped with work! Take half an hour at the beginning and end of each week to review your workload/tasks and reclassify their importance. There may be something urgent that needs to be bumped up to the top of the list, however that may mean that something else you thought was more important is now less of a priority and can use a little less of your time in the short term.
Whenever you’re given a new work task/deadline, it’s sensible to ask how this should fit in with your other tasks i.e. ‘can I just check, now I have this task alongside XYZ, in which order would say I prioritise these jobs?’. Nobody can say you’re not prepared if you’ve asked and then planned your activity based on the answer.
Simple, yet effective. If any of these concepts are new to you, give them a go and let me know if they’ve helped you. We don’t always have to reinvent the wheel to stay on top of life, we just have to put a little oil onto the one we have to make it work well.