And just like that… I’m sharing thoughts on the next chapter of the Sex and the City franchise

…and just like that: Carrie and her pals have finished their latest run on the small screen.

It’s been almost 2 weeks since the latest installment of the SATC franchise drew to a close, so you may argue I’m a bit late to the party in terms of sharing what I thought about it. Not so. I’ve merely decided to sit back, think about what I saw for a bit first rather than just react.

What I liked

  • Fashion moments: Of course fashion was going to be on here; it’s part of the franchise’s charactet! I use the term ‘moments’ because there were a lot of looks I didn’t care for. But hey, fashion is subjective! My personal fashion highlight wpuld be that UNREAL orange moment on the Paris bridge – it was a quintessential Carrie Bradshaw look for finally saying goodbye to Big and reclaiming her sense of self as single woman.
  • Big’s early departure: For me, this hit the same way that Scream did when they killed off Drew Barrymore’s character in the first scene – unexpected twist that grips you into thinking “jeez, wtf else could happen after that? Better keep watching”. And, to be honest, there hasn’t been a single part of the SATC yet where Carried and Big have sailed through without something, has there? It took 6 series of making up and breaking up, the first film where he jilted her and she cut him out until then very end, the second film where she had insecurities and ended up kissing Aiden in Abu Dabi. Did we we really predict that they’d make it through this part of the story unscathed?

What didn’t work for me

Image credit: New York Post
  • Lack of development for the secondary friendships: for really the first time in the franchise, we saw main characters pursue and develop friendships outside of the group. But, for the majority of time at keast, those relationships didn’t really progress or be pivotal to the overall series. Dare I say that they appeared to be present merely to tick a few more boxes in helping to make the show more well-rounded? Not simply because of any ethnic representation, but to enhance the traits of those they were attached to. Seema was single in her 50s and struggling with it like Carrie. Lisa/LTW feeds into Charlotte’s image of being a ‘have it all and look effortless’ aspiration whilst still be human and having some wobbles behind the scenes. Nya represents the side of Miranda that’s studious and questioning over their life choices (in this case, having a child).
  • Miranda flip flopping her opinions: She was against pot, then it was fine providing she didn’t directly smoke it. She cheated on her husband when she used to find infidelity deplorable. She didn’t want to be in a conventional relationship but then tried to put herself in one. She wanted to study and help people with her legal knowledge but gave it up to support Che’s career ambitions in LA. She let her hair go grey (which I thought looked great, by the way) and was sticking 2 fingers up at societal pressure for women to “age gracefully”, but dies it back red at the end. I have some more thoughts and theories in the next section that help me rationalise some of her behaviour, but as a passive viewer wanting some light entertainment, it was kinda frustrating.
  • Brady’s sex scene: no, No, NO! Firstly, teenagers don’t have the knowledge or skill to be that gymnastic in the bedroom. I was a teenager once, I knew other teenagers, not a single one of us knew a male our age who had the sexual prowess of young Brady. It was also highly unnecessary – the show isn’t called sex and the city so sex wasn’t implied.

What I feel came under undue criticism

  • Miranda leaving Steve: As an OG SATC fan, this kind of didn’t surprise me, it shouldn’t have surprised anyone really. Throughout their relationship Miranda has had bouts of uncertainty  about subscribing to the traditional paradigms of marriage and family life – she didn’t want to have children, have her child baptised, get married or buy a house outside of Manhattan. After submitting to all of those thing eventually, at some point she was always likely to swing back round and have some kind of self crisis about what her life had become. I read another article that described Miranda as Steve’s Mr Big in that he was always chasing after her as the not quite attainable figure to fit his ideal of the perfect life, and I can get on board with that. With regards to the cheating, a lot of people have levied claims of hypocrisy at Miranda as she got upset when Steve did it to her in the first film. Reading into this like the English/American Studies grad that I am; it could be argued that Steve’s prior indiscretion had altered her previous attitudes on fidelity and she now feels it can be justified if your relationship is unfulfilled. Steve wasn’t getting enough sex so he boinked a random, she felt unfulfilled and banged Carrie’s boss in the kitchen.
  • The main characters not having a firm grasp of modern day protocol: as hard as a lot of people try to be respectful of pronouns, sexuality and religion, we’re human and sometimes we get it wrong. It’s perfectly feasible that women in their mid-50s who haven’t had exposure to that kind of diversity before aren’t going to get it on the first go. But we saw the maim characters try to educate themselves in the best manner they knew how. I personally found this aspect of the show relatable; even though I’m 20 years younger I’ve shared a lot of the same thoughts and experiences. If the main characters would have had everything spot on throughout series, writers/producers would’ve been criticised for not portraying an authentic experience of that generation.

Overall, I liked the series. Yes there were some bumps along the way (as many a good series have experienced before it) but be fair – its the first season of a show based on another show from the nineties trying to be relevant in the modern day whilst trying to stay true to the original heart and sole of the  brand. Its a tough sell, one that was always going to disappoint someone.

So I couldn’t help but wonder: what’s next for ‘…And just like that’?

I think the show will ‘carrie’ on to a second series. I think we may start to see one of those secondary character’s come into the fold more as a main character to bring back more of a foursome dynamic (I’m liking Seema for this as she has a Samantha Jones energy about her).

I think we’ll see more of Carrie as she really starts to navigate her way through the dating scene again in her 50s (I don’t know if I see her staying with the hot producer guy but I would love it if she did) and how she combines her current experiences with her new podcast  which I think will become more like her column and start to gain traction amongst some of her OG readers as well as younger new listeners.

I think that Miranda could have another crisis of confidence after returning from LA with Che; having put her goals on pause for somebody she loves and now questioning ‘what about me?’. I don’t think there’ll be anything groundbreaking happening for Charlotte, I think we’ll just see more of her going about her business and being Charlotte.

Finally, I predict we won’t be seeing a re-cast of Samantha. After Carrie meets her for cocktails in Paris they’ll start to rekindle their friendship and continue their text relationship, which will become more frequent. Carrie will try and lean on Samantha to do more, to be more – come back to New York or be on her podcast etc, and that will refracture the relationship a little bit.

So that’s me, keeping an balance mind and optimistic heart for the franchise to continue.

Thanks for reading,

J xx


Location, location, location or impractical, unrealistic and impetuous?

I’m sure you’ve heard about Kirsty Allsopp’s recent comments on young people buying a property. If you’re not inclined to read the article, lemme break it down for you:

  • Kirsty stated that young people could easily afford to buy a property if they cut out luxury expenses such as Netflix, gym membership, coffee and going on holiday
  • Kirsty believes that we’ve fallen into a trap of saying buying a property is impossible for everybody, when it’s more a case of ‘where’ you can buy, not ‘if’ you can buy
  • Kirsty herself bought a property at age 21 with family help whilst living in an era of 15% interest rates, low salaries and modest expectations of lifestyle

So is she right?

I have many, many opinions on this that are all very differing! But first, a bit of context – I spent a large portion of my career working in financial services (some of which was as a mortgage adviser) and am pretty cautious about budgeting/spending most of the time. However, like Kirsty, I bought my first home at age 22 with help from my family whilst earning a fairly low salary. I also live in the Hull/East Yorkshire area, which is widely touted as one of the most affordable places to live in the UK.

There’s a lot to unpack within Kirsty’s comments, so I’m going to take them point by point. A reminder that these are my personal opinions; based on research I’ve done on this case, my industry knowledge and the experiences of myself and those around me.

1. People could afford to buy a property if they cut out luxury expenses

So, to read that as a standalone statement is arguably 100% correct. If we’re trying to buy something expensive and we’re not the secret millionaire, we need to budget and save to do so. We know this. But, if we taking a deeper dive, the examples and generalisation of the comments are where some of the argument starts to unravel.

I think that Kirsty could’ve been trying (not very successfully you might argue) to levy her comments at a group I’d refer to as “champagne lifestyle on a lemonade budget”. These are the folks who curate an image of an outwardly ostentatious existence – head to toe designer attire, VIP table at the hottest nightspots, driving a top of the range car and jetting off to the latest trendy destination. All of which, is documented on social media. Potentially spending all of their disposable income in a manner that in no way contributes towards being a future homeowner. And that’s their choice to make. Everybody has their own set of priorities, and for some this doesn’t include owning their own home from a young age (or maybe at all). There are many places around the world where renting for the long term is a standard practice and view the innate desire to buy a home as quite unusual. Maybe some young people just want to have a few years of being young; going out, making memories and learning a bit about the world, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

The main misfire what Kirsty’s saying is the examples she’s used when describing luxury items – streaming services, coffe-shop coffee, gym memberships and holidays. These are things many of us have and do, but not always to excess, and are things most people would re-assess or reduce if they were saving to buy a property already. However, I geuinely believe that completely cutting everything “non-essential” is not only unrealistic but unhealthy. Going to work day in, day out and not having ANY kind of release to relax and enjoy your downtime a little? Because that’s all it is in a lot of circumstances, a little bit. As I said earlier, everyone has priorities – for some this means hitting the gym a few times a week, a weekly coffee date with pals or having an hour with your family each evening to watch your favourite Netflix series. All experiences that contribute towards having a happier and more fulfilling life. A house should be the icing on the cake to your life, if it’s what you want, not your whole reason for being.

My personal opinion has always been this – what’s the point in buying a house if all you can afford to do is sit in it?

2. It’s not a case of “if” you can afford to buy, but “where”

Again, the statement said by itself does hold a ring of truth. I know lots of people who have bought their first property in an area they can afford rather than the one they would prefer to live in. Their priority was to get on the property ladder as soon as possible, so to them it was a sacrifice they were happy to make. But, being from a very affordable area of the UK, the difference in location was very short. In other areas of the UK, it be not be quite so simple. There are other things to consider in when you’ve move – the location of your support network, your place of employment and how you can get to and from the places you need to. If you rely on family for childcare and they live 50 miles away, is a change of area likely to be feasible? I have an example of this in my own family. 3 years ago, my mother decided to move to the next county. There, she was able to buy a large property for much less than it would’ve cost where she lived before. The new property is 20 miles away, across a large bridge and hidden in the depths of the countryside, vs the 5 miles away she was before. She’s the primary carer for a family member who, in the event of an emergency (and there have been a few since she upped sticks) is now a 45 minute drive away with the risk that the bridge could close in the event of damage ir bad weather. That move, although it seems minor on paper, has caused difficulty within the family support network that she’s part of.

3. Buying a property with family help

Simply put, It’s just not that easy. I’m know that I was fortunate to have had help to buy my first home, and I’m very aware that it’s not something everybody is afforded. Some families can’t afford to help, some may not want to help.

And it’s not just getting on the property ladder; its making sure you can afford to live there too. Once you’ve bought the house there’s monthly bills to pay, furniture to buy and the cost of fixing things that break, such as the boiler.

In conclusion – I think that Kirsty’s comments were a bit too general and lacking in any context to the present day experience of being a young person or buying a home. My understanding is that the people she helps on TV are presented to her and ready to go: deposit saved, know what they can afford and a set of criteria for her to work with. Perhaps it would be advisable for her to concentrate on the area that she’s the expert in and leave the financial and mortgage advice to those expert in that area.

My final thoughts are these: it’s not your age, it’s your stage. There’s no set age by which you need to have bought your first home, getting married, have kids or do anything life changing. Why rush into the most expensive purchase of your life just to keep up with an imaginary timeline of what your choices should look like by a certain point? Goals are great but make them to suit YOUR life and YOUR terms, then make the best decisions you can to help you achieve them.

Thanks for reading,

J xx


Instagram best nine – 2021

It’s that time of year again….

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.

Instagram best nine 2020

Instagram best nine 2019

Instagram best nine 2018

Thanks for reading,

J xx


REAL LIFE | Hey, is this thing still on??

Hey Internet,

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
  • Been on 3 weekends away (Leeds and Liverpool)
  • Helped my childhood bestie launch a house raffle
  • Worked on a few collabs Over on Instagram
  • Got a promotion

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.

Thanks for reading,

J xx


REAL LIFE | Khloe: I hear ya girl

Image credit: @khloekardashian

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.

Image credit: kiss.ie

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.

Thanks for reading,

J.


REAL LIFE | I don’t know where I fit in

*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.

Age 5-11

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.

Age 12-16

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.

Early 20s

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.

Early 30s

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.

Mid 30s

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…

Late 30s

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.

J xx


Let’s Chat – Chapter 1 (2021)

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…

Thanks for reading,

J xx


WORK | Real ways to deal with working from home

Hands up if you’re working from home right now?

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.

Thanks for reading,

J xx


WORK & REAL LIFE | The Jenny Chat organisation ‘hacks’ 2021

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.

Thanks for reading,

J xx


WORK | Things I like about working from home

  • Having an extra hour in bed each morning.
  • Not comfy at my desk? No problem, sit on the couch. Thats not working? Cool, sit on the floor with a blanket.
  • Having last night’s leftovers for lunch while watching an episode of Sex and the City.
  • Wearing cosy, fluffy clothing without it looking weird or unprofessional.
  • Having my ring light on hand for video calls. Gotta get that fine lighting.
  • Shoes out, slippers in.

Is there anything here you can relate to?

Thanks for reading,

J xx