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.


Want to know why people don’t open up about struggles with their mental health?

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.

Thanks for reading

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


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


Surviving October

Hey friends, hope you’re all doing well. We’re all obviously going through a variety of things in our topsy turvy, midst of a global pandemic so what exactly are we allowed to do Boris lifestyles, however today I want to chat about more of a long standing concern thats rearing it’s less than attractive head in my life right now.

The autumnal slump.

For the past few years, I’ve had an extremely difficult time in the month of October (and sometimes a little beyond). I become tired, listless, depressed and emotional, basically like an extreme case of PMT for a whole 31 days. Like clockwork – September ends, October hits and within days I’m like a completely different person. I’ve never sought a specific form of diagnosis, but I imagine Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) would be the closest thing to what I seem to go through.

Each year I have braced and tried to prepare myself to no avail, however this year I seem to be winning the fight a little bit. I’m still tired and a little disinterested in life away from the office, but the depression and emotion seem to be staying at bay for now. So, what’s changed? Well, I’m in a much stronger position in life for one. I had some much needed time out during Furlough to figure out what I wanted and needed out of my life, I’ve gone headlong into a new job, am around nice people a lot more often and have plenty if things to look forward to in my life.

Simply reminding myself of the good things in my life goes a long way, however also reminding myself that sometimes I can’t win 100% of the battle is just as big a comfort. During the slightly more difficult feeling times, I aim for the small wins – small bitty tasks that take little concentration but can be taken off the to do list, or a longer repetitive task that I can just lose myself in for a few hours. Trash tv, hot shower, huge bowl of pasta, brisk walk to blow off some of the internal cobwebs, all things that reduce the effects of the slump.

If I’ve been a little absent of late; not posting as much or showing up on social media, this is the reason why. As soon as I’m reset I’ll be back on the regular with posts, pics and probably Tik Toks galore! I hope to see you then.

Thanks for reading,

J xx


Muddle Age

Getting older. It’s a funny thing isn’t it? The general consensus is that we spend most of our childhoods willing the years away until we become adults and can do cool things like not go to school, go to the pub and wear what we want. Then at some point, we flip the script, we realise how carefree and easy we had it as a youth and yearn for the days of ‘being young’ again. Admit it; some of the things you love most now are things that felt like a punishment as a kid – taking naps, going to bed early, putting your PJs…please say that this isn’t just me!

Different stages come with different ages – baby, toddler, tween, teenager, young adult, middle aged and pensioner. But what about that huge grey area in between? That’s exactly where I am right now.

Picture the scenario: you’re not exactly classed as young any more (I’m not sure at exactly what age this label is officially cut) but you’re definitely not middle aged (though there’s also some debate about when exactly that kicks in) so what are you? Today, I’m officially christening this stage of life ‘muddle age’.

A muddle aged person is that transition between youth and ‘there’s no mistaking I’m a fully fledged adult’. We like to go out with our friends and have fun, but we may prefer to do it in the day/afternoon so we can get to bed at a decent time. We may be allowed adult things such mortgages, but spend a lot of time trying to cover up the fact we still have a mental age of 21 (or, in my case, 16). We still enjoy makeup and clothes but we also enjoy home interiors and nice looking gardens to relax in after a long day of adulting.

Any of this sounding familiar? Welcome to muddle age dear reader, enjoy it with me!

Thanks for reading,

J xx


Random things I discovered about life and myself during lockdown

Yep; you read what sounds like the start of a very profound, slight hippy dippy blog post in that title…but thats not my style!

We’re going more along the ramblings and random musings route that I did in this post last year . I know lockdown isn’t fully over yet but who knows when I’d have published this if I waited for it to end completely….

  • I can do some basic levels of DIY, but I’d rather pay someone else to do it for me
  • Messiness stresses me out
  • I prefer to eat cake rather than bake it
  • A fairly pared back, slow pace of life suits me nicely and is great for my mental health
  • I do in fact have common sense. In some cases, more than some senior government officials (tbf I think a large majority of us can claim this)
  • Its sometimes easier to observe than create what you see in the Internet (specifically Tik Tok) but its fun to try
  • Workouts come in various forms – walking, vigorous decorating or learning the latest viral dance
  • I wear a lot of print. Mainly floral and leopard
  • People will use a global pandemic as a golden opportunity to ‘legitimately’ make their lives easier, and other peoples lives harder as a result
  • I’m a dab hand at covering my roots with a bit of box dye and an unused foundation brush (if you’re reading Chelsea, sorry!)
  • It is possible to teach an old dog new tricks. If that dog is your parents/grandparents and the trick is going on Houseparty for a weekly catch up
  • My Spanish speaking skills aren’t quite as basic as I thought, but my written Spanish still sucks a little bit

And just one more…..

Thanks for reading,

J xx


Let’s Chat – June 2020

In a month where lockdown restrictions were eased and things looked like they were moving forward…

I didnt really have the opportunity to get dressed in anything other than leggings and PJs until the latter part of the month, but when the weather was nice I cracked out some of my fave summer dresses old and new. I also picked up a pair of chunky trainers from Topshop to see if I would enjoy the trend (and get away with them at my age, haha) and I’ve reached for them a lot.

  • A Simple Favour
  • RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 5
  • Catfish
  • Scary Movie 1/2/3
  • Smash Hits ’95
  • Ministry of Sound Throwback R ‘n B Anthems
  • Sounds of the 90s

Another month of delicious food to make your mouth water! Ive finally gotten back into cooking this month, the only photo worthy dishes so far have been my super cheesey pasta bake and veggie lasagne (both Slimming World recipes as they’re the only cook books I have). Although I’ve been trying to reduce my consumption of meat a bit as I seem to have eaten more than usual lately, I enjoyed a birthday BBQ with some more unusual meats (ostrich and venison) which was yummy. My mum also rustled up some corking side dishes of watermelon salad and potato salad which were perfect with the sunny weather. I also had TWO birthday cakes, one of them was my favourite rainbow cake made by a local bakery and was amazing, the other was ‘Cuthbert the Caterpillar’ from ALDI which was also yummy. I’ve been going nuts for the new Ben and Jerry’s Netflix and Chilled ice cream which is peanut butter with pretzel and brownie chunks (I’ll pause whilst you wipe up the drool). Finally, the Mr got us a Piano Bar Events ‘Perfect Measure’ box that contained pre mixed ingredients to make two cocktails at home (we just needed to add ice, shake and pour).

  • Went to the beach: Two or three times me and the Mr went for a morning stroll and sit on local beaches when the weather was nice. They’ve been the only times that I genuinely felt like I was getting fresh air and that I’d blown some cobwebs away.
  • Had a birthday: BUT I didn’t get another year older because, lockdown rules prevent it. My hubby and family gave me the best day and made me feel very spoilt and loved. I’m a lucky gal. I’ll add some photos below to give you a flavour if the day and some of my gifts
  • DIY: Sooooo technically I started this last month ut there were a few delays so I’ve added it here. I decided to decorate my larger spare room a beautifully girly yet chic dusky pink shade.shoukdve been a quick job but – it turned out there were 2 layers of wallpaper and 2 layers of paint to get rid of first, cracks to fill and 2 coats of primer paint before I could even touch it!
  • Dyed my hair a cute colour: I still couldn’t shake the need for a different colour, so I decided to try out the Bleach London Burnt Peach shade (paid for with Boots Advantage Card points, gotta love a freebie). It turn out a really lovely shade and mixed well with the blonde underneath so I was happy with it, although it didn’t last anywhere near as long as the red i used a couple of months back.
  • Had a socially diatanced girls night: me and 4 of my fave girl friends got together in a back garden and drank, ordered Greek food and sang/danced extremely loudly to a variety of throwback tunes. It was brilliant and much needed.
  • Took part in a ‘Task Master’ style day out: my brother-in-law booked this as a fun girls v boys family activity which was hosted by Escape Rooms Beverley to engage people whilst the business is closed. We were set a series of questions and tasks to complete around the town that we had to take photos of and collect points for the most imaginative/quickest to complete/most challenges in a single photo. It was fun and different so if you’re local I’d definitely recommend booking it (its currently free and you could win a free escape room once they’re back open)
  • Job hunting: earlier this month I got the news I am being made redundant as a direct result of the current health crisis, so I’m on the lookout for my next opportunity

And that’s the end of another month and on to July, WOW. I hope you’re all staying safe and keeping well, and thanks for reading once again,

J xx


Hay fever hacks – part 2

A couple of years ago I wrote this post sharing my top hay fever hacks aside from medication that will help to ease and prevent symptoms, and over the last few weeks it seems to have been read rather a lot more than usual! Less traffic and pollution clearly allows those pesky pollens to get through to us better than ever before in the 21st century, so I thought I would add a few more tips and tricks I’ve learnt since the last post to hopefully offer a bit of extra relief to fellow sufferers. I’ve found that they work best alongside taking a standard antihistamine first thing in the morning*

  • Wipe, wipe, wipe it down

If you’ve watched a decent amount Tik Tok as I have, you’ll be singing that as you read…cleaning the house more regularly will help get rid of any pollen that you bring in from outside as quickly as possibly and keep your home a safe haven. Don’t forget to pay close attention to places like sofas and chairs where you may sit in your outdoor clothing, of you can make sure you take off your day clothes as soon as you get home.

  • Garlic – for more than warding off vampires

I was surprised but delighted to learn that my favourite seasoning also acts as a super charged natural antihistamine. Pass me the garlic bread ASAP.

  • Get your (water) vape on

When you have a cold, one way to ease symptoms is to inhale vaporised steam underneath a towel, and the same idea can also apply to hay fever. Instead of vapour rub, add in essential oils like eucalyptus or lavender which will help clear your airways and make you feel relaxed (increased levels of stress are also said to increase the severity of hay fever symptoms).

  • I C you baby

Start your day off with a healthy dose of vitamin C and you’re adding in yet another natural antihistamine to your immune system. Berries are perfect for this and are super easy to add into a breakfast or snack.

  • Shower and hair wash last thing before bed

You’re removing any final pollen from your body before you get in bed so that it doesn’t transfer to your bedding/sleep clothes and continue to affect you in the night (not getting a good night’s sleep is also supposed to help reduce hay fever symptoms).

Between the two posts I hopenyou have some decent ammunition to help make your symptoms more bearable so that you can enjoy the summer.

Thanks for reading,

J xx


Six years of having a blog

19 May 2020 marked 6 years of me having a blog – making and posting (more or less) regular content to the internet for people to discover and view as they choose.

So I started thinking, what SHOULD that mean at this point? And I decided that answer is everything and nothing, depending on who you are.

On one hand – if my blog wouldve carried on as solely fashion, my photos may have gotten better and I had remained consistent and diligent with posting, I may have ascended into the world of full time influencing and had an insta feed like some of the fabulous women I follow on the platform. On the other hand, which is exactly what has happened, I didn’t achieve those things. I didn’t stay with fashion, I didn’t remain consistent and only some of my photos got better (when other people took them).

However, what I have achieved as a result if starting a blog has made me pretty happy. It helped me to develop skills that allowed me to find my current career in marketing, I have met some great friends through the blogging community and I have enjoyed the challenge of finding my voice on a variety of topics. My writing is now more about real life and opinion; yeah fashion occasionally creeps in there but I’m ok with it being a side chick. You’ll find more of the fashion stuff on my instagram these days (shameless plug, but true story).

Whereas some people would expect a blogger of six years to have shot to the stars, I I’m fact consider myself to be exposing the moon. Not knowing what I’m gonna find there is way more interesting.

Happy birthday Jenny Chat!

Thanks for reading, now and for the past few days/weeks/months/years, J xx