seven quick takes #7 - birthday edition!

Friday, 27 June 2014

It's my birthday! Well, it will be when you read this. I'm writing this in advance because I will be busy on my actual birthday, presumably being showered with gifts and being waited on hand and foot.

My husband has the week off work, which has been fun. Yesterday we were walking through the high street, smiling at the kids assembled at either end doing Geography coursework. I recalled doing the exact same thing during my Geography GCSE and the feeling of mild terror and embarrassment that came over me when I had to approach a stranger and ask them about their shopping habits. We were laughing about it and I said 'ten years on and I'd still feel like an idiot if I had to do it now.'

Er, what. Ten YEARS later?! Apparently it is true. Ten years ago I was leaving school, ready for a summer of doing nothing before two years of doing practically nothing college stuff.

In celebration of the fact that older = wiser (mostly), here are 7 things I have learnt since I was sixteen.

1. Life sometimes sucks, and it will still suck whether you whine about it or not

Self explanatory really.

2. You will make mistakes all the time and you will sometimes wonder what on earth is wrong with you and why you can't pull yourself together

Same as above.

3. You will still encounter bullies as an adult, but you will mostly feel sorry for them

This is such a Mum thing to say, but it's true. I figured when I left the closed environment of school, I'd never need to deal with bullies again. Sadly, they still exist in the adult world. But you are more free to walk away from them. And with age comes the knowledge that what Mum says is true ... bullies are really just projecting their own issues onto you. To be able to look past mean words and a nasty spirit into a person with terrible self-esteem issues makes the whole thing a lot easier to deal with. 

4. Forgiveness is a choice, not a feeling

I learnt this abruptly and with great difficulty at the age of seventeen and it took me years to properly get my head around it. But it's true - if you hang around waiting to feel like you've forgiven someone, it might never happen and then you'll be wallowing in bitterness forever. Forgiveness is an decision and it's not always permanent. I have had to re-forgive the same person for the same thing again and again and again, but it's worth it, even if it's more for you than for them. Unforgiveness can lead to bitterness which can lead to hate which can lead to ... all sorts of horrible time wasting stuff, and eventually it will almost be worse than the thing that actually happened to make you angry in the first place.

Which reminds me of the Beth Moore study we're doing at the moment. This quote jumped out at me:

'That's the nature of bitterness. It never stays in its cage.'

As Beth would say:  amen, sister.

5. Routine and boundaries are actually a good thing

When I was sixteen I wanted to be a writer because I envisioned myself partying late into the night, every night, then laying in bed for most of the day, eating junk food and drinking coffee and cracking out a novel in a couple of hours before selling it for instant fame and fortune. 

Ha ...

Really, rules are a good thing. Routine is a good thing. Otherwise I'd always be browsing on the internet and eating crisps all day like I'm doing now.

6. Love is so much better when it mellows

Falling in love is such an all-consuming thing. I remember that feeling of not being able to eat, sleep, or even think properly because your mind is always on that person. It feels, at the time, like the best thing in the world, and you want to hold onto that crazy-summer-love feeling forever.

Suddenly it's eight years on and things have certainly calmed down a little. Despite what the movies tell you, it means a lot more to love a person when you get past the dramatic, I'll die if I don't see you today, let's overcome all the crazy obstacles keeping us apart, kissing in the rain stage.

It's when you get into the bit where you see each other in every situation, dealing with hurt and pain, making mistakes, forgiving yours, stepping up and becoming a better person ... that's when love becomes real.

Plus when you get to the stage where you've spent five years doing mundane, normal everyday stuff with a person, where you share a washing basket and a mirror in the bathroom for tooth brushing and you pretty much know each other inside out ... if you can still get that flippy feeling when you look at them sometimes, you are definitely onto a winner.

7. I can survive childbirth!

Not without a fair bit of screaming, but still. Now whenever I have something scary or painful to do (i.e, a trip to the dentist) I have the mantra of 'it's not as bad as giving birth, it's not as bad as giving birth' to cling onto.

It's pretty much destroyed my ability to watch One Born Every Minute though. And I can't watch any sitcom/film birth scene without shouting 'THAT'S SO UNREALISTIC! Where is the blood? Where is the pain?!' at the screen.

BONUS! 8. Life goes on even when you're old

When I was sixteen I quite liked the idea of being 21. Grown up, but still young enough to be able to enjoy life. 22? Getting on a bit. 25? Ancient.

I literally could not imagine what my life would look like past 25. 26 for me back then would be so terrifyingly close to 30 I may as well give up the ghost and start wearing granny knickers and stockpiling packs of boiled sweets.

It turns out I feel the same way as pretty much every other 26 year old. Still young, still pretty clueless, and a bit baffled as to where the last ten years went.

It makes me smile to think of sixteen year old me, and if I met her, what I would say. But I'm pretty sure she would have thought of me as way too old and past it to be relevant anyway. ;)

Happy Friday everyone!

Check out other 7 Quick Takes posts by lots of awesome bloggers, started by Jen Fulwiler of Conversion Diary.

7 quick takes #6 - summer book special, part one!

Friday, 20 June 2014

Because I've been reading so much again lately, I've decided to make the next few Seven Quick Takes about ... books! I'll kick off with a few I'm hoping to read soon:

Kind of cheating on this one because I've already started reading it - I checked it out of the library last week. I read Barbara Kingsolver's account of her family's quest to only eat local, seasonal food, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle a while back, and had mixed feelings about it (part interesting, part smug-preaching-and-guilt-inducing). However, I have heard her fiction is amazing, and I did like her writing style, so when I saw it at the library I snatched it up. 

Flight Behaviour is the story of a young wife and mother living a fairly boring existence as her husband's farm starts to go into decline. On an impulse she decides to embark upon an affair - but on her way to meet the other man, she stumbles upon something that will change her life forever.

Or at least, that's what the blurb tells me. I'm hoping it will be good!


So, every Friday I mention Jennifer Fulwiler, as it was her that started 7 Quick Takes, which hundreds of bloggers join in with. Jennifer was a happy and contented atheist, who converted into a Catholic mother-of-six. Something Other than God, her first book, tells the story of her journey into faith, and I'm hoping it will be as funny, poignant and beautifully written as her blog.


Because apparently, I want to have my heart broken.


I've written about this another post, which I will be uploading over the next couple of days, but recently we had the occasional wobble that any home-renting family has: our house went up for sale. Thankfully, we're staying put for now, but in the midst of my freak out troubles I read a blog post written by the author of this book - and I knew I wanted to read it straight away. Part interior design inspiration, part life advice, The Nesting Place talks about how home should be something more than Pinterest-perfect: it should be warm, inviting, imperfect, slightly chaotic, and lived in. Apparently, the authors' words help you to start to say no to the culture of striving for a magazine-spread home, and to accept that home is more than just a building, whilst also giving you amazing decorating-on-the-cheap ideas - a lot of which are perfect for renters.


I totally am jumping on the Maya Angelou bandwagon because I read about her recently in the news (as into books as I might be, I am still the person that gets round to reading big blockbuster hits months and months after they become huge. I'm just not on the ball). Apparently a lot of people are doing the same, because this particular book is jumping up the bestseller list in Waterstones. Maya writes about her childhood in a deeply segregated town in southern US, and her experience becoming a mother at the age of 16. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings was banned in some places in America, and apparently is very, very uncomfortable at times, so I'll be going into it with caution - but I am looking forward to reading it.


Because it's nice to have a bit of romance every now and then, and Me Before You has been described as romantic, heartbreaking and hilarious. Louisa loses her job and gains a new one - as a companion to a Will, who has recently been left disabled after a terrible motorcycle accident, and happens to have a very different personality to his new companion. Sounds like the set up to a cliche to me, but I've heard this book described as outstanding - and the preview I read had me hooked, so I can't wait to get stuck into it.


Salt Sugar Fat will, I hope, put me off eating so much junk food - or at least help me to understand why I'm addicted to crisps and chocolate. Chris and I have started slowly reading this together. Apparently, it will help you to take a good look at the food industry and how big companies have a hold on us - and might just change your eating habits forever.

7 Quick Takes is hosted by Team Whitaker this week. You can find her blog and lots of others here

7 quick takes #6 - oops

Friday, 13 June 2014


I've been away for ages! I'm sorry. It's been a mixture of lack of time, lack of inspiration, and a little bit of writers' block. A lot of the last one. Plus I think I've got summer fever. You know where its so hot that when you get to the end of the day you just want to recline on the sofa and do nothing? I've got that.


The good news is, the weather is nice! On the plus side that means evening walks around the park with the baby to get her to blooming well go to sleep, barbeques, complaining about the weather in a different way '('it's soooooo hot!') and snacky food instead of proper dinners.

On the down side it means lots of sunburnt flesh on show. I find it somewhat off putting to be stood next to someone with a big red (hairy!) belly on show while I'm shopping. Especially being short (therefore closer to said belly). And especially when we're crammed in close proximity together trying to reach for the same bag of salad.

There's a happy mental image for ya.


I remember roughly around this time last year posting about how I was so pregnant and hot I didn't know what to do with myself. I'm enjoying it a lot more this year! Although like every mother of a small baby I start to get anxious at around 10am and don't relax until 3 if we're outside. If we have to be out during the 'danger time' I'm dashing around looking for shady spots, shrieking 'Put your hat back on!' and putting layers and layers of suncream on until she starts to look like a teeny tiny goth.


I went jogging again for the first time in a while. I was surprised to see I really enjoyed it. There's just something nice about being out in a cool breeze late on a summer evening.

Unfortunately now I've done it once that smug feeling will probably carry me over for a few weeks until the guilt sets in again. So I'm not really on a strict exercise regime as such.


I should be though. I do feel shame at my lack of self discipline when it comes to exercise.


Oh, is there some football thing going on?

That's what I like to say to wind up my world cup loving friends ;)

Am I the only one that gets a bit ... I dunno, tingly, when the whole country is supporting something? Like when you see England flags waving out of people's windows and stuff. I like that feeling that we're all rooting for the same thing, and for a moment I allow myself to get swept along with the excitement.

Then I remember that the thing that we're all rooting for is football.



I do have 'real' posts in my head. I've written one that I've changed my mind about. The study of David that we're doing is impacting me quite a lot, which is interesting because I just wasn't expecting it. But it's changed my way of thinking about a few different issues ... and I want to try and explain that but I need to get my head around it first.

In the meantime I hope you all enjoy the sunshine!

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