Burn Black

That ain't a vulture, that's a fucking pigeon…

Archive of ‘Life’ category

Bloody L…

clueless

So after 16 months of lessons, passing my theory test first time and failing my practical three times, I got back on the wagon yesterday and I FUCKING PASSED!!!  Seriously I’m thrilled.

Yesterday was also my birthday so it was kind of a double whammy for me!

It feels really strange knowing that I can now go and drive a car on my own.  If I’m honest, the prospect utterly terrifies me but I hope that once I’ve been out and about a few times, I’ll not even notice.

Many thanks to Stu from Apollo Driving School.  He’s an utter legend with the patience of a saint!

Too Much Info?

giphy

For the last decade I’ve been using the Mirena coil as my contraceptive as choice.  This was mostly due to the fact that my time of the month was quite frankly a horrific and painful ordeal (like seriously, anemia inducing) and secondly because I was rubbish at remembering to take the pill.  I know some ladies who’ve had problems with the Mirena, but for me it worked a treat and it was ace to not have to worry about periods or babies for five years at a time.

Last October I had my last one taken out and decided against getting it replaced.  I figured that, since I’m 36, if I want to have kids at any point in my life I was going to obviously have to think long and hard about it, and essentially get a move on.  With this in mind I also thought it would probably take a while for my body to go back to normal too.

Since then I’ve had the occasional spotting but no “official” period until two days ago and seriously… What the hell???  I’m bloated, to the point I look pregnant I’m that swollen.  I feel as weak as a kitten and as if I’ve been kicked in the gut.  I’m also exhausted and am craving iron rich foods, probably due to the gallons of blood I’m losing on an hourly basis.  Obviously my memory has blocked out how traumatic being on the rag actually is and quite frankly it sucks!

Also how bloody (pardon the pun) expensive is it?  I’ve spent a small fortune so far on drugs and heat pads (both are essential, trust me).  I’m not one for tampons either and it seems that decent sanitary pads are a) expensive and b) constantly need changing.  It get’s better. I’m paying 5% tax too as the EU still classes sanitary products as “luxury items” (there’s a petition to get this abolished here).  Like pardon my ignorance but what else are us ladies supposed to do/use?

I’m all for looking into alternatives but in the meantime I’m off to curl into a ball and drink a fuck load of sugary tea.  Here’s hoping next month won’t be as bad *fingers crossed*.

New Year, New Me?

new-years-meme

New Year, New Me… I for one bloody detest that saying.  I’ve mentioned in the past that we all have the ability to make positive changes at any point of our life and this is why I never bother with resolutions.  With that in mind however, I am aiming to refresh this blog and post more regularly this year so I guess January is as good as anytime to start.

In the past I’ve always struggled with both the voice, and the direction I should go with when posting on this blog and if anything, this made updating rather overwhelming.  I’m now of the opinion that since I don’t do this for a living, nor do I get paid for it, I should just go with the flow, enjoy it and hope for the best.  So here goes…

 

Ouch…

So the other night I slipped and fell on my front steps and smashed the side of my face as you can see.   I now look like an utter thug.  The photo below was taken 2-3 days after it’s happened.  I wish the story behind it was more interesting but unfortunately not.

FullSizeRender

 

It’s times like these where I wish I had drag queens as friends as I bet they’d be able to help me cover it with make up so I don’t look like an absolute nutter when I go to work.  Also how come in all of my years doing sports like kickboxing and as of late, roller derby have I never invested in any arnica either?  I could do with some right about now.  Thankfully it looks worse than it feels.

Sunderland Zip Wire 2014…

So at the beginning of this year I decided that, in 2014 I was going to indulge in crazy activities that I’d never done before, call it a mid thirties crisis or whatever.  The first experience (hopefully of many) that caught my eye was the annual zip wire that happens in my home town.  I figured it would be fun, that I could channel my inner James Bond and also had the option for doing it for charity so figured “why not”.  I chose to raise funds for Water Aid who I think are awesome and to be honest I’d forgotten all about it until I saw the link for this video on Twitter.  It was then that it hit me what exactly I had signed up for and quite frankly I started to brick it.  I put it to the back of my mind however, joked about it amongst friends and started to hound everyone for donations.

This morning I woke up feeling fairly nervous.  I’m not scared of heights but I am scared of throwing myself from bridges but I reasoned that it would be akin to a rollercoaster ride and I love rollercoasters.  I arrived at the registration point, got harnessed up and off I went to jump.  I really didn’t want to wait about as I knew that by doing so, this would make me more nervous so I let the lady who I had walked up with first so I could see what was about to happen and then climbed up to the launching platform myself.

For me the worst part of the zip wire was the lowering myself off the bridge.  My method in the end was to shuffle my bottom towards the edge until gravity could take over (my legs were having none of it at this point).  As soon as I was off my stomach flipped, and for a brief second thought “HOLY SHIT what the hell have I done”, but within the next second I started to enjoy it, and then I reeeeaallly started to enjoy myself as the adrenalin kicked in.  I even let out a “WWWAAAHHOOOOOOOOO” and waved to V who was waiting for me at the landing (and who also took the video below).  Once I’d landed I found my legs still weren’t computing with my brain but given the chance I would have climbed back up to the bridge and done it all over again (and again and again and again).

So yeah.  In conclusion I’m really pleased I did it.  So far I’ve raised just over £100 for Water Aid which works out the equivalent of providing clean water and sanitation to nearly 7 people which is ace.  If you would like to donate too you can do so here.  I really can’t wait to do it again next year.

Avoiding/Curing Hangovers…

booze

Overindulgence and heavy partying normally leads to feeling as if Death himself decided to do ten rounds with you in a ring when you wake up the next day.  I’ve noticed that the older I’m getting the longer and more painful the hangovers are.

In my early 20’s hangovers were but a mere myth.  I would easily go out, get rather trollied, go clubbing and be at my desk the next morning bright eyed and bushy tailed.  At the very most I may have needed a coffee.  Nowadays however a hangover will mean that I’m lucky if I see the afternoon of the next day and even then if I’m not vomiting it’s a major plus.  A typical bender will leave me ill for about 2 days now and although I have it sussed where I can normally stop before it gets that bad, sometimes the best laid plans of mice and men go up the proverbial shitter as soon as someone mentions shots.

shots

Therefore this is a list of my favourite hangover cures for you all to try out as/when applicable.  I hope you never have to use it, however the only way I can guarantee that you wont, is if you don’t drink in the first place and if you’re willpower is anything like mine…

*  Before you go out eat something.  Make it something stodgy too.  Anything that’s going to line your stomach.  Research indicates the fattier the meal the better.

*  Make yourself neck about 2 pints of water before you go to bed, more if you can.  I’ve found that this will either eliminate or lessen the after effects.  Even if I have to stay up and go to the toilet another 3 times during the night it will be worth it the next day.  Bonus points if you are semi conscious enough to brush your teeth/take your make up off too.

*  Sleep.  Lots of it.

*  Fizzy Lucozade (it’s full of electrolytes that your body needs, even more so if you’ve been vomiting).  Did you know it was invented by a fellow Northerner?  My favourite is the orange flavour.

*  Fizzy Fanta.  None of this zero sugar lark.  I normally need the full fat stuff, if anything to help with the shakes.

*  Food.  When I have a hangover I normally only crave either of two things:  Pizza or Eggs.  I love the fact that I can order a pizza without even ringing up thanks to Domino’s website.  If you go down this route it’s worth looking online for money off vouchers.  My hangover pizza normally only consists of cheese, onion, mushrooms and possibly sweetcorn.  If a pizza is too much of a challenge then egg on toast is a good call too (boiled/scrambled/fried) or a banana.

*  If food is a complete no no then a mug of vegetable bouillon is pretty good too, purely because it helps replenish some of the salt and potassium you’ve lost due to the alcohol.  I’d never even considered this before until I read it elsewhere and I tried it and it definitely helped.

*  A shower.  If I’m able too I’ll throw myself into the shower where I’ll wash my hair (and the smell of cigarettes away) and myself.  Sometimes it may take all my strength to climb into it and I will just stand there for half an hour whilst I try and muster the very basic of motor skills whilst drinking the shower water (yes really) but once I’m dressed and dried I normally feel so much better.

*  I’m rather scared of taking pain killers when hungover.  I’m allergic to aspirin and a doctor friend once advised that taking Paracetamol is rather dangerous as it gives your already overworked liver even more work to do.  So I normally just do without.  At the very most I’ll either have a sachet or two of Dioralyte and/or maybe some Motilium to settle my tummy.

*  A good TV series, either a box set of something on Netflix.  I have to admit when my attention span is rubbish I’d rather watch a TV series than a film so that if I fall asleep during, I won’t have to rewatch the whole thing.  My TV show of choice at the moment has to be American Horror Story.

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Music Mondays: RuPaul – Glamazon.

rupaul-love-yourself

I’ve been watching a lot of RuPaul’s Drag Race as of late.  Initially I only started watching it for make up tips but in honesty I’ve learnt a lot more.  RuPaul comes across as a very strong role model for positivity and lets face it we all need to embrace more PMA in our lives.  Anyway this song is catchy as hell and has became a bit of a gym favourite.

Operation Frugality: Week 3.

I was determined to make this week a week of low spendage, especially after last week but I didn’t manage, far from it in fact.  Firstly my mobile phone stopped letting me make or receive phone calls unless I had the speaker on and there’s some conversations you just don’t want the world to hear when you’re in the middle of Tesco’s.  Therefore I had to get an upgrade, it seems that current events have gotten the best of me as of late too…

Monday 13th January – Nothing.

Tuesday 14th January – I’ve had a lot of things going on and as a result my plate has had lots on it.  As a result the emotional crutch that I’ve tried so hard to avoid has once again stuck it’s nicotine stained claws into me and I bought a packet of cigarettes which cost £7.70.  I also needed a lighter 90p.  Great eh?

Wednesday 15th January – Nothing.

Thursday 16th January – This is the day I finally had enough with regards to my mobile.  A short trip to the phone shop and I had a brand new iPhone 5s and had to pay £49.99 upfront.  I also needed a new screen protector and cover as my one from my iPhone 4 are too fat now.  I bought this bling one from eBay for £5.99.  Since I’m running out of ideas as to what I can make in the house and emotional drainage making me unmotivated to do pretty much nothing at home I ended up buying lunch too £4.10.  A bad day really.

Friday 17th January – It’s my birthday next week and since the Kurt Geiger shoes from last week were far too high for me (I gave them to a friend who I’ll know will make them her bitch) I ended up buying a dress (£25.44) and a replacement pair of heels (£54.94 – In fairness I have wanted these FOR YEARS) for when I go out in a fortnights time.  I think totally unnecessary but these are staple items that I’ll get lots of wear out of therefore feel semi-justified.  Plus did I mention it was my birthday soon???

Saturday 18th January –  I bought V and I a meal from M&S after work (£15.61) and some fags (£7.70).  I could have probably done without but my nerves are still shot and after all the shit I’ve had to pick the scab from and go through this week I felt we both needed a treat, especially since V has proven himself a rock as of late.  Plus I figured it would be cheaper than a takeaway.

Sunday 19th January – Nothing.

So yeah.  Out of all the above I pretty much feel justified in buying the phone, the dress and the shoes.  The fags would probably come next.  I am pretty much livid with myself for letting things get to me that much but I’m sure once it’s all over as will my useage of them also.  All in all a really bad week.  Total Spends:  £172.37.  It would appear that when depressed I’m not only an emotional smoker but a shopper too. :0/

 

Operation Frugality: Week 2.

So far this year I have to admit that I’m rather liking this challenge in a masochistic kind of way.  If anything I am noticing spending patterns and am acting upon them which is the whole point in this exercise after all..  A perfect example of this is my tendency to hoard stuff that I buy from work.

Anyone who’s ever been in my bathroom will testify to the amount of Lush products in it.  At this moment in time I have the equivalent of over 6 litres of shower gel, a shoebox filled with soap and at least 2 carrier bags worth of bath bombs and various other bath treats in there as well as various lotions, potions, shampoo and massage bars.  Safe to say I don’t think I’m going to need any of those this year.  Same goes for perfume which has actually proven difficult thanks to Illamasqua who currently have a sale on.  I’ve wanted a bottle of Freak for ages and it’s currently reduced.  I’ve had to be a big girl and say no however because a) I must already own something like 20+ bottles of fragrance so I know I won’t need anymore for a very long time and b) V bought me a bottle of the Tom Ford perfume I’ve been lusting over for a very long time as a late Christmas/early Birthday present which to be honest is literally the best aroma that’s ever filled my nostrils and I’m really grateful for him to have spent so much money on something so decadent.   Recognising what I already have/how often I use things is going to be key to this challenge I feel.  So here’s a daily breakdown of expenditure for week 2.

Monday 6th January:  It’s marmalade season and I need some Seville Oranges so I went to the local greengrocers to see if there were any.  There wasn’t but I did need some fresh garlic so bought a bulb of that (in the past I would have bought about 3), some fresh coriander which I now regret as I already have some in the freezer from the last time I bought some  (at least I can freeze this if I don’t use it however and I now know for next time) and 4 Persimmons for £1 which is a bargain and I love them.  That lot came to £2.99.  None too shabby but I still need those oranges.

Tuesday 7th January:  I spent 87p on a load of carrots.  What with the coriander I’d bought the day before I made soup which sorted me out for a few meals.  I also spent £4.99 on dried dates and some dried apricots in Holland & Barrett.  Not necessarily needed but I want to try and make my own version of these for after exercise etc. which I’m sure will work out cheaper in the long run.  After work I went to the gym.  I walked there and got the bus back which cost me £1.85.  This brings the days total to £7.71

Wednesday 8th January:  I admit now that the money I spent today was not due to necessity.  Firstly I got my nails “did” (acrylic infills) which cost £11.25.  I like getting my nails done.  They’re less hassle than my real ones as they’re really low maintenance, and it’s a treat and a bit of me time at the end of the day which is always well received by myself whenever the time comes around.  I work hard so why not?  I then bought a lipstick (£3.01) and a new gel nail varnish on eBay for £3.99.  I have the UV kit to do my own gel manicure and doing my nails myself saves me around £15 a pop so I find it well worth it in the long run.  May as well be hung for a sheep than a lamb I guess.  Bit of a bad day really.  Total spends = £18.25

Thursday 8th January:  On this day I went a bit mental.  However I did buy things I actually needed as opposed to things I wanted which is always  a plus.  What with my going back to the gym I’ve discovered that I a) hate wearing baggy jogging bottoms as I don’t like how they flap about when I’m on the treadmill and with me wanting to start running I figured I needed some new gym clothes and £44 later I had some.  Later on that day I made the mistake of going onto ASOS and ended up purchasing a pair of £140 Kurt Geiger heels for a bargalicious £13.50.  I’m sorry I know it was completely unjustified but I did spend a few minutes gingerly thinking about pressing the checkout button, and well…

Friday – Nothing

Saturday – Nothing

Sunday – Nothing

So this week I’m quite please that I didn’t spend any money on lunches, or coffee for that matter whilst at work which was rather ace.  The shoes and lipstick? well did I need them?  Not at all but I did actually want that lipstick for ages so it wasn’t an impulse buy, the shoes? a totally different matter.   The gym wear was a must however as I normally look like a tramp when I’m there and getting new gym wear has been on my “to do” list for a while.  I also know that I don’t *need* the acrylic nails but I do enjoy wearing them.  They make me happy and dare I say *ladylike*  and so for now they stay.  I may review it when they need to come off but I’ll review it then.  The food items I obviously need and when the weather improves I’ll cycle to the gym and back.  Total spends this week:  £86.45 (eek).

A Recap on 2013…

Ahhh New Years.  Where optimism and positivity probably run the highest in comparison to the rest of the year.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  Positive changes can happen whenever, you really don’t have to wait until NYE to start.  Saying that however I’m as guilty as the next person but I did actually make some positive changes last year and I have ones I want to do this year too.  So here’s a recap on 2013:

I did struggle a lot in 2013.  Both in my personal and working life.  I quit smoking which I’m still doing pretty well at despite being rather naughty over Christmas.  I am firmly back on the wagon now and haven’t had any since NYE and plan on keeping it that way.

I also started (and stopped) going to the gym more regularly.  The fact V enrolled as well kept both our motivations in this respect quite high, that was until he damaged his shoulder and therefore couldn’t go for a while and I in turn, then made excuses along the lines of “not wanting to go on my own” and alongside doing extra shifts at work meant that this once enjoyable and great habit slipped into a distant memory for both of us.  I didn’t start running and didn’t go back to kickboxing either which quite frankly sucked.

I did try Veganism though, and lasted just over 4 months.  I wish I could fully commit to this lifestyle but I  just can’t.  Instead I’m quite happy to remain a Vegetarian who tries her best which means although I will eat a lot of vegan friendly food at home with exception to the occasional tray of eggs (which I get from my Mum’s friend who keeps ducks/hens) and the odd indulgent cheese board, Outside of home however it’s a free for all.  Non animal friendly cosmetics and clothing etc. will still be avoided as much as possible.

I did declutter a lot in 2013 as well.  With eBay, Amazon and local charity shops all helping me dispose of items I no longer wanted.  I still have a large cardboard box full of stuff to go but its getting there.  I’m actually quite pleased with what I did actually accomplish in this aspect.

My finances are somewhat healthier now too.  Not immaculate but definitely better.  Already in 2014 I’ve started saving small amounts of money each month and have joined the pension scheme at work.  Both little jobs that I’ve been putting off for ages but will be well worth it in future.  Still in a little bit of debt but I’m going to really try and tackle that this year.

On top of this my working life has resembled somewhat of an emotional rollercoaster too.  I hammered the final coffin nail into DJ’ing due to various reasons which I’ll probably go into in a future post if I ever feel the need to let off some steam.  That and certain aspects at my day job meant that my ego came out of 2013 feeling rather bruised and battered.  Trying to turn to the positive however I have learnt a lot of lessons too so it’s not all bad and I quote:

“Your heart is the only beating you will survive and though it may take some time to trust it, it has never let you down.”

How was 2013 for you?

Banishing The Evil Weed…

fagsGlamour Massacre by Silvio Giordano

It’s took some doing but I’m now officially a non smoker.  I decided back in June that, as a woman nearing her mid 30’s that enough was enough and I set July 1st as my quit date.  I had an arsenal of patches, gum and inhalers at my disposal from previous attempts to quit along with an electronic cigarette I’d bought “just to try” so figured I had all the tools I needed and then some and that there were no excuses.

In July I mostly used the patches, the gum and the e-cig and in honesty I found it a doddle.  No cravings, nothing.  I do know some people don’t like the patches for whatever reasons but for me they were a God send.  I had no cravings nor thought about smoking whilst wearing them.  Once I had ran out of the patches (I had a month or so’s worth) I then just relied on good old will power and the e-cig as and when I needed it which was around once a week (usually around alcohol and friends who smoke).  Nowadays I carry the electronic cigarette around with me but bar the odd social event involving alcohol I never seem to use it and in honesty I’m comfortable with this.  Eventually I will quit that too but in the grand scheme of things I rarely go out drinking so this isn’t too much of an issue.  Truth is I can’t really be bothered with drinking excessive amounts these days either.  My alcohol tolerance has practically flatlined and I’m finding that after 2 drinks I’ve pretty much had my fill.  I’ve been out clubbing maybe 4 times this year in comparison to the 1-2 times a week I used to and I never go to the pub “for just the one” after work etc. that I practiced on a nearby daily basis.

Reading all the above makes out that I was the very picture of perfection however which isn’t true.  I did slip up twice but the important thing is that I got back on the wagon and I learnt from my mistakes.  The benefits of quitting so far?  cardio at the gym is easier and I’m saving around £70+ a month which quite frankly is not to be sniffed at.

Today marks the 97th day since I quit.

Productivity Vs Procrastination…

We all do it, some more so than others.  My Achilles heel seems to be housework.  I find it boring but unfortunately it needs to be done and what with living on my own it’s up to me to make sure that my crib doesn’t resemble something from “How Clean Is Your House” (Kim and Aggie deserve medals).  On the other hand after being on my feet at work all day the very last thing I want to do when I do get home is to spend even more time on my feet cleaning, likewise on my days off.  I want to spend them having fun.  If this sounds familiar then I’m about to blow your minds with (what I feel) is one of the best apps out there for iPhones.

Introducing UfYH (Un-Fuck Your Habitat, or Un-Filth Your Habitat if swearing offends you/you are iTunes).  The lady responsible for said app has a blog which, quite frankly is a fountain of knowledge and a source of inspiration for the lazy, those who hoard and the sheer overwhelmed.  People are encouraged to post “before” and “after” photos along with accounts of their progress, ask questions and every now and again the app price will be reduced for those still sitting on the fence about buying it.

From personal experience I just love it for the 20/10 timer.  The theory is for every 20 minutes of work you do, once completed you get a 10 minute break.  It cuts down any task into easily managed chunks (not just housework) so really it’s up to you as to what you do.  Be it one 20/10 or two or maybe even a whole days worth.  I’ve seriously lost count of the about of times I really couldn’t be arsed with doing something and thought “oh I’ll just do one 20/10” and before I’ve realised, I’ve done quite a few.  It’s magic I tell ya and tonight was a prime example.

The usual scenario was thus.  Came home from work, really couldn’t be bothered but realised that the mountain of clean laundry was *still* sitting on my bedroom floor days/weeks after I’d washed and dried it (seriously I hate doing laundry) so figured I’d do at least one 20/10 to reduce it a bit.  In two sessions not only had I tackled it but I’d also loaded the dishwasher (best invention ever) and washing machine, hung the load of washing out to dry, dried and put the dishwasher contents away, cleaned the cat’s litter trays out, cleaned inside my microwave and wiped my kitchen benches down.  Pretty productive considering my lack of motivation.  If I do one 20/10 a day it pretty much tackles my flat and then some.  Easy peasy.  Give it a try and let me know how you get on.  Sorry this isn’t the most exciting of entries but like I say, the app has helped me loads and I really hope by reading this entry it inspires others.