In this space / 1

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At my parents house for the day.

Taste discomfort of this and the burning need for more croissant. Smell flowers from behind me in a vase. Hear my brother munching on eggs bacon toast, and the cars passing over the hill, and the hum of the electricity through the lights tv fridge. Hear the man cleaning the steps. Feel the strangeness as I sit on this sofa, book in hand. Feel sore soles and delicate ribs, still. Feel the quiet. Feel the failed start of a sneeze as my body knows my ribs won’t take it. Feel the uncertainly of our future plans, my future.

In Two Parts

I agreed to go out for dinner with a group of people from a netball class that I used to go to sometimes but have now quit. It’s tonight (which is yesterday). This morning, boyfriend said that his friend S (who’s girlfriend E is the one who took me to the class originally) suggested that they meet us after the dinner to have drinks with us. I agree to this plan. I then get a text from E saying that some of the other people in the group want to ‘go out’ after the dinner, so we could do that then get a taxi back to hers and boyfriend and I can stay over. As I was having a brief (yay!) dip into depression the previous 24 hours, it shook me. (Side note- been ages since I’ve had more than a day or so of it- by ages I mean at least 4-6 weeks. Feel blessed and lucky.) I thought I’d do a little before and after piece.

BEFORE: REASONS/THOUGHTS

/ I immediately thought she meant a club (this may not be the case) / I don’t know these people very well at all / The attendees at the netball classes are mainly 30 year olds, and 17 year olds- we’re in the uncomfortable middle / I have been to a club maybe twice, both times with my Boyfriend, since I went to Malia over 3 years ago / I don’t want anyone to touch me / I don’t drink any more because I hate saying stupid things with anyone other than boyfriend or family / I don’t want to stay in their spare room because I like being at home and they have cats / Going out for dinner is enough / I’m 21 I’m supposed to know how to have fun and relax and I’m supposed to enjoy it / Boyfriend was saying some of the best nights out he’s had were when he didn’t want to go – and he still loves it but just doesn’t go / I would love to go, but only with him, to dance / what am I supposed to wear / having dinner 30/40 minutes drive away is probably enough for one evening surely? / I just want to drink water and have a starter for a main – do my thing, you know? /

Anyway, I’m going and I’m going to prepare myself for both a club and staying the night. But really I just want to drive there, eat & smile, and drive back home to Boyfriend- that’s enough apart time.

AFTER: REASONS/THOUGHTS

So I went, and it was fine. Of course. G&T in Wetherspoons, then onto the Italian restaurant- shared garlic bread with onions and mozzarella, then chicken salad and drank tap water like most others (healthy bunch- it is a netball team). Then back to Wetherspoons- got some pitchers- had a couple of glasses of that. Had two shots, one sambuca one tequila. Didn’t buy anything myself. Had a nice time talking to a slightly older girl who has a kid, who was crazy which I loved. Got picked up by the boyfriends at about 1am. The younger girls were on the whole.. young. Mainly obsessed with rating the local clubs, each other and other people they knew. And very nervous about using their fake IDs! It wasn’t so bad- but very glad I avoided the club, (they decided it was too ‘dead’) and that this other girl had been there to talk to too. The spare room was fine, though I thought the mattress was a waterbed one until the morning when I realised I had just been drunk when I got in..

Just goes to show doesn’t it.. but what it’s showing I don’t know because when I knew they were outside  I literally ran out the door to kiss Boyfriend right on the face.

Recipes Lately

just a roundup of some recipes I’ve tried lately- mostly of the vegan etc variety. as you can probably tell, boyfriend has been out a lot!

// sweet potato brownies (deliciously ella) these were delicious, but not everyone who tried them was a fan!

// quinoa avocado sushi (plant-based pixie) so yummy, but mine was very messy!

// morning courgette muffins (what would gwyneth do) these have been a favourite for a while- made them 3 times already.

// zoats (mix up of two recipes but it’s just grated courgette, oats, egg white and maple syrup cooked together in a saucepan) – surprisingly delicious- had them twice so far. strange to get your head around but really recommend for getting your greens in.

// // banana puff pancakes; my own recipe; (two heaped 0.25 cups; one of white flour and one of wholewheat brown flour. Add 1 teaspoon baking powder. Mash in a whole banana, and 0.5 cup of almond milk. Squirt in some maple syrup. These burn easily. Heat coconut oil in a pan, pour in and watch carefully. They puff up great on the second side!) These are really great- making them today. Makes 3 small ones.

p.s. really need to get better at iPhone food photography.
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stir fry!

Raise Them Up Right

Just a quick note to say how amazed I’ve been by Rebecca Woolf’s (Girl’s Gone Child) words lately. I’m in a stage of really reading, listening and hearing what people are saying.

// This hit me deep. I’ve been there, (a boy with his younger sisters) and I didn’t handle it with the confidence she has. Maybe next time, I will.

“But she’s so cute I wanted to carry her!”

“It isn’t up to you. She wants to walk. Listen to HER words, not YOUR wants.”

go read.. Raising Respectful Sons

// Also, this one; about how our children don’t have to be liked all the time.

Because my fear of being disliked had turned me into someone who had given absolutely everything away… You want my sandwich? Here. You want my bracelet? Here.  You want my body? Okay… 

go read… The Unbearable Likeness of Being

//

Have Less

 ‘look at all those fancy clothes, but these will keep us warm just like those.’

Jack Johnson

so, minimalism.

I recently came across (a late comer to the party, no doubt) The Minimalists and found this list. I thought I’d go through it step by step. For context, we’ll be moving in about 2.5 months but nothing confirmed. It’s our furthest move yet, and we’re considering actually hiring some outside help this time!

Go read the original, then come back; 7 Ways to Sample Living With Less

// clothes.

I’m not great on this one. I don’t have tonnes of clothes, or it feels that way as we have a lot of storage in this house and I could definitely have fewer. The trouble is, I really do go back and realise that something I love just slipped off the hangar. It’s cyclical. You know? Pretty much everything fits me, and I like it. So that’s ok for now. When we finalise our housemove I’ll go through it all again, as I’ve done each time, and donate a chunk. I don’t find choosing to be stressful and have a nice at the moment of jeans, shorts of leggings with an array of pretty tops, cardigans and jumpers. That’s just called getting dressed isn’t it.. But! I have way too many coats. So many coats.

// decorations.

we don’t have that many random decorations, as I try to only bring in things that are beautiful or useful. That old chesnut. Anyway, I did discover the other day that Boyfriend thought a drawing I have was done my sister as opposed to a famous illustrator! All the rest are related to us and our lives together. A set of mini bunting from each anniversary, a canvas photo print from the mini adventure, a vintage tin plate advert of the London-Edinburgh line which we took a thousand times at the beginning of our relationship (we covered 10,000 miles in 6 months visiting each other). You get the idea.

// toys.

.. not a problem we currently suffer from. I plan to be pretty strict on this though- I know that the best toys are not toys at all.

// cooking utensils.

good idea. I might stow away a few. We definitely don’t need a potato masher as I’ve only used it once and found it inconvinient. Guess we could use some improvement here. We have a lot of spare stuff in the copious storage in our bedroom.

// televisions.

we haven’t even plugged it in since we moved here, and cancelled our tv license over a year ago. We still have the screen however, which I’m planning on selling shortly. However- I think the point of this was fewer screens, which we could definitely benefit from. I have a laptop, a tablet/convertible, and a iPhone. He has a laptop, an old laptop, a broken iPhone, and a PC that he never uses but it’s special to him. We also have two spare phones in our tech box. This needs to change.

// counter-tops.

I try to keep our surfaces fairly clear. However I do find that my eating habits benefit from being able to see my healthy options, and I have a glass jar collection to match. It’s arrange by height though, and is very pleasing.

// furniture.

we could probably get rid of some stuff but our place is big- so it works for now. Next place, probably some stuff needs to go.

so on the whole, this has highlighted a few areas to address. Kitchen utensils and making a list of things to sell..

their whole site, by the way, is excellent; go have a look at their inspiring pieces.

Be Sex Positive

Sex education and discussion is something very close to my heart, and without going into my personal story- I’ll leave it there.

I recently became a member of an organisation called Brook that I’ve been following for a while now, on twitter etc. (Unfortunately, they don’t have many opportunities to interact with them this far north, but I’m always hopeful). They spread a message of positive sex education- something that I think is so important. They believe in the greatness of young people, and respecting them. That they can make their own choices, and navigate a path for themselves- but that they do need access and support and honest discussion. This goes beyond ‘always use a condom kids’ (which is all I got at school it seems), to discussion of relationships, enjoyment, consent, abortion, emotions & feelings.

Just look at this latest blog post from their CEO Simon Blake ; Harder no, Different yes.

Proud to be one small part of their great work.

Sex is so often a secret thing, and in a young persons brain things can get so confused with no trusted adult to discuss it with. Sometimes very important personal things get only discussed with other equally confused young people, and or not discussed at all but instead secret-ed away- increasing their feelings of isolation.

Some myths I remember;

‘it’s just body parts connecting, it’s not a big deal’

‘if you’re drunk it’s your own fault what happens next’

‘if you have anal sex you’re still a virgin’ (the whole concept of virgin is one for another day..)

‘if you’ve tried bases 1, 2, and 3 you gotta have sex next’

‘If it hurts that’s just what happens’

‘You can’t stop doing it if you’ve done it with them before’

There was never any discussion of it being fun or pleasant.

When I began university, two years older than most of my class mates, it terrified me to hear stories of near-rape situations- which they laughed off (though of course I don’t these were their real feelings). Some of them didn’t believe that there was anyone kind enough to consider their feelings, that ultimately all men just want sex and you have to go ahead with it for cuddles and affection. They didn’t value themselves, because they had never met anyone who treated them right. Makes my heart twist just to think about it.

I like to think I played a part in empowering those around me, to demand respect and to keep themselves safe- regardless of other people’s opinions.