Tuesday, 31 January 2017

What's Occurrin' - January 2017

I promise myself every New Year that I'll read more books; watch more TV; try out new styles of clothing, cooking and, well...everything else, really.   Do I stick to it? To some degree.  Have I made the same resolution for 2017 despite mostly failing every other year? Yes. Yes I have.

These are the new fings I tried in January: 

Amazon Prime:

Sneaky Pete: 
I recently ditched Netflix after realising that Prime had a million seasons of my favourite show 'Forensic Files', because sometimes when I get home from work I need gruesome true-life crimes to cheer me up, y'know? 

I jest, of course.  Nothing cheers me up after a crappy day at work that doesn't involve wine. Anyway, after having a wee scroll through Prime, I happened upon (and by this I mean it was right there at the top of the page, waving at me) this new original series, produced by and featuring Bryan Cranston. How, I ask you, could this possibly not be amazing? 

Pete is a conman who is released from rosin in the first episode and can't return to his neighbourhood as he owes a LOT of money to Bryan C.  He rocks up at his Grandparents house and ends up joining the family bail bond business.  I'm only a few episodes in, but it's already looking good.   It's also been commissioned for a second season, so that gives me another box set to add to my list of Things I Never Have Time To Finish Watching   


In an effort to 'branch out', I have potentially already taken things too far.  Nothing like starting with an easy one, huh? Made way back in 1972, before I was even born, Deliverance is a classicly dark tale of four friends who decide to canoe their way up a river in the deepest, darkest backwoods of the American South. Georgia, if I recall correctly.  And this Georgia is vastly unlike the state I've visited so many times.  I ain't never been canoein' though...

Saturday, 28 January 2017

4 Tried and Tested Ways to Reduce Anxiety

My anxiety hates me. It hates me being calm and rational and making measured decisions. It hates me driving in busy places, and it truly despises me entering any supermarket or store that is capable of housing more than a dozen people at any given time.  

My anxiety also likes to keep me awake and loves nothing more than questioning my every move and utterance until I literally stop talking in an attempt to escape.  Of course, what happens then is that I'm guaranteed to then be spoken of as 'rude' or, as happened lately, 'of that demeanour'.  I'm not entirely sure what this means, but I'm guessing it isn't good. 

When I stop saying much, it's not about you.  Mostly, it's got absolutely nothing to do with anyone. Except me, of course, but I don't expect anyone to get that.  I mostly don't even really care whether people do or not any more; I just want the noise in my head to stop. 

Over the past few weeks, things have been pretty difficult with health issues for me, upheaval at home, and a pretty traumatic time for one of my dearest family members.   This has heightened my anxiety and pretty much dominated my every waking moment for the past month.  This isn't my first time on this particular merry go round, so I have a few teeny ways of coping (I say 'coping'; you may say 'avoiding', but let's call the whole thing off...)

There's a host of free app-store games that can be seriously distracting

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

A Weighty Issue

A Weighty Issue

I've always been a bit odd.   I was heavier when I was younger, but never really overweight.  I am now what I consider to be fat.   I'm size 10-12 and 5ft 3.    I know I'm not *really* fat (whatever that might be) but I am bigger than I've been for as many years as I can remember. And I hate it every minute of every day.

I suffer from chronic IBS, so as well as carrying a few extra pounds, I also tend to be so bloated most of the time that I simply can't wear anything with a waistband. Whilst this is helpful for my comfort and general getting through the days, it does mean that I'm in shift dresses and leggings most of the time.  This does nothing to curb my eating.  Whereas putting on a pair of skinny jeans would alert me to a week of unhealthy binging as I attempted to button them up on a Saturday night, I have now lost that barometer.

Leggings seem the same whether I'm half a stone heavier or lighter and until I attempt to get into something fitted, I genuinely have no clue how heavy I'm getting.   I refuse to stand on scales, so clothing is my only unit of measurement.

Generally, the moment I realise a shirt is starting to gape at the front or my ass is feeling a bit *too* snug in my trousers, I pull back, behave myself and start again.

These days? I honestly have no clue.   And this is where the problem lies.   Either I stop making my life easier by being comfy at work, or I simply eat less. Tbh, neither of those options has yet forced me to deal with the current situation.  

I constantly hate getting dressed and checking out my dumpy little legs in leggings and flats.   I also constantly make a half assed attempt at keeping for.   I run, I walk, I use my exercise bike and I mainly make an effort to eat kinda healthy.   

But I like wine.   And crisps.   Generally in that exact order and often consumed simultaneously.  

I just don't seem to making any progress.   And now I'm worried that I'm going  to have to employ a drastic strategy, like, you know...going on an actual diet. 

I've always thought that reducing my calorie intake and upping my exercise was enough.   And, in the past, it has been.  These days?  It ain't working.    

I am fully aware I'll continue to be down about my weight (which absolutely has an impact on my general depression), but, at the same time, I haven't made that decision to really, truly tackle it.   My current philosophy clearly isn't working.  

I'm on the exercise bike as I write this; paying 30 mins lip service to my fitness because I couldn't possibly go running because it's raining.   I live in Wales.  This is NOT a surprise.   
What will it take before I stop talking and start ACTUALLY rectifying the situation?  I KNOW it'll make me feel so much better and yet, I just won't step it up to make the difference I need.

How can I be so self destructive but so unhappy about something at the same time?  I don't understand me at all.  

Anyone else struggling with weight loss despite knowing that they're not really doing it right?!  No?  just me, then...

I suspected as much.

Suzanne x

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Things I Don't Understand: Makeup Edition

On the run up to any special occasion, when everyone's getting dolled up to go out on their nights out, I'm generally at home, wondering what on earth all the fuss is about.  Aside from the fact that I'm a complete introvert who hates parties, I'm also largely lazy.  My idea of being dressed up is not wearing trousers with a draw string, or putting a bra on to leave the house.  When it comes to makeup, I literally have no clue.  I own a few bottles of foundation, a clumpy mascara and several million lipsticks; none of which I actually think suit me.  

As well as having no real inclination to change any of this, I honestly just don't see the point.  Being pretty on the outside doesn't make you a good person and contouring the Hell out of my face will NOT make me the life and soul of any gathering.  These are more things I don't understand: 

Things I Don't Understand: Makeup Edition
what happens when I get involved with makeup

Massive Eyebrows:
I don't get it.  Sure, some of them are incredible but, OHMYGOD, how much effort does that actually involve on a daily basis?? Who has the time to dedicate to drawing things on their face that aren't actually there or were removed during a fad where teeny weeny lines across your brow were all the rage? And when will the end? What happens to all the women who are tattooing huge arches on their face when the latest trend goes? 

It's not even really just the eyebrows; it's also the bleached hair accompanied by the black, drawn in brows that cause me to shake my head.  I honestly just don't get why you would make your hair yellow and then draw your eyebrows in black.   Maybe it's because I'm so fair.  I look mental with dark brows because my skin is so white it's practically blue.   

Anyway, I'm fairly certain when it all goes to hell, I'll still be here with my blonde brows that can hardly be seen, just sitting wondering what all the fuss was about.

Kylie Jenner Lips:
Now, this isn't an attack on Kylie Jenner.  Let's just make that clear.  She's an independent girl who's doing very well for herself.  As far as I'm concerned, that should always be applauded.   What I don't understand is the whole lip filler thing and why people are desperate to have lips just like her. What's wrong with your own lips, people? Why does everyone want to look the same?? Can't we celebrate our differences?  I get that her lips are lovely...on her.  That doesn't necessarily mean it's a good look on everyone.   As with most makeup trends, it's highly likely that I'm just too lazy to understand the effort.  

Things I Don't Understand: Makeup Edition
this is what I see when people pull that face
Trout Pout Selfies:
OMG just stop. You're already lovely and making that face does NOT help.  I don't think I've ever made this face; mainly because I can't abide it, but also because I don't understand why people think it makes them look attractive. It's like the whole massive eyebrows, caked in eyeliner, over drawn lips thing.  What are you doing?

It strikes me as some deep rooted unhappiness that someone thinks they have to change so much that they no longer actually look like themselves.  I know that makeup can highlight features and minimise flaws, but not quite to that extent. Mind you, what do I know?  I hate having my photo taken way too much to have the opportunity to do the whole trout pout thing in the first place. 

(And yes, I am aware that not liking having my photo taken is a side effect of not liking the way I look as much as it is for those who are cemented in make up)

Things I Don't Understand: Makeup Edition
I own one brush...and I have no idea where it is
I understand the concept and I've even watched some amazing videos, but I just don't get the attraction.  My face is, well....my face, and no highlighter or shader will ever change that.  I don't even have the energy to try it, never mind actually achieve chiseled cheekbones, or whatever else it is it's supposed to do. 

No amount of contouring will change the fact that I like eating crisps and drinking wine on a saturday night and no amount of promises that it'll make me look like Kim Kardashian will force me out of bed early enough in the morning to even bother trying it.  I've had my face for 38 years;  I'm way too lazy to attempt changing it now.  Besides, who would recognise me if I suddenly turned up at my office looking totally different, with a thinner nose and no bags under my eyes?  I get the feeling after you've contoured once, you'd have to keep going, every single day, to maintain the look. The mere thought of that makes me very, very sleepy.  

So, I'ma just stay over here, wearing the occasional bit of foundation and considering myself glamourous when I can be bothered putting on some eyeliner.  But for every one of you who makes the daily effort to do all this stuff; part of me thinks you're mental and part of me thinks your commitment is amazing. 

Suz x 

Sunday, 1 January 2017

2016: My Favourite Things

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens...   I jest, of course. Roses are jaggy and I hate cats.  I have, however, discovered a few things in 2016 that I *did* like, as well as continuing to enjoy some of the constant highlights in my life (I'm looking at you, Doug the Pug).  These are some of my favourites from 2016:


Rillington Place:
Who knew Tim Roth could be so incredibly creepy? This 3 part drama, which was recently aired on BBC1, told the story of serial killer, John Christie.  Obviously, when I realised it was based around murderin', I had to tune in.  There's nothing I love more than following a horrendous story of deception and general all round homicidal behaviour.  It brightens up a dull Monday like nothing else, you know?

The drama focuses on a different character in each episode and shows you just how Christie managed to evade detection for quite so long.  It's an excellent watch and Tim Roth, apart from being almost unrecognisable, is utterly wretched.

SHHHH....Rillington Place is coming on!

Dr Strange:
I have to confess to watching very few full length films, but I do love a good superhero tale.  I also love Benedict Cumberbatch in, well...anything, so the latest Marvel movie was no brainer.  I managed to convince my nephews that they really wanted me to take them to see it on the big screen.  And so we did.

After I got over the American accent on my beautifully posh Englishman, I really enjoyed the epic fighting and bizarre Matrix-like sequences throughout.  I also enjoyed seeing Mads Mikkelsen play yet another baddie and Tilda Swinton with a shaved head.  She sort of suits it, in an odd way. 


Elle King and Angaleena Presley:
I'm very much a creature of habit when it comes to my music.  I listen to it a LOT and I am pretty much strictly a country girl, aside from my love of Counting Crows and John Mayer. 

I first heard Elle King perform at the Country Music Awards (obviously...) and her voice instantly reminded me of Amy Winehouse.  She's got a that powerful bluesy tone that I adore, so I downloaded her album 'Love Stuff' and have been blasting out 'Ex's and Oh's' in my car pretty much every morning since.  

I already knew of Angaleena Presley as a third of the country girl group 'Pistol Annies', with bandmates Miranda Lambert and Ashley Monroe.  Her Kentucky twang always resonated through the songs and it was pretty much a sure thing that I would buy her solo effort 'American Middle Class'.  It is, to me, far more old school country that I'm used to listening to these days, but it's absolutely superb.  I can often be heard sangin' along in my own very best Kentucky accent to 'Pain Pills' while I'm cleaning the house on a Sunday morning.  

Connelly, Sandford, Sandford, Connelly...

John Sandford and Michael Connelly:
I tried to enjoy other things; I really did. I even rooted out several new authors this year like Lars Kepler, Mark Dawson and Michael Robotham and, while they were all absolutely fine, I still haven't found anything that can compare to the new releases by Sandford (Gathering Prey and Escape Clause) and the return of Connelly's legendary Harry Bosch in 'The Wrong Side of Goodbye'.  

I have, however, very recently stolen borrowed six Stuart MacBride crime titles from my Mum because she's been raving about them. Also: he's Scottish and it turns out I am, too.  Who knew?  The books are set in Aberdeen and, having now read a full five chapters of one of them, I think we can safely say I'm adequately qualified to tell you that they're obviously amazing*

What are your favourite things from 2016?

Suz x

*Not biased at all.