The time I dated a Christian

I would like to preface this by saying I do not mean to cause offence to any religion nor claim that any relationship with mixed beliefs will not work. In fact, I am the biggest advocate for letting people just do their thing, judgement free. Now that’s out of the way, lets take a dreaded trip down memory lane.

My first ever relationship was with S at the age of 14 until around 20 (the lines blur greatly towards the end). I don’t talk about it a whole lot, not because its particularly painful, but because it feels like another life. I was a baby then and I have grown and changed greatly as a person.

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It started as the perfect childhood sweetheart relationship and remained this way for the first few years. We loved each other very much and I thought I would marry this man. In fact, I think he was close to proposing multiple times. He wrote me love letters and showered me in cute, thoughtful gifts and it was as vomit inducing as you might expect. But it also had a very dark side and that side was religion. S was Christian and for the first few years this meant he had the occasional church visit and went to a Christian camp in the summer, no big deal.

But then, something clicked in his head and he went almost devout Christian over night. Sex was suddenly banned, Church was a bi-weekly occurrence and he starting forcing his beliefs on me. Anyone who knows me, knows that is not a good idea. I respect other beliefs but forcing any ideology on me, especially one that isn’t particularly inclusive towards certain people in society, is really not going to go down well. I fully understand that not all Christians are like this, but my experience was one that was very negative toward homosexuality, sex before marriage, other religions and worse, atheists. I made an effort to go to church with him once to prove I was open minded and it put me off for life.

Of course, this caused a massive strain. He had become a person I no longer recognised and I couldn’t be with someone whose views were so derogatory of others, purely because some book tells him so. And that right there, was the beginning of the end. We had blazing rows and inevitably it ended on quite bad terms. I even had to delete my previous blog because I knew any dating stories I wanted to write about would be up for instant judgement and would mean I was destined for hell in his books! So that was that. A childhood romance that hit adulthood like a car crash, and I now avoid churches at all costs.

I would love to hear if anyone has similar experiences or, even better, if you are in a relationship with mixed beliefs and how that works for you!

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The pressure to be a people person

People like people. The best people in life get on with other people. They’re people persons. Charming and schmoozing their way in to job interviews, parties and meeting the parents. Meeting new people is a breeze, in fact, they like it. They embrace the small talk until they make firm friends with everyone they meet. They are the best society has the offer. The people who have it all. And I’m afraid to admit, I’m not one of them.

Reading alone, people person, thoughts

I love my family and friends. Hell, sometimes I even like having a natter with a stranger. But you know what I love even more? Being alone. Sitting at my desk typing this is heaven to me. Spending an evening having quality time with me is the dream and I even prefer driving all by myself, with nothing but a bit of ‘Kisstory’ to keep me company. This seems to clash horribly with the fact that, for some benign reason, people seem to like spending time with me. I’m not a complete hermit. I’ll happily spend the day with my sisters, or a morning in bed with my boyfriend and actually – shock horror – enjoy it. I can even spend 5 days straight in work with a group of people and love the experience. But then I have to carve in an evening or better, an entire day, where I get to delve in to my work with not a human in sight.

Is this just me? Because I feel like everyone around me is so great at being a people person. For me, small talk just sends a shiver up my back and I feel awkward as ass when I meet new people. And I feel like a failure. Actually, society makes me feel like a failure. Why wouldn’t I want to spend time with people? Why do I get quite grumpy if I’m made to spend all day with my customer service costume on. Perhaps it’s because I don’t feel I can be myself around others. Or I feel like there is a certain level of professionalism or character I’m expected to be, so it feels like a day long performance.

Reading a lot of bloggers I admire, it seems I’m not the only one who struggles with social interaction. However, for me, it doesn’t seem to bother me as much as most. Sure, sometimes I feel less than because I can’t easily have a room of strangers in the palm of my hand but mostly, I don’t really care. Perhaps it’s that gift of age kicking in that I just couldn’t care less what others think of me, but I’m genuinely happy with who I am. And I’ve realised that maybe this is the better way to be. I know if I managed to create friendships wherever I went, I’d get absolutely nothing done and as a bonus to that, I’m actually one of those few people who enjoys spending time with themselves. Although it does feel a bit sad typing that!

Moral of the story: Be happy and content with who you are and don’t feel bad if that person turns out to be different from what society deems the ‘perfect person’. You’re the one who has to spend the most time with yourself anyway!

The mirror is being a bitch

Today is a very exciting day because it is my first collab with Aly’s Journals. To celebrate her reaching 700 followers, she is doing a big collaboration with bloggers and companies and because I love everything her blog stands for, I sent over one of my poems that has been sitting waiting for an opportunity to be seen. 

Pressure, beauty, make up, bare faced

It’s called ‘The Mirror is Being a Bitch’ and you can check it out over on her blog. I wrote it because I was tired of the pressures women have from society. Every magazine I flick through has articles on how to be slimmer, which ridiculously expensive product is promising to make you pretty this month and playing on all our insecurities to make a bit of cash. I see my beautiful friends, sisters, Mum, glare in to the mirror, squeezing bits of flesh or desperately plucking and concealing anything that is deemed less than perfect. Yet all I see is perfection in them. My Sister, with boundless energy for her daughter and time for all of us. My Mum, whom I find hilarious and strong and vulnerable all at once. My friend, with her fire red hair, and long limbs, yet she still paints over her freckles and lines her eyes to hide from the world. They are all incredible women to me and I am angry at society for telling them that they are less than. And then I look at my Niece, who innocently puts on a tiara and dresses in one of my sparkly tops and has no shame in shouting that she looks stunning. It breaks my heart because she truly believes she is funny and smart and yet I know given the chance, the world will try to break her spirit. Which is why I want us all to be four again. To look in the mirror and see through the eyes of our younger selves, and love what we see, exactly as we are. You can read the poem here, please let me know what you think!

You can also follow Alys on Twitter trust me, she’s lovely!

What happens when the spark disappears?

I believe everything happens for a reason. People come in to our lives to teach us or inspire us or set alight a fire you never knew was there, but that doesn’t mean they will stay forever. And that’s okay.

I’ve lived my life based on the extremes in life. I like to see people at their very best and even their very worst. I like to experience what people love with an absolute passion but also despise. I thrive off of those intense feelings and what it feels like to be someone else. Probably why I ended up being an Actor but it’s also shaped other areas of my life. One being relationships.

sparks

I search for sparks. In fact, I collect them. That tingly feeling down your spine when you meet someone for the first time or the butterflies that crop up on your first date. I believe a kiss should be electric, like John Tucker and Kate when her secret wire gets wet and starts letting off shocks. Those are the unforgettable moments in life and I don’t think we should compromise. What happens when that disappears though?

You know how it is, you’ve been in a relationship for years and suddenly the kisses aren’t as exciting anymore, a hand hold doesn’t make your heart flutter and sleeping next to each other is just that. And I know, time moves on into a deeper kind of love and attraction and that’s a life changing experience all by itself. In fact we often get in to trouble by craving the ‘spark’ so much and cheat on the person we love for that one night of intoxicating firsts. But how long is that spark supposed to last?

“What are sparks when compared to a relationship of a lifetime but what is a relationship of a lifetime without sparks?”

I’ve started seeing someone, in fact, he’s now my boyfriend and at first, I was obsessed. We both were, soaking up every word the other said and spending our days apart texting each other non stop. A month in, and I felt like the spark was gone. Everything started to irritate me and the days upon days we spent together started to feel like suffocation. Me being me, I bulldozed in ready to cut it off. He’s an amazing guy, perfect for me, but I was terrified to never feel that burning fire ever again and after all, what is a relationship without sparks?

We talked it through and since, I can tell you, the fire is well and truly burning. I had had a long, tiring week, was also hormonal and I acted irrationally (shocker). There is, however, the niggling voice inside me that asks what I will do when it happens again. Because it will. Relationships aren’t all roses and dates and that little bubble that makes you feel untouchable. They are also arguments over who is taking up the most room in bed. They are long days at work and money struggles. But they also support, a best friend, inside jokes and trust. And you can’t honestly compare a relationship and connection of a lifetime to the fleeting sparks of your first date.

 

Can we have it all?

Carrie Bradshaw is easily my least favourite character on Sex and the City, however, sometimes she raises good questions. Like: can us women, have it all? The car, the house, the kids, the relationship, the banging social life and an incredible job (preferably an unrealistic job as a writer who has one column a week and yet still affords designer labels and an apartment in New York). And the answer? Yes, of course we can, but maybe not in the way we think.

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My view is, something has to give. I read one of those inspirational quotes that told you to replace ‘I don’t have time’ with ‘it’s not a priority’ and see how it changes your perspective. And honestly, it’s pretty monumental in helping you to see what you really value most in life. For example, my friends wanted to meet up recently and I am currently swamped under a lot of work so I text back to say that I couldn’t right now. Then when I changed it in my head to ‘that’s just not a priority for me at the moment’ I realised how much my view had shifted. It’s not that I don’t love my friends, it’s that other things are more of a focus, and that’s okay.

My point is, you can have it all, but by all I mean the things you value most. Perhaps being a stay at home Mum is your priority right now and if that makes you happy and you have the means to support yourself, great! On the flip side, perhaps ‘all’ means a flat in London with a high powered career, but it may mean sacrificing starting a family, even if it is for right now. For me, right now I want to build my career and be successful in multiple areas, but it means that sometimes I miss family get togethers or I can’t grab a cocktail with my friends all the time.

It all boils down to, like always, what you really want. Not that Instagram models that look so picturesque or your school friend on Facebook, but what ‘having it all’ means to you. Comparison is a dangerous thing and no one wants to live a life that looks great on screen but that leaves you feeling empty. And be aware, having it all isn’t always as easy as it seems. Balancing everything takes work and you won’t get it right every time. But if you stick to what is genuinely a priority and what needs to be sacrificed now and again, you’ll soon start nailing it. How’s that for you Ms Bradshaw?

What does ‘having it all’ mean to you?

23 things I’ve learned in 23 years

Has anyone ever heard of the saying that we change every 7 years? It’s something my Gramphy always spouts on about and it hit me recently how much I seem to have changed since turning 21 and what better way to summarise it than in a cheesy post for my birthday. Because are you even a blogger if you don’t do a nostalgic blog post for your birthday?

Crema, archway, scenery, from where I stand, 23rd birthday

1. Birthdays are less about fretting over how many Facebook birthday messages I get and having a ‘mental’ drunk night out and more about doing things I actually enjoy and seeing those I love.

2. Exercise isn’t about killing yourself in the gym to look good on that one week of the year you are in a bikini.

3. A follow on to that, yoga is incredible for your body and mind. I wish it didn’t take until my 20’s to realise this.

4. Relationships will happen when you least expect it. Oh and stop picking the dicks when you know it’s not going to last. Yes, even the one with abs that look like they were cut out of marble.

5. It’s okay to not like what other people like. You’re not in school anymore.

6. Likewise, it’s okay to shout about what you like. I’ll try now; I love sex (especially talking about it on my blog), I hate baths, I hate disney, I hate getting blackout drunk, I love yoga, I love researching about health, I could go on but we all get the point.

7. The birth control pill is actual poison.

8. I’m not ready to get married or have kids but it’s okay to feel a pang of FOMO when it seems like everyone else is doing this.

9. 9-5 office jobs are really not for me.

10. I actually have a lot of good ideas for freelance work/writing/business, I just need to have faith in myself.

11. Always wear a condom and never trust a guy who says he’s ‘been checked’. Not worth the trip to the STI clinic.

12. Don’t set in stone who you are. It’s okay to change and evolve, let it happen.

13. Romance is great but love isn’t all roses and wine and dinners. It’s mutual interests, shared values, a sense of humour and really good sex.

14. Being blood related doesn’t excuse shitty behaviour and family isn’t always the one you were born into.

15. Success doesn’t happen over night and nothing ruins your 20’s more than thinking you should have it all figured out by now.

16. Live life by your own rules. Just because someones idea of happiness means a mortgage, kids and marriage, doesn’t mean yours is any less happy in comparison.

17. If a guy is strictly religious, it’s probably not gonna work out. Ditto if he lives in another Country and his family don’t speak English. I mean, so a friend has told me….

18. Every year you become more sure of yourself. Someone may be older or more experienced than you, but it doesn’t mean they’re right. Question everything and always keep your own integrity.

19. The world isn’t going to end if you step outside the house without makeup on.

20. Age may be just a number, but don’t waste life thinking you will have time later. Later may never come and now is as good a time as any,

21. It’s never too early to look after yourself. I’m talking sun protection, eye cream, 3 litres of water, eating lots of plants and exercising before you even reach your 20’s. This body is your temple and if you burn it down, you can’t just buy another one.

22. Dream big. Always.

23. And finally, do what makes you happy. Stop doubting yourself and just light up that little world of yours. No one else will.

Now I just have to take my own advice…What things have you learned this year?

Have we ruined sex?

Have we – yes, me, you and our other 20-40 something friends – ruined sex? Sex back in the day was seen as a sacred act. It wasn’t even long ago that sex before marriage was an absolute no go whereas now we have premarital sex on the first date or even with some sweaty person we picked up in a club. Now, personally, I am a passionate defender of a persons choice to casual sex, as long as it is safe and consensual, but I have been challenged in my views by a fair few people recently, mostly the defenders of sex being an intimate and romantic experience.

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I decided to look at the function of sex. Sure I have had sex that was loving, looking in to each others eyes and holding one another after. I have had kinky sex that was a lot of fun and sex that just ended in tears when I fell off the bed (story for another day perhaps!). I have also had sex that was purely to fill a need, wham, bam, thank you maam, I can have a great nights sleep now. But not any one of those deserves more respect or idealisation that any of the others.

And I refuse to agree that our generation has ruined sex in any way. As we are always told by old people with a glint in their eye, they were the ones who invented sex. We aren’t doing anything new, we are just a bit more liberal about it and actually *shock horror* talk about it rather than brushing it under the carpet. And just a side note, sex is great, I promise you ruining it is not our intention, give the whips a try Grandma!

Romantic sex in a relationship can be a beautiful thing. In fact, I love relationship sex because it means it is trusting and can often be on another level to casual sex. But that doesn’t mean that sex outside of a relationship, or marriage even, has to mean that it is worse or any less intimate. Nor does it mean that sex in relationships is boring or unimaginative. The key here is the person(s) you are have having sex with and your personal choice. 

And that’s what it boils down to, doesn’t it? Your choice. In the guidelines of safe, trusting and consensual, you can spice it up and down as you damn well please. Chain your partner to the bed, invite someone else along, dress up as dogs or have a 5 minute perfunctory bonk in the dark if that floats your boat. Do your thing and don’t let society tell you that you are doing it wrong because sex is as unique and personal as we as humans are.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on it! Leave me a comment down below.

The future is female and we’re coming in tribes

I won’t be polite when a man whistles at me

Or tells me my tits look nice

I’m not afraid to be rude when my ass is grabbed at

and  I wasn’t ‘asking for it’

by wearing a skirt and dancing in a club,

By drinking alcohol

or by generally being a human fucking woman.

I am a woman who likes sex, and sports

but I refuse to be told I’m not like the rest

Because the rest are strong

Not strong for a woman, but strong like an ocean

The rest are brave

Not brave like a man, but brave like a warrior

The rest fight for equality every day

To be seen and heard as a person with a voice

Not a microphone with boobs

Not someone who is smart for a woman

That is not a compliment.

I am fed up of fighting to be heard

of being the assistant, the receptionist, the nurse

of aspiring to marriage and 2.5 kids

of always being behind the man

to celebrate their privileged success.

My sister is funny,

My mum fixes the car

My Nan saws up wood

These are the stories I want to hear

Not of a man who once was great

Or a man we all secretly hate

A woman who fights demons

breaks barriers and builds bridges

every single day

and doesn’t need an award or a title to know she is great.

Don’t be a dick, realise

The future is female and we’re coming in tribes.

My favourite natural remedies

I live by natural remedies and I’m always annoying people by spouting ‘Let food be thy medicine!’. Any ailment, cold or ache I’m straight in the cupboards ready to mix up a little concoction to heal myself. Which is probably why my family call me a witch most of the time – at least I think that’s what they’re calling me… Family drama aside, let’s get stuck in to some of my favourites!

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Turmeric

A new discovery, but a firm favourite. This stuff is powerful and if you haven’t already, get it in to your diet! It is an anti-inflammatory, which can help reduce inflammation int the body that can cause many diseases, not limited to cancer, heart disease and skin ailments. Even cafes are catching on, Pret do a turmeric latte made with coconut milk and it is the stuff of my dreams! I like to have a turmeric latte or shove a bit in some orange juice and chug it down. It’s best absorbed with some pepper so sprinkle some of that in too. I also like to make a mask out of turmeric, honey and a bit of water, it’s great for healing spots and eczema. Word of warning though, I have stained many a surface, including my face, so just be careful to remove it well and always mix with something other than water to avoid looking like the newest member of ‘The Simpsons’!

Coconut oil

Hardly brand new information, but coconut oil is the absolute bomb. I remove my makeup with it, moisturise my eczema, put it in my porridge, smooth out frizz and use it to make my feet baby soft. Not only is it a great moisturiser but it contains anti- fungal properties which makes it great for treating eczema and fungal foot infections (mmm yum!) It’s also great to cook with, not only is it considered one of those healthy fats to keep you fuller for longer and help balance hormones – I see you ladies – it doesn’t break it’s bonds when it’s heated like other oils which make them a lot unhealthier. And it smells pretty darn good too!

Apple Cider Vinegar

Talking of the smell of things, this stuff reeks. It’s a strong vinegar smell but it does go away once it’s dried and it’s a miracle worker, dead serious. It works as a spot treatment literally overnight, clears eczema (I seem to be the 1% it didn’t work for though), helps reduce nasty bites (I had 200 mosquito bites, so I was a pretty good test subject!) and so much more. I actually drink it in water on a morning because it is so good for things like gut health and balancing the Ph in your body. The taste isn’t amazing, it’s like unsweetened cider (can you tell I’m from the south west?!) but it’s hardly the worst thing I’ve ever put in my mouth!

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Aloe Vera

We’ve all heard of this little gem and I love it so much I recently bought it in plant version so I have it at my fingertips whenever I need. You probably know it’s great for sunburn, but it’s also brill for healing pretty much anything. I like to blob a bit on a spot, or any cuts or rashes on my skin and I tend to chuck it in to most homemade face masks for the cooling, healing effects. And for my final tip, have you ever squeezed a spot then not been able to cover it with makeup? Well, aloe vera is pretty much like natures bandaid. Dab a bit on, let it dry and pop some makeup on top. Job done!

What are your natural remedies? I’m always on the look out for more!

Let’s talk sexual health

I talk an awful lot about dating and peoples right to casual sex should they so wish. But with becoming a modern day version of Samantha comes a certain responsibility; getting checked for STD’s and always making sure you make that sex safe.

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First up, let’s address safe sex. Using a condom, or as Jeremy Kyle puts it, ‘putting something on the end of it’, is not only a way to reduce risk of pregnancy but is the only method that can help prevent STD’s. There are two types, male and female condoms. But here’s something that shocked me, you know how people always say ‘yeah, condoms are like 98% effective’? Think again. Those are perfect figures. The majority of the time, male condoms are 85%, female 79% and the pill is 92%. So make sure you are using them properly because I don’t know about you but this terrified me!

Of course, there are other contraceptive methods, but only condoms will help prevent STD’s. This is definitely a post for another time but there are cervical caps, rings, pills, implants, coils and all types of things us ladies can have to avoid catching a case of the babies. Still waiting on that male contraceptive pill though…

When you are in a relationship, there are a lot of us who choose to forgo condoms for other contraceptives. This is absolutely your choice (although am I the only one who doesn’t think it feels any different?) but it’s a good idea to get checked before you do. Go together before you start rejecting the condoms because one of you may have an underlying infection and it’s never fun transferring it between each other like a weird version of pass the parcel. And just because you love your partner and fully believe them when they say they are clean, people lie. People get scared of getting checked. People also believe they are clean just because they have no symptoms. Or if you’re my ex, your version of getting checked is looking at your penis and going ‘Yep, looks okay’. Don’t take the risk!

Now on to the actual testing. I put myself through it so I could give some honest feedback. I received a free pack in the post which asked for a vaginal swab and a blood test. Now I’m going to be honest with you, I’m not good with blood tests. It involved pricking your finger and filling a pot and it took three pricks (ironically what lead me to this situation) and my Mum – yes I’m a wimp and got her to do it – squeezing my finger only to barely fill it so they were unable to use it (I had to go get a blood test instead). But the swab was just as easy, in fact much easier, than inserting a tampon. You just insert a long ear bud looking swap up inside you, leave it there for 10 seconds and whip it out again. Job done. And I was all clear, good times!

The swab test is for the most common STD’s, Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea, while the blood test is for syphilis and HIV. There are tons of sexual health clinics around and from my experience, staff are lovely and make you feel comfortable. So if self testing isn’t available for you, there is still no excuse, especially if you have symptoms! Most STD’s are easily treatable but if you leave it too long, things can get nasty. I’m talking infertility, risk of miscarriage, pelvic inflammatory disorder and all kinds of complications that you really don’t want to have to deal with. Of course it’s not exactly my idea of a fun day out but it really isn’t as bad as you think it is, I promise!

Helpful links:

https://www.nhs.uk/livewell/sexualhealthtopics/pages/sexual-health-hub.aspx

https://www.fpa.org.uk/

I hope this even encourages one of you to go and get checked. Please feel free to leave any questions and comments below about it!