Monday, 10 April 2017

Vacation Anticipation


The smile that says a trip is imminent...



I. Love. Travelling.

No surprises there - who doesn't, eh? A boost of vitamin sea is usually just what the doctor ordered; a reminder of the rich tapestry of Mother Nature's creative artwork that lies beyond the short-sighted humdrum of the nine-to-five. Travelling the world is one of the most enlightening and enriching lessons you can give yourself, more educational than any geography lecture or history class; providing a better understanding and appreciation for Planet Earth than any nature documentary. But if there's one thing I love even more than stepping off a Boeing 747, savouring the moment my freshly-manicured trotters touch foreign tarmac, squinting in the sunlight before flipping down my shades to protect against a blazing sun that always seems that much brighter than back home - it's the build-up to a trip. The vacation anticipation.

Don't get me wrong, I love a last-minute bargain; snapping up a deal and heading off within days on an unplanned jolly is always a bonus - but you can't beat the shivers of excitement that arise from carefully plotting a long-anticipated adventure. If I'm going to fork out the lion's share of my salary on a trip then I want all the feels. I've paid through the nose for that excitement, so give it to me by the bucketload. I want to revel in glorious sun-drenched daydreams as I ride the 07.56 commuter train to Bromley surrounded by grey-faced grumbling gargoyles. I want to let my mind wander, conjuring up images of crystal-clear seascapes and swanky city-breaks as a glorious diversion from reading about the latest horrors in the newspapers.

Some people haphazardly pack their suitcase in a few minutes, slinging it all in willy-nilly an hour before they're due to leave for the airport. Not me. I'll have my case out of the loft and splayed open in the spare room at least a week before I fly. As a sunworshipper (with the telltale wrinkles and sunspots to prove it) my wardrobe consists of mostly summer garb. Oh I'm a fair-weather friend alright. Stick my face under a UV lamp and it'll show more pigmentation patches than a Dalmatian, but boy do I have some nice summer dresses - and what's a few freckles between friends, eh?

As I prepare for my next trip, I'll lovingly take them out of the wardrobe, where they've no doubt been lurking in the darkness feeling neglected and unloved since my last trip due to our miserable British climate. I hold up the brightly-coloured wisps of skimpy fabric to my body as I turn this way and that in front of the mirror, allowing memories of tipsy moonlit walks on the beach and frenetic dancing at sunrise to come flooding back. If you look carefully you can see a scuff on my favourite sandals from scaling that cliff face in Thailand...or the catch in that top from getting caught on a branch in the Costa Rican rainforest. I won't part with them, despite their imperfections, as my beloved memories are woven tightly into the fabric.

Those clothes make me happy; to me they symbolise freedom, fun, and adventures past and future. Away from the monotony of the daily grind, we're free to indulge all our senses: tasting new foods; inhaling the aroma of exotic spices; experiencing unusual wildlife, cultures and architecture for the first time. Everything seems so fresh, it's like being reborn; brain buzzing with electrical impulses as  neurons are fired up to process all this new information.

It's when I'm travelling that I truly feel most alive, so anything that prolongs a trip is fine by me - be it planning, blogging or photography. Having forked out thousands on a six-month round-the-world trip in 2008, it was that sense of wanting to capture the memories that inspired me to start blogging in the first place. If ever something jogs my memory about a particular country, I can go to my blog and every detail is right there; I relive the moments in my head all over again.

As well as the wistful romanticising, I also love the practical pre-holiday prep: buying the travel guide from Amazon; plotting my route around a country. Routine trips to Superdrug suddenly become exciting when I'm in the market for mini travel toiletries. I know they're not economical, but they're just so goddamn cute! I add my next destination to my weather app so that I can flip between it's blue skies and London's bland ones on chilly grey days and remind myself why I go to work at all. I've even downloaded a countdown app so I can happily tick off the days from booking until trip time, excitement building as triple digits quickly become single ones and it's time to check in online.

As each final item goes into the suitcase so does another sprinkle of fairy dust, until it's time to zip up my luggage and head off on another memory-filled voyage into the unknown...



Next stop? Cuba, baby!

Not long now! Counting down the minutes...
My trusty Lonely Planet guide


No doubt I'll be Havana good time here in my next post πŸ˜›


Fancy reading my back-story before you go any further? You can find my other blogs at:

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Thursday, 6 April 2017

Make Time For Tea - in association with TeaTourist






Back at the beginning of March, I wrote this post entitled You're Ovary Acting in aid of Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month and pledged to hold my own event to raise funds and awareness for gynae cancer charity, The Eve AppealHaving set the date for my Make Time For Tea charity fundraiser, I figured I'd best tackle two of my all-time personal pet hates: coffee and cooking.

I know most humans are drawn to coffee like cats to catnip, but for me it's a major turn-off: the aroma, the bitter taste, the tar-like appearance. Just...no. Similarly, the very notion of trying to conjure up a Jamie Oliver creation in 30 short minutes is completely alien to me - I mean why would you even put yourself under that kind of undue pressure? Just thinking about pans bubbling over and utensils clattering is enough to bring me out in hives. The thing with cooking is that there's just so much effort involved. You do the maths: take a gazillion ingredients, add several different cooking durations and temperature requirements, sprinkle in a few distractions such as Facebook and the telly, then subtract the luxury of enough time...equals so many opportunities for things to go pear-shaped. Far too much admin, if you ask me.


Even the eggs were laughing at my cooking efforts

Fortunately, my distaste for all things coffee and culinary is countered by a love of tea and eating, so with a little determination I was able to overcome my lazy-girl issues and get cracking with the preparations. Well, it's all for charidee, mate, after all. As my partner Andy imports coffee for a living, he supplied the good stuff (I'll take his word for it), then I rolled up my sleeves and got my bake on...


Getting my bake on (that's not really a big splodge of cake mix on my chin - honest πŸ˜‹)


Now I doubt Mary Berry will be fearing for her job anytime soon, but I have to say my lemon drizzle cakes (yes, plural!) came out remarkably well - so much so that a couple of friendly neighbourhood mice (or perhaps it was my parents), scurried in and nibbled one of them and I had to bake another. Weirdly, I didn't mind at all - having overcome my concerns about the edibility of anything I could create in the kitchen, got past the faff of having to buy all the various cake-making components and worked out how to grate lemon zest without reducing my acrylic-nailed fingertips to bloody stumps, I actually began to relax and enjoy the bake. There may have been a flour cloud above my head and sticky lemon juice on every available surface, but licking the bowl was heavenly and the finished result made up for all the mess.


My lemon driz is the biz πŸ˜›


Whilst I cooked up a storm in the kitchen, my family rallied round to help get my house tea party-ready: mum loaning me the best family china; dad repainting my battered garden furniture that has definitely seen better days. My sister took one sceptical look at my child-unfriendly house full of angular units and breakables and began carrying out a full risk assessment...quickly concluding that a trip to her place to collect enough primary-coloured bits of plastic to open our own branch of Toys R Us was required. (Later, when I clocked her easing grubby little mitts off my travel memorabilia and back towards the toys I was extremely grateful for her contribution).

Zipping round the supermarket for some prefessionally-baked back-ups, I was aware of the judgemental glances of other shoppers; eyes sliding away as I clocked them peering at the cake mountain in my trolley: lemon meringue pie, swirly strawberry cheesecake, scones, red velvet cake, Taste The Difference carrot, morello cherry bake (that one was delicious, by the way) - you name it, I bought it. I looked like some crazed sugar junkie on a bender. I slung in a few bottles of prosecco for good measure and I was good to go.

On the morning of my event I awoke early to prepare the treat-filled feast for my guests. Having performed yet another last-minute supermarket sweep, the spread was looking even more bountiful: baked goods balanced on every surface. Sprinkling heart confetti on the table and adding flowers, I stepped back to admire my handiwork...


I'm not sure there's enough...?

My sister, mum and cousins were my first guests to arrive. A special mention must go to my cuzzy Lucy Blake, a cake-baking whizz, whose impressive cupcakes complete with Eve Appeal logos and edible glitter drew gasps of delight from my guests.


Move over Delia! My cousin Lucy's handiwork...

Hungry ladies began arriving in their droves and we finally allowed my little nephew Hayden to get stuck into the cake table - something he'd been slyly attempting for the last hour, his mum and I swatting him away until the other guests arrived.

All my nail-biting fears of no-shows, mumbled apologies and texts of regret dissipated as the doorbell chimed; the tea was poured, the cafetière plunged and cakes gratefully eaten. Neighbours popped in, friends dutifully appeared; there were even a few surprise appearances and tears.


cousins and cakes
Blondes have more...cake?
a few of my oldest pals


A timely collaboration with those lovely folk at TeaTourist meant that as well as my trusty PG Tips, I also had an abundance of interesting herbal tea blends to offer my guests. Available as a one-off purchase, a thoughtful gift or a monthly subscription, the company selects an array of carefully-crafted artisan teas from various respected suppliers and then delivers them to your door in a slimline box that fits easily through the letterbox, so no hanging around for deliveries. The complementary taster box I received included some intriguing flavours such as Chocolate Orange and the cinnamon-tinged Mulled Apple Brandy - although my favourite of them all is Rose and Strawberry. Each taster sachet has enough for four cups and includes information about the tea as well as the company who produce it, along with a discount code if you'd like to repurchase directly. Seeing as there's a subscription box for just about everything these days, it makes sense to have one for tea too. (Use code FIRST10 for 10% off your first box).


Teatourist taster box
Hmm, which shall I try next...?

By mid-afternoon the first sitting of tea-guzzlers had thinned out, so there was just time for a quick washing-up session and a replenish of cakes before round two. By this point I was buzzing: partly due to the sugar rush from all the cake-sampling, but even more so upon seeing my strategically-placed collection boxes overflowing with crisp banknotes. Way to go, ladies!

To add to the warm fuzzy feeling that gave me inside, Mother Nature provided a warm fuzzy feeling on the outside: Thursday 30th March turned out to be the hottest March day for five years, enabling us to spend the entire afternoon in the garden eating yet more cake and quaffing prosecco. High five, Sister!




The final guests left at 6pm, so I kicked off my shoes, had a cup of Wilderness Honeybush from my TeaTourist box and totted up the funds raised. The cash on the day totalled £265, with another £298 via my Just Giving account, giving a grand total of £563! Add to that the 25% gift aid and the total raised climbed to £703.75! How cool is that?! A pretty productive day, if I do say so myself...

So on behalf of The Eve Appeal and myself I'd like to say a huge and heartfelt "Thank you!" to everyone who donated to my campaign - either in person or online. Your generous contributions will enable this fabulous charity to continue their great work: protecting women's health by helping prevent gynae cancers.

The word I'd use to sum up the day? Much like the cakes themselves actually:

"Sweet!" πŸ˜‰





Hayden and Amelia enjoy a cupcake



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Thursday, 23 March 2017

Knee Deep In London



Knee Deep in London: Listen to the Knee Deep In Sound Podcasts Here


If moving to tranquil Sevenoaks was like double-dropping super-strength valium, then a trip back to The Big Smoke is like a shot of adrenalin to the heart.

London, like any drug, loses it's impact after several years of hits. You get used to the rush. To the uninitiated - a country-dweller, tourist or infrequent visitor - the city hits you in the face with all the subtlety of a shovel. Like a tornado it sucks you in, spins you around and then unceremoniously spits you out, like the cyclone in Kansas stealing Dorothy and Tonto from their home.

The human body is a resilient and adaptable marvel. You only have to study a commuter for the evidence: after decades of the daily schlepp from the 'burbs they have adapted accordingly. Darwin's theory of evolution suggests that animals evolve according to their environment: so it follows that commuters adopt a hard outer shell, fixed, forward-facing gaze, and immunity to their surroundings in order to survive the tough daily grind; the dog-eat-dog fight for survival. It's every man for himself. In short, you become hardened and immune to London - which includes its bright lights and dazzling charms, as well as the pitfalls of the polluted, overcrowded city.

But take the aforementioned human out of London for a period of time, and they soften once more. Then, when returning to the city as a visitor, rested and re-energised, the sense of awe is restored; stiff necks now fully mobilised as they crane to see skyscrapers; blinkers come off tired eyes as they open them wide in wonder.

This has been my experience. When working in the capital day in, day out, the slog of the journey and the sheer effort required to get through the day began to erode at the joy of the experience - in much the same way the sea wears away a cliff face. But now, a few years down the line and currently working closer to home, fully recovered from the exhaustion and soul-destroying monotony of it all, I'm able to return as a visitor - a tourist almost - on a purely social basis with renewed vigour. Like computers, most things work again after a control-alt-delete reboot, or by simply unplugging for a while - including humans.

I'm like a kid at Christmas when travelling into town, senses heightened in anticipation. Instantly absorbed by the madding crowd as I step off the train, the energy hits me: surging through my body like a jolt of electricity - as opposed to a baton over the head during my former incarnation as a worker ant. My head is like an owl's: almost rotating through 360 degrees as I attempt to take everything in - the architecture, shops, restaurants, bars - not to mention the deafening noise that such a hive of activity invariably generates.

Long nights out in London take on a hypnotic state as we drift from bar to club to afterparty, carried on a sea of cocktails and chaos, pinging from one venue to the next like silver balls in a pinball machine.


Magic Roundabout: located in the middle of Old St roundabout
A recent night out at The Magic Roundabout: one of my fave haunts...


Suddenly it's time to go home, and no sooner have the lights come on than we're in a taxi; whisked away from the choppy murkiness of the Thames and back to the still waters and serenity of Sevenoaks. When we awake bleary-eyed to hazy recollections we wonder if it was all a dream; one glance in our wallets tells us it was not. Oh well, it was worth it, we all agree; the memories sustain us throughout the corporate humdrum of the working week ahead.

Until next time, London...or should I say, next payday...

I love you πŸ’‹


photo credit




Buy tickets to Knee Deep In London via RA here



Tired of London, tired of life: my ever-increasing London '17 to-do list, ticking them off as I go...

Jan: 
Tobacco Dock NYD 
Groove Odyssey @Ministry Of Sound 
The Magic Roundabout 

Feb:
Forge and Co Shoreditch 
Mulletover at East Bloc 

March: 
The Breakfast Club 
Call Me Mr Lucky 
Clockwork Orange at Koko  ✔ 

April:
Knee Deep In London at The Printworks
Old Street Records

May:
Norman Jay Up On The Roof @The Prince Of Wales - MayDay Bank Holiday Special
WeR Festival (I know, I know, that's Essex not London)

June:
Jamiroquai at The O2

July:
Lovebox

August:
Elrow Street Party
51st State
SW4


TBC:
The Steelyard
Brixton Electric (been before - good times)
Queen Of Hoxton (an old fave)
The Hoxton Pony (ditto)
Village Underground (been before and enjoyed)
Dalston Superstore
Proud Camden
The Roundhouse
The Jazz CafΓ© (saw Too Many Zooz here - great fun)

Have you got more suggestions for my London '17 To-Do List? Hit me up!


Fancy reading my back-story before you go any further? You can find my other blogs at:

Follow me:

Twitter: @SamanthaWalsh76
Instagram: wanderingblonde76

The Non-Mum Network



Ageing raver: I love the glitz and glamour of clubbing
almost as much as the music itself

Those Bird's Eye Viewers who have the dubious pleasure of being acquainted with me in real life will know that I love to party - the whole process of pondering which outfit to wear for weeks in advance...which accessories...perhaps buying a blingy new pair of heels; selecting false eyelashes and face glitter whilst out shopping, head tilted as I cradle my iPhone on one shoulder, chattering away to my mates as we come up with a group game plan for the forthcoming shindig.

I love clubbing; I pride myself on the fact that there's barely a cool club in London I've not frequented and had never been turned away by a clipboard-bearing Door Whore...until of course I went happily trotting upto the red ropes of the Mummy Club, beaming away expectantly, eager to come in and join the fun. 

The glamorous young MILF on the door took one look at me - looked through me into the depths of my empty barren womb - and promptly declared "You're not on the guest list...you can't come in," before turning on her stiletto heels and dismissing me with a flick of her wrist. Oh. Never one to be beaten down so easily, I had several attempts at IVF before returning to the Mum Club once more. Again, I was turned away. "Your name's not down, you're not coming in..."

"Not even with a mate who's a member?" I begged, my dignity rapidly being replaced with desperation. "I'm not expecting a freebie, or even concessions, I'll pay full whack" I whined.

"Uh uh," replied the door staff sternly - all the commotion attracting quite a crowd of Mum Club regulars; members who were by now regarding me suspiciously through narrowed eyes. Who was this Non-Mum imposter, attempting to infiltrate the Mummy Club? What was she doing here?

Crestfallen, I slunk off homewards, yanking off my false eyelashes as I blinked back tears; scrubbing off my Glitterlips on the tube. I was devastated to be turned away. I vowed not to be beaten...

Years later, feeling strong and positive once more, I made a conscious decision not to let the whole experience of being turned away from the Mum Club continue to get me down. I had a lightbulb moment - an idea so obvious that I instantly wondered why I'd not come up with it sooner: I'd open my own club. 

This club would be exclusively for women who'd also been turned away at the entrance to the Mummy Club; those who had done everything they could think of to be allowed entry: eating the right foods, hanging around with mums, trying to look like a mum even, before turning to fertility treatment as a last resort - but for whom the doors to the club remained resolutely closed. Then I decided to open the door a bit wider: to allow other women into the club, ones for whom The Mummy Club was never an attractive venue, but who would like to hang out with other Non-Mums anyway. 

My club? The Non-Mum Network

It may just be a virtual club at the moment - picture a chic and bijou little members-only establishment: expensive but comfy oxblood leather sofas; soft lighting; free-flowing cocktails being served by hot bartenders; an achingly hip DJ spinning tunes in an alcove - low-level at first before ramping up to fever pitch as we all get relaxed and tipsy, confiding in one another in the chill-out area. Who knows, one day I might have a real life Non-Mum Network venue - a physical place for women like me to meet other women for lunch or workshops. I'm dreaming big. 

If you've also been denied entry to the Mum Club, the one club you most wanted to get into, whilst everyone around you is breezing into it just by flashing a wristband, fear not. Follow this Facebook post for more information...


Why not add me as a friend on Facebook, search on Facebook for the Non-Mum Network under 'groups' or just click here to go straight to it. It's a closed group so everything said in there is for members' eyes only. I've also got a Non-Mum Network public page

So if you're not a member of the Mummy Club, come and join us instead. We've got bouncers on the door to keep the mums out, just in case a few try to slip in under the rope, as I did with their club πŸ˜‹. You need never feel alone as a Non-Mum again... 


Ibiza 2006: smiling with my imaginary baby
(I didn't realise at this point my Non-Mum status was permanent)

#The Non-Mum Network

This article has also appeared in the Huffington Post UK



Fancy reading my back-story before you go any further? You can find my other blogs at:

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Thursday, 16 March 2017

Oil Be Back


...as Arnold Schwarzenegger would say.


I'll Be Back: Arnie as The Terminator
photo credit


And I will, Aromatherapy Associates. You betchya sweet-scented ass I'll be back. For these luxurious oils are to stress and tension what Arnie is to the big screen: The Terminator.

One thimble-sized capful of the potent blend of essential oils found in each frosted glass bottle has the power to sucker-punch aches and pains and KO your cricked neck. The stubby 55ml bottle may not look like a Hollywood heavyweight, but don't be fooled by it's diminutive stature - this badboy can certainly pack a punch.



A capful of this oil is even enough for a big bird like moi


At first glance, I was dismissive: as a super-tall woman who stands (ok stoops) for endless hours in a beauty shop (yes, I sell similar products; I know my stuff), I have a tendency to carry a lot of tension in my neck and shoulders. When I invest in bath products I like to glug plenty into the tub. It follows that I like my bath-time buddies as I like my men: tall, generous and strong. I expect a lot of bang for my buck, so to speak. So as soon as I clocked the hefty £45 price tag on this little fella, I almost dismissed it out of hand, in much the same way I'd dismiss Danny Devito as a potential love interest. This cheeky lil chappy just wasn't doing it for me.



De Mama and I on our way out for a day of beauty buying


It was my mum who persuaded me otherwise, having had a satisfying experience with it herself. "Don't judge a book by it's cover" she advised wisely with a knowing look "it's worth every penny." At five foot nothing, my pint-sized mama knows that good things can come in small packages. And boy was she right.

After a consultation during which we closed our eyes and inhaled our way through every tester in the rack, Mum opted for Deep Relax (a knockout blend of vetiver, chamomile, sandalwood and patchouli), whilst I was drawn towards Inner Strength (an uplifting combo include clary sage, frankincense, geranium and ylang ylang)I was also given a 3ml bottle of Hydrating Nourishing Face Oil as a freebie, which I obviously didn't turn my nose up at (quite the opposite - containing jojoba oil, evening primrose, sandalwood, rose and patchouli, the aroma is absolutely divine).

I couldn't wait to get my new fella back home and whip him out of his attractive packaging. Within minutes the bath was run and we were naked (don't judge; older women know what they want - we don't mess about). I sloshed a capful of the oil into my bath and slightly more than a capful of wine into my glass.

Like most people, my morning routine is a speedy shower - so when it comes to my day off or an evening of pampering, I like to set the scene with military precision: cold glass of white, lights off, candles on, hair up; ipad propped on the shelf near the bath with my favourite show on catch-up. Bliss.

My senses were instantly assaulted by the strength of the top-quality fragrance of this bath oil - my house smelt like a spa - and as I sank into the steaming water (I know it's not good for you but I love a red-hot bath) I could literally feel the stress melting away (or that could have actually been my skin; I told you I have it too hot). Either way, the oils enveloped me in their warm embrace; any qualms about the value or efficacy of the products instantly dissolved, along with the ache in my neck and throbbing feet.


Hydrating Nourishing Face Oil: a little goes a long way


After the oils had worked their magic and I'd binged on my boxset, I emerged from the bath like a phoenix from the ashes: majestically restored, soothed and ready for my bed. I just had the strength to slather on the face oil - the few drops required means that even this teeny bottle will last for ages - then it's off to the land of nod to sleep, perchance to dream...of Hollywood hunks and glamour. Hmm, perhaps I shouldn't have dismissed Danny Devito after all....



Small is beautiful
photo credit



You can find out more and purchase Aromatherapy Associates luxurious oils, lotions and potions here. As well as being the perfect cheeky treat for yourself, they would also make a fantastic Mother's Day gift - you can even get the bottles engraved. To get a 20% discount enter the promo code PB20 at the checkout. The code is valid until the end of April. You're welcome πŸ˜‰.

Enjoy!


Fancy reading my back-story before you go any further? You can find my other blogs at:

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Monday, 13 March 2017

Send Me Nudes


Lads, before you start skimming this article hoping for flashes of flesh or requests for dick pics, let me be clear: it's about nude makeup. Not actual nudes. I just used that title because it's catchy. Soz and all that.

Due to the surge in popularity of 'dating' apps such as Tinder, asking a new 'match' to "send nudes" is dropped in as casually as asking what they do for a living - and almost as quickly. The exchange usually goes something like:

Him: Hey, you're fit.
You: You're cute too. So, tell me about yourself: what do you do for a living...?
Him: I'm in IT. Send me nudes!

When I signed up to Tinder (in 2013, before I met Andy the following year) I was not only bombarded with unsolicited nudes, and requests for nudes, I was also sent plenty of pictures of other women in their underwear...or completely nude. Not by the women in the pictures themselves - I had my settings firmly set to 'women looking for men' - but by the guys they were sending them to, as if this was somehow proof that "all the other women are doing it." Sometimes guys would even say, "I'm not sure whether to date you...or her (female nude pops up on my phone). Who should I choose?" as if trying to start some kind of competition between us. One glance at the picture of the posing woman staring seductively into the camera tells me she's a man-eater; if she were a plant she'd be a Penis Fly Trap. Oh I certainly hope so. I'm happy to let her 'win' this one and swiftly delete the dastardly dude.

So girls, beware that when they guys say "send me nudes, I swear I'll never show anyone," he's telling porkies - not only will he show his mates, he'll also show everyone else he can think of...



Rouge Edition Velvet - great creamy texture, velvet matte finish


Anyway, I digress. Back to the nude makeup. To me, the words 'nude' and 'makeup' had never featured in the same sentence until recently. Why would they? To me the term 'nude makeup' is an oxymoron: if you can't even see it, how is it making you look better? What's the point of shelling out a load of dosh and then taking an age to painstakingly apply a ton of products you can't even see? Sounds like a case of The Emperor's New Clothes to me.

No, if I'm going to spend an arm and a leg on the latest beauty innovations and formulations I want to emerge from the bathroom in the morning looking catwalk-ready and as glamorous as Marilyn Monroe. Nude doesn't come into the equation: I want endless raven lashes, lips dripping brick-red gloss and skin like the finest porcelain. Or I did until now.

But recently I decided to give nude another chance, albeit my interpretation of nude. Rather than so little makeup that I still look anaemic, my naturally blonde features barely discernable on the blank sheet of A4 that is my morning face, I opted for visible makeup, but in hues of peach and muted browns that looked vaguely natural rather than naked.


  
eyeshadow palette in 02 OVER ROSE, lip pencil in 01NUDE WAVE,
velvet matte lip cream in 10 DON'T PINK OF IT


"I prefer women to look natural" proclaim men everywhere - until the aforementioned women have the bare-faced cheek to leave the house without a scrap of slap. Because there's natural...and then there's rough as a badger's backside; rarely does a woman look as good as Gigi Hadid does without makeup. (That's not dissing the sisterhood girls - it's just the brutal and blatant truth).


Because we all look like Gigi without makeup...NOT!


The fellas then quickly back-track with a tactful "You look beautiful either way...but I do love it when you're all glammed up," baulking in horror at the sight of thread veins, sparse brows and piggy eyes. He's hardly Tom Hardy himself, let's face it, but nevertheless everyone heaves a sigh of relief when the giant makeup bag comes out once more...

So here's my version of nude: still made up to within an inch of my life, but in a softer palette of shades. No red lippy or flicky felt-tip liner, yet enough colour and definition that I won't be mistaken for Casper the friendly ghost on my morning commute. The pigment is good, the quality decent and the best part is the price: Bourjois 3 for 2 at Boots meant I got all 3 items for around £15 (there are often offers on at either Boots or Superdrug - there's one at Superdrug now). So if my love-affair with the nudes turns out to be as short-lived as most of my Tinder matches, I won't be left broke and broken-hearted...



lanky birds: I've got an affinity with flamingos πŸ˜‰
jumper from Oasis


Fancy reading my back-story before you go any further? You can find my other blogs at:

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Instagram: wanderingblonde76


Thursday, 9 March 2017

Happy Birthday, Bird's Eye View!




It's my blog-versary!

An entire year has passed since I penned my first post here at Life: A Bird's Eye View. And what a year it's been: from getting an article published in So Magazine, to being featured on an American podcast over in Washington DC, to securing a regular gig at Huffington Post UK. 

I've written a whole host of articles (76 of them in fact!) about topics I never dreamed I'd dare, including sexual abuse, infertility and IVF, as well as cancer, marriage breakdown and depression. I've been a guest on another podcast, this time for Mike's Open Journal about mental health; been interviewed by Caledonian Kitty; met tons of inspirational bloggers and influencers; attended an event as an 'influential blogger' (get me!) for The Eve Appeal; got involved in Project Teen (to help improve the mental health of teenage girls); campaigned to raise awareness of cervical cancer for The Eve Appeal and Jo's Trust, and fought to get the wording changed on the smear test letter (which is now in the process of happening - watch this space). 

This blog has been the baby I never had and I've loved every minute of nurturing it and watching it grow. I know it may seem a bit Crazy Cat Lady to have bought the blog a card and cupcake, but seeing as I'll never get to buy one for my real baby just grant me this one indulgence, please (plus, any excuse for a trip to Lola's Bakery, eh?). 

Anyway, thank you so much to all of you who've read my blog over the last 12 months, and please do continue to keep reading and giving me feedback. You're making a silly old bird very happy! Thank you also to my long-suffering boyfriend Andy who never anticipated becoming a blog widower when he started dating me a few years ago, bless him! (Makes a change from us girls being football widows though, huh? πŸ˜‰).

Here's to the next 12 months of blogging!

Much love, Sam πŸ’‹





Fancy reading my back-story before you go any further? You can find my other blogs at:

Follow me:

Twitter: @SamanthaWalsh76


Instagram: wanderingblonde76

Project Teen: 6 Things I'd Say To My Teenage Self

Me at 16

It's a long time since this picture was taken (a quarter of a century in fact), but if I close my eyes and think back I can still feel the hormones surging through my veins, hear my insecure outpourings whispered to friends on my parents' landline, and experience once more the raw emotion and angst of those challenging years. I've written about it before, in this post entitled Smells Like Cheap Spirits.

Which is why, when invited by young entrepreneur and author Ella Stearn from The Lucky Truth to take part in Project Teen, an initiative designed to support teenage girls through the daily challenges they face, I jumped at the chance.





By supporting this campaign and sharing our #YoudNeverBelieve quotes in this video, (yes that's me confessing to insecurity about my height), the other women and I are saying to teenage girls everywhere: you're not alone....


                                         


 Which got me thinking "what would I say to my teenage self?" So here goes:

6 Things I'd Say To My Teenage Self


1. Don't dumb yourself down to be cool

You go to a grammar school; you're lucky. Make the most of it. You're among the most intelligent kids in the country (yes, really!). So what's so cool about acting dumb? Messing about in class; winding 'Sir' up to the point of throbbing veins in his temples; driving the poor teachers to drink. And for what? To attract the attention of some spotty-faced oik with an attitude who you'll never see again after the next few years. Your intelligence is the most powerful thing you have; don't play it down. You can't go to the doctors for a quick IQ booster injection later on; there's no miracle cure for stupid. Ignore the bullies; keep your head down. This is your chance to absorb knowledge like a sponge. Those popular, rebellious girls poking fun at the geeky, studious ones? Half of them will leave school with a few lame GCSEs and an imminent baby bump. It's the geeks who'll have the last laugh when they get the top jobs and travel the world.

2. The boy who breaks your heart won't matter

Talking of oiks - that rakish bad boy, the dark-haired one with the curtain hairstyle flopping across his face and the sexy side-eyed glances? Forget him. He'll draw you in, use you up and spit you out. It'll hurt. Learn your lesson and move on. What'll feel like the end of the world for a while will seem pathetic in a year's time. Trust me on this. But don't trust him.

3. Be proud of your USP

Don't be ashamed of your USP. (That's Unique Selling Point, kiddo). Yes, you do have one. Several, in fact. You're a six foot natural blonde with brains, for Christ's sake. Instead of hunching your shoulders and mooching about like Herman Munster, push your shoulders back, stand tall and be proud. When you get a bit older you'll realise what an advantage being tall is. You'll be able to reach stuff, buy alcohol before your mates and see everything at concerts. You're onto a winner.

4. Dream big

Ok, now we've got that straight, let's talk goals. Think of some. Write them down, stay focused and don't let anyone stand in your way. Go to university (you won't, but you should). Live boldly. Have adventures. Travel the world. You'll learn far more by backpacking than you ever will in a musty classroom. School is just a small percentage of your lifespan; there's a big world out there. Who cares if that boy doesn't fancy you? Plenty of others will. Now stop expending energy on some little no-mark and get planning the big stuff. What seems important now will be like a grain of sand on a beach in the great scheme of things. The world is your oyster.

5. Be kind

Be kind. Be kind to everyone. Karma is real; it's a thing. If you pull the legs off a crane fly for the fun of it, be prepared to come back in your next life as a crane fly. Be especially kind to your family. You may moan about your parents not letting you stay out all night and bitch about your little sister stealing your makeup, but they will be there for you no matter what. Until they're not; don't take them for granted.

6. Love yourself

On the subject of kindness, my final point is a big one (I'm almost 41, and it's still a work in progress). You'll probably never master it completely, but you have to keep at it. Ready? Be kind to yourself. That's it. Sounds simple, doesn't it? Believe me, it'll be the hardest one of all. If you can be kind to yourself - tell yourself you're worthy; capable; beautiful - it'll be the best thing you'll ever do. Until you can learn to love yourself, you'll struggle to love anyone else: negative emotions like insecurity and jealousy will tarnish relationships and cloud your judgement. Look after your health and your sanity; take care of your body. It's the only one you'll ever have. Surround yourself with good people. Believe in yourself: if you believe you can or believe you can't - either way you're right. When you finally work out how amazing you are, how precious life is and how little time you have to waste worrying about the small stuff (spoiler alert: it's almost all small stuff), then, and only then, will you discover true happiness.

Good luck.


To support Project Teen and get Ella's book Yeah Right! A Girl's Guide To Surviving Teens to the girls that need it most, click here. Please share this post and the videos it contains to raise awareness of the campaign, the issues facing teenage girls and to let them know that we love them, we support them and we have their backs. 


Fancy reading my back-story before you go any further? You can find my other blogs at:

Follow me:

Twitter: @SamanthaWalsh76
Instagram: wanderingblonde76