Tag Archives: Love

Hibernation Nation

Our household has come down with a case of the sickness and I’m personally affronted by the fact it’s penetrated the force field of my annual flu-jab. Rude.

As a result of this I do get to do my favourite ever thing without guilt though: nest. So I’ve got a whole weekend planned, reruns of Broad City, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, a re-watch of Mandy, good food (or whatever I can afford the weekend before Pay Day) and watching the gerbils fuck about in their natural habitat. Glynn is sick too of course and he’ll be feeling it far worse than this guy (because he’s a man) but I’m looking forward to being curled up in our dressing gowns together all weekend. Sue me.

I’ve always been a homebody. Someone way more comfortable in my own environment than anywhere else. Over the years I’ve got much better at being out and about socially but if given a choice I would always be more inclined to stay in. I like being cosy and comfortable, I like my own shows and my sofa, on which I keep all the things I could ever possibly need (face wipes, notebook, giant tub of Vaseline).

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I like my husband even when he’s being annoying and I like his company, although we definitely don’t live in each other’s pockets. If he’s gaming, I’ll be in the bath or in the bedroom, reading usually. If I’m chilling and Netflixxing (with myself), he’ll be in the bedroom reading too. It’s a perfect kind of harmony really and always reminds me of a line in Chicago’s Cell Block Tango:

“He’d go to work, he’d come home, I’d mix him a drink, We’d have dinner. Well, it was like heaven in two and a half rooms.” ~ Annie (SIX)

Obviously (hopefully) without the bigamy. What I’m trying to say is I’m content. I think we both are – and sometimes I actually embrace being sick. It feels like a chance to slow down a bit and just be, to give the body what it desperately craves (no, Christa, not 16 Cadbury’s Creme Eggs) – I can’t wait.

How’s everybody today?

Surviving Christmas

I wrote this post for a work blog but unfortunately it wasn’t published. So I thought I’d share it here instead, rather than waste it. I guess the sentiment stands, wherever I place it, right? 


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Oh Christmas. A magical time for all, where everything twinkles and shines just that little bit brighter. Eggnog flows like water, chocolate waits tantalisingly to be devoured (usually for breakfast) and there is no pain anywhere.

If only.

Firstly, the festive season is s-t-r-e-s-s-f-u-l. Financially, socially, mentally – it can do a number on you in so many different ways, sometimes in ways you’ve never considered. I personally feel burnt out already just by the sheer amount of social engagements I’ve had (I know, boo hoo). Don’t get me started on the damage I’ve done with my debit card. So from the offset the magic can come at a price but we do it because it’s Christmas and we love our loved ones. Some of us adore this time of year and that’s cool too.

But Christmas can also be a challenging time for mental health and it’s important to acknowledge this. Every person has the right to take care of themselves during this period, even when they’re at home. If being with family isn’t the right thing for your wellbeing then that is fine, the modern set-up is often an extension of what we’ve always known and friends are the new family to many. As the clock ticks down to Santa’s visit, remember:

You don’t have to spend Christmas with your family

As above if this is a toxic place for you, you don’t have to do it.

If it all gets too much

Take yourself out of the situation. Absolutely nobody can give you grief for going to your room to read a book for an hour or having a hot bath in the middle of the afternoon. You know yourself better than anyone, so listen to your instincts.

Ask for help

I’m the worst when it comes to cooking the Christmas dinner. I do not know how to ask for help and end up sweaty and stressed in the kitchen, snapping at anyone who tries to intervene. Asking for help does not make you a failure; it just takes some of the pressure off. In fact, if you can write a list and make notes about who can do what, you’re laughing. Plus, if you cooked – it is against the law for you to wash up as well. Just saying.

Mind the booze

I’m not going to lecture anyone about their alcoholic intake but it is so tempting to turn to the buck’s fizz (or harder) to deal with Christmas Day. Alcohol is a depressant though and can leave you feeling low. Not to mention the Christmas morning/Boxing Day hangovers so sometimes it’s good to pace yourself.

Get some air

If you need to get out then get out! Nobody has ever regretted leaving the house for a spot of fresh air, let’s face it. Except maybe Dorothy Gale.

If it’s not perfect, tough

This is my new mantra, as I worry about presents, whether I’ve spend enough and that each gift is perfectly wrapped with a tartan bow. If everything is not just so then what’s the worst that can happen? The world will not implode. One year I forgot the stuffing and I’m still here to tell the tale, painful as it still is.

I am the gift and so are you

Your loved ones just want to be with you, I promise. For all the gifts and the going out, what really matters is the being together. And lots and lots of lovely cheese.

So from me to you, have a lovely Christmas and please take care of yourselves. 

A Beginner’s Guide to Confidence

Confidence is key, that’s what so many women’s magazines/style gurus/celebrities tell us and sure, there’s something in the rhetoric. However, is there really a way to become confident if it doesn’t come naturally? I must say I don’t really know what I’m talking about, there’s no secret recipe but I can tell you how I got here, by way of a thousand tears, some self-realisation and a whole lot of tying jumpers around my waist to hide my enormous junk.

People compliment me on my confidence all the time which is nice to hear but means one thing as far as I’m concerned: “You are so confident, despite everything”. I’m not being needlessly cruel to myself but let’s face it, I don’t look like a model, do I? I’m short, round, ginger and over 40 – I might not change a thing about the way I look but I definitely do not fit the ‘ideal’. So where the heck do I get off not giving a fuck?

Take up space, wear what you want and never, ever apologise for being here

The thing is, I do give a fuck and I also don’t. I’ve learnt the hardest lesson of my life now and that’s that I deserve to be here, even in my capacity as a fat middle-aged woman. I’m allowed to love myself with ferocity, I’m allowed to demand respect and I’m definitely allowed to wear fitted jumpsuits and enjoy the fuck out of fashion. How I got here was via a lot of reading, following fat activists and feminists on Twitter and slowly allowing myself to heal from a lifetime of bullshit from every corner. Diet culture, fashion magazines, adverts on the TV – they sell us one beauty ideal and although I know things are changing, they are changing slowly.

A few years ago something in me clicked into place and I no longer felt the need to beat myself up. I started to wear the clothing I wanted to and I started to relish myself. Obviously there are days when the confidence fails or I have a melt-down because I can’t find the thing I want to wear (hello work’s Christmas do last Friday!) but you’re damn right I’m as confident as I can be. I’ve earned the right.

What are your thoughts?

Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree

When I was much younger and Christmas tree buying time came around in the Martin household, I was always very extra.

I would insist on choosing the ugliest, loneliest looking tree in the lot and we would inevitably end up with two – the pretty one that got to shine bright in the front room and my sad, usually balding tree positioned optimistically in the hallway so it would be the first thing anyone would see when they walked through the front door.

I’d bundle those underdog trees in as much love (and Star Wars figures) as my childish heart could conjure, and that was my own personal festive tradition. My family tolerated this probably because they didn’t have the energy to argue (and they loved me) – and I’m grateful to have had the chance to express myself from such a young age.

When I think about this ritual now, it could be a metaphor for a lot of my human relationships. I always made a bee line for the people I perceived needed something the most, whether it was true or not (invariably it was). I would come home with strays all through childhood (friends from less harmonious homes, actual stray cats and dogs) and as I matured, I did the same with men.

Damaged, needy men were my speciality and my inner rescue radar would pick them up with ease. This as you can imagine led to a lot of heartache on my part as I learned the hard way that you can’t fix people. Especially when they don’t want to be fixed.

I’m not entirely sure what made me think I had the qualifications to mend anyone anyway. All I know is that I’ve spent way too much of my lifetime attracted to broken people and one day – hallelujah! – I was able to stop.

It started when I left a six year relationship, which I now recognise to have been highly psychologically abusive. Then I cut out my first significant and totally toxic friendship. It was like losing a limb for a while and then, it felt INCREDIBLE.

For the first time I came to realise that we don’t have to put up with the things that hurt us. We have choices and ever since I discovered this, every time I get a whiff of another one of my strays, I catch myself.

I’m all for being there for others and I’m not saying all needy people are toxic, many of them are just like my trees. They need water, a comfortable pot and a shit load of tinsel – and they’ll start to thrive again. It’s just that I’m not responsible for anyone but myself and I have no business thinking I am.

I’ll always be attracted to the ugliest dogs in the street and Christmas trees that have seen better days but I don’t have to save anybody anymore.

I never did.

Love is a Gift

It’s still November yet the John Lewis ad has already aired and I’ve been harrassed more than once by Olaf the Snowman from Frozen in the Open Market. I’m no Grinch but I do draw the line personally at embracing the Christmas Spirit before December 1st. If you’re an early Christmas lover then that’s fine, you do you hun.

I have had more than one conversation about the darker side of Christmas though and even though I don’t want to be ‘that guy’, I do think it’s important to acknowledge and understand that not everyone is full of the joys of Rudolph this time of year. The Christmas season is incredibly difficult for many people for many different reasons – and the relentless onslaught of Mariah Carey holiday songs can take its toll (is there more than one actually?). Everywhere you look when you’re not feeling it is a homage to the big man and his pals – it must be unbearable.

This very topic came up at work yesterday as a collection of us gathered around one of our phones to watch an ‘alternative’ Christmas video. You might have seen it yourself on television as its creators have been interviewed a couple of times and lots of viewers are saying it’s even better than the Elton John JL advert this year.

The concept is simple in itself, and features a thirtysomething man listening to cassette tapes on an old Walkman, left to him as a gift by his late mother. Each tape is a touching personal message recorded for him for every year she was able to do it. Its tagline is “Love is a gift that lasts forever. Merry Christmas.”

Most of us were near tears even talking about it but a couple of people pondered why we have to think about sad things at Christmas – which prompted quite an interesting debate. While I get that point, it’s not a choice for a lot of lonely or bereaved people. There are people with nothing in this world, who barely get through their day to day lives, let alone the festive season. Just because everything is sprinkled with a light dusting of glitter does not mean that those troubles go away.

This isn’t a call to arms really. There are a lot of things you can do to give back this Christmas, from volunteering to reaching out to someone who may be struggling. Even just standing up and saying you’re there for your friends and colleagues if they need anyone can be a good thing. I’ve seen a couple of Facebook statuses over 2018 that touch on that same point.

Life is tough at the best of times and Christmas is hard – it’s financially stressful, socially exhausting and there’s a lot of pressure to pull on your favourite ugly sweater and get into the spirit. What if you can’t? I just think we should be conscious of each other and kind wherever we can be.

What are your thoughts?

In the meantime, have a look at Love is a Gift, the short film mentioned above.

Horror F(r)iends

I might not have made it clear enough on this blog: I live for the movies. All movies really but mainly horror. Good horror, bad horror, cheap horror – most of it has a place in this old heart of mine. My absolute favourites of all time include Candyman and Hellraiser – with a whole lot of variety in between – and what better month than this to revisit the classics and discover new and exciting horror gems?

This post isn’t strictly about those movies though (we’ll do a 31 Horrors recap at the end of the month), it’s about the like-minded friends who love the same movies I do (specifically horror). People like this, the ones who really really get you are like gold dust I swear and this post is for them.

Of course anyone who reads this blog will be familiar with my blog wife Jillian already. We originally bonded over our love of odd movies and are now three years deep into our Great Blog Collab. Our specialty, and favourite month just happens to be Halloween so you could say we’re on the same page when it comes to horror films (and shark movies but they get their own month). In fact, Ginger Snaps is the first film we ever reviewed together, FACT FANS. We also appreciate women on murderous rampages, Film Noir and women who look good smoking.

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Katharine Isabelle, werewolves AND smoking? The holy horror trinity (read my review here)

Jill and I have had some real hits and misses over the years but most times seem to more or less agree on the ratings. Sometimes the films we pick are too good and that can be a problem when our original MO is to snark the hell out of the things we watch – but you can’t win them all. I’m so thankful for Jill, one of the best things to come out of blogging for me – a gorgeous friend online and IRL now too.

James, my podcast partner also deserves a shout out for sitting through some of the dreck I’ve made him watch over the years in the name of content. Cat Sick Blues, anyone? (I do NOT recommend). We’ve also explored a lot of anti-horror together. To name but a few: Felt, The Sacrament, Magic Magic, Spring and Digging Up the Marrow – all of which could be categorised outside the genre comfortably but are definitely shining examples of horror done well.

Honestly, the podcast has brought me so much joy and being able to just waffle on about films until the cows come home is the best thing ever. There’s a limit to how much people want to talk to me about these things so to find a like-minded partner is priceless, honestly. I hope we never stop. Even if James doesn’t rate The Exorcist III.

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Felt (2014)

And last but by no means least my lovely friend Matt who unwittingly inspired today’s post. Matt is the most knowledgeable horror fiend I know and even though we’ve only known each other for a year, I feel like he’s my horror twin. This morning we compared notes via messenger on what we’ve watched this month already and those are the conversations I live for.

We’re even planning a really cool project off the back of our interests and it is going to be so ace I can’t even tell you. I’ll share more when we’ve actually got off our bottoms and made solid plans. This week we’re just treading water until Halloween (2018) is released.

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Hai bae ❤

I can’t not shout out my husband as well, who puts up with all my shit and still seems to like me. Who hasn’t wavered (yet) when I’ve forced him to get involved in my 31 Horrors challenge. Who suggested The Company of Wolves for tonight’s viewing – and who’s just super-cute most of the time. How lucky am I?

So today I am feeling extra blessed to have these people in my life so we can share our common interests like the beasts that we are.

Thanks for being as horrible as I am deep down 🎃👻🔪

CopenYAYgen

I’m not the best traveler in the world. I get kind of angsty when I have to step outside my comfort zone, particularly when it comes to the practical aspects of the actual travel. But of course it’s always worth it and I love nothing more than mooching around a new city. My favourite ever thing to do is watch people going about their day while I sit and drink coffee.

I thought I’d share our trip to Copenhagen with you with that in mind. It was a really lovely time away with Tora and we did all the things we really love to do, namely eat, drink and wander about. Here are a few of the places we visited.

What We Ate (most importantly)

Wulff & Konstali Food Shop

We enjoyed a simple and delicious breakfast at W&K on our first morning and I think it might be one of the best meals we ate. Once you’ve grabbed yourself a seat, you go up to the counter and tick off the items you fancy on a card. For a set price you can get five or seven items (I opted for 7). The breakfast portions are small, like breakfast tapas.

The interior has a clean canteen feel to it but it’s cosy and bright inside while the service was fast and the food really was excellent – the price was reasonable too. Copenhagen is an expensive place but there are so many options you can opt for more thrifty choices if you want to.

We stayed in the lovely neighbourhood of Nørrebro and this was about a 10-15 minute walk from our apartment. I’m still thinking of the crispy bacon and the incredible sesame seed danish I had to start.

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Møller Kaffe & Køkken

This was also a dream. Breakfast is such a luxury when you’re away from home and it should be as fancy as possible. When we arrived (it was Saturday morning) the queue was pretty hefty with a wait for a table to match – which is how we knew it was going to be worth it.

Again it was a selection of small dishes including tiny beef sausages, waffles and chicken nuggets. I also enjoyed an exceptional hot chocolate which came with the cream on the side, to be plopped it in your own good time.

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War Pigs

This was a recommendation from a friend of Tora’s (who had visited but not been able to eat here because of vegan friends!).

We walked to the Meatpacking District to find War Pigs and it was a really interesting area but unfortunately it was also mostly closed. We found that on Friday a lot of places didn’t seem to have much action going on, in our neighbourhood especially. Things were much livelier at the weekend which is probably a good thing to know for future visits.

Anyway, the food here was outstanding and absolutely my kind of grub. I opted for spare ribs, potato salad and coleslaw, while Tora had pork shoulder, chicken wings and the mac ‘n cheese. Unfortunately I made a rookie error at the counter and accidentally ordered the super hot link sausages and couldn’t eat them. Would 100% eat the ribs again and again. Sorry vegans.

What We Saw

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The Little Mermaid Statue

I’m so glad I got to see this girl for myself but she is surprisingly tiny (perfectly formed though). I think she could be easy to miss if you don’t go out of your way to find her. Basically, you have to keep an eye out for the flock of tourists crowding her – and you’ll be fine.

The light wasn’t great for photos and I had to climb down on some slippery rocks to get her in shot but she’s so beautiful, it was totally worth it.

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Design Museum Denmark

It was raining on our first morning so after our lovely breakfast we made our way to the Design Museum which was really interesting. Danish design is very distinctive but it’s fascinating to see where it got a lot of its influence from.

I particularly enjoyed The Danish Chair An International Affair permanent exhibition which pays tribute to the diversity of… well, chairs.

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TorvehallerneKBH Food Market

I was actually too full to eat anything here but it is ace and a really nice space just to sit and watch the world go by. Offering you all manner of cuisine and goodies to try, there’s something here for every taste.

Where We Stayed

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A Home From Home

Our apartment was stunning and felt very traditional, with amazing lighting and clean space. We spent a good amount of time just doing our thing there, watched a bit of Netflix, eating sugar cookies and reading in the nook. Damn I miss that nook.

You can find similar deals on Airbnb here.

~ It was such a good trip and I really recommend Copenhagen.

My only small disappointment is that Tivoli Gardens was shut for Halloween decorating so I didn’t get the chance to visit. In some ways this might have been a blessing in disguise as our Airbnb host pointed out, it’s in an area that Danish people never visit because it’s so touristy – she wasn’t wrong.

Copenhagen, I miss you already. Thanks for the memories.

*Featured image not mine (via Unsplash)