Live Every Day

Live Every Day

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Here is a little update on my life...

So my lovelies, I thought I would share with you all some very good news. After having a very difficult few months, the last few weeks have really picked up and handed me some real smiley treats. I don't want to jinx things, especially since it will still be a good long while until I get my visa, but I want you to all know about the lovely things that are happening all the same. There will be photographs to follow soon. You know, as proof!

So, in no particular order, here is my month:


Finally, after so many rejection emails hating on my visa situation, I got offered an amazing job. They wanted me so much that they asked how they could get me. I decided to be honest and tell them more money...and they obliged! I am now a Charter Manager for an aviation company and I am also taking on the marketing for both that company and a restaurant that they operate. I feel that this will be a role I can really shape to suit me and benefit the company. So far I am enjoying it and I think they are pretty glad to have me on board. Hoorah! My first permanent job in Australia and lots of room to make it what I want.


A very lovely friend of mine, the dear Elise, got a bargain deal of a free cruise with her mortgage. Long story short, I shall be accompanying her on it, all for only the cost of a $200 upgrade! We couldn't just slum it, you know! We set sail from Sydney on Monday and return after 10 days, during which time we will visit Noumea, Lifou, Vila, Mystery Island, and Isle of Pines. I cannot wait for a little girly getaway and some lovely sunshine with my beautiful Elisey. I couldn't resist the chance of seeing a part of the world I have never seen before, and what better way to do it then on a big old luxury liner!? I believe our ship is the Pacific Jewel, so I am hoping that it lives up to it's fancy name. Not that it matters, I will have a fabulous time with great company anyway.


I fell in love with a new car a while ago. All I could do was imagine owning one some day, if ever I could acquire myself a job. Tom and I talked about going to look at one, but I didn't bother because I knew I couldn't have one just yet. Then the same day I found out I had a new job, a Tuesday, I also happened to enquire at a local dealer about this car. They said they had one and were doing a special offer that weekend, when there would be over $7,000 off the price of it. After much umming and ahhing on the Saturday, we just popped by the dealership on the off-chance, on the way home from Tom having a haircut. We looked and I loved. Even Tom was impressed. I was told that until the end of the month there was even a 1% finance offer. I assumed that I wouldn't get finance, with the old visa situation, but with an offer like that I just thought: what have I got to lose? I went home to think about it and the following morning I put down a deposit. The deposit was completely refundable, had finance not been granted I would get it all back. As it happened, after some to-ing and fro-ing and a very kind offer to stand as guarantor from the Farrow Mothership, I was granted the full finance amount! The best of that is that the money I would have used to pay towards it had they not offered me full finance, will actually earn more interest sat in my e-saver account than I will pay on the total finance amount! How insane is that!? Thank you Kia finance and thank you Australian banks for still making money for your customers! This just all came together in an amazing way. I would never normally be so spontaneous, but I am really excited and proud of myself for just seizing an opportunity. For those of you who are interested, it's a Kia Pro Cee'd GT Tech in Black Pearl. It's a 1.6 litre turbo. I know, me...with a turbo!? Classic stuff!


Jenny and Keith spotted an awesome deal in the newspaper, through which you could buy a ludicrously cheap voucher to spend in the next 12 months for a week on Daydream island in a beautiful spa resort for two people. The deal was crazy cheap and comes with $50 spa treatment vouchers each per day, two meals a day, loads of awesome free activities like stingray encounters (not like Steve Irwin!), snorkelling, rainforest walks, and loads of other cool things. All we have to do is pick a week to go and book some cheap flights. It is fully refundable if they can't accommodate our dates, but I am going no matter when they have availability, I can't wait for a swim in warm and calm ocean. It will also be our first proper coupley type getaway. How terribly fancy!


Christmas is fast approaching and my recent unemployed times have meant that I am mostly prepared for this. I have made and purchased lots of gifts, with just a few more to go. Another very exciting element is the fact that we will be hosting Christmas! I am beyond excited about this. We don't have much space but are in full planning mode so that we can make the most of everything. It will be lovely to have everyone here for the day and to just generally have some lovely family times. We have designed a pretty fun game for everyone too, which I think is going to lead to absolute hilarity.


We were fortunate enough to celebrate the recent nuptials of Matt and Stacey, which was such an honour. We had a lovely day with family and friends and it was all just fantastic.


Ryan had his 30th birthday on the same day as the wedding so we had a family brunch beforehand, sumptuously catered by Lainy. It was absolutely delicious. We also have go-karting then a house party to celebrate this coming Saturday. Ryan is going all out, as only a graphic designer can, and it is going to be a party to remember. A wonderful present is on its way to him for that from Tom and myself. I can't take creative credit for it though and I am so proud of Tom and the epic gift he has come up with. Watch this space for pictures!


Possibly the most fabulous news of all is that within the next month or two, Tom and I will be booking our flights to head over to ENGLAND BABY! As soon as I have dates I will share them with you all and we will plan the most amazing ties of our lives. It will be in August of 2015 and will hopefully be for about a month. My parents will be celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary during that time, so I will be organising the party to end all parties. Be there or be square! I am beside myself with joy at this whole notion. I will get to see the people that are the oxygen in my lungs, the stars in my sky, the reason I wake up every day. I can't wait and I will be like a hideously over excited child pretty much from booking the flights until I land and get collected by my perfect parents. Who have no choice but to pick us up from the airport. That is happening. A full blown welcoming committee shall also be most acceptable, should any of you wish to make a banner or some T-shirts. I'll see you in Heathrow!

Ok so you are probably fed up of me now, but there we go. That is part of why you love me, my unrivalled capacity for rambling. I hope you all feel enlightened to know where my life is at after a pretty hectic four weeks. I will be sure to post some marvellous pictures soon. I apologise for taking so long to fill everyone in, I haven't wanted to jinx anything because I am oddly superstitious about these things.

I love you all xx

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Even the Bad Times are Good

Well now, I have not been writing enough and this is a shameful fact. Today though, I feel like I need to write. My life is beautiful and wonderful, don't get me wrong, but I am having such a hard time staying positive just recently that I need to get some words on the page. This is partly to just get everything out and feel a little less bottled up but also to make myself realise that it isn't that bad and it will make the good times feel even better, with something not so fun to compare them to.

I have been through some terrible ordeals in my time and my current situation in no way resembles any of them, it doesn't even compare, but I spent so long forcing myself to be positive about every little thing that feeling so negative about things makes me feel guilty. That shouldn't be the case, we are humans and we ride the old rollercoaster of emotions for our whole lives, but when we feel bad about something people do like to go out of their way to make us feel worse just for not being a ray of sunshine, so we guilt trip ourselves even further. But we shouldn't, we should just kick back and relax (stress our worried little faces off) until the smiles come rolling in and we are back to happy.

I wish not for sympathy or attention through this post, even as I am writing it I am not sure if I will show it to people. I feel like I should though, I think a lot of people believe me to be a very strong person and they deserve to know that I can be a big pile of Freddo Frog devouring mess. Caramello Koala actually, if I'm being honest. I ought really to be honest too, that's the whole point of what I'm writing. If you're interested, I've had two mini ones today, right after my lunch, while I watched an early episode of Friends. One must not wallow, rather enjoy some guilty pleasures and have a giggle (along with a reminisce, where possible).

Now, I would like to talk about the things that are making me be a grumpalump. I think I'd also like to explain why they aren't so bad, but this is for my own benefit. I know I have nothing to mope about but I also know that other people might be fighting similar little battles and would like to feel less alone as well as being able to put them into perspective. I know that real perspective would pale all these woes into absolute insignificance, but that doesn't detract from the fact that all problems are real, however big or small, and they really are just answers that are yet to be found. Sometimes we can even see the answer, but it's just out of reach, like the name of an actor you recognise in some obscure movie that's just on the tip of your tongue but seems to constantly elude you.

For ease of explanation I shall identify three main parts of my life that are filling me with sad faces and black clouds. I feel like calling them problems makes them seem like big scary spiders, so instead I shall call them almost solutions, slightly fluffier and more optimistic, I hope you'll agree. In no particular order, please take a step inside my baffled and fearful little mind...

Almost Solution Number One:

I am unemployed. That is a fact. The thing is, I really love not working. Employment has definitely been a big thing that has given me cause for misery in the past, I am so much happier as a free spirit. I am getting lots done, which is awesome, but the overwhelming sense of guilt I feel for not working really is something else. It also kind of sucks to watch all my hard earned savings dwindle away. I am not treating myself at all at the moment, I am just contributing my 50% share to groceries and activities. Tom has been so good and offered to let me not do that, but I don't have it in me to rely on someone else when I don't yet have to.

As a few of you will know, I had a perfectly good job, but due to visa restrictions I can no longer work there. These same visa restrictions are making it very difficult to find work at the moment. Thankfully I am not yet desperate enough to just take “any old job” to make money, which hopefully will remain true. I can't go back to retail, that really isn't for me and was a truly vile time in my life, work wise. However I am not proud and if I really have to, if it comes to that, then I will. I'll take anything, if the need arises. That's the other thing, the need may not even arise as my old job are hoping to be able to take me back when the current visa restrictions are no longer in place. This will be at the start of 2015. Even if I can't go back to that job, having unrestricted work rights should stand me in much better stead for finding a good job.

As it presently stands, I have applied for lots of jobs but the ones that are actually worth my time don't want me as I can't commit to permanent employment until the next visa kicks in, and the ones that might not worry about that don't want me because I'm so over qualified. Good grief, I feel like I can't catch a break! I know that's thoroughly daft but still, at this moment it is somewhat frustrating. But there we go, I am coping with the little money I have left. I am yet to do a proper budget to see if I can cope until the new year, but I think I shall do that soon, so that I know exactly where I stand. For now I must just hope that in January I find an awesome job (if not sooner) and don't hate going back to work too much. I can do this.

Almost Solution Number Two:

My future is completely uncertain. I am currently on the second and final year of my working holiday visa, which expires at the end of December. After a lot of time and effort I got my partner visa application in. That was a very stressful and very expensive process, with a lot more stress and expense still to come. I believe my medical alone will be about $500, on top of the Australia and UK police checks I have to apply for, which require every address I've had in the last 10 years (around eight, I believe, just in England).

Australian Immigration can take 12-15 months to decide on my application and I'm hearing that they don't tend to even assign a case officer for the first six months, so that's just marvellous. Slow process doesn't even cover it. If they refuse then I will have to apply again, for another $4,625 or whatever price they decide to put on it by then. This is stressful for me because it just means that I can't settle. At any moment my whole life may have to be uprooted, I just don't know. I so want my future to be here, with the man I love in a country filled with wonderful opportunities, but it just isn't up to me, plain and simple.

Obviously this is all out of my hands entirely, so I am sure you'll all agree that it is pointless for me to be worrying about. But if you found yourselves unsure of your future, unable to work until it's decided (oh yes, this is linked, so until January I can only temp...please see Number One above!), not sure whether you will get to stay with the person you want to grow old with, not able to start saving for a house or a new car, and just generally in total limbo, well you can't tell me you wouldn't worry, even just a little bit? My entire life and future happiness are resting on this so yes, I am stressed to the eyeballs.

Once it is all decided and I either have the visa or I don't and I have to reapply, it will all at least be an answer. I know it will work out somehow, I am a good person with a legitimate claim and I just have to believe that things are going to work out for me. I am stressed but I am hopeful and I have to try and cope because there really is nothing I can do about it right now.

Almost Solution Number Three:

This is a big one and one I know you will all empathise with. I miss people. My parents, my family, my friends. Most of the people that I breathe for are so far away and I haven't seen them in so long. Once the above issues are sorted out I fully intend to make annual trips back to the UK and hopefully people will come and visit me here too, but until that point, I just feel a bit floopy. The people who I confide in and who know me the best are not here. I am a loving person and I share my soul with my closest friends and family, so without them around I do feel oddly alone every so often. I just want to let off some steam and I can't really, not in the way I want to. I want to get drunk and dance with my girls, or veg out with yummy food in front of the telly with my parents, you know, my usual weekend activities from my old life.

So the thing with this is that I feel even more daft for feeling alone when I'm not. But still, those people were (and always will be) my world for such a long time that I will never be 100% me without them by my side. It's kind of nice though I suppose, in a way. My heart is like this little patchwork quilt, little bits that I've ripped off and given to people and replaced with the bit of theirs that they gave me in return. And I am proud of that, of my patchwork heart, it's just a little bit sad at the moment as so much time has passed without them close by.

I am so excited to organise a visit next year and see everyone. I must admit though, I am slightly dubious about it because who knows how I will feel leaving everyone again. When I first flew over here things were uncertain and I had no idea when I would be seeing everyone again. But there was also the excitement of a huge adventure and something positive I could be proud of myself for. Hopefully it will never be a goodbye with an unknown quantity again. I am pretty confident that I will try and see people annually, it'll be over two and a half years by the time I get over to England and that is a very long time for such a friends and family person as myself. Time was I couldn't make any kind of decision without a phone call to my parents or one of my best friends. My heart is tired of this lengthy separation and it'll be so lovely to end it and never leave it so long again. I see the solution here, it just has to wait a little while is all.


Well everyone, that's it I suppose. There I am, laid oddly bare for you all. I am not vulnerable or pathetic, I am just I a bit of a flump and I wanted to share. I have a gifted life and I feel terrible for even slight sadness entering my mind, but there we go, it's out of my control. I don't choose to feel sad and I'm certainly not unappreciative of what I have, it's just getting a bit overwhelming of late is all. I am following my dream but I am back on a steep uphill climb, maybe even worse than before, so for the moment it just seems quite tough. I will never give up, this is worth fighting for, I'm just glitching a bit along the way. I'll keep slogging my guts out but I would really quite like to have a little rest, or better still, reach the next goal and celebrate.

Stick around with me people, there will be lots of things to celebrate in the coming years. You should also definitely be prepared to bust out your Sunday best for my triumphant return in August 2015. You know it will be an occasion not to be missed.

Much love, hope, and positivity (to counteract the moping!)

H x

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Racism is a Weapon of Mass Destruction

I find it truly remarkable how many people are only too willing to jump on a bandwagon of racial hatred these days. Sure, I expect we've all shared the odd joke at the expense of a race in some way or other, but as long as that's all it was and you are more than happy to laugh at your own self, then that's all pretty harmless. I am talking about the pure unadulterated and downright uneducated filth that is being thrown around the internet at the moment.

Don't get me wrong, the world is in a pretty sorry state, but to criticise an entire race based on the actions of a few, or on media hearsay or your own ill judgement? Come on people, get a grip. If you don't fully understand a situation then please keep your vile comments to yourself, or express them only in the company of other people who share your uneducated views. If you have taken the time to fully research a topic and you are happy to have an open debate then go for it, but do not just read or see something and make assumptions. You know what they say; assumption is the mother of all fuck ups.

Honestly, I have recently seen a lot of “kill all the Jews” and other such disgusting comments. It truly beggars belief. So we have a terrible situation between Israel and Palestine, that's nothing new. It's also not really unique to that particular part of the world, but that is not important and only further serves to illustrate my point. Firstly, if you do not know the ins and outs of the situation, your comment is most likely invalid. Secondly, if you honestly believe that everything wrong is all completely and utterly down to one particular side, then fine but do not dare to tar every single person of the Jewish faith with the same brush. How unbelievably backward thinking are you? Your favourite teacher at school or the lady you buy your newspaper from or that really attractive guy down the pub might be Jewish. That's just a label for someone who has faith. It may not be the same faith as your own, but take a step back and look at the many and varied atrocities throughout history and the modern world. If you can find one that doesn't involve people of your own faith (or lack thereof) then I would be very surprised. But that doesn't mean you condone the actions of people with the same religious beliefs, cultural heritage or racial background as your own. At the end of the day, whatever the fuel (which I will admit, often seems based in some extremely twisted view of religion), these are all things involving humans. Good humans, bad humans, just plain old humans. We are all made of the same stuff, it does not mean we all think and act the same.

Another issue I take is that of the conspiracy theory. Don't get me wrong, I've nothing against them, but the way people go about sharing them can be a little unacceptable in my opinion. I for one do not buy into them, mostly because I am not concerned with doing all the research into them. For me, there are better things to spend my time doing. It is because of this that I avoid commenting on them. They are peoples beliefs and that is fine by me. Who am I to question them without spending weeks pouring over all the relevant evidence? No one, that's who. But my problem is that so many people are all too ready to throw these comments out there and make a big deal over it, forgetting what has actually happened. “Oh haha it's all the government. They want a war / oil / money and so they did this. You fools thinking it was terrorists / an accident.” Ok, sure. But people died. Think about that for a moment. All the people that died have left behind family and friends. What if that was your mum / brother / daughter / best friend? Would you want people going on about how petty and meaningless it all was, and how “it would never have happened if this” or how “it could have been avoided if that” and just trivialising the fact that someone you love is now dead? That's right, those people are never going to see their loved ones again. Whatever the reason behind that, it is raw, emotional, painful grief that those left behind are entitled to feel. Not blame. Let them place blame if they want to, but don't give them another reason to lose faith in humanity and don't take away what hope they have left. As humans I think we owe each other the chance to at least have hope.

Well that's my little input. It's not much and it is somewhat emotionally fuelled, but I am not asking you to agree with me. Quite the contrary, having your own opinions and insights is important, where they are your own and not just the opinions of others that you have decided to latch onto. I would hope that all my friends are far above that, and from what I have seen of them, I believe that to be true. But the important thing is that if your opinions seek to hurt someone (or lots of people), then please be careful how you express them. There is already enough hatred in this world and I think we could all do to try and spread a little less. If you have someone to talk to who feels the same way as you then great, get together and lay into the topic like crazy, but just think a little about the pain you will cause before you go and publicly announce your opinions for all to see, and if possible, refrain from racial hatred on social media. I know that offence is easier taken than given, but there are some things that just do not need to be said. Please, I beg of you, think before you speak or post. The next terrible thing that happens might be to someone you love or care about and the next target of international hatred might be your own racial or socio-economic group. I'm just tired of the hate.

Thank you for reading and I apologise if you do not like what I am saying or my writing style, I assure you I meant not to offend.

Monday, 23 June 2014

What a Difference Four Years Makes

Allow me to set the scene my lovelies, because today I feel the need to reminisce and I would like you to all join me on my journey.

Four years ago England had a world cup game. It was nothing remarkable, although as I recall, they won this particular one. I know, hard to believe. But still, win they did. I was recovering from the most horrific experience of my life and was finally feeling like a human again. After weeks of being in a variety of phases of recovery, I finally felt as though I would like to go and socialise with my friends again and even risk my first drink in a very long time. I had been living back in my own place for a few days and it just felt like the time was right. And it was.

I put on my very pretty summer dress, the one that my Mum had taken me to buy the day I found out I still had three weeks before my surgery and that meant almost a month more of agony. I cried. My mum consoled me, then she took me to H&M and bought me pretty things. Along with the tramadol, this was a mild relief. So anyway, there I was, in my beautiful summer dress and some rather swish knock-off cowboy boots, also a sympathy purchase from my lovely parents.

I trundled on down to the pub to watch the game with my friends and to indulge in my very first alcoholic beverage in what felt like a lifetime. The game wasn't bad, the beer was refreshing and the company was divine. I can still remember how it felt to take that first sip of Corona. All the bad things of earlier weeks were suddenly muted and I was completely aware of my beautiful life being my own again.

As it turned out, that very first beer was not my only beer that day. As the afternoon progressed I felt as though another surely wouldn't hurt. It didn't. I laughed and celebrated with a whole pub full of wonderful people. My Hob crew. I decided to break out the eye liner and stick it out for the rest of the evening. I think I even had another one or two beers. After all the time without drinking, those three or four bottles saw me giggling like a school girl and loving every moment.

Eventually it was time to call it a night. Closing time, as Semisonic might say, or rather, sing. So I took my happy buzz and I began the walk up Sheep Street to my quirky Market Square home. As I left the pub that night, I had no idea that my life was about to be changed. Forever. Again. Only this time, for all good reasons.

I had walked most of the way up the street when I saw a good friend of mine heading towards me with another guy, someone I hadn't ever seen before. I stopped to say hi to the amazing Chubby and we were very pleased to see each other; he and I have a long history of being awesome together. He introduced me to his friend, who he had just taken out for pre-birthday drinks on the eve of his 24th birthday. That friend was Tom. Some casual looking Australian guy who I immediately thought was amazing. That could have been the beer, the accent, the fact that he threw his arms around me and picked me up, saying “I love tall chicks”, or maybe, just maybe, because he is, in fact, amazing.

Well, here we are, on the eve of another of Tom's birthdays, four years later. Only this time it's different. This time I am his girlfriend. A fact I really rather like, actually, if truth be known. And I also now live in Australia, where I have been since the last few days of 2012. I am happy and healthy and living my dream. My life is filled with incredible people who make my heart swell and my mind soar. I count myself to be among the luckiest of people. My life is bursting with love, hope and adventure and the people I surround myself with, both near and far, are well and truly my raison d'ĂȘtre.

So there we have it. Four years ago I met someone who has changed my life immeasurably and I also learnt the value of those already in my life, far more than I ever imagined. I would like to take this moment to thank you all, for everything you have done for me, and to also add a few special thank yous, especially from those dark days of being very poorly.

In no particular order, of course, I wish to acknowledge your greatness and beauty:

To my parents, without whom I would not be able to wake up each day. To you I owe my every success, my every smile, laugh, joyous moment, everything that is good about me comes from you two and I can never even come close to thanking you enough. Thank you for celebrating my successes and picking up the pieces of my failures. Thank you for holding me up when I couldn't stand alone and for letting me fly when I could, but never being out of catching distance. Falling back on you is an honour I wish to never be without. So from the deepest, most loving and most humble part of me, I thank you.

To my family, both blood and extended. You keep me sane, you care about me and you support me in everything that I do. Smiths, Pooles, Drinkwaters, Chards, Dysons, Johnsons, Szczepaniks, Nolans, Wallises (!?), Cormacks, Winstones, Burgesses, Nashes, Pochuns, and probably a few more that I have forgotten to mention. My apologies, but I assure you the gratitude is no less.

To Hannah. For being Hannah. For bringing a picnic to my conservatory floor when I couldn't face going out, for taking me on a drive to pick a flower when I could. For always making me laugh and being ridiculous with me. For stealing cardboard cut-outs of racing drivers with me and sharing pizza with them. For goats and for carnage. For onesies and nesting. For drunken nights and for sober adventures. For inclusion in another mad family. For the valleys. Love Actually IS all around. For Michael and the Man Drawer. For everything.

To Nish for always being the Brownie to my Blondie. For long walks and for banter. For sharing so much and for being the best housemate I will ever have. For vodka, lemonade and lime. For beach times and for Brighton adventures. For making Bournemouth my home and for Swayze. In all the ways. For the Triangle of Love. For the loud and caring family. For I've had the time of my life, and I owe it all to you.

To Beav and Train Man Dan for so many happy times. For showing Clapham who's boss and making Sutton look classy. For stealing pot plants and crashing buses. For terrorising Morrisons. For bus lane pushing. For a home on your sofa, for monkey pyjamas and for poos and wine. Sometimes at the same time. For failed vegetarian snorty pigs. For being my family, mad as you are.

To Emily. When we needed each other, we had each other completely. I will never forget that, however little we may need each other now. For trashy magazines in my hospital bed and for so many drunken nights there should definitely be some kind of montage movie. At least it would help us remember. For our past that has enriched our future.

To Thorpedo and Snowsniff for crazy adventures and mad bants. For taking our disruption to all our various places of residence. For traumatising a new boyfriend (Cruik the Crip) and an entire cafe with our hungover cannibalism plans. For smacking our patties with pride. For Tonks.

To BESCHP for trips and drinks and hangovers and touristing and love and movies. For late nights and for buses and taxis and cocktails. For the kind of friendship I only thought existed on Sex and the City. For honesty and glamour and pyjamas and autumn picnics. For memories and thoughtful gifts and parties and long talks and never letting me down. For being my voices of reason and my clarity in all storms. For being wrong in all the right ways. For us. Forever.

To Sally and Milly for being beautiful. For being Pink Ladies and for high heels and lipstick and judging and dancing and gin. For knowing that we are the Queens of Everything. For photos and late nights and gossip. For dancing like no one is watching and nailing it. For being sexy and smart and being who the young'uns wanted to be.

To all of my Hob family, both past and present, those who have come and gone and those who have stuck it out. For being a place of refuge when I thought my world was falling apart and I had to start all over. For putting up with me day in and day out. For free soft drinks when I had no money, for free alcohol when I helped out, for the most expensive drinks in Bicester that I still wanted to pay for because there was nowhere else I'd rather be. For a card signed by so many, delivered by one special person who never let me down in my hour of need when even my own housemates didn't bother to contact me (yes Kaff, I mean you). For lock-ins and snow days and giant penises and quiz nights and mad dancing and dressing up, dressing down, glamming up and everything in between. For being the place to go when you never fitted in at school and for knowing you belong.

To Kathy, Xander, Ava, David, Grant, Amanda and the Upper Landsdowne community. For being my “Farm Family” and for teaching me more than you will ever know. For animals and love and adventures. For three and a half months I will treasure forever and a new extended family that I will never be without.

To the Farrows and all their offshoots. For taking me in and for sharing Tom. For the big brother I have always wanted. For BBQs and laughs. For a home away from home.

To Tom. For finally choosing to make me yours. For four years of friendship that I couldn't imagine my life having been without and for just under 10 months as an actual couple. For showing me that there is always hope and waiting is worth it. For all the new adventures you have introduced me to and for the now, where we are and where we will go. For being you and for wanting me. For the family that you have brought me into. For everything I always wanted.

To all my friends and family, without whom I couldn't ever be truly happy. Thank you for believing in me and being there for me. I am sorry if I have missed anyone out who should have a personal mention, but please know that I am eternally grateful and that without you, I would not be the person I am today. And let me tell you, I am very happy with who I am and I am proud of myself. But most of all I am proud of where I come from and the people I choose to fill my life with. Thank you.  

And here is that recovery beer for you all ~ 23/06/10. And to many more!

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

In the company of love.

I have just returned from a week in Mexico to celebrate the marriage of my best friend to the love of her life. That is the romanticised version of an opener that would normally be far more sarcastic of at least less “flowery” from someone such as myself. This blog is here largely to explain why. Sit tight, you could be in for an odd ride!

Now usually I’m as cynical as they come on the subject of love and marriage; I never cry at weddings and I’ve never said “I love you” in that way (the absence of a long term relationship in my 26 years speaks volumes here). However, I feel a change in me that I just did not see coming…and I like it! I know, I know, I can literally here the “who are you and what have you done with the real Hattie!?” cries from you all, and I truly am sorry for the shock, I assure you it was not intentional. Trust me, there are none so surprised as I by the uncharacteristic change of heart. But get used to it guys, it’s happened and it may well be here to stay.

If I’m honest, I think it all started with an event a little while ago, but that is not for your eyes and ears, so I’ll endeavour to explain the acceleration of these feelings that occurred in sunny Riviera Maya.

I made a speech at Nena and Tom’s wedding and I really meant what I said, I felt every word. If you are reading this knowing their story, my feelings will be even more justified, but even if you don’t know them, what I’ll give you of their story will make sense. As a couple they have been through far more than their fair share of ups and downs but they’ve faced everything together and their strength as a family is truly inspiring. They make you feel so at ease and it’s wonderful.

As for Cancun, well what I witnessed there was true love without question:
A man who gave up social pursuits to save money, who flew thousands of miles away from his friends and most of his family to partake in a ceremony of both a faith and language not his own, who shared ideas and thoughts in an area he was not really interested in previously (wedding cake tasting, anyone!?), all to give his princess the wedding she so wanted and deserved.
A woman who experienced extreme levels of stress to remotely plan a wedding and organise 75 guests, who went without a family Christmas, sleep and a whole lot more for months in the build-up, who missed out on time in the gorgeous sunshine after a long English winter just to finalise everything and please everyone so she could marry her prince and share the special day with her family.

That, to me at least, is far more magical than any fairy tale, far more romantic than a Hollywood blockbuster love story and just generally more raw and real than anything you could ever read. That’s love, in its truest form. Sure, it’s not always beautiful and pure, but it has moments so perfect that you just know it’s meant to be. Seeing my best friend look like such a vision and seeing the joy in her wonderful husband’s eyes at that wedding made me cry. I cried in the loveliest way. I felt exhilarated.

So yes, I now do believe in love. I don’t know how many chances we get, but I do know that it’s up to us to take them. There’s no “fate” about it, if you have the opportunity to be in love, you fight for it. Grab it with both hands and bask in its weird and wonderful glory. If you belive too then keep looking, keep trying. I really do feel like love can happen to us all. You can’t regret trying, but you can regret not giving it a go.

So an enormous thank you to Nena and Tom and all the guests that made that week so incredible. Family and friends with lots of love to share.

Love x

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Bad to the bone

Bullies. I’m pretty sure we’ve all come across at least a couple in our lives. I’m also pretty sure that most of us have probably fallen victim to their bullying at some point or other. I’m sure statistics would tell us just what percentage of the population has been bullied. Except that the statistics would be wrong. I’d make book on that fact. There is a simple reason behind this thought; lots of people will never admit that they were bullied.

Every so often I sort of forget about bullying a little bit, just for a tiny while. I’m an adult and I don’t have any children yet, so why should it be on my mind? But of course that’s not how it is at all. In a world full of social media and constant bitchiness in the tabloids and gossip magazines creating an environment where being openly nasty to another human being is “ok”, bullying is not only commonplace amongst all generations, it now has more outlets, excuses and possibility for harm than ever before. Now it can be anonymous, and equally horribly if it isn’t anonymous, people don’t seem to care because “everyone’s doing it” and there is very much a “them against us” scenario.

Just recently I’ve suffered, albeit mildly, the effects of so-called “cyber bullying”. I have also suffered a lot of “hater” from both people I know and strangers on the street. All because I finally feel like I know who I am at 25 years old, and I’m not afraid to be it. I speak my mind and I don’t suffer fools. I am honest, kind, individual and loud (in both volume and sometimes dress-sense!). I understand not everyone will like me and I’m ok with it, just as I won’t like everyone I meet. That’s our prerogative. But there is no need to go spreading hate and nastiness. But there we go, some people are born bullies I guess. Bad to the bone. And not in the cool way.

I want people to know that there is no shame in being bullied; it’s not your fault. Jealousy or a lack of understanding can often be at the root of it. That just means that you are fabulous and they can’t handle it.

Most of my life I have been too utterly embarrassed to admit that I was ever bullied. But bullied I was. Severely. For a very long time. I thought it meant I was weak and disgusting. I thought if I told people then it would make them see what the bullies saw and turn them against me. I was bullied by other children from my very first day at primary school to my very last day at secondary school. Every single day I was at school. Every. Last. One. And then, for my first year of sixth form. By my form tutor. But by then, all my peers were incredible and there was no bullying amongst the students. And while that was one hell of a (welcome) shock to the system, it gave me the strength to deal with the situation and persevere until I got it sorted. I changed forms eventually, after many meetings and complaints.

During the 11 years of compulsory education I was punched, spat at, scratched, stolen from, trapped in places, pushed down the stairs, sworn at, and generally treated like dirt and ostracised. By so many different people. You can see why I thought it was me. I honestly just assumed that I deserved it and accepted that it was my lot in life. I’d go home and cry or find sneaky ways to punish myself for being weak. A form of self-harm I suppose. It didn’t help.

Sure, I had friends. But all my closest friends were at a different school and I never felt fully connected to, safe or like myself around the friends I had at my own school. That is not their fault. I was just too terrified. If they got close and realised how pointless I was and how many people hated me then pretty soon they’d turn on me too. Of course I now know how ridiculous a notion that is, and looking back I really respect them for sticking around for the empty shell of a person I was back then. I feel guilty that I never gave them reason to stay friends with me, even if it was somewhat beyond my control. But that only shows their kindness and great judge of character. I hope I’m worthy of their friendship now. I think I am. I count myself as an amazing friend, so fingers crossed they’re glad they waited it out.

So there we go. That is a very big thing for me to have shared. I only hope it helps someone. To find the strength to somehow get the situation sorted. Or to just know that actually it’s not your fault and you don’t deserve it. It will get better.

A very lovely friend of mine has recently suffered at the hands of a bully at work. She is dealing with it all so bravely. I am very proud of her and I hope everyone can learn from her courage.

I am so thankful that social networking was not around when I was at school. Had the bullies been able to infiltrate my home-life too, I am honestly not sure I’d have been strong enough to cope. I have so much respect for all the poor children and teenagers now who have that to deal with in addition to everything else. I hope they can find it in them to cope.

I’d like to end by saying the most enormous thank you from the bottom of my heart to all the friends and family who were there for me even when they didn’t realise and even when I wasn’t there for myself. And to everyone who still fights my corner. I’ll always love you and be there for you too.

Haters need hobbies, but we are too wonderful to care.


The Box Under My Bed...

A small poem from June 2011.

Two little paper tickets,
so fragile in my hand.
Is this really all that's left?
Was it just a one night stand?
The tickets are pretty crumpled now,
a reflection of my heart.
Guess I've known this was coming
right from the start.
I thought that I could love you.
Was that just your charm?
Or the butterflies I felt
every time you touched my arm?
I know the signs.
I'm cynical to the bone.
Perhaps this time I was just to scared
by the thought of being alone. 
I liked to dream the dream
of one day being someone's wife,
but I guess that will never be.
So I'll shove the tickets in a box under my bed along with the rest of my life
and the dream that's not for me.