A Little Bit About…Lockdown

Up until now, I’ve tried to avoid doing a post specifically about lockdown or Coronavirus, because lets face it, who am I to tell you things you should or shouldn’t do while self-isolating? If you want to use this time to learn 3 new languages, to bake 3 loafs of banana bread a week and to Marie Kondo your entire house, go for it. If you want to do only one or none of those things, that’s okay too. I’m on day 46 of lockdown and I have had all kinds of days so far; some where I’ve been so productive I even ironed my couch cover and cushion covers (don’t know about you, but that was most definitely a first for me!), then other days where all I want to do is lie about and watch TV. I’ve also had the odd day where even watching TV feels like too much.

While personally I feel that having a routine does me good (things like working from home Monday to Friday, having certain videocalls planned in with friends and family), the key to survival for me has been doing what I want when I feel like it. The only rule of quarantine (apart from the ones the Government puts in place….) is that there are no rules. Want to have a kale and spinach smoothie for breakfast on Monday to kick start the week? Go for it, I fully support it. End up having 2 chocolate chip cookies for breakfast by the time it comes to Tuesday? That’s acceptable too.

 The rest of this week’s post is a little bit different, in that I’ve written a poem. A poem about my attitude towards lockdown. Over the past few years I’ve found I really enjoy writing poems. The ones I’ve done have all been very light-hearted and (attempting to be) humorous, and all for family and friends for birthdays or special occasions. I’m no expert, but it’s something I find quite enjoyable and one of the best ways to focus my mind and avoid it spiraling into overthinking. So here it goes, A Little Bit About Lockdown…

How many people have made a bucket list over the years?

Of all the things they want to do to conquer their fears.

I know I have, in fact I’ve thought about it quite a bit.

But it has more things “still to do” than I’d like to admit.

If you’re anything like me, which I’m sure many of you are,

Your lists will not belimited to things like just travelling far.

You’ll want to do something different, something special, something more,

Something you never even really thought possible before.

Like saving someone’s life, how amazing would that be?

But am I really capable, just little old me?

I’m certainly not a doctor, if only I knew how.

I never thought it would be possible, that was until now…

We’re in a brand new world, one we’ve never seen before,

Where we have to think twice before we even open the front door.

We have to remember every day to maintain social distance,

Is this really happening, is this our new form of existence?

Yes, we’re all anxious and our emotions are up in the air,

And our biggest decision each morning is what pyjamas to wear.

The big event of each day is getting to take out the bins,

Followed by making some dinner and having a few mid-week gins.

Our body clocks and sleeping patterns are all out of sync,

We’re at a loose end and our nerves are on the brink.

But despite all of the days beginning to merge into one,

We applaud the key workers and all the great work they have done.

Because we have the ability to stay positive in our mind

And choose what to tell our grandkids about that time we were confined.

Yes, the entire world stayed home because Coronavirus was rife,

But I choose to call it “that time I stayed home and saved a life”.

A Little Bit About…Friends

I don’t know about everyone else, but being in quarantine (day 39 for me) has shown me how many great friends I have in my life. It’s unusual for everyone, all over the world, to come to a halt at the same time the way we all have recently due to the COVID-19 outbreak. And I guess one of the positives to come out of the surreal situation is that we can all, to some extent, understand and empathise with what each other are going through…because you’re going through it too, albeit to a varying degree depending on personal circumstance.

I honestly feel like the luckiest girl on the planet knowing I have so many amazing friends and family around me for support (sorry, should have given you some kind of cringe alert there in case you wanted to avert your eyes to such a girly gush of emotion). It got me thinking a lot – no matter how frequent or infrequent you keep in contact or whether you know a little or a lot about each other’s lives, friendships can make everything better.

I’ve mentioned before that I’ve never been one of those “one best friend” kind of girls. In fact, I’m the opposite. I have so many groups of great friends that I thought it might be fun to talk through some of the different types of friends I have and see how many of you guys can relate. Now there’s no one “recommended” type of friend, nor is one category more important than the other. It’s just my take on some of the amazing people I have the privilege of calling my friends:

THE FOREVER FRIEND: also known as the OG. These could be friends you made back on your first day of school, family friends or childhood friends and have generally been around so long they now form part of the furniture! The best thing about these guys is that they probably know and remember more about you than you do yourself. But that comes with a down side…they also normally have the most ammunition to use against you in an embarrassing maid of honour or best man speech!

THE UNI FRIEND: Even if you didn’t go to University, I bet you everyone still has THAT group of friends which were the first people you met out-with the group of OGs, and who probably shared similar interests and goals to you. In my case, I met people who share a passion for learning languages and travelling to new places, and who to this day are some of my biggest supporters in life. What is funny about this group of friends for me is that I STILL consider them to be my “newer” friends, despite the fact that our first day of University was actually 12 years ago (ahhh, how did that happen?).

THE FIRST JOB FRIEND: There’s always something about your first job being your first that makes it stick in your mind forever, even if that was years ago. The people around you at that time therefore tend to stick around too. If you’re lucky like me, they’ve literally stuck around, not just in your mind. These guys were are for you when a customer shouted at you for the first time, or when you received your first pay check and realised just how much the tax man takes at the end of each month. Those things bond you for life!

THE COLLEAGUE FRIEND: Now fast forward a few years after your very first job. You’re now in your current job but the people around you are just as important. Unfortunately, customers STILL shout at you and the tax man STILL takes money off your pay check every month. Therefore you need these guys around you to build you back up!

THE FRIEND OF A FRIEND: Have you ever met someone through a friend and hit it off just as well with them as with your actual friend? I love being able to consider some of my friends’ boyfriends, girlfriends, school friends, family etc. to be good friends of my own. It’s all about sharing the love, right?

THE SOUL SISTER: Have you ever met someone and thought to yourself, “Wow, there’s two of us”? There’s no better feeling than knowing there’s someone else out there who is just as neurotic as you or someone who loves that TV show that all your other friends hate. This is a rare find, but boy is it a special one!

THE POLAR OPPOSITE: Do any of you have a friend who is the complete opposite of you? And you sometimes wonder how on earth the two of you get on? I love this type of friend. There’s no one better to call you put when you’re being needy, or selfish or pedantic. They tell you exactly how it is and make you see that there’s always another side to the story.

THE OPPOSITE SEX FRIEND: This one can sometimes be controversial as unfortunately even in today’s society, some people see a guy and girl being friends and assume there’s something “romantic” between them. When that is not the case at all, nor should it be. I’m lucky to consider some of the guys in my life as my best friends and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

THE “SITUATIONAL” FRIEND: Now this type of friend sometimes gets a bad rep, and I really don’t understand why. There’s something beautifully mature and realistic about being able to recognise you were friends with someone at a certain point in life because you were both in the same situation at the same time. And if you’re not now, making it harder to keep up the friendship…that’s okay too!

Whether you are the loud one, the loyal one, the wild one, the smart one or the late one, I can bet you are a better friend to more people than you even realise. Friends for me are everything, they really do become your family. However, what I don’t want people to take away from this post is some unattainable view of friendship whereby everything’s rosy and everyone loves each other 24/7. One of the best parts about friendship is laughing and making fun of each other (as long as it’s in gest) and being up front and honest, even when we don’t want to hear it.

We can’t all have Joey, Chandler, Ross, Rachel, Phoebe and Monica in our lives. But we sure can try and get close!

A Little Bit About…Procrastination

How many times have you convinced yourself “it’s okay” that you didn’t manage to do something because of how busy you were? I know I have, multiple times. So much so in fact, that I’m starting to realise that procrastination is an art I’ve fine-tuned over the years.

But one of the most common mistakes we can make is confusing being busy with being productive. Spending 12 hours a day in the library does not mean you are going to score 100% on an exam. Especially not if those 12 hours actually equate to only 2 real hours of studying, then 10 hours of snacking, checking emails, online shopping and chatting to the other people next you. Spending 2 hours in the gym every day doesn’t guarantee you’re going to be fitter than anyone else if what you’re actually spending more time doing is posing at the squat rack rather than burning calories. But we all do it (procrastinate, not pose at the squat rack). We convince ourselves we’re SO busy, ALL of the time that unsurprisingly, certain things fall off of our ‘To Do’ lists every single day. Here are some classics:

Keeping that new dress for a “special occasion”

Now this is something I do ALL THE TIME. I end up wearing the same clothes to work every single week because I don’t want to “waste” my new clothes just sitting about an office. Which means I now have way more clothes than places to wear them to. And the only way I could possibly get through them all is if I were to dress up every single day for the next 3 months (hmm, maybe that’s an idea for when quarantine is finally over?). I even have fancy socks which I don’t ever wear because I’m saving them. For when? Who knows! The more I thought about it as I started to write this, I realised just how ludicrous it sounds. So I’ve decided tonight is the night to wear my fancy socks. That’s right, tonight, my 5th Sunday night in quarantine, feels like as good a time as any to debut my sparkly pewter-coloured socks. Okay so no one will see them, but boy do I feel fancy!

Putting that item in your online shopping basket…“for later”

How many of you spend hours browsing online for the perfect item, reading reviews, checking sizes, colours, materials….all for nothing? Just out of interest, I went onto my Amazon account to see what I currently have sitting in my shopping cart and I found a hairdryer, a phone cover, a memory card, a hoover, a book and a picture frame. Now the only item I actually NEED out of those is a hairdryer as mine broke the other day. The others are things I at one point seemingly deemed SO important that I had to spend time looking them up – probably instead of doing the dishes or putting a washing on – only to leave them sitting in my online shopping basket, abandoned and ignored.  

Saying you’ll start your new exercise regime come Monday

I’ve grown to love fitness in the past 5 years. Or so I thought. What I’ve realised is that I’ve actually grown to love the social scene fitness has opened up for me. Be that going to the gym with a friend, meeting new people at an exercise class or playing a team sport. So as soon as I don’t have that social interaction as my motivation, BOOM, procrastination level shoots up to 100%. Right now I have the “excuse” that we’re not allowed outside here in Spain to do exercise, but I technically have millions of YouTube workouts at my mercy and a perfectly good open space on my living room floor I could be taking advantage of. And I’m not. The exercise I have decided to do in the past month has been either because a friend challenged me to do it, or because I was joining friends to do an exercise class via Skype. But hey, at least I’ve made an effort, right?

I’m now on day 33 of quarantine and I’m starting to look at being “stuck in” as a blessing in disguise, as it’s giving me the chance to do things I should’ve done a long time ago. Like wearing my sparkly socks (none of you can see, but my feet look so great right now, even if I do say so myself).

I say quarantine is our time to face procrastination head on! Who’s in? Do that workout, call that friend you’ve been meaning to, sort out that kitchen cupboard, learn how to dance, paint that picture, read that book. Whatever it is you feel like doing, do it, it’s worth a shot, right?  

A Little Bit About…Personal Space

Personal Space is a funny concept isn’t it? It’s one of those unwritten rules in life. Were any of you ever taught it in a classroom, or sat down by your parents and told about it? I didn’t think so, because me neither. Yet somehow we grow up knowing what’s acceptable and what’s not when it comes to interacting or coming into physical contact with others.

Do you agree that a personal space slip-up can cause some of the most embarrassing and awkward moments? Let’s be honest, there’s nothing more cringe-worthy than relaxing a bit too much while getting your nails done and unknowingly holding the beautician’s hand. But our perspective on personal space can also cause a million other emotions – happiness from a hug, annoyance from someone hogging the armrest on a plane, or frustration when you want some me-time and people won’t leave you alone.  

I’ve lived in Spain for the past 3 years and I can confidently say that living abroad and submerging yourself into a different culture challenges your own concept of personal space more than you would imagine. As you may know, people in Spain, as is custom in many countries, often greet each other with a kiss on either cheek. In Scotland where I come from, aside from hugging your family and friends, we generally stick with a very non-invasive wave (if you’re lucky)! So for me, it definitely took me a minute to get used to meeting strangers and kissing each other on each cheek (and if like me at the beginning you are wondering if you have to greet your boss and your colleagues like that every single day when you go in to work, you will be glad to know, like me, you do not).

Now back when I first moved here, I thought that was one of the biggest challenges I would face when it came to personal space. But with the current self-isolation and lockdown situation, our concept of personal space is being challenged more than ever. In very, very extreme ways!

We’re used to going about our daily life, walking the streets without even thinking. Now we have to remain approximately 2m apart from anyone who doesn’t live in the same household as us.

We’re used to getting out of the house and spending time at work, or with friends and family to let loose. Now we have to stay in and see the same faces all day every day.

We’re used to seeing our work colleagues in suits and ties in meeting rooms. Now we’re seeing them wearing a t-shirt and tracksuit bottoms sitting at their kitchen tables via video conference.

I live alone, so suddenly I’m surrounded by nothing but my own space. Last week a package I had ordered prior to lockdown got delivered, and as per the no contact policy the delivery company has in place, the guy rang my flat buzzer from downstairs then sent the package up in the elevator by itself. Quite a humorous sight to see a little brown box staring up at me as the elevator doors opened.

But as scared or intimidated or alone as we might feel right now, staying home if you can is the best thing we can do to keep ourselves and others healthy. Even if that does mean not being able to go wherever we want with whoever we want, or having to queue up at the supermarket and stay 2m behind the person in front of us as if it’s a real life game of Monopoly and we’re just waiting to pass go,

We need to remember this is temporary. Just like those annoying roadworks on your way to work, or that bruise on your arm you want to go away, or crop tops being in fashion. Things WILL go back to normal, the only unknown is when.

So for those of us who are missing friends and family, just be thankful you have those people to visit once this is all over (and do a hell of a lot of video calls in the meantime).

For those who are going stir crazy seeing the same few faces every single day, try to appreciate the company you have and enjoy any flashing moments you do get by yourself, even if those are few and far between.

For those who are alone, stay in touch with people as much as you can and take comfort in thinking about all of the things you’ll do and the people you’ll meet once this is over (or do what I did and take a leaf out of Tom Hanks’ book in Castaway by making a household friend – my kitchen roll now has a drawn-on pair of eyes and a mouth, wears my spare pair of glasses and is called Roland. And no, I’m not joking. Call me temporarily insane if you want, but Roland is a GREAT listener).

Stay safe everyone!

A Little Bit About…Beauty Regimes (while in lockdown)

Ironically my very first part time job was in a popular high street health and beauty store within the make-up and fragrance section. Now I say that is ironic, purely because I myself am prone to a beauty fail or two (or 1,782) and the fact that I was advising the general public on “beauty” was quite simply a disaster waiting to happen. Don’t get me wrong, I am very much a girly girl – I love getting dressed up and doing my hair and make up – but I am FAR from being a natural at it. In the last year alone I have had some of the most epic beauty fails possible. Examples to follow in a second.

In every family or group of friends there’s normally different types of women, right? There’s the one who has watched enough YouTube make-up tutorials that they could give any famous make-up artist a run for their money.  There’s the one that somehow manages to paint her right hand as well as her left hand when painting nails (something I will never be able to get my head around). There’s the one who has every single lotion and potion you could ever need. There’s the one that can curl her own hair. There’s the holy grail, the one that can French pleat her own hair. Then, there’s me. I am none of those girls. When I get ready with my friends for a night out, all I’m trusted with is pouring the wine!

Right, now to tell you about some of those beauty fails I mentioned. Let’s first rewind to Spring last year when I had a wedding to attend in the north of Spain with friends. I decided to try out some fake tan on my legs, as I didn’t want to have to wear tights. I didn’t have any latex gloves to put the fake tan on with, so I tried to improvise and somehow thought a Ziploc sandwich bag over each hand would do the job….it did not. I repeat, it did NOT. Patchy or streaky don’t even begin to describe what my legs looked like. I somehow managed to achieve a striped, chevron effect. Needless to say I ended up going to the wedding with bright red legs after scrubbing them so much to get back to “normal”.  

Now my next example happened only just a month ago, proving I don’t ever learn from my mistakes. I didn’t have time to drop in to my usual beautician, so decided I should attempt to quickly tidy up my eyebrows myself while getting ready to go to brunch with friends. I rummaged about in my bathroom cupboard to find some of those “easy to use” wax strips you can buy in stores as they seemed easy enough to use if even the box said so. I did the left eyebrow first, not perfect, but good enough end result. Then…I got cocky. I wacked the next strip onto the right eyebrow WHILE brushing my teeth at the same time. BAD MOVE! I pulled the strip off after a minute or so and continued to brush my teeth. But out of the corner of my eye, I saw the wax strip I had just used…with half of my eyebrow on it! I was terrified to look in the mirror, and when I finally did, my worst fears were confirmed – I had accidentally waxed off the outside half of my right eyebrow. I honestly think my poor right eyebrow might be the only thing on the planet that is thankful for the lockdown situation – a chance to regrow without all the funny looks!

What made me think of these stories today? Well as much as we’re all aware of the severity of the current COVID-19 situation, we can’t help but think about how our basic beauty regimes have gone out the window, am I right? Roots are growing out, grey hairs are growing in, fringes are growing into eyes, Shellac manicures are half way up our nails by now and there are monobrows galore!  

Hairdressers, beauticians, nail technicians – you guys are the unsung heroes behind every outfit we choose and every picture posted on Instagram. We miss you and appreciate you more than ever!

A Little Bit About…Mums

I’m at a funny stage in life whereby some of my cousins and my best friends are mums to their own children, meanwhile I still ask my mum to phone the dentist for me when I need an appointment (anyone else in that boat? I guess I’m learning we never really grow out of that, no matter what age). But no matter who the mum figure in your life is, or what your definition of mum may be, it seemed fitting to do a little post about all the great mums out there in the world since today is Mother’s Day back home in the UK.

I’ve been fortunate to always have my mum by my side. She’s my personal assistant, comfort blanket, body guard, fashion advisor, therapist, personal shopper, taxi driver, cheerleader and number one fan all wrapped up into one 5ft 2½ inch woman (if I’ve learnt anything about keeping her happy, it’s that the aforementioned ½ an inch is important!). A real life superhero.

Over the last 29 years, I’m pretty certain I’ve racked up quite a lot of daughter-debt in time, money and energy to both her and my dad. Between keeping me fed and watered and always spending quality time with me, to staying up to all hours of the night (deliberately not going to specify here whether I am referring to when I was a crying baby or to the countless times I have had one glass of wine too many and came home from the pub too late). The point is, I owe you a whole lot. But since I’m so wonderful, let’s just call it even, okay? 😉

We might not always look alike (everyone normally says I look like my dad much to mum’s annoyance haha), we might not share the same taste in clothes, music or TV shows, and we might not always have agreed on whether or not I should tidy my room when I was younger, but we do most certainly have one thing in common: the DNA which somehow enables us to get ourselves into ridiculous situations! I’m pretty sure if I wasn’t your daughter, I wouldn’t have done even half of the silly things which have enabled me to create content for this blog (let’s make ourselves feel better and call them “life experiences”, shall we?). But what can I say, I wouldn’t change you or our (very high) probability of getting into ridiculous situations for the world.

Anyway, just like us (I’m also only 5ft 2½ inches), I’m not going to say too much else and keep this short and sweet. Love you mum!

A Little Bit About…Cleaning

For those of you that know me well, you’ll know that organising is not my forte. Don’t get me wrong, I can be organised when I want to be, but why deny it when the majority of the time I find myself chasing my tail. Do I pack the hour before going to the airport? Do I run about like a crazy person at 6am in the morning trying to piece together an outfit for work? Do I iron my dress when I’m supposed to already be running out the door to go meet my friends for dinner? Yes, guilty as charged for all of the above. BUT, do I know exactly where everything is? Yes, 99% of the time I do. Even if that does mean that when I want to put on those black and gold earrings I got last summer, I need to remember they are in a gold clutch bag under a pile of gym clothes at the bottom of my wardrobe. Organised chaos I believe it’s called.  

So why is this week’s chosen topic about organisation? Well, I haven’t left my flat in the past 4 days because of the current Coronavirus situation (we’ve been told to stay indoors except for emergencies where I live) and have quickly had to adjust to life indoors, when I’m used to constantly being out and about. And what have I found? That I have cleaned and organised more in the past 96 hours that I have in the past 29 years. Mrs Hinch would be proud! It hasn’t necessarily been a case of trying to disinfect my entire house to get rid of germs, but instead it’s been my way of feeling like I’m being productive with my time.

So what exactly have I organised? Here’s a few examples…

Does anyone else have a chair in your room that gradually accumulates stuff through the week? Like the 5 outfits you tried on and decided against before picking the one you want to go out in. Or the clean washing that you haven’t had time to hang back up yet. Well for the first time in probably months, I can see the actual chair!

Another habit of mine is chucking whatever I have in my hand as I walk in the front door into a decorative bowl I have on a side table. It was like an unintentional memory box today filing through everything and sorting it out. There were the usual culprits, like spare change, receipts, headphones and packets of chewing gym. Then there were a few previously thought to be missing in action items, like my favourite sunglasses, a charging cable for my work phone and a pack of new batteries I was convinced I had bought but couldn’t find anywhere.

I also sorted out the bathroom. Boy oh boy, that was like opening Pandora’s box. I found out that I buy new shampoo, shower gel, mouthwash or whatever it may be, when I actually already have 3 in the cupboard. I also deep cleaned my make-up brushes and found approximately 17 hair bobbles despite complaining on almost a daily basis that I “don’t have any”. And weirdly one of the most satisfying jobs for the weekend was sharpening all of my eye-liner and lip-liner pencils. I don’t think I’ve ever had them all perfectly sharpened at the same time (don’t judge a girl for getting excited over something so trivial, it’s tough times trying to entertain yourself indoors for so long).

I know fine well that as soon as life goes back to normal, I’ll likely go back to being chaotic, but at least for the next few weeks while I’m “quarantined” at home I can be content with my new found love for organisation (“A Little Bit About Lockdown” seemed a bit of an extreme title for the post).

Stay home if possible and stay safe everyone!

A Little Bit About…Driving

I have a love hate relationship with driving, and cars in general I guess.  Yet despite being a stickler for mixing up 1st gear and reverse when sitting at traffic lights (oops), I somehow managed to pass my driving test first time around at the ripe young age of 17. It seemed to go downhill quickly from there though (both figuratively and literally).

Exhibit A: having just passed my driving test, I eagerly drove my mum home from the local shopping centre one night. With me driving, and my mum in the passenger seat, we stopped at a set of traffic lights. When they eventually turned to green, I stalled the car and couldn’t get it started again in time to go before they turned back to red. You could cut the road rage tension with a knife, all the cars behind us clearly frustrated, cursing and swearing at me for holding them up. A good few minutes passed and the lights remained at red, we waited and waited. Five minutes passed, five whole minutes…and the lights remained at red. People started honking their horns, my mum and I in a whirlwind of exasperation, embarrassment and confusion. Eventually (and to this day, I’m still not even sure why we thought it would be a good idea), we decided in a state of panic that my mum should get out of the car and press the button at the pedestrian crossing. I guess our logic was similar to that of the “turn it off and back on again” mentality, whereby when something breaks down or gets blocked, pressing the button would kick-start it again. But you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to guess what happened next… As soon as she hit the button, the lights turned to green and off I sped…without her. For a split second, I was so proud of myself for shooting off and freeing the disgruntled queue of cars behind me. Then I took a quick glance in my mirror and saw my poor mum standing waving her arms in the air in disbelief. I pulled in at the next available turning, and waited on her running up the side of the dual carriage way, I’m surprised fume wasn’t coming out of her ears. I felt awful! And unfortunately I can’t say it was an isolated incident of me doing something ridiculous…onto exhibit B!

An old boyfriend and I decided to take a day trip one Sunday to a place about an hour away. Without thinking twice, I parked my car in a multi-story car park and off we went for a bite to eat and to explore. Little did we know that the car park closed early on a Sunday, so when we ventured back to get the car at 7pm, it was completely closed. We had no other choice but to phone my mum and dad to come and rescue us! They had to come all the way to pick us up, take us home, then do the round trip once again the following day to pick the car back up…and pay the overnight parking ticket (thanks for coming to my rescue for the 128926th time mum and dad!).

Now exhibit C doesn’t actually involve me driving, but it involves being in my friend’s car, and surely it’s only fair for these ridiculous things to happen to someone else once and a while too? Years ago, a few of the girls decided we would go to the seaside for the day to celebreate my friend just recently passing her driving test and getting a car. ROADTRIP! But…we got half way there and we got a flat tire. We ended up having to abandon the car at the side of the motorway and get a ride home with her sister who worked nearby. My friend and her dad then headed back down later that afternoon to change the tyre. But guess what happened? They drove all the way there that evening…only for her to forget the car keys!

So all of that being said, if you and I ever have to go somewhere together, I highly recommend we get public transport or you offer to drive yourself 🙂

A Little Bit About…Expectations

Expectations are a funny thing. We sub-consciously combine what we think might happen with what we hope will (or will not) happen, leading each and every one of us to anticipate something completely different. One hundred people could be going to the same event, yet every single one would be expecting something slightly different. It’s an unwritten rule isn’t it? Expectations are the epitome of Murphy’s Law: if you have high expectations, you’re bound to be disappointed. Does that mean that the opposite also applies? If you go into something with little to no expectation, does it pleasantly surprise you? I’m absolutely not saying we should therefore be all doom and gloom in the hope that things actually turn out better, it’s simply an observation.

Here are a couple of trivial, but perfect examples of how expectations accumulate, then turn out differently.

Recently, I took the same flight which I’ve taken a million times before. I normally wouldn’t think twice. But I had been suffering from back pain, so I was dreading having to sit in the one position for 3 hours straight. And considering the take-off time was 11am, I was only 4 hours into my day and hadn’t exactly tired myself out enough to sleep through the uncomfortable-ness (that’s a word, right?). Anyway, I got on the plane, checked my seat number and BAM, 31E. The back row, the middle seat. Ew! Worst row, worst seat. I sat down, wedged in-between two people and put my headphones in, hoping my array of Spotify downloads was enough to keep me entertained for the next 180 minutes. However, turned out the medication I was taking for my sore back kicked in; before I knew it, we were landing and here I was waking up from the best nap ever (for any Friends fans, it would have given Ross and Joey’s nap a run for its money). Low expectations, excellent end result (for those of you who don’t value a good nap and therefore don’t appreciate how good of an end result that is, you need to rethink things).

Contrastingly, my mum, my cousin and I all suffer from a thing called “get-too-excited-as-if-we’re-still-5-years-old-and-end-up-with-a-migraine-instead”-itis. What does this complex ailment consist of I hear you ask? I mean I’m sure there’s some kind of medical explanation involving excitement as a trigger and chemicals being released into our brains and blah blah blah, but since my medical knowledge extends as far as “stick a plaster on it” or “take a paracetamol”, I’ll stick to the layman’s description: it means we get so animated on the lead up to holidays, family reunions, parties or any other similarly exciting event, that we end up with a blinding headache. High expectations, disappointing (and sore) result.

Maybe the solution lies in removing our expectations altogether, or at least neutralising them. Maybe expectations are the result of overthinking at its best. Maybe I’ve gotten too in my head with this whole topic that I’ve gone and accidentally set such high expectations in my mind of how to end this blog post that now no ending I come up with seems good enough…

A Little Bit About…The Colour Yellow

There’s always something you forget when you’re going on a trip, isn’t there? Recently, I forgot my headphones – not the worst case scenario, but frustrating nonetheless. On the hunt for some new ones in the limited array of airport shops (side note – why do I always browse airport shops as if there’s going to be something brand new and exciting, something that’s not the same standard WH Smith or Boots you get at almost every airport across the UK?), I got side tracked and decided to buy a book instead. Those that know me, know that my first choice of entertainment would never be a book. Cosmopolitan magazine at a push, but never a book. Even with hindsight, I can’t really tell you why I decided to buy it other than one small fact: that it was yellow. The cover stood out immediately. Then, when I looked closer, it was called “The Yellow World”. It looks yellow AND it’s called yellow, sold! Why? No idea. Good to know I’m a complex individual isn’t it….?

Since going off on a tangent is one my (not so) many talents, this then made me think about what the colour yellow meant to me. Funnily enough, something I hadn’t ever thought about, because, well, why would I. I’m aware there are a multitude of studies and theories about what certain colours make us think and feel and why, so without attempting to pen a ground-breaking theory on colour psychology and buyer behaviour all because a yellow book cover convinced me to buy it, here’s what comes to my mind when I think of the colour yellow:

1) Sun – no explanation necessary (again, a great demonstration of how advanced I am as a human being….yellow sun, blue sky, green grass. The depth of my personality really is astounding, isn’t it?)

2) Spain – Spain holds such a big place in my heart as I have so many fond memories there over the years, I’ll forever feel part of me is at home when I see the red and yellow flag

3) Sunny D – remember that “fruit juice” we used to convince our parents was good for us? In hindsight that ghastly luminous colour probably turned our insides yellow but boy oh boy did it taste good!

4) My Personal Trainer’s shoes – because luminous yellow trainers hurt my eyes in the gym at 6am every morning

5) Cheese – this one cuts me deep, real deep! I used to put cheese on EVERYTHING, there was nothing that didn’t taste better without some cheese. Then I found out my severe headaches and migraines were due to a lactose intolerance so adios cheese for me!

6) McDonalds – seeing those golden arches at 3am on the way home from a night out, when the taxi ride feels like a never ending rollercoaster

In summary…nothing particularly profound or insightful. So who knows what the meaning is behind me buying it beyond it being bright and shiny!

Anyway, now back to the book. I hadn’t read anything by this author before (I hadn’t read anything in ages to be perfectly honest) yet strangely, he had me hooked almost instantly. The author himself overcame a long battle with cancer throughout his adolescence, and albeit many of the stories in the book are related to his experiences during that period, the book isn’t only relatable to people who have been through a similar circumstance. In fact, it’s about small, everyday lessons he has learnt over the years and how they can change our day to day lives. The “yellow” reference throughout the book is about certain people that come into your life: the right people at the right place at the right time. They might not stay for long (or forever), they might not even seem important at the time, but their impact – no matter just how big or small – resonates with you forever. When I read that, suddenly I started thinking of all the “yellows” in my life throughout the years. And by that I mean the actual people, not just the many, many, many (MANY) McDonald’s and Sunny D’s I’ve had.

Conclusion? I’m a lucky girl. I’m surrounded by yellows. Recommendation? Think about your own yellows, and if you fancy, grab a copy of the book