Time for a cut today…with a new hairdresser (eek!). I have a zillion photos of the sort of thing I’d like to do, so fingers crossed it won’t turn out too drastic… I’ve actually for the first time since being oh, probably about 5 years old, grown out my fringe too. So there’ll either be ecstatic noises or wailing sobs coming from somewhere in south west London this afternoon. Gulp.
Other than that I’m having the most wonderful lazy weekend so far. A short run, a lazy breakfast…there’s cleaning to be done now, but the hairdressers is imminent and then maybe (if all is well) head into town to watch the rugby with some friends. Happy weekend!
A social media campaign I can fall in love with: Target clocks one of the really great thing about Pinterest (droolworthy party ideas for all seasons/indoors/outdoors), brings together three bloggers with impeccable taste (Wit & Delight, Oh Joy! and Poppytalk) and creates a collab range bringing together all these elements. Oh, and the advert is stop motion.
“I think let’s see how it goes and to be fair to broadcasters they’re looking at it and getting better,” she says. “You have to give it the chance don’t you. Let’s see how we do at the Olympics.”
^This is an actual quote from our Minister of Sport and Equalities when asked about the fact that there was little-to-no coverage of the women’s Ashes, which the female cricket team actually won. May I respectfully say that suggesting we watch for potential Olympic success as an indicator of women’s broadcasting/winning potential (after giving virtually no funding to the women involved) is like planting 3 lonely seeds, settling back for a while and saying ‘let’s see how well the orchard grows’. Just 0.5% of commercial sponsorship goes to women in sport and only 5% of the media coverage. So, really, do we expect to win so many Olympic medals that Sky Sports will suddenly say, “guys! Hey guys! Oh god, we’ve been getting it all wrong! LOOK at all the talented women!”…?
…yes, because that tactic worked so well for us post-summer games, didn’t it?
Over a year on from London 2012 and though Helen Grant makes the reasonable and true point that ”we need to get to the point where women’s sport is looked on and regarded as equal to the men’s game.”, she then disappointingly moves on to suggest it’s about ‘asking grown women what they want…whether it’s a Zumba class or rounders”.
I have nothing against rounders. I actually really enjoy it. But by suggesting that we focus on ‘more feminine’ ways into sports for women will absolutely not close that gender gap. By suggesting a nice gentle Zumba class might be just what we secretly really want won’t garner more coverage for our utterly deserving women’s teams. Plus, staring down a chasm of funding disparity with an offer of ballet and gymnastics and femininity won’t garner more respect for women who are winning more medals in traditionally ‘male’ sports than the men are. Nor will it mean that brilliant olympians like Beth Tweddle won’t face disgusting levels of sexism for not looking ‘feminine’ enough or, quite frankly, for just being a woman in sport.
“Hate. It has caused a lot of problems in this world, but it has not solved one yet.”
- Maya Angelou
So at the beginning of last week, my world was a little less zen and a little more like this:
A charity in a similar area to us had released a campaign that was a giant, miserable kick in the teeth for everyone forced to be involved, and apparently also for about 90% of people who saw it, and I had spent the previous two weeks (or, eternity, as it then felt) dealing with a lot of negative, angry emotions, people and feelings. Oh. All the angry feels. But a few days ago something snapped. I was sick of letting other people’s reactions to things feed into my own. It was depressing in so many ways, and given I’ve had a permanent cold since January and’ve been feeling generally run-down and bleh, I thought this was the moment to do something about it.
I’d seen #100HappyDays popping up all over my Instagram feed and had dismissed it at first as something I didn’t feel the need to get involved with as – ha! – I thought I already appreciated the small, happy, wonderful things in my life. Well, usually I do…but lately…not so much.
So, here I am.
The premise is ridiculously simple: submit a picture every day of something that made you happy. And the point isn’t to garner likes or make people jealous or say ‘my life is AHmazinnng’…which means I’ve put mine out of the way of my usual networks, on a Tumblr I haven’t shared*. Because my taking part is just to make sure I have that moment of reflection each day and rewire those thought processes more positively. 7am train? That’s pretty rubbish. But there’s a gorgeous sunrise you wouldn’t have seen if you hadn’t been on it. Raining while you quad bike? That’s pretty cold. But you get to aim that four-wheeled beast straight at a muddy puddle and it totally doesn’t matter because you can get changed when you’ve finished and OH EM GEE SO MUCH FUN!
I’m only six days into it, but it seems to be working…where my commute usually turns me into a rage monster, I’ve been burying my head in Longbourn (purchased on a whim because I knew it would make me happy) and thinking of the good and beautiful little things I’ve already been posting about. It makes you try a little more each day to bring something nice into it because it not only makes you think about what makes you happy, but gives you that impetus to get up and make it happen.
So. 100 Happy Days. Are you up for the challenge?
* Some of the photos do make it to my Instagram, but I doubt all 100 will, and that, I have to say, is a nice thing about it.
It was raining so hard when I landed in Belfast that the wind literally blew the queue of disembarking people backwards. Actually. And it may have been a real instruments-only landing for the pilot. Sitting next to the wing as we began descending I could see it…still there…bit of cloud…wing tip still visible…entirely white coverage…and then suddenly BLACK CLOUD NO WING OH EM GEE GOING TO – and then bumnphscrreeechn and we’d safely touched down on the tarmac. Thank. Goodness.
But all was well because I had my entire weekend’s needs stuffed into my gorgeous new Herschel backpack and one of my favourite people picked me up in Herbelina (just wait) and we possibly literally didn’t stop talking for about 48 hours. And despite the fact that the rain continued into Saturday, she - wonderful person that she is – drove me all the way out to the Giant’s Causeway to tell me the legend of Finn McCool and let me hop about the stones the way I’d read in a book once (and isn’t it always the way, that you just need to see a place after that?)
And I’m basically in love with it now. I can’t wait to go back in the summer…when it’s not almost entirely submerged. But I can’t tell you how lucky we were to get this break in the weather. It was so grim out that I thought we’d be outside for a maximum of ten minutes before we succumbed to the lure of hot chocolate (included in the ticket price! I love you, National Trust), and we may or may not have actually bought matching hats in the gift shop because it was bucketing it down even as we ran from the car to the visitor’s centre and even though we were wearing about 50 layers each, that was the only one we didn’t have.
So, be-hatted, be-scarved, be-woollen-ed in every way, we braced ourselves and – it. It had actually stopped raining. And as we walked down the path to the basalt stones, the sun actually began to peep out from behind the clouds. It was the most miraculous break ever, and I swear it felt like it had happened just for us. Just for my first visit…just to enchant.
If it wasn’t for the wind and the rain, those magnificent waves wouldn’t have been pounding the rocks - galloping, as Claire aptly put it, towards the shore in pairs – leaving wispy flecks of foam floating through the air.
Oh, it was stunning.
And then the weather decided we’d had our fair share of beautiful vistas for the day, and we should absolutely continue the tour (culminating in one of the best meals ever and a pre-meal beach drive. Yes DRIVE. So. Much. Fun). By the by, who is Herbellina, you ask? THIS. Is Herbellina:
Isn’t she gorgeous? Whenever anyone wants to find me one of these for as little as Herbellina cost, feel free. Anyway, Claire, thank you so much for such a wonderful weekend. Not just the Causeway, but the chats and the meeting wonderful new people and drinking in ridiculously old pubs with saloon doors and the whiskey in beautiful inns with peat fires and amazing homemade risotto and pancakes and ferrying me everywhere and basically just being one of the best humans I’ve ever met. Also, getting you hooked on Episodes, yep yep! I can’t wait to come back!
See you soon, Belfast…(I hope!)
BRB, just recovering from an awesome weekend in Belfast with one of my favourite people. Also have Ke$ha stuck in my head. These things are not mutually exclusive.
Make it something good…
There is never enough time to do everything you want to do on a weekend…like make a trip to IKEA for the one single print frame you need but don’t want to pay £9 to have delivered, or make Oatmeal Raisin cookies or watch the entirety of the second series of the West Wing * Speaking of the West Wing, Big Block of Cheese Day is now a REAL thing oh em gee *
I did, however, get to have dinner with my sister and bro-in-law to be (who carted me all the way to Tayyabs from Dishoom because my shoes were rubbing holes in my toes – what a star) and their amazeballs London-based friends * Finally bought a proper waterproof coat to start spending more time in the countryside again without getting drenched * Finally saw August: Osage County. Far more brutal than the trailer suggests and also oh, my God Meryl Streep HOW DO YOU DO IT * Dropped into Brunswick House Cafe for a couple of Friday night drinks: check out these lush lights:
Also: caught up with Kait over tea * Made a bucket of bolognese sauce/lasagne * got stuck into the Rosie Project…disappointingly not loving it the way I thought I would so far, but excellent narrator * cleaned the flat (snore) * did some window shopping (this, this and this, yes please) * painted my nails * promptly smudged my nails * and thought about picking the guitar up and trying to make a noise on it again. And then didn’t.
Weekend, come again sooon…