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This week’s blog post is my thoughts on men of the 21st Century. (Also, I realise I have technically posted this week, but the previous post was actually written on Jan 1st.)

Over Christmas BBC One showed a programme called ‘Death Comes to Pemberley” and this is the murder-mystery follow up to Pride and Prejudice-one of my favourite films (and yes, I am aware it was a book, but I have not yet managed to get round to reading it.) Having watched the BBC programme it got me in the mood for the film, so I sat and relived Mr Darcy fall in love with Elizabeth Bennett all over again, and it got me thinking-what happened between then and now so that men no longer treat women like that?

In those days, a woman walked into a room and they were bowed to and looked upon as beautiful creatures to marry. Nowadays we walk into a bar and get our bums or some other part ogled and grabbed at before being offered a bed for the night. Definitely not the height of romance.

Having been a singleton for the last year, I have been thrown back into the dating scene, which seems to consist of waiting an allotted amount of time before receiving a text (usually a Sunday evening having met Saturday Night-an acceptable amount of time I would say.) and then writing a clever and witty response, waiting half an hour and then sending it, before waiting nervously for their response (no doubt they are also waiting before sending their seemingly off the cuff humour, but actually having written and re read it a hundred times) wondering if you have said something too out there and if you have now put them off before anything has begun.

While out a couple of weeks back, I met an American who subsequently took me on a date, and this was a date like no other. I don’t know if it is the cultural difference between English men and American men, but he came and picked me up, got out of the car to open the door for me and paid for dinner (and didn’t try to tell me how much the bill was like another date I have been on!)

Obviously I am not tarring every man with the same brush, I know there are still some good ones out there, but it is so disheartening when I go out and am greeted by ‘alright darlin” and when I say I’m not interested, I get an insult spat my way. I signed up to the Disney ending, where I meet my Prince Charming and he whisks me off into the sunset and we live happily ever after. Not an image where I meet Prince Sleazy who is all too eager to whisk me into a taxi back to his place, followed by an awkward conversation and a walk of shame the next day. No thanks.

I am quite picky when it comes to the opposite sex, which will probably come across in future blogs, (unless of course Prince Charming is reading this in which case I could be blogging something completely different in the future) but I think that my desires are fairly normal. Someone who respects me, isn’t just after one thing, and doesn’t text me every two seconds and then again when I don’t reply within ten minutes. Perhaps I am just hard to please.

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Well first things first, Happy New Year! The first day of 2014. Let see what this year holds for everyone. If you have read my previous blogs, you will know that I have struggling for inspiration but now I have it-it will be a little blog about my life. It might not be particularly exciting, but I love my life, and I will share little titbits and musings now and again-a recipe here, and new outfit there. Bad dates, funny times and so on.

Today’s entry is to tell you about my exciting new purchase while sale shopping (I think it’s exciting anyway). I didn’t actually buy it in the sale, but I have a new favourite item! It is a lovely little playsuit from Topshop (£50). While a little pricey, I saw it hanging all alone on the last chance rail, and in my size. It was meant to be! I had spied the little number a few weeks back, but there were only small sizes left so I left it and forgot about it. But in Norwich on Monday I saw it there and ran immediately to the fitting rooms (with many other items too, of course.)

However, I had mistaken it as a long, floaty top, and tried to put my whole body through one leg, but then soon realised that I was wrong when I couldn’t get it past my hips (what a fool. And it didn’t even occur to me straight away- I was there thinking it had a strange lining in it) But  Iactually was more than pleased that it turned out to be a playsuit, as it meant I had a new outfit for New Year’s Eve. The photo is myself rocking it in front of the Christmas tree before going out.

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As you can probably tell I am in love with it, and would recommend it. The cut of it is quite slimming, and it hangs nicely over the hips and bum. As a 5’9″ lady I often have problems with playsuits (generally I would describe them as being a little ‘crotchy’ which is not ideal for anyone) but this one is loose and a really good length. The only issue is when going to the toilet, it requires a joint venture. There are buttons at the top and the zip is quite difficult to master alone. It is three handed job and obviously, only having two of your own, makes this a challenge-especially after a few vodka cranberries. But us girls generally toilet in pairs anyway so it is not too much of a problem.

That aside, I am in love.

I have been considering re-igniting my blog passion for a long time, and as you can see from my previous posts, I haven’t been active in cyberspace for quite some time. The main reason for this is that I have been struggling on what to blog about- what should I write about to interest and entertain people? I have written and re-written drafts of hilarious dates, thought about the little things in life that annoy me, but often have doubts about my writing. But after logging in tonight, I found this blog which I had drafted in 2010 (!)

“So recently I have written about how I’m not really happy with the way I look, but I’ve been thinking that it is quite stupid how no-one is ever happy with what they already have. And I’m not talking just talking about weight but, take Saturday night for instance, I was out with a couple of friends and while having pre-drinks we obviously had a girly chat. As the alcohol was flowing we ended up just talking about like what we like about each other and not about ourselves. I know if any boys are reading this they’ve probably tuned out by now, but seriously it gave me a little more confidence to see that everyone doesn’t see me the way I do and they don’t see themselves the way I do. To me, the girls I was with are stunning and I would love to look like either of them, but even though that’s what I think, they were both like “oh I hate this, and I don’t like that”

Why is it if you have straight hair you want it curly, or curly hair you want it straight. Brunettes want to be blonde, ginger people want to be anything but…it’s ridiculous. Why can’t we accept the way we are instead of lusting after everything everyone else has got. I’m not saying that I don’t want anything else. I’m the prime example. When I was younger I wanted more than anything else in the world to be blonde because my best friend was blonde and I always wished I looked like her. One of my best friends is ginger and I think it’s such a lovely colour, and recently I think she’s started to embrace her ginge, but in the past she’s dyed it red, brown, blonde, more ginger. You name it, she’s done it.

I’m not about to vow to stop doing it because it’s in our nature and it’s what we do. I just don’t get why we do it, because there are always people that think you’re beautiful even when you don’t.”

Reading that, I realise how much I have changed in the last three years. Back then I was at university, eating rubbish, out every night, sleeping all day and awake until 5am. I look back at photos now and wonder what on earth I was thinking with my hair and fashion choices. It’s no wonder I was unhappy with the way I looked. But I have come a long way since then, and I no longer really worry about what people think about me. If they don’t like me for me, they’re not worth bothering about. But if I don’t like myself, then it’s time to do something.

One of my blog theme ideas was to blog about a recent weight loss I have achieved (and I know what you’re thinking, boring blog about not being allowed to eat anything except celery sticks and ice cubes but no.) and I think seeing this, it deserves at least one blog, even if it just inspires one person.

I used to be so unhappy with my body that I refused to get my arms out and would wear a black t-shirt under every outfit on nights out. (at the time I thought it looked ok, but now I realise why everyone wasn’t wearing the same!) It is sort of bitter sweet to look back at that time, because I am proud of myself now, but it is sad to think I was that unhappy with my looks then. I always thought that no-one would ever like me the way I was, but I was rubbish with willpower and not eating chocolate.

But this  year I have managed to finally gain the confidence I have always wanted. I’m not where I want to be just yet but I feel amazing. I have managed to lose 23 1/2lbs so far and I have never felt better. I actually got a dirty jealous look from a group of girls the other day and I have never had that before (not saying I want to be looked at like that, but we have all given that look to someone you want to hate because they look better than you, and for the first time, that girl was me.)

I’m not saying that you should have to lose weight to feel good, but that is what I wanted. I was about a size 16, depending on the shop. I had a boyfriend for most of last year and at the end of that relationship I was probably at my biggest-a combination of The Pill and being comfortable I think. So not only was I feeling like a whale, I was also heartbroken, so used my new found spare time to hit the gym and join Weight Watchers. And that is the best thing I did in 2013. Now a size 14, I am getting compliments almost daily on how much better I look. Despite only dropping one dress size, it has made such a difference.  I have learnt that a bit of fake tan helps my arm insecurities too, so can wear much nicer things on nights out now, and I feel sexy. Maybe we feel we can’t say that about ourselves, but dammit I am going to, because I haven’t ever felt it before. And the best feeling is that I know that I have done it for myself, so that I can look in the mirror and be happy with what I see looking back.  So my original blog talks about wanting what we can’t have, but I am slowly but surely reaching my goal of loving what I have gone out and achieved, and embracing and loving what I’m working with. The only opinion worth noting is the one you have of yourself.

Ok so this is possibly quite a boring blog topic but the price of trains has really got my goat this week.  The plan for weeks has been to go to Newcastle this Friday to celebrate my best friends birthday. However, due to the funeral of our friend (who you would have read about in the earlier blog) not being confirmed for ages I didn’t want to book my tickets just incase I couldn’t make it. But then when I went to book my tickets, it was going to cost £93! Why is it that if I had booked my tickets weeks ago they would have been so much cheaper…its clearly not going to cost £93 per person to run a train up to Newcastle and back. The thing that really annoys me is the fact that the government are all about us trying to act on CO2 emmissions and use public transport. But why then is it so bloody expensive! I used to get the bus into college everyday. It used to cost the same amount to get the freezing cold, uncomfortable bus which took almost two hours to get into college, as it did to drive in my comfortable warm car, which got me there a lot quicker than the bus did. And the bus was always late too. So why then would I pay a ridiculous amount of money to get on the bus when I have my own, much more convenient method of travel?

As a student, sleep and money are two of the most important things in my life and both are something I have a distinct lack of. I’m hardly going to be enthused by the thought of getting up an extra hour early and pay more money in order to go and stand at the bus stop 15 minutes before the bus is due in case it’s early, which is a regular occurrence. Or stand there for an hour because the bus hasn’t shown up, which is a just as regular occurrence. I mean, why would I do that when I can stay in bed until the last possible second and then get into my car and whack the radio and heat up and go exactly where I want to go, and be there on time. I don’t want to have to get up early and deal with grumpy bus drivers, loud people and numb toes of a morning.

I know that trains are better than buses, but they’re still not as convenient as a car. For example, lugging my stuff on and off three trains to get to uni isn’t exactly my idea of fun. I pay all that money and yet there’s not enough luggage space and I end up holding up the entire coach while I attempt to rearrange the tiny suitcases taking up the luggage rack so I can fit my beast of a suitcase on. I’ve discovered this year that it’s easier to chuck my suitcase in the boot of my car and drive. It’s quicker, easier, and although it’s slightly more expensive, it’s not enough of a significant difference to make me want to take the inconvenience.

Even student discount on travel would make a bit of a difference. The bus service from my village to Cambridge is absolutely rubbish and is extortionate for a journey that takes double the time of a car. With trains you have to pay for the discount card so it’s hardly a deal.

In my opinion, if the government are so bothered about our “carbon footprint” and reducing it, then maybe they should do more, and give more incentives to make us stop and do something about it.

Rant over.

Monday Morning. 4th January 2010. This is a date I’m never going to forget.  Not because of anything good. That morning was normal, got up, got showered, checked my phone. On my phone was a text from my friend Lou asking if I was at work. I text back expecting her reply to be about meeting up but instead she phoned me and broke the news. The news that I was praying would never come. Private Robert Hayes- Rob- had been killed. A close friend of mine. I put down the phone and just couldn’t stop shaking.

It was just surreal. I just cant get over the fact that someone who was always so happy, and such fun to be around has gone. But I’m trying to take comfort in all the good times we had. Every time I think of any moment which I spent with Rob it brings a smile to my face. We always had such a laugh.  I think its finally starting to hit me hence the blog.  Even the smallest things remind me of him. Like today in the car,  Glamorous by Fergie came on. This sounds odd, but one of Rob’s sayings was “vigorous” so we used to sing along to the G-L-A-M. O-R-OUS bit and change it to vigorous. It didnt quite fit but he appreciated it.

The worst of it is that he was home two weeks just before Christmas. The plan was to get everyone together while he was back and while we were all back for the holidays. But by the time uni had broken up he only had a few days left so instead we made sure we were all out in Newmarket the Saturday before Christmas. Due to the snow we never got to Deniros Niteclub, but we did see Rob and had a trip to the chicken shop so I’m so glad I got to see him that one last time and give him a massive hug and wish him luck when he went back. I just thought we’d always have the summer for the gathering of everyone. Instead the Burwell crew will always be one short.

This has made me realise how short life is and how you really shouldn’t put things off because you never know if you’re going to see people again.

So this blog is really just a memorial to Rob. His smile was infectious. I dont know anyone who has a bad word to say about him and looking at his memorial page on Facebook, he had a huge effect on so many people. Every time I go on it it has grown and there are so many lovely messages from people. At the moment there are 2,955 members.  The world has lost one of its brightest stars. A true hero.  Rob, Rest in Peace our good friend. Always missed but never forgotten. xxx