THE LIFE LINE

Relationships

FullSizeRender-1The umbilical chord is often seen as the ultimate connection between mother and baby. For me, it’s nature’s helping hand; a necessity rather than a matter of choice. A survival tool for the child within.

And although carrying something as wriggly and heavy as me for nine months is testament to how strong we are as women, it’s the connection that is made after that time is up, the invisible one, that is what makes a mother, a mother.

My brother was a nightmare, much like most teenage boys growing up in the big city. He had an attitude, loved women a little too much and hated school. I, on the other hand, was glued to your hip, aiming to please you at every turn. I felt bad I didn’t want to wear that money belt you insisted on me wearing at secondary school and was wracked with guilt when I snuck off to see boys instead of revising. Your children were polar opposites, but you seemed to balance our characters and fulfil our needs so seamlessly from day one that I’m sure you’re some sort of super human. And for that, we both thank you.

I had always thought that you were the only one capable of such magic, but of course I was wrong. Naturally, I still think you’re number one, but after asking for people to share the love they had for their mothers, I realised: you’re one part of a very big, very strong and very beautiful tribe. And so, the Dear Mum, Project was born.

So many of you had lots to say about the women who brought you into the world, proving how strong maternal bonds really are. I personally think something must happen to a woman when she gives birth that is never spoken about except for with fellow mothers because I sure don’t possess the stoicism, the strength or the resilience that you and I describe about the women who gave birth to us.

Today is a chance for mothers everywhere to take a break from the hardest job in the world. So as you put your feet up with a cup of tea and a chocolate hob knob, we say thank you, we love you and we appreciate you, for one day of the year (which really isn’t enough but there’s no real way to repay you, so it will have to do for now).

Happy Mother’s Day, to all of you wonderful creatures.

(As for you mum, I will never be able to show you how grateful I am for the last twenty five years, but I can do my best, as you always tell me to. So, dearest mother, the unquestionable love of my entire life, thank you for absolutely everything you’ve ever done for me- from telling me daily that everything will be okay, to gently letting me know that I should never, ever wear red lipstick – you’re an angel, and life without you is unimaginable.

Happy Mother’s Day, my life line.)

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THE SUBSTANCE

Health

4639f10cf6d22f795ac20caa63594174As I watched a guy snort coke off a nightclub table top last week, I thought… well, I didn’t actually think anything to be honest. But that in itself made me realise that it just (rightly or wrongly) isn’t something that shocks or surprises me anymore.

I’m not sure whether it’s because I’m a Londoner or not, but drugs seem to have been a staple on the party scene since I first stepped off the tube and into the bright lights of Piccadilly.

During sixth form, Nu-Rave was at its peak. And it wasn’t just the 80s clothing that people were replicating, but the whole rave culture. If you’re not sure what I mean by this, 2005 – 2007 (for people of a certain age) pretty much consisted of pill-popping, endless bottles of Evian and a whole load of shit music that you wouldn’t dream of dancing to sober.

Then came university where, cliche or not, weed was pretty popular in halls and student houses. I’m sure you can picture the scene: a host of sweaty post-pubescents, surrounded by piles of pizza boxes behind a green haze. Then came graduation, and with that came jobs, money and easier access to the stronger stuff. Having never entered the heels and suit-jacket type of workplace myself, my knowledge is minimal, but I’ve heard countless stories of coke in the staffroom, sharing grams with the boss and week-long benders that started out innocently as a client lunch. Don’t get me wrong, I’m well aware that Class As are used in places outside of the banking district, but I think you can see why I’m using this as an example.

Sounds like fun, right?

It probably is, until the time comes for our generation to feel the effects of hapless drug use on their bodies.

We look at pill heads from the eighties, now in their 40s and 50s, and you can see it. The hours of partying etched into their deep seated wrinkles, some still clinging onto shaved barnets with ink scrawled across their bodies with the 6am musings of a barely-conscious paralytic. And we’ll be no different. I know some really quite successful people who use on a daily basis, there are tons who dabble each weekend and very few who have never tried some sort of substance. The scary part about recreational drug use is that with all the new types available on the market, we just can’t be sure what the effects will be and what sort of long-term damage we might be faced with; we just have to sit tight and wait.

A good few of my friends, however, are already feeling the effects, with a slow demise into depression, anxiety and addiction and most of them are under 30. I’ve watched people I know go from being the life and soul to quivering wrecks, unable to even go to the shop for a pint of milk; these are intelligent, good looking people who are now shadows of their former selves. There are also people I know who have turned to it in times of desperation, as a way of blocking out reality and existing in what they deem to be ‘a place of peace’. You might think I’m exaggerating, and so be it. Maybe in twenty years from now, you’ll look around you and realise that those people you partied a little too hard with are now looking somewhat dishevelled. And then you might look in the mirror and realise that you’re one of them.

This post isn’t here to judge or point fingers and lots of people who dabble end up having only great memories to show for it, but my intention is to hopefully make you think about maybe giving your body a rest- for at least 1 weekend out of 52. It’s already trying to cope with the alcohol running through your veins, let alone the crap that you’re shoving up your nose as well.

A night out V your future? I’ll leave it to you to decide what’s more important.

To me, it’s obvious.

Have a good week.

THE BODY

Health

2d98f26d5f9ddf454e361c14f23d48faI love food.

I have never had a problem gorging on carbs and rarely count calories. I always thought that I was actually an Italian woman trapped in a freckled body and felt superior because I was one of the few girls in my year who wasn’t obsessed with what I ate. I had this idea that I was the cool girl, the one who ordered spaghetti on a date, slurped until her heart was content and never split puddings. Ever.

But what I lacked in obsession, I more than made up for in neglect. I used to be skinny and only ever used to move my body to shuffle to the dance floor, drifted from shop window to shop window and only ate vegetables because I had to. I would eat a cheese and pickle sandwich everyday after school, after snacking all day, and no one could understand where it all went.

But since I turned 25 and completely lost the ability to break down anything fattier than a carrot stick, I decided to give my body the leg up that it needed. In addition to buying a yoga mat – and actually using it – I’ve started juicing; making glasses of goodness that kick coffee’s arse in the pick-me-up stakes each morning. I cycle, I walk, I sit down less and I’ve started wearing heels again. Not only do they make me look taller than normal and feel a little more glam than when I’m in my jim-jams, they give my calves a workout when I get down and dirty on the dance floor.

Now, although I’m pretty laid back about what goes in my mouth (don’t), pretty much only eat when I’m hungry and give my body what it craves – even if that is a bar of Whole Nut -one rule I do abide by is that I absolutely never weigh myself. This isn’t just because the last time I checked (in 2005) I weighed eight stone and I would like to continue to pretend that I am stuck in that weightless, pubescent tunnel, but because it doesn’t matter to me what the scales say. As long as I don’t have to burst a blood vessel trying to fit into my beloved black skinny jeans and I can still cycle across London on a Sunday without passing out, then I’m happy.

Loving our bodies shouldn’t just be about pounds and ounces and although we’d like to say otherwise, most women my age tend to focus primarily on what’s staring back at them in the mirror. I love to try out the latest MAC lipstick as much as the next person and have an unhealthy obsession with clothes, but I cannot stress enough that it’s what’s on the inside that counts, so please, do not neglect your health.

You might be young, have hair like Rapunzel, a bang-tidy bod and your nails might be lacquered every Tuesday, but that’s not what’s going to keep you going for the next 30 years, is it? Just because we are young doesn’t mean that we are immune from life’s curveballs, no matter how invincible we feel after a few glasses of gin. Prevention is somuch better than cure, so speak to someone if you are not feeling 100%. Go for all of your check ups – even if it means cancelling on friends – and have a timely route around for lumps and bumps, because no one else is going to do it for you… well, unless you ask nicely.

I, myself, have been feeling a bit fuzzy in the head as of late, so have been accepting advice from wherever it’s offered. One chap suggested to me that I would only be able to move forward with things and exercise a positive mental attitude if I explored what is good for my body. “Sort out the physical”, he said, “and the rest will follow”. And he was right. A few vitamins, some freshly squeezed fruit juice and some serious work outs later, I feel a lot more like myself. Actually no, a better version of myself.

I urge you to do it too and do it now; after all, once the arthritis sets in, there’ll be no Zumba for anyone.

Here’s to health and happiness. Have a wonderful Wednesday.