Eternally Formal in a B.O Ridden Waiting Room

Thursday was the day I had to go to The Job Centre to confirm my claim for universal credit (oh the joy). I was dreading this little visit. Thursday was a hugely busy day and this was my least preferred part.

The location – Parking and walking through a down trodden part of Bradford was not my idea of a good time to start off with. The Job Centre is located on Manningham Lane; for those of you who don’t know this part of Bradford I strongly suggest you don’t take a trip there unless necessary. Everything looks scruffy, filthy and well past its best. It’s like the sun got sucked out of the sky and your soul is slowly being consumed by a black hole that waits and feeds on all glimmers of possibility. I’m so very glad that I had care for Delilah on Thursday, I will aim never to take my child to this soul destroying place.

I’ve only ever been to The Job Centre once before. I felt exactly the same the first time, this being four year ago when I found myself redundant for the first time round. I had dressed as I would for an interview, but most people in the vicinity looked as though they had rolled out of bed and not showered for at least three weeks. People wearing tracky bottoms, looking like they had taken a dump in their slacks and carried on regardless – the smell from some would confirm this to be true. The gentleman who decided to take the seat behind me (we were practically back to back) had an odour so strong I had to strategically place the back of my hand under my nose and over my mouth so as not to breathe in the stench. The rancid smell of body odour was the thing I remember the most from the last time I had to make the visit. The thing of nightmares.

“Stay positive” I kept telling myself “It will be over soon – you’ll have a job by next week” My pep talks got me through the wait as did the thought of the two interviews I would sit that very day. I was feeling decidedly overdressed at the start, but convinced myself that I would never turn up to any interview in anything less that formal business attire and this should not be any different, even though the rest of ‘the Job Centre Crew Massive’ looked like death warmed up. Even the email concerning the time of my ‘appointment’ called it an interview. First impressions are important after all!

I was utterly determined they would not treat like a twirp, and went in ready to fight back and burry the potential insultee with words. The last time I was there I was told I was over qualified so they couldn’t help me. Let me clarify that I was out of work for a grand total of two weeks, and the claim I put in (just in case) for job seekers allowance was rejected because ‘I hadn’t contributed enough national insurance’. This was an absolute joke of a comeback as I have been working and paying national insurance since I was 16. I know people walking straight out of school at 16 claiming everything and anything they could, but I couldn’t even claim JSA regardless of working my entire workable life. Anyway back to Thursday, I was finally called forward (ten minutes later than my stated interview time) and the woman who I sat with was lovely. She didn’t talk down to me which was my major concern and led me through what would happen after going over the obligatory security details.

As we were sat discussing the bits we need to, there was rather a large hoo-ha outside the neglected building we exist in. As in noise, plus police sirens. Well that was comforting – at least there was police sirens. The woman turned to her co-worker and said “wonder what drama we’ve got today?” I’m sat there thinking that that statement means it happens on the regular and I would rather be almost anywhere else but here. She swiftly bid me farewell after that exchange and I cautiously left the building feeling pretty relieved that this particular interview, in this particular place was over.

Walking back to the car, I had no desire every to step in that hole again. As I drove off of Manningham Lane, the darkness lifted and the sun peeped through the grey clouds. The sun was magnificent, all ready for my interviews that afternoon and evening.

Job interview #1. Yes, this was just outside central Leeds. I’d planned where I would park, drove there with plenty of time to spare. The car park I had planned to park in was rammed. There was no way in hell I was getting in there. So I Google mapped it to the nearest car park. I ended up in Leeds city centre. Which while driving, is my idea of hell. I am far too impatient and full of road rage to deal with a city centre I just don’t know – most especially on my way to an interview. I spotted an on street parking spot, abandoned the car and threw money in the machine.

I set of walking. This idiot had only parked a 25 minute walk away from where I was interviewing. Would have been okay, but my little detour into the city had cost me time. I had 17 minutes to walk a 25 minute walk. I called and let the appropriate parties know, but I hate being late and having to follow Google maps on foot is stressful. The clock in the top right hand corner of your phone screen getting ever closer to the time you are supposed to be there, the map counting down clearly outside the time scale you should be working to. The walk was allllll up hill, and I’m not even talking a little hill. I’m talking like a really steep hill. The kind you would cycle up if you were in training for The Tour De Yorkshire. Realistically I should have grabbed an Uber to my location to save me the stress, and by the time I got there I felt like I had lost 90% of my bodily fluids. I never sweat, I sparkle. I had a very sparkly face. I was completely blessed that I had thrown flip flops in my bag as well as wearing heels. Flip flops were my saving grace at this point.

Got to the entrance of the building I had been told to go in. There was only a bunch of construction stuff going on right outside it. I couldn’t use that door. I walked back on myself to the last door I saw, threw on my heels and started to wander the corridors of a huge, huge building. I was so in the wrong place. I talked to some guy behind a desk who looked at me as though I had just landed my spaceship on his cat, but he managed to get a hold of the lady who was interviewing me even though it seemed like I was in the entirely wrong place. Once in the company of the interviewer things looked a little brighter.

SO as you can tell, this particular part of Thursday was highly eventful, and it all happened before 1pm. I was so very pleased to get home to Delilah. I missed her the entire morning I was gone. It felt like forever being so away from her. The latter half of the day went swimmingly with no mishaps or parking errors getting to the second interview. Here’s to next week when I should know how it all went in their opinions.

XOXO, L

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The Motherhood Penalty

It has come to my attention that The Motherhood Penalty is an actual thing.

There was me thinking I was the only one struggling with being made redundant on maternity leave and struggling to find a career to suit me now. The thing is, it isn’t just me. The Motherhood Penalty is REAL. We’re talking real pay gaps for mums in comparison to a non- parent counter parts, less promotion opportunities, held to higher punctuality standards than others. We are less likely to be suggested for hire than a less qualified woman without children. Just have a read at a few stats here (http://gap.hks.harvard.edu/getting-job-there-motherhood-penalty). Before you start, I know this article is full of American stats; but it is applicable for the UK and most likely a bunch of other countries too. There are plenty of other articles on the subject too. Read them, I implore you.

The last time I was made redundant I was in a new role within two weeks. This time, I’m 3 years more experienced. This time, I’m a mum. This time, it’s almost been a month already. As a society, it is our job to change this. As a mother who wants it all, it’s my job to hunt what I want down. Why should we settle for less than our counter parts? Those who choose to be dog owners are not penalised for their life choice, yet you have a child and that’s it. You certainly can’t have a career AND a family. You most certainly can’t do them both at the same time, let alone do them well. You must pick. You must pick one or the other. You can only be good at one thing – Family OR work.

That’s where I’m saying it needs to change. We are stuck in an archaic time. The stay at home mum suffers prejudice. It can be seen as old fashioned, lazy, and unattractive. “Gain a baby, lose a brain” this attitude spills out on to the mother who wants or needs to work, making it increasingly difficult to get back in to work. On the other hand, mothers who choose to have a career are classified as uncaring, lacking maternal instinct and cold. Working mothers have it hard. The guilt of having to pay someone else to help raise their child. Then there is the pay gap between them and their childfree counterparts, not to mention the problem of sourcing reliable and trustworthy childcare.

We have come so far with equality yet we are still stuck with The Motherhood Penalty. For some reason the work world thinks that us mum’s supposedly stray from competency after birthing a child. In actual fact we gain a whole lot more than we ‘lose’ (the only think I lost is my size 6-8 waist). We go through the most incredible process of carrying, giving birth, feeding and caring for a new born infant that relies on us for everything. There are sleepless nights and long busy days that follow including numerous visitors who want to put their grubby hands all over that precious new born, which you in turn have to politely but firmly warn off (which is a new skill gained for a start).

Mums are the most amazing creatures on this planet; and it’s about time that companies realise that if we choose a child adorned life, we probably have more to offer after having our child/children than we did before. We are peacekeepers, cooks, cleaners, mediators, matriarchs, admin assistants, PA’s, nurses (in the most relaxed sense of the word), transportation co-ordinators, activity planners, risk assessors, the photographer, the personal shopper and stylist, the confidante, the politician, the dietician, the CEO and the fucking skivvy. We are the whole god damn package, and some of us even stay up late to work on our passions too.

So keep up work world; we’re ready for equality amongst mothers in the work place. Let’s hope my new role (whatever it maybe) is up to speed.

Confident Kisses,

XOXO, L

PMSing. Hard!

Bloating – check

Weight gain due to fluid retention (and bloating) – check

Appetite disruptions – check (double check if you count wanting to eat the content on the house and then not wanting to eat at all)

Headaches – check

Boobache – check

Mood swing – check

Anger fuse – what effing fuse? I mean, check.

So here it is, the raw honest truth about massively PMSing. I’m not normally a sufferer, but I want to rip out somebody’s throat today.

How the he’ll can’t you gain 4lbs since yesterday body? It’s certainly not funny. So now you’ve got me (well a combo of you bloated self doubtingness, and man) waiting for Chinese deliver and it’s after 10pm.

I’m so unbelievably angry for no reason, at everything it’s funny. Or at least it will be, when I’ve bled out for 5 days not died and slept. Now I’m a little less angry because the gin kicked in. Another thing I blame bloating for. Two single measures of gin and I’m done. Like not drunk drunk, but slightly squiffy. Squiffy enough to shout about PMS.

Being a woman is hard bloody work.

Now don’t get me wrong, we have the pleasure of pregnancy and child birth. Yes, childbirth is painful but the whole process is amazing and for the most parts enjoyable. But periods? Then when your done with that menopause?!

Who thought of that? Who decided that women would just bleed and then have hot flushes? Oh yeah and to top it off, most women don’t get better with age. I’ve already decided I’m going to be a ‘glam-ma’ when I’m older (if we have grandbabies [in the very distant future]).

Takeout is still not here and the gin is wearing off. Not a good sign for the delivery driver. Best of luck to that guy!

Xoxo, L

** edit** takeaway didn’t turn up till 11pm and the feeling of wanting to rip someone’s throat out and feed it to them (physically impossible, I know) has returned. Oh good luck to anyone crossing me tomorrow. I don’t even want to cross me.

A Flicker of A Sweet Memory

It’s funny what you remember when you miss someone.

My Nana passed away sometime ago, while I was still at university studying (fat lot of good that venture did, but that’s another story). My dad’s mum, my nana was a larger than life character. Mum of boys, larger drinker, lipstick wearer and experimental cook. I knew I got my attitiute for cooking from someone, and I’m so giving my nana some of the credit.

I can’t even tell you what made my mind wonder to her sausages and flying saucer eggs today, but I found myself laughing as I remember dinner times at her flat. It was a smokey affair, she chain smoked when she chatted but because she had the window open as she did it, of course it wasn’t that bad (we would cringe now). Anyway, I digress. She owned a George Forman Grilling Machine. Or, in her words “George Formby Grilling Machine” she loved the thing, and it got used a hell of a lot.

My brother and I were always fussy with what we ate at nanas house, mainly as the older she got the more interesting the combinations became and the more the food tasted like smoke. She was however, a fabulous cook in her hay day. We ended up having chip pan chips, homemade of course or pancakes, finished off with crisps, chocolate and yogurt. All healthy stuff! My dad was subjected to actual real dinner, and this particular night was rather spectacular. I remember her wafting through the living room with dad’s plate in hand before plonking it down on the table. On the blue and white crockery was a breakfast for dinner. A staple of her household and very much enjoyed.

On dad’s plate there was a fried egg (sunnyside up), tomato, beans, bacon and what looked like two burgers. My dad stabbed one the burgers and held it in the air asking what it was. My nana asked him what the hell he was playing at waving that sausage about. We were hysterical, well all apart from my nana who was completely confused about the laughing. Dad asked why it was so flat, so she demonstrated her Formby Grilling skills in the air at the table.

She’d only gone and put butchers style (the really chunky, fat kind) sausages in the grill and squashed it down until the machine cliped shut. She returned to the kitchen to put her own meal together.

In the meantime there was the fried egg. Same meal, same day. Dad struggled to cut the white of the fried egg so picked it up to see what was going on. Turns out this egg had been fried to with an inch of it’s edible life. It stayed perfectly flat as he picked it up. He starts making his idea of UFO noises as the yolk balances on it’s white plate like shelf with a slight yellow wobble. Again, both me and my brother fell about laughing while dad tried to put back on a straight face as nana came to the table with her own dinner.

I still remember the smell of her pressed powder, the shade of her lipstick, her choice in skirts and how she always wore a pinny over them. Her kindness and patience. Her spoiling us and caving to our every request for sweets as children. I remember having to watch the snooker when it was on because she loved it but then she’d let us watch the Simpsons over dinner time and let us sit of the sofa instead of at the table with our food. I miss her, her accidental funny anecdotes and the liverpudlian twang that still remained from her younger years in her voice. The raspy cough and the way she would order herself two halfs of larger instead of a pint just because it wasn’t lady like to order a pint (but it was okay to sit with two drinks).

I miss her – photo from my 18th birthday meal. A day of mixed emotions, I lost a dear friend that exact day.

What sweet memories do you hold of a missed love one? I’d love to hear a story or two.

Xoxo, L

In Hiding

I hid from the world today.

Anti-social side came out and I actually avoided going out doors. Uncharacteristic at the moment as I go out every day. I am, for sure, on a down day.

I’ve changed up my workouts which was an undoutable win. I was shuffling about on YouTube and found some amazing yoga and HITT workouts that made me sparkle (I don’t sweat, I sparkle). I’ll be picking this up again tomorrow as I really enjoyed it.

However, yoga sequences are kinda difficult when you’ve a child climbing on you. Having to watch a Yoga tutorial from downward facing dog with your media player up high so the baby can’t grab, then having to fend her off when your doing a warrior pose – believe me it’s a workout within a workout. I’m aching regardless, means it’s working though right!

Strange fact of the day, turmeric in porridge (almond Milk, not cow’s) mixed with a little cinnamon and soya yogurt actually tastes half decent. I’m not talking tons of the stuff, just a 1/4 teaspoon in 1/2 cup of oats. Pretty good, and yellow as aposed to any form of pink or purple porridge makes a refreshing change. Turmeric is a fab antioxidant and has anti-inflammatory properties too, so great to add in to your diet. Who doesn’t love an antioxidant.

I’m going to work on my mood, I really don’t relish the thought of being down.

Xoxo, L

Plateau

I’ve reached an empass. I’ve got to a point in my ‘kick the additional weight’ journey where my body is just like NOPE. The scales have barely moved this month and the fact that I’ve been well and truly on it is driving me nuts.

I’m drinking plenty of water on a daily basis, working out 5-7 days a week for between 30 and 60 mins not including any walking I do. I’m eating so well, all clean no processed foods, no additional sugar or salt. I don’t understand. So yeah, that’s where I am with that. Supper disappointed that my body is refusing to respond.

In a rebellion against my non-responsive body I’ve been looking up workout on Pinterest. This one move, particularly the picture to show it, made me laugh out. I think there might be something wrong with me because this tiny little picture, was to me, hilarious! I like how the woman is just like exactly the same with her ponytail is slightly skewed to one side, and she’s higher up in the little blank box she resides in. Like I said, pretty sure I should have found it that funny.

Delilah and I spent the day with my brother and Ems. We spent it walking in the sunshine, letting the girls splash in the water table and playing with the two huge dogue de bordeaux that live with Ollie and Ems. Here is a douge nose, a very lovely nose it is too.

Delilah took her hat off at every opportunity, and then threw it in the water and ate the grand total of 5 mouthful of dinner. Poor kid seems to have got my immunity for pollen. She was streaming, and of course the chemist wouldn’t sell anything to me as she is too young. So off to the doctors we go so they can prescribe something for my little lady bug.

Despite the hayfever, hopefully we will see more of this beautiful weather!

Xoxo, L

Conflicting Wedding Ideas; A Mental Mess

Delilah and I watched the royal wedding today. I am now sat trawling through websites of dream wedding venues in West Yorkshire. I must say, there are some rather beautiful ones.

Meghan, now the Dutchess of Sussex, looked stunning. The veil was impeccable and the tiara dazzled. Now the dress, it was beautiful and undeniably suited her but I can’t help but feel a little disappointed. I was half expecting a touch of Hollywood in the dress, and there was none. Now this ain’t a bad thing. Not in the slightest. Her beauty shone through as it should, and where there is beauty (and lets face it, the woman is flawless) simplicity should frame it. Which is exactly what our new Dutchess acheived with her simply and impeccably cut dress.

It means now that simple clean lines and minimum fuss will be the new challenge for bridal wear designers. She is, for sure an influencer so be prepared for the world’s brides to be to go simplicity all the way for the foreseeable future.

The newly weds looked blissfully happy, and I personal hope that they had the most amazing day. I truly hope they will be the happiest! Happy wedding day Harry and Meghan! Picture found online.

I’m excited to start planning my own wedding too now. I could say I’ve had dreams about my wedding day since I was a little girl, but that would be a BIG FAT LIE. I do adore wedding fashion, I could watch “say yes to the dress” on repeat. Weddings in general have never been at the forefront of my mind.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m excited to get married, but I’ve never been the girl to day dream about it, until now. Good God, I’d resigned myself to being a crazy cat lady a fair few years ago. After a couple of dating disasters, a life of solitude, talking to felines, writing and the occasional family outing (with those who still knew I existed) didn’t seem all that bad. ‘One last date’ changed it all, because I met man. It was a good job I did because that was me pretty much throwing in the towel, but any which way that ruled out the life of solitude. I still frequently talk to the cats, and just to clear things up, I only had two cats until man moved in and he wanted one too. Only problem with cat number three (commonly known as Dinah in our house) is that she dosent like anyone but me. She’s the most fierce little kitty and I often find her facing of with the dog, and when I say facing off I mean cornering him and attacking him. The dog is very much more of a pussy than she it. For me she is the sweetest, she twitters away and purrs wildly. Just for me.

Now my head is full of dress, venue and style ideas. I will keep my wedding mind vomit to myself because I really don’t know when we will be able to get married. I value owning a home more than a bit of paper saying that we’re shackled together for the rest of our living days. I will continue to make a mind mess of conflicting wedding ideas, venues, dresses, bridal parties, groomsmen attire, Delilah’s dress, music, food and cake choice. Pinterest is my crack as far as my whims are concerned. I’m pretty sure I need some rehab time.

Here’s to a beautiful weekend, to the blissfully happy couple and to tomorrow’s adventure.

Xoxo, L.