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

The Home In My Head

We’re so close to having the deposit for our first home it’s driving my creative side a bit scatty. My Pinterest feed is full of home decor and I have build myself a perfect picture in my head about how our home is going to look.

Ideally it’s going to have a gated garden, which undoubtedly will have a drive way and a garage (mans want, I really couldn’t careless about a garage). I’m having a porch too. Finally a place with some hooks for coats and some shoe storage to boot because coats slung on the sofa and shoes by the door is unavoidable in the place we are currently living.

Living room will be simple in colours. I’m thinking mostly white and grey with hints of pink and copper. Pictures from Pinterest (where else?!).

This will need to be an ultra functional room, so I’d be all for a wooden style floor which is easy clean. Great big rug in the centre with a mix of different textured textiles all over including some lush green plants. I adore the more glam copper against the the simple white/grey.

The heart of the home is definitely the kitchen. I cook, every day and every meal if I’m at home. It’s rare that I don’t. I really like the idea of dark coloured cabinets with light colours counter tops. I’d like to carry a theme through the house as well, and at the moment I’m going for the hint of copper.

Copper pipe shelves in this picture (again from Pinterest) are beautiful. I love the idea of having heavy copper bottom cookware lined up on the shelves. Favourite spices on show and living herb pots (herby teacups) on show. Double oven, yes. Gass hobs, yes.

I’m not overly fussed if we end up with a kitchen-dinner or a separate dinning room. Either would be perfectly good in my mind. I’d love a dramatic dinning space, darker colours but carry the copper again. This pallet is perfect (Pinterest pic).

There it is, an insight into the decor of the home in my head. Well at least the first floor. I’ll save the upstairs/bedrooms/bathroom and offices for another post.

What’s your ideal? What palette would you pick?

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.

Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself!

In the world of positivity, plenty of people say “don’t be so hard on yourself”. I’m guilty of saying it to others myself, but I find myself question the logic behind this.

Being ones own worst critic, is something that I believe to be a positive. Holding yourself accountable because you haven’t done good enough to your own standards is a powerful thing. A self motivational and powerful thing. After all you are in control of your own journey.

To be confident, we are told to master not caring what other think of us. Their opinions, next to ours shouldn’t have an impact on what we do or how we proceed on our own path within reason. If this is so and advice to be followed, which is what I see as true, should we not be relying on ourselves to be our own critics and cheerleaders?

When we encourage someone to “not be too hard” on themselves, are we encouraging some to slack off? Are we asking them to stop listening to their own inner critic? The very same inner critic that will push them to do better?

Food for thought indeed. I’d love to know what you think on the matter.

Life update: Today was not sunny. It started last night about 11ish. The temperature dropped and the wind picked up. When it’s a sweet and warm evening we often sleep with the window open, last night was one of these nights. Man got up twice because his blood sugars where monstrously high (diabetic type 1) so he needed to pee constantly. Then the wind kept making the curtains do this wild dance, hitting the footboard of the bed. Talk about disturbed sleep. Once the window was shut, man settled and I finally caught some Z’s.

Man gets up relatively early, but my plan was to beat him to the finish line and squeeze a run in before he went to work. I’ve been thinking of running again for a while. I was so cream crackered (nackered), that I couldn’t bring myself to get up on the 6am alarm. So here’s hoping tomorrow will be a better start.

Delilah and I got up, worked out, showered, dressed and painted my face ready for the day. It still looked like it was going to absolutely bounce it down, so we threw on out rain coats and got out anyway.

It did rain, but only lightly and we missed the most of it because we were in a village shop. Any which way it was a good day. A positive one, with smiles from every angle from Dela.

An update from yesterday’s news flash. Both women in the accident are okay. In hospital, with injuries but I believe from what I’ve read nothing overly serious. The crash wasn’t because of a police chase with a drug deal, police confirmed this with a local news hound. Im glad they’re okay, this was and will remain the main thing.

The situation in the village is somewhat quieter than it has been in previous months, but this morning a local drug addict was seen walking on the school route barely able to stand up. What logic that is! Get absolutely high on drugs and apear at the same time and on the same walk children take to school. I’m no-one to tell folk how to live their lives, but when it starts to impact young children enough is enough. It’s never going to be cut out completely, and that’s the sad truth as far as drug are concerned but we can make it harder for dealers to deal in our village. I urge you, if you see a deal being completed, get the car reg and report it!

Happy Wednesday Lovers.

Xoxo, L.

Success!

This morning was a boost. Those who know man and I, know our daughters namesake is the song ‘hey there Delilah’ by The Plain White T’s. I always hash tag #heytheredelilah on photos of her and today ThePlain White T’s commented and followed me on insta!! I’m so freaking happy. So much love

Meeting success!

I managed to get in all my questions and queries asked. It did help that the lady I met with was a true pro. A woman after my own heart. Organised, taking notes, friendly, listened and spoke (it’s normally one or the other). She was lovely. It was a pleasure to meet with someone so professional. I even managed to get into my work trousers (pre-preggers trousers) for my meeting. I felt great.

Man took an impromptu couple of days off, which worked out great too as he could take care of Dela when I was at my meeting. Dela had a few hours with daddy, visiting her great grandparents on his side of the family.

It’s the first time man has been alone with baby sincd September last year, and she was about 6 weeks old when that happened and as you can imagine she has developed since. So now 9 months (ish) old and first daddy daughter day. I packed her snacks and milk, knowing they’d be out over snack time and most likely over lunch because there is no regard for time and daddy is on his own watch (and only his watch).

I could lie and tell you I wasn’t nervous, but the fact of the matter was I was shitting bricks. Not because Dela would be alone with daddy, but because great grandparents like to feed great grandchildren shit, because they can be very ‘in face’ (I know because my grandparents are very much like this), because I have no control over what happens when my daughter is not in my care.

Relinquishing control is hard. I am a self confessed control freak. Despite my laid back appearance (and approach with certain things) I am 100% in control. I don’t like to rely on anyone else, and if I want something done I would rather do it myself than ask someone else. This could be seen as independence, which is something I’ve always been proud of and I suppose in a way I’m proud to be a control freak too.

I’m going to work on taking away any negative connotations of the term ‘control freak’ in my mind. That’s my goal for the rest of this week.

Being in control is nothing to frown at especially when we’re talking about your own children, your own life and the situations that you can control. I’m not (I can already hear your cogs turning) saying for one second you can control everything, but for the things you can – I say, steer away!

I digress.

After my meeting, I hot tailed it home to take the dog on a walk. He walked amazingly well for a change, and so did I. I found myself strutting. Dela enjoyed her morning with daddy. She didn’t starve, she wasn’t fed anything sugary and she was okay and full of big smiles when she came home for me.

Made a super healthy version of beef nachos using a wholemeal tortilla baked as my nacho chips. So good. Squeezed in making some healthy snacks, no bake peanut butter bars and oat and date energy balls. HEALTHY! Dela loves the energy balls too and they are literally 3 ingredients and too easy not to make.

It was a good day. In fact I would go as far as to say it was an awesome day.

Xoxo, L.

A Whole Lot Better

Feeling a whole lot better today. Well this afternoon at least. Strangely when the clouds came over and we had a dash of rain, that’s when my mood lifted. Delilah was a moody mare all afternoon, so when she fell asleep on my chest my heart melted and I was back to myself again.

We spent a morning at the park with my mum, Em’s, my godmother and my oldest friend’s son. It was great to see them after so long, they’re over from Canada. The kids played in the park while the adults chased after them. Lunch was nice, the cafe there does really lovely salads. Sticking healthy still, and winning at it. Although mum posted a picture on facebook of me pushing Delilah on a swing and I look like a whale. It was such a bad angle. Please get my good side in future mother! I felt I was doing so well until that picture.

Got a load of washing done, and cleared the kitchen clutter. Metaphorically speaking I guess I cleared some mind clutter too.

My plight with the healthy didn’t stop at a lunch time salad either, Man ordered in. A huge pizza and a milkshake too. I resisted and made a tuna pasta bake for one. Which was made with wholemeal pasta, veg, tuna and all in a simple tomato sauce. It was super filling and tasty. I’ll be making that again. Demon dog licking his doggy lips in the background of my dinner snap.

For now I bid thee good day and farewell till the morrow.

Xoxo, L.