Bye-Bye BBC

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Dear BBC,

I felt I couldn’t let our relationship end without saying a few words. We’ve been through so much together. Forty-four years of tears, surprise, education, fantasy, and laughter. You were there when I watched my first episode of Bagpuss – I hated it. But we had to watch it because my mum loved it. And then there was Ivor The Engine. She also loved that too whilst I developed  an early dislike for trains and for a short while, the Welsh accent. Eventually came Grange Hill. Finally something I adored! Tucker Jenkins and Trisha Yates were my idols -until my mum decided it was ‘a bit rough’, and I was banned from watching it. Time rolled by and He-Man rolled in … my first crush on a cartoon character. Bugger. He was ITV though, wasn’t  he?

I grew up and went through my emo phase. It was painful for all. Especially for the parents. Black and grey were the colours of the day and East Enders was the programme of the mood. Matching me, ounce of misery for ounce of misery. We worked well as a team together.

Then you introduced me to The Tudors. What can I say? It was just never the same again. Jonathan Rhys Meyers rolling about in the buff, pushing Queens down onto beds wearing nothing but his crown jewels … things began to change. I needed more. You were no longer enough.

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One day I loved you, and the next …  You just didn’t feel as hip and cool. I felt a distance growing between us. We just didn’t seem to like the same things anymore. Your attention was somewhere else by the late hours of every night. You weren’t interested in pleasing me like you had been in the early days … and yet you were always happy to take my money. It was always me who paid for our time together. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a strong, independent woman. I don’t mind paying my way, but even I have my limits. It has to be two-way.

I wasn’t sad the day I let you go five years ago. In fact, I felt relief. Excited about continuing my journey without you. I had so many dreams and plans about what I would do with all the free time I would have on my hands. And on the whole, it has been great! I’ve read books, (I’ve written books!!), I’ve painted, learned to crochet (mostly lumps but it’s an on-going process). I’ve had dinner with long-lost friends. Travelled. Rediscovered the absolute joy of proper conversation, with real people, and yes. I found new love… It can’t  have been easy for you. Hearing about Netflix. But what can I say? He was vibrant. Fun. Interesting. It was love at first sight. I never stopped caring about you. I still dropped in on you from time to time. Especially when you were hanging out on-line with Paul Hollywood. You never knew it was me, hidden amongst the masses. An observateur secrète. Drooling over your sticky buns and whipped frosting. But alas, that too must now come to an end. I’m sure we shall meet on occasion at my parent’s soirees from time to time.

As from midnight tonight, our relationship is over. I knew it couldn’t carry on forever. Something had to give, and it was never going to be me. And so I thank you for the memories. The good times and the shitty ones … like  when you forced me to watch tennis or football for f##king ever, and bid you au revoir.

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Till we meet again BBC, till we meet again. ( Probably next week ; the parents are recording British Bake Off for me.)

Your Anna J

XXX

Licensing laws are changing as from September 1 2016. Make sure you are covered / not accessing BBC in any format what so ever or take the risk of a £1000 fine …. not to mention a man in a van with a tin-foil hat sitting outside your house. For more information, please visit  http://www.tvlicensing.co.uk/check-if-you-need-one/topics/bbc-iplayer-and-the-tv-licence

 

 

 

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An SOS To All The Boy Mommas’.

An SOS To All The Boy Mommas’.

Saturday was bathroom cleaning day. 

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I honestly do not know where I went wrong.

<swigs wine>

How is it even possible to leave a bathroom in that state?

<swigs more wine >

I couldn’t get pee in those places if my life depended on it!

<grabs bottle>

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Between you and I, I’m not sure how much longer I can keep this up. They are 12& 13 now. That means I’ve got *counts on fingers* at least six more years of this.

<Begins to sob>

I mean, I go over and over with them about wiping the seat, (and around the seat … and down on the floor behind the seat … and under the hinges of the seat….) putting empty loo rolls in the bin. I point out the toothpaste, smeared and dried across the mirror and the glass shelf . The ‘gifts’ they leave floating. The dirty boxer shorts left on the floor along with other unmentionables that I am yet to identify (and quite frankly, would most probably need therapy if I did find out).

What the hell do they do in there!? Do they turn feral? Or into the exorcist? 

How hard can it be? Walk in, take a pee (directly into the loo). Flush toilet. Wash hands. Leave Room. It’s not rocket science. 

Are the towels really so heavy that they can’t physically pick them up post-shower?

And what gives with the conversion? Where my bathroom floor is converted into a paddling pool at least once day? I monitor my water meter … I don’t even know how they make that amount of water go that far. You’d think if nothing else it would wash away the grime. But no. Witchcraft is the only reasonable explanation.

I’m struggling to hang in there at a once-a-week deep clean. It really needs more. I’m not sure I have the inner strength to do it. Someone give me reassurance before I lose the will to live.

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I’m thinking of setting up a crowd-fund campaign to pay for a cleaner, to come in on a sodding hourly basis. Some jobs should be left to those that know what they are doing.

Professionals.

Semi-professionals.

Stranger off the street.

Just anyone except me.

When ice starts to melt…

When ice starts to melt…

 

After far too many years of being incredibly unhappy in a dark and turbulent relationship, I remember the exact moment I ‘remembered what happy was’. The exact second. My brain suddenly woke up and discovered that it still knew how to ‘do it’; despite having laid dormant for almost a decade. The exact nanosecond that I made the decision that I was never going to allow myself to be put in that position, where there was nothing but shadow, again.

That I would never let go of it.

Would never settle for less.

 

And I haven’t.

 

Life brings up and downs. I wallow in the high times and release low ones with relative ease; keeping hold only, of whatever lesson or gift was left on the beach as the waves rolled back out to sea. And there is always at least one of those. Usually both.

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Such basic emotions like happiness should be a given. A human right. But for so many they aren’t. No matter how dire an individual’s circumstances, the effect is the same. Our reasons for living, are stripped away until all that remains is a shell that exists on a diet of fear and self-protection. Eventually it becomes so much the norm that we all but lose the ability to let back in any light. Love and warmth becomes the stranger we hide from.

 

It’s taken me five years to reach my next ‘wake up’ moment. And my life has changed all over again. This weekend, someone gave me two gifts. The first is one I already treasure. Time. Given with no demands. No expectations. Nothing required in return.

The second, was one I didn’t even realise was (still) missing from my life.

Safety.

Security.

Total trust.

Twelve hours spent wrapped up in someone’s arms, and for the first time in as long as I can remember, not just feeling but knowing that nothing was going to hurt me. No matter how big the boogeyman hiding under the bed, I had nothing to be scared about.

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No adrenaline required.

Fiery relationships force you to adapt to survive.Each and every action meticulously planned to maximize damage limitation.   Fiery childhoods mean it’s a honed skill that is entwined with the atoms that create your very being. Self-defense and protection, as crucial as breathing. 

It never switches off … you can never let go … there is no relax…

Until the right pair of arms finds you. And for a brief window in time, all the bad stuff disappears.

Just for a moment.

What is a moment for them, for me, is a gift that will last forever

I remembered what is to feel safe.

From this point, I will never again settle for less.

Life is supposed to feel good. You are supposed to feel happy for the majority of the time. You are supposed to feel safe and secure, for the majority of the time. Anything less is a sign you are walking the wrong path. Only you can step off. Change your route. Change your life.

Only you.

No matter how scary, the reward is always worthy of the leap of faith.

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We should spend less time analyzing why people are in our lives, and more time thinking about the reason we are in theirs. We all leave a mark. Shallow or deep, we should  strive to make the footprint we leave, a positive one. We may not be destined to be in their life forever, but the memory of us will be. We should make our footprint one that is treasured …

Just like the one I now have, etched across my heart.

The Morning After The Night Before. ( The Indian Chronicles.)

I don’t have many words to share with you this morning, but I felt it only polite to follow up on yesterday’s blog. I shall do this using the medium of giphys.

So first this happened ….

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This of course, is an actual photo of me and is pretty much how I both look, and start all my mornings. Flower changes depending on seasonal availability. Prince changes depending on kidnapping availability.

All was good in the world as I set to, commencing what was to be a glorious day.

Time for morning ablutions.

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I obviously don’t get paid to poop. There are many things I am happy to do for money but pooping isn’t one of them. Nor is making my own giphys.

 

And then this happened.

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At first, I thought the rumblings were some kind of earth movement,but I soon realised that my soul was trying to remove itself from my body.

 

It got messy.

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I googled quickly whilst loo-bound … ‘upset tummy after eating Indian food’ … 

The news wasn’t good. It looks like I could be here for the foreseeable future. ‘Here‘, being on the loo. Still. My legs went numb about 30 minutes ago and I can no longer feel my face.

Please send gifts and donations. Money and diamonds are renown for their healing properties.

Until tomorrow. If I make it.

Anna J xxx

 

Cooking With Anna J

We’ve all got one of those friends on Facebook. The one who casually whips up food porn for their meals and then posts photos. I’ve got one and he’s called Mr. P.  Him and his lovely wife Mrs. P ( who always reminds me of a beautiful exotic Asian Helena Bonham Carter) have  been responsible for my screen-licking activities on many occasions. Today I was blessed with a visit from them. Our meet-ups are always far and few between. Work, commitments, life etc. gets in the way, but the time I do get with them is always a joy for which I am grateful. No matter how our conversations begin, they follow a road that always leads back to food – and what a great place to end up! The by-product of this, is me, without fail, being left , after they’ve departed, with cravings that only a telephone call to the local Indian restaurant can cure, especially as my cookery skills don’t stretch out much further than oven chips and fish fingers.

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As I was feeling in such a good mood this evening, the sun was shining in through the French windows, the birds were singing and life felt generally good, I thought I’d be brave and try something new off the menu. It’s so important that we step out of our comfort zones whenever we can. I’m generally not a huge fan of Indian food. If I’m honest it scares me a bit because I don’t know what things are, or what is in them, but after a couple of hours talking about it, it was a bullet that had to be bitten.

I closed my eyes, pointed my finger and trusted in the Goddess of Lovely Food.

Jhinga Satay!

 I made the call. Placed the order. And twenty minutes later – Bish Bash Bosh. ( Don’t you just love living in the 21st century? )

It was with much excitement that I plated up and took my first couple of mouthfuls. Spicy but delicious. So delicious  in fact that I set to on Our Lord God Google to see if I could find the recipe. It took me a few minutes to track it down on a cookery site, mainly because I was also still filling my face … which was starting to feel a tad warmer …

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By the time I got to copying the ingredients down, although still with no regrets, I had officially concluded that this probably wasn’t a ‘novice curry’; but being the brave and courageous soul that I am, I ploughed on.

So if anyone wants to try this recipe at home, here are the ingredients.

I have made some slight adjustments using what little culinary knowledge I have, to ensure that the version I am sharing is as authentic as possible and also accounts for the build up of heat I experienced by the end of eating.

 

Ingredients.

1 lb – tiger prawns. Peeled if desired.

2 cups – Fresh volcanic lava. ( If you can’t get fresh, dried is acceptable however it should be widely available when in season.)

3 cups – Breath of a dragon ( flaming) If you can’t find this in your local store, we recommend checking out your local farmer market.

1/4 lb of the sun. It essential that you use a lump of the core. We’ve tried outer layers and it simply doesn’t burn through your oesophagus

Mixed chopped salad for dressing.

And apparently some sort of Asian plum sauce

Method.

Fry off the tiger prawns and arrange on plate. Don’t worry about presentation too much. In five minutes your sauce will have melted the crockery anyway.

Mix all the ‘spices’ together ( we recommend wearing protective equipment whilst doing so. Safety, Safety, Safety! That’s the motto in the Anna J kitchen.) 

You can either pour the mix directly from the bowl, over your seafood, or simply hold the bowl above the prawns and wait for it to corrode through and drop down anyway.

Arrange salad as desired.

Put the Asian plum sauce back in the cupboard and save for another time because I have no clue when it’s supposed to be used.

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And there we have it. My new favourite Indian dish. Next week I shall be blogging about my visit to the plastic surgeon to have my princess-mouth rebuilt.It seems I have taste buds that are grown from fairy wings and dew drops. And the next time I decide to get all brave with things I have absolutely no knowledge of, I shall ensure I have an expert to hand. And probably a fireman. And a plastic surgeon.

Enjoy xx Anna J xx

Mildly Dramatic Light Bulb Moment Strikes.

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I have a lot of lightbulb moments. Some of them are lasting, and some of them have got a bit of dodgy switch which leads to intermittent flickering and eventual failure. However, I think, I hope, that this morning’s one, was of the more permanent kind.

I struggle with I’m Not Good Enough Syndrome.

It’s common amongst the female side of the species, and sadly, I think in recent years, has grown dramatically amongst the guys too. So much social and media pressure, 24/7. Unless you have a self-esteem that is made from anything less than steel and Teflon, it’s a difficult little fucker to avoid. However, mine didn’t come from that. We didn’t have the same pressures when I was a kid; in fact, most of my childhood was spent staring at posters of John Taylor from Duran Duran.

Mine came from my father.

I was a high achiever with a ridiculous amount of ability until high school at least. He encouraged me in the only way he knew how. By yelling at me and telling me that I could do more. Achieve more. Be better. Reminding me every single day that what I did, who I was …wasn’t good enough.

I wasn’t enough for him.

And there it was.  The message took root and evolved into my own personal nemesis. A self-belief that fused with every atom that made up the person I was. Am. With no conscious awareness, I spent my adolescence choosing  both friends and boyfriends who would re-enforce the message; and in return, I would play up to the person everyone ( and I) thought I was. Over the years I learned to flick away compliments like a highly skilled tennis player returning serves. I’ve shied away from doing things, going places and meeting people, all for fear of rejection of what I can bring to the table. i.e. Me.

I’ve held  back emotions for the same reason. To evade the possibility of rejection. To sidestep any chance of being told, either by word or deed, that yet again, I wasn’t good enough.

” I will never be enough.”

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I’ve worked on it continually as I know many do. Reading  the self-help books, watching the videos on YouTube, clicking ‘like’ on the trillions of memes that travel around facebook. Tried losing weight, tried gaining weight. Grew hair, cut hair, grew hair. Like a sticking plaster, the difference was always temporary because they only affected my thoughts and not my feelings. No matter how many times you go over a mantra, if the emotions behind the facade remain the same, we will always return to type. Eventually.

So what changed? 

I’m not ashamed to admit that I am Abraham Hicks’s biggest fan (these days), and it was hours and hours of listening that finally got a new message (and method) to sink in.

Life isn’t supposed to feel shit.

I started taking responsibility for my own emotional well-being. Made a decision that whilst I couldn’t stop life chucking things at me that made me feel yukky, I could choose to walk away from those that made me feel anything less than good. And I have been. Where ever possible. And the number of those ‘possibles’ appears to be growing.

It’s getting easier to say ‘No’ to that, and ‘Yes’ to this.

Shit things don’t just feel shit anymore. They feel wrong. That’s a big difference. A huge shift in perspective.  And this is what led to this mornings lightbulb moment. A conversation online with an old friend who happens to be abroad. Discussing what different people are attracted to (potential relationships). An old friend who also happens to be incredibly confident, and good looking.

“I’m generally only attracted to confident people,” He said. “even if I was initially attracted, without that confident element it wouldn’t last. Not with me.” Or words to that effect. It was open and candid, as our time together generally is. It’s one of the  things I love about out  friendship. And I was in agreement. Being around people with low self-esteem can be tiring. It’s exhausting having to constantly prop up another human being.

And then I remembered that I am one of those people, lusting after people like him. 

<Cue my brain caving in.>

I begin reminiscing about how it’s always been ‘my issue’. I could feel the childhood stories backing up inside. Tales of woeful romances that had fallen by the wayside because of ‘my issues’. In previous times this would have continued until I’d all but brought myself to tears; at which point I would shuffle off into a corner, faceplant some cake and ice-cream, and berate myself for hours for not being enough, or good enough. Resign myself to eternal singledom because no one was ever going to love someone so broken as me …. that no one should ever have to carry that burden of carrying me.

Seriously. By the end of the first tub of Ben & Jerry’s, it was not a pretty sight.

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But today was different.

I have no clue when the penny dropped. But something had changed. I had insight.

I recognised that I was talking myself down, and not only that, I was doing my darndest to get my friend to join in too. Subconsciously trying to get other peoples validation of how horrible a person I was. Am. IS THAT CRAZY OR IS THAT CRAZY!?

Not content with my own constant self-punishment, I’d decided I needed some reinforcement! Thank god it was with someone who not only won’t play ball but who also won’t hesitate in telling me to ‘shut the fuck up and get off the train bound for Pity-Ville’ … but today it wasn’t needed.

I spotted it. Felt It.

That horrid sickness that accompanies self-loathing and sneaks into your gut like a grey sticky shadow … it stuck it’s head through my door and I smashed it right back out.

“I don’t like talking about how crap I am!” I announced. The words fell out. “It’s making me feel even crappier about myself and I don’t like feeling like that anymore. I’m off to do some Yoga Ball.” And I did. And the bad feeling went away.

It was that easy! After all these years of wrestling!

It felt bad so I walked away. It. Is. That. Simple.

Only we can stop the rot. Only we can be responsible for what we allow or don’t allow. The hardest part about all of this, is learning just how easy it is.

I could go on forever and waffle people into a coma on the subject of Abraham / Ester Hicks these days, but I won’t. So if you’ve managed to get through this fuelled only by the power of a couple of coffee’s, then well done. Your prize is in the post.

Till tomorrow.

Anna J ❤

 

People, We Need To Talk About Balls.

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I’m not talking chocolate salty balls, or the sort we have to grow in pairs to push out of our comfort zone. I’m talking Yoga Balls. Or Balance Balls. Or, as I have already come to name mine, Bastard Ball. 

I had a few sessions with a fabulous trainer a couple of months ago. Circumstances have altered since then, making any more impossible for the foreseeable future at least, but everything he showed me, is logged in the old grey matter. I have to take my hat off to the guy. I can’t believe he gets clients any less fit than me, but he didn’t raise an eyebrow as I puffed and panted walking ten yards on the treadmill. Nor did he flinch as I wailed at the 2kg dumb bells he handed me, and to my horror, couldn’t control in a safe nor lady-like manner. “Not a problem,” he said; and handed me some 1kg weights instead. I wailed again. “Still not a problem,” he reassured me and handed me a couple of peapods instead. The workout went well from that point, once we’d established exactly what my level was.

I probably didn’t burn more than a 100 calories that day, but I walked out of the gym feeling 10 feet tall and empowered, and my mood was elevated for days. One of the other things he introduced me to was the Bastard Ball; and in a bid to recapture that incredible jubilant feeling, I finally purchased one to use at home.

“Simple!” Thinks I.

Buy it, blow it up, work it. Slinky Dinky Rejuvenated Me!

As with many great plans ( especially mine … and I do have many… on an hourly basis), things didn’t quite go as I expected them to.

Blowing it up. Let’s start there! The box said ‘Pump Included’. Hastily I ripped open my new toy, pulled out a flaccid rubber item ( the ball folks!), and then this thing drops out after it. Something akin to what you might find in a Christmas Cracker. A Cheap Christmas Cracker. That was the pump.  After much examining of pointy plastic bits, chin rubbing  and sucking in air, I still hadn’t figured out how to make it work and deftly handed it over to The Captain and The Colonel to deal with. In all fairness, they did well. It only took them an hour, two punch ups and one tantrum / storming and  I had my ball.

“Great!” Thinks I. “I’ll just read the instruction leaflet to make sure I’ve got everything covered.”  In teeny print at the bottom it read ‘leave ball for 24 hours to get used to its new expansion’.

Que?

I was fairly certain they weren’t referring to the balls spiritual progression, but a threat of possible splitage or explosion, that risk I suspect being much greater when about to be plopped on by a female such as me with  ( to steal a phrase from Plenty of Fish) a few *cough* extra pounds. Despite much reassurance from my FaceBook tribe, I decided to err on the side of caution and leave the grand christening until today.

Despite the period of grace I’d given it to adjust, it was still with some trepidation that I leaned across it this morning, fully expecting one almighty bang as the last ounce of my full body weight succumbed to the ‘power of the ball’.

There was no bang!! I have no idea what witchcraft they use to make these things, but it held my weight!! 

I pressed start on the YouTube Yoga Ball for Beginners video I’d found.

“How hard can it be?” says I. Outloud. “It’s only ten minutes long.”

Well, let me tell you, it could be very sodding hard, and it was. I didn’t even know I could travel across my bedroom, horizontally, at that speed. But seemingly, I can. And that was only whilst I tried to get into the correct position for the back stretch.

The whole session swiftly disintegrated into me, playing ‘ball-boy’ for half an hour. How do people DO those positions and movements without the bloody thing shooting out from beneath them like a pinball machine?

And then we need to talk about the issue of boobage. Seriously.

I’ve tried pushing them up, pushing them down … even attempted one either side of the Bastard Ball at one point. I’m only left with two options now. Sucking them in, or tying them up behind the back of my head. It’s really painful!! I’m sure the guys wouldn’t be so enthusiastic about playing football if they had to have their knackers clamped in a vice for the entirety of the match.

I crawled out of the room a sweaty, but triumphant, mess. Not sure how much I’ve actually benefited from it exercise wise, but I smashed the Ghost of Procrastination in the bollox and that will always be a great achievement.

I may try again tomorrow, or I may not. I’m undecided. The last piece of fitness equipment I bought, that stands neatly behind my bedroom door, is near to reaching it’s full capacity of how many clothes it can hold. Additional storage may be required.

I’m never going to love exercise, but I’m working on not hating it.