My bucket list of experiences. (In association with Eventbite.)

Eventbite contacted me a little while ago. (I know-I was so surprised also!) In exchange for giving my blog some coverage on their social media, they asked me to create a list of experiences I cherish, in the form of a bucket list. So, for today’s post, this is exactly what I’m doing.

Here goes!

Ping pong for my birthday.

It was at Bounce in London-well, I think that’s what the restaurant was called-and most of my relatives were there, and we were just being silly. (I did get a few ping pong balls whacked at me…) Life goes so fast, and it’s often really intense, but this was the antithesis of this.

Listening to Golden Days.

The new album by Brian may and Kerry Ellis. I have yet to listen to all of this, but I already have firm favourites, such as The Panic Attack Song. There was so much excitement for me-and I felt like a kid again-in downloading it, and just walking round, playing it at home.

Teaching a relative the Presidents since Herbert Hoover.

One of the most prominent hallmarks of my version of Aspergers Syndrome is that I can become very obsessive, and some facts I can recall in great detail, as a result. (I use ‘a relative’ to be indirect, because my personal life is private, therefore separate from this ol’ blog.) I have been able to recite the Presidents since Herbet Hoover from the age of fourteen, I think. But my ASD has often served to alienate-people can be scared of me. (WHY??) But being able to teach presidential history-whilst sitting, key policy, impact, etc-has been great of me, because I can put my knowledge to use, passing it on. (Well, up, as they’re older than me, but still…..) Presidents are a love of mine.

Blogging daily.

Quite the challenge!

Seeing Emeli Sande live.

Although some things went a little bit wrong during the performance, to be asked to review her show, as a spur-of-the-moment proposal, it felt like I was ‘making it’. I had done what I had always wanted to do. And it was a great night out!

Beginning pilates.

Here’s a secret: I am neither athletic, inclined to exercise, or at all flexible. Beginning pilates has totally changed that! I go weekly, and it has helped my core muscles, as well as toning my abs just a little bit more. But I feel far more confident now! I feel better about myself, and able to walk tall, assert myself even, instead of slouching, scuttling away. If you lacked the confidence that I did, I really suggest that you give this a go.

Working with Bagleman.

What’s wrong about finding out about how Bagels are made? Not much, in my book, and I had to travel for it-all good in the end. I got to explore a part of Brighton that I didn’t even know existed also.

Reading The Summer Of Impossible Things.

I was sent this as a proof copy, but how I cried. A tour-de-force novel about time travel, bringing relatives alive, and changing times, this was affirming for me. (It was the last line of the book that got me: “Thank you for being brave”.) Rowan Coleman is brilliant. And I wish that I could write like her.

Interviewing Jemma Morgan.

Interview your blogging hero? Why not!

Getting accepted to the NTCJ.

The NTCJ is something that I have wanted to do for a long time-simply because it trains you to be a Journalist. And it’s recognised by various industry heavyweights. To be a journalist is what I have wanted to be for a long time-and getting the acceptance email was a truly happy day.

 

There’s still more to come in 2017; and all I have to say is, “Bring it on”.

Until tomorrow-

Lydia

XO

***

I am pleased to announce that I am working with Basic Beauty Tools. If you go to their website via this link , and order the Spongedry, you can get an extra free foundation blender by adding under ‘Note To Seller’ your colour code: LYDIAPINK for pink, LYDIAPURPLE for purple, and LYDIABLACK for black.

Pet Peeves At A Concert; A Rant Coming Up!

Good morning!
Recently, I was lucky enough to be able to see Emeli Sande live in concert, thanks to a very generous offer of press tickets. But whilst I was there, a few things really annoyed me, whilst trying to enjoy a good concert. So, but if a grumpy post today, but here are my pet peeves at a concert:
The person always on their phone.

Throughout the concert, they will be on Facebook, Instagram, even Snapchat. And only part of this is to document the concert going on in front of them. The huge, lumimous screen is the distraction-seemingly exarcebated by the darkness a concert usually takes place in. Can’t we just enjoy it, without technology, for once? Like back when Rock concerts were a full foot-stamping-sing-along affair? Because that looks far more entertaining and enjoyable.

People moving about the row.
Or even just walking out. There’s probably a clearer cut exit path than having to bumble down one fully packed out row. Instead of going through a throng of people, and treading in their toes, why not go out the right way?

Hecklers
At a stand up concert, the put downs can be rather funny. (Look up Jimmy Carr vs Blonde Women on YouTube if you don’t believe me!) But at a concert? I remember seeing Anastacia back in 2015, yet whilst she was talking-due to a Q&A feature of the Resurrection tour-a group were constantly heckling her, meaning we couldn’t hear her. It’s not funny! And it was all really crude axioms, seemingly sexual, that were being shouted. I wish for the artist to be in control, and to enjoy their show. Heckling is not very funny at a rock concert.
Playing your own music.
You pay decent money to watch a show, but then there’s always one person who gets their phone out, in order to play their own music, usually during the middle of a song. Why?! Just Why?! We come to hear the artist, often on in a quite pricey ticket, not your rap music that’s muffled in its sound. Turn it off, sit down, and enjoy the show. You won’t annoy anyone, promise.

Feet on seats.

Why is it acceptable to put your feet up on the back of somebody else’s chair? Even if there is very limited leg room, I don’t wish to smell your stinky shoes, or to be annoyed at you kicking my chair. Besides, you can always stamp your feet in time to the beat on the floor.
What are your pet peeves at a concert?
Lydia
XO

***

I am pleased to announce that I am working with Basic Beauty Tools. If you go to their website via this link , and order the Spongedry, you can get an extra free foundation blender by adding under ‘Note To Seller’ your colour code: LYDIAPINK for pink, LYDIAPURPLE for purple, and LYDIABLACK for black.

Grief, Loss, And How To Recognise It; Guest Post By Lisa Kallas.

This is a guest post by Lisa over at Sugar Loaf Dreams. (Click here to visit here blog.)

 

At some point in our lives we will all lose someone close to us, it’s a reality. Grief affects everyone differently and certainly does not follow a road map. What someone feels is completely different to another and can be at different times also. There are 7 known stages of grieving but they do not always follow the known order and there is no set time for each stage, as I said every ones experience is different.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Grief, loss and how to recognize it. So let’s take a closer look at the 7 Stages……..
1.NORMAL FUNCTIONING……this could be just before or immediately after the loss.

2.SHOCK AND DENIAL….. at this point there is likely to be
-Avoidance, a change in normal activities or just not wanting to do them anymore.
-Confusion, not being able to make decisions anything from something as minor as what to have for lunch to major decisions like having to chose a new telco.
-Fear, of being alone, what will happen to me now, the future as it is no longer how you planed it.
-Numbness, a feeling of nothing.
-Blame, what could you have done to stop this from happening.

3.ANGER……
-Frustration, maybe over the loss or maybe simply from how you are feeling.
-Anxiety, from worrying about the little things like the vacuuming not being done to what will happen if a war breaks out on the other side of the world.
-Irritation, over small inconsequential moments and can come across as either sadness or anger.
-Embarrassment, maybe your financial position has had to change or you are embarrassed because of your behavior struggling to cope.
-Shame, very much like Embarrassment above.

4. DEPRESSION AND DETACHMENT……..
-Overwhelmed, not being ale to cope with the loss and all the changes and emotions that has brought.
-Blah, to me this is similar to NUMB, a feeling of nothing.
-Lack of energy, one of the major telltale signs of depression.
-Helplessness, unable to cope alone or do for yourself.

5.DIALOGUE AND BARGAINING…….
-Reaching out to others, a sign that you now realize you need help and others.
-Desire to tell ones story, sharing is good for you and you start to feel a freedom from the grief when retelling the story as opposed to utter sadness.
-Struggling to find meaning for what has happened, putting words to thoughts and feelings.

6. ACCEPTANCE…..
-Exploring options, looking into relocation, downsizing, new hobbies etc
– A new plan in place, drafting  plan for the future.

7. RETURN TO MEANINGFUL LIFE……..
-Empowerment, taking back your life and being prepared to move forward.
-Security, feeling safe in your new decisions.
-Self Esteem, feeling strong to face the world by yourself.
-Meaning, finding a reason to move forward with your life with confidence.
So these are the recognized 7 stages but you may also notice other changes in your loved ones or yourself that could fit into this table of grieving. The most important thing to remember it does not happen smoothly or in a timely manner. Someone could actually start at stage 4 and jump back to stage 2, then 6 etc there is NO set road to travel, so don’t think just because someone is exhibiting one stage that they will just glide peacefully into the next one…..take it from me it ain’t going to happen that way!!!!
I have included here a post I wrote back in October last year based on our very own family journey through these stages……have a little read and I will fill you in on what is happening now, nearly 7 months on……

“As I sit here at my mums I can’t help but feel hopeless. The full weight of dads loss has engulfed her since we returned from our trip. She has now been rocked to her core and all I can do is watch brokenhearted.
There is nothing I can do, no words nor actions that can make it better…….all there is is time. How long? Forever.
Everyone handles their grief in different ways…..we can’t understand each individual’s journey, we’re not meant to. Grief is an extremely personal passage, unfortunately when it hits we are meant to carry on with life. We do, because we can, we need to or simply because others expect us to,
Time doesn’t make it go away, you don’t forget…….you just learn to adjust your life and get through it the best way possible. You need to acknowledge and accept that some days you can do great things and others you can barely move because you are so numb. Most of all you need to be gentle on yourself……no amount of positive self talk will change the journey or how long it will take.
I’ve spent the past 25 years trying to make life gentler and better for my children. I’ve spent the past 3 years trying to do the same for myself……but the reality that I now can’t do anything to help mum is very difficult. All I can do is listen……sometimes it’s hard to do, sometimes I’m busy, tired, or just unable to hear it at the time…
No matter what, grief is different for everyone……we need to remember the waves don’t always roll in gently……they crash and roll over rocks and uneven ground…..learning to stand strong and not get dragged out into the current is the hardest lesson we will ever have to complete……but it’s life and we will go on, if for no other reason than that’s what our loved one would want.
As I write this I can still hear dad say……”when it’s time to put your cue in the rack, there’s nothing you can do about it”. We need to attempt to move through our futures with the strength and courage he showed us as he left.”
So here we are nearly 7 full months later and although there have been improvements along the way we are still having very long, dark and sad days. For anyone that knows my mum she is a little impatient so any improvements should have happened by now and she thinks she should be back to normal and swinging from the chandeliers or something, she still hasn’t grasped the idea of the “new normal”. When I say this I get reminded she doesn’t like this new normal and wants to go back to her “old” self…….I realize this may never happen and we just need to keep working on this new normal.
I am well aware this can and probably will affect her the rest of her life…..all I and the rest of the family can do is be there. Be there through the good, happy, sad and somewhat frightening times for her, after all……she has always been there for us!
None of us really knows what is just around the corner that’s why you should always live your life to the fullest and be extremely grateful for what we have.

Time is our best friend and our worst enemy……we simply  need to understand this and just let it happen.

Two of the best facial scrubs; guest post by Grace Brown.

This is part of a series of guest posts this week; to view Grace’s blog, click here.

So today I wanted to talk about two of the best facial scrubs I’ve ever used. I’m a big fan of exfoliating scrubs, I feel that they give my face a much more thorough cleanse than standard face washes. I’ve tried and tested quite a few over the years however these beauties are by far my favourites.

I’ll start with my old faithful; The Body Shop Tea Tree Squeaky Clean Scrub. I’ve been using this face wash for years and I’ve not yet tired of it. Its actually made several appearances on my own blog as I just love using it that much.

GRACEBEE BODYSHOP TEA TREE SQUEAKY CLEAN SCRUB

The scrub is fairly pricey compared to other similar products, coming in at £7.50 for 100ml. That being said its worth every penny. This product features ‘purifying tea tree oil’ and the exfoliating micro-beads are biodegradable meaning they wont hurt the environment. Its perfect for normal or blemished skin and I will always go back to repurchase more when I run out.

The next scrub I’ve fallen in love with is the Miss Patisserie Orange Coffi Scrub. I’ve only been using this product for around 2 months but its already a firm favourite. The scrub is from a small cosmetic brand based in Cardiff that I probably never would have heard of had I not been invited to a press day there last year.

GRACEBEE MISS PATISSERIE ORANGE COFFI SCRUB

This product is a coffee lovers dream. The exfoliating granules smell incredibly strong but also include hint of sweet orange so that its not overbearing. This beautifully scented scrub is infused with both coconut and almond oil to leave you skin feeling soft and hydrated. Again its a fairly pricey retailing at nearly £14 a pop but for that you get 200g of product which will last months.

So those were my two absolute favourite facial scrubs that you can buy right now! I’d also just like to thank Lydia for letting me guest post on her blog!

Grace x

***

I am pleased to announce that I am working with Basic Beauty Tools. If you go to their website via this link , and order the Spongedry, you can get an extra free foundation blender by adding under ‘Note To Seller’ your colour code: LYDIAPINK for pink, LYDIAPURPLE for purple, and LYDIABLACK for black.

This time next year tag

This is a post that I’ve seen floating around for a while-you can see the exact post here. So, here’s my version:


Firstly, you have to thank the person who tagged you-so, maybe over social media. Next, write and set yourself  goals for next year, as well as how you intend to achieve them. Tag five or more people. Then, once a year has passed, write about how you achieved these goals. Simple, right? Here goes…

Goals for the next year:

  • Pass the NTCJ diploma course, with a decent standard of grades achieved. (This is something I have been wanting to undertake for a while-and I would love to achieve something good from it.
  • Keep blogging, and start to earn from it!
  • Have at least one story-well, copy-published in a magazine. Because this is something that I have tried to achieve for a while.
  • Get paid for articles!
  • Have at least one great interview, with somebody who is really current-I’m thinking Ed Sheeran, Emeli Sande, Amy MacDonald, Stormzy, Bones, and people in that vein. Because ambition isn’t a crime, right?
  • Start to write my book!

I tag Lauren at This Stuff Is Golden, Katie at CountryKatieUk, Kimberly Jessica at Kimberly Jessica, Faz from Like A Parisienne, and Freya from Freya’s Nook. Be sure to comment when you write your own!

Lydia

XO

 

***

Fancy a good offer? Go to Basic Beauty Tools via this link to order the Spongedry, and get an extra free foundation blender by adding under ‘Note To Seller’ your colour code: LYDIAPINK for pink, LYDIAPURPLE for purple, and LYDIABLACK for black.

 

Let’s Have An Honest Chat About Aspergers Sydrome. (A note to fellow Aspergians like me…)

Let’s just have an honest chat, shall we? From the ‘aspergic’ blogger whose blog you’ve been reading, to you, the presumably neurotypical reader. (Or maybe you’re a fellow ‘Aspergian’-in that case, welcome! You are among friends here 😃)

Having Aspergers Sydrome is hard; over on Twitter, I saw one parent saying that her son refers to it as “my trouble”. The problem is that we are often in our own worlds-the comforting place inside our heads, where we can escape, almost. It’s the outside world that intrudes in, I feel-those sudden load noises, horrible sensations, and not understanding what your classmates are trying to convey. (Believe me, it is so difficult. And although I could probably count my friends on both hands, it is those that be deciphered that are scary.)

Questions are hard to interpret.

Conversation is hard to maintain.

Noise is hard to bare.

Sticking to the social code is hard.

And that’s just the beginning.

Aspergers is something complex, complicated, but at its core it’s caring; all the ‘aspergic’ people I have met are some of the most brilliant minds there are. They care in different ways for you. And they are so incredibly loyal. These are the people that I take strength from, and who this post is on tribute to. They are the best in human nature.

And if you’re reading this, as a fellow ‘Aspergian’, I want you to know that you aren’t as ‘bad’ as sometimes made out to be; you have so much potential, and the ability to move to a higher plane. Forget these so called popularity contests at schools-they don’t reflect the real world. Keep your friends close. And you’ll be fine 😁

***

I am pleased to announce that I am working with Basic Beauty Tools. If you go to their website via this link , and order the Spongedry, you can get an extra free foundation blender by adding under ‘Note To Seller’ your colour code: LYDIAPINK for pink, LYDIAPURPLE for purple, and LYDIABLACK for black.

Having It All….At What Price? Guest Post By Lisa Kallas, Sugar Loaf Dreamer.

This is a guest post by Lisa Kallas, over at Sugar Loaf Dreamer. (Click here to visit her blog.)

When my mum was leaving school you were encouraged to stay at home and be a housewife and mother. If they did work it was in retail, nursing and light duties work. When I was leaving school you were encouraged to attend university and get agood job. Some of us never saw the inside of a university or college and went straight into work. At that point if you were lucky you found yourself a good provider and worked part time, able to have the choice to either work or stay at home when you became a mother. When my daughter was going through school university became more of a necessity to get a good job, a lot of women delayed getting married and having children as they were forging their careers and by the time they do decide to settle down it takes two incomes to just get by…….sound familiar???

In this the 21st century women can be anything they want no longer just holding down retail or admin jobs, they are becoming CEOs and entrepreneurs pushing the limits of those glass ceilings. We have cracked a lot of them, however we are still struggling for equal pay with men but that’s a whole other blog!!
So here you are mid career, maybe married trying to fit everything in. Your work, gym, socialising with the girls, shopping, cooking, cleaning all the incidental jobs traditionally held by women……you almost have to schedule a date with your partner in your diary just to fit it in. Then along comes baby……now what? How many times have you heard a newly pregnant lady say “I haven’t got time for a baby”? Well that’s when you have to take a step back and prioritise.

Believe it or not men, now more than ever want to be hands on with the child raising process. As far as jobs around the home go, men don’t always notice what we women do, so it seems they are lazy or unhelpful. This is not necessarily the case, most times if you ask they will help. So learn to delegate around the house. Put a time limit on the amount of work you bring home, I know you do….most of us will spend some personal time checking and answering emails, trust me, just because you may have your pjs on and a glass of wine in your hand it’s still work, so maximum 1 hour and then its family time, even if that family consists of only a partner or a dog. Cut it back.

At work, especially if you are the manager or CEO delegate, delegate, delegate. No one can do it all alone. One of the easiest ways of running a successful business with a happy team is inclusion. Teach them what you know, that way you won’t have to worry if you are absent from work….others now know how to run the joint without you. Trust me, that delegation bit, I struggled with that for years and then I became ill. Learning to share the load at work made such a difference to not only my happiness but the satisfaction of my team. It will also allow you to spend less work time when bub comes along.

It is a very personal choice whether to be a working parent or not, again I stress, some of us don’t have that choice and need to continue working while parenting. If that’sthe case make time, try to do a little housework each night and free up your weekends as much as possible for your family. Be there 100%, time with your children passes so quickly, they grow so fast, don’t miss it.

We can have it all if we wish, we can do anything a man does if we want to, we study and work for it. As someone that continued to work while parenting it is with experience I say make time, the years go so fast and unfortunately you can never get that time again.

Through all of this you also need to find some ME time. Burnout is a killer of many things, careers, marriages, friendships and people. Never be afraid to to ask for help, there is no sign of weakness in admitting you need it. Breathe in life and exhale love, that is what we need to do daily.

***

If you go to Basic Beauty Tools website via this link , and order the Spongedry, you can get an extra free foundation blender by adding under ‘Note To Seller’ your colour code: LYDIAPINK for pink, LYDIAPURPLE for purple, and LYDIABLACK for black.