Married to Feminism? 

I’m watching the Royal Wedding and feeling a bit conflicted. 

Whilst I love a wedding, and all the traditional touches, there are a few parts that, these days, make me feel really uncomfortable. As I’ve got older and my feminist awareness and opinions have grown I’m now looking at everything with a new lens – one of equality. 

Do the traditions allow us to treat the Bride and Groom as equals? As I just heard the words ‘man and wife’ for the umpteenth time, I rolled my eyes and thought ‘fuck this shit!’  

I find myself confused about what I would do if I were planning a wedding today – would I make the same choices as I did 10 years ago?

More and more people are ditching traditions to make weddings more personal. I saw this during my days as a wedding photographer. It’s lovely and it makes your wedding YOUR wedding. I did the same, and at the time I thought my wedding was perfect. I still think that. And yet…. let’s just add that equality lens. 

Starting with the Bride’s entrance – all eyes are on the Bride, she looks beautiful, she feels special, she smiles and takes it all in. She enjoys feeling beautiful and people recognising how lovely she looks. But hang on… 

The Groom doesn’t make that same entrance – he waits at the front, and he sees everyone in advance. This tradition of having the Bride arrive last, builds up an expectation, that the Bride has an extra role – to be seen – to look her best – to make ‘an entrance’. 

We keep our dresses secret so it’s a surprise. Often we do our hair differently than we would ever normally wear it.

As guests, we lap it up. “Doesn’t she look beautiful, what a gorgeous dress.” 

And as a Bride myself, I wanted that – I wanted to look beautiful. The preparation was not just what I’d wear, but weeks of extra attention on looking after my skin, trying to lose weight, getting new make up. Because if all eyes are on me, I must look my best. Because how you look on your wedding day is one of the most important aspects of planning it. We are taught this through experience of attending other weddings. And in life – how women look is always important. 

My husband didn’t do any of that preparation. I doubt he thought much about it all. He got a nice suit and had a hair cut, like he would for any event – he dressed appropriately. He looked nice, but not that different. He looked like the man I spend every day with. He just farted less. Well, we both did – farts are equal too! 

Next is the tradition of the father of the Bride walking her down the aisle. I’ve been to many weddings where it’s mum rather than dad for whatever reason. In fact I nearly did the same. But in the end, I asked my shy, Step-dad to walk me, because I knew it would mean a lot to him to be recognised as my father – which he is. 

So, let’s just check… does anyone escort the groom down the aisle? Of course not, because… I know you can see it coming:
Who gives this woman to this man?”.

OK what the actual fuck?? Why are we still doing this? I did it myself. But now, instead of thinking of it as a gesture to show my dad how much I love him, I’m annoyed that I was ‘given’. Clearly I wasn’t – I made that choice. 

No-one was expected to ‘give’ my husband to me. We just chose to be together. Equally. We chose to be a family. 

And then to the reception and the speeches – probably the most obvious one that many people are already pushing against the traditions. 

Traditionally speeches are by The Men. I’ve always been delighted to see a Bride make a speech, although I didn’t do it myself. I’m still not sure why. 

People now ask a Best Friend, rather than a Best Man, and a Parent of the Bride, rather than always the Father. And yet, I’ve not so far seen a Parent of the Groom take up the equal opportunity. 

And so, even after writing this (I write to help me think) I find myself still conflicted. Is that because I regret decisions I made at my own wedding? Nope – the problem is, despite my strong opinions, if I had to do it all over again, I would do exactly the same again. I’m conflicted because it turns out that my feminism has boundaries. 

And I’m really fucking annoyed with myself for that!!
#feminism #equality #wedding #royalwedding

Stand in front of a door week

It’s tradition for for many of us at some point this week to take a picture of our kids heading off for their first day at school. 

PARENTS: Don’t forget to take a picture of YOU standing in front of a door and smiling. Then look back on it occasionally to remind yourself that (with a week’s worth of preparation) it actually is possible to leave the house calm and smiling with plenty of time to take photos and arrive in the playground early. 

NB THIS IS NOT EVERY DAY REALITY!!

Your future self will learn that normal procedure is to leave the house each morning…

– red in the face from running up and down your stairs repeatedly, looking for lost shoes, PE kits and door keys

– arguing with your child that they could have mentioned earlier that they desperately want to take a very specific book, stick or twatting pebble into Show and Tell but, of course, they have no idea where it is right now. 

– battling a small person’s arm into their inside-out coat sleeve while throwing your own coat over your head and hopping in one shoe as you attempt navigate the door / steps putting on the other one. 

– juggling what feels like a hundred bags, books and possibly a scooter

– expressing your slight ‘disappointment’ (total fucking rage) that your child has not (you have not) planned ahead, and agree that tonight they (you) really WILL learn to pack and prepare everything the night before school (just like you remember you did on the first day of the school year)

– locking the door, setting off and then realising that you have forgotten your own sodding bag. 

Good luck everyone! 


#standinfrontofadoorday #allthekidsaredoingit

Sudden flurry

Is anyone able to tell me why this might be happening? 

I’ve had a sudden flurry of people starting to follow my blog over the last week. Even though I haven’t written anything for a while. 

While it’s lovely if these are genuinely interested people, the cynic in me wonders if it’s a bot of some kind, especially as every one of the followers is from an email address with ‘Outlook.com’. 


Anyone else experiencing this or have any idea why there might suddenly be so much interest from new followers? 

Thank you. 

Do you hate your body, or embrace it?

“At least I can get in size 8 jeans again, even though my fat belly is rolling over the top. Eurgh, I need to get to the gym and sort that out! I used to be so much thinner before I had you.”

That’s a conversation I overheard in a shop changing room – a mother telling her very young daughter how pleased she was that she had lost weight.
Once upon a time I wouldn’t have paid much attention to that conversation. It’s just what women say. I might have rolled my eyes a little at the idea of a size 8 woman complaining she has a ‘fat belly’, but that’s all. 

But just over a year ago I saw a film documentary that had a massive impact on me and made me question so much of what I see around me. Now that film is available to buy or rent and I can’t recommend it enough.


We all know that the media, especially beauty and fashion industries constantly bombard us with an ideal of what we should look like, so that they can sell more products. But do we realise the scale of the impact? 

According to research done by the film makers, 91% of women say they hate their bodies. Even in these amazing times of celebrating women and how far we how come, how much we can do, how equal we are, still we seem to judge so much of our value on how we look. 

‘Embrace’ documents an amazing journey of Taryn Brumfitt, travelling round the world, meeting all sorts of women to understand their feelings about their bodies. And just as importantly how we are talking to our children about our bodies. 

It’s shocking, thought provoking and actually very funny. I massively recommend watching, and potentially sharing with your children. Not just girls – it’s a message for everyone. 

Embrace by Taryn Brumfitt https://itunes.apple.com/gb/movie/embrace/id1190681117

New Year, new pressure?

Perfectly acceptable New Year’s resolutions… 

There is a lot of motivation (pressure?) for us to better ourselves in the new year but I’m opting for the no pressure route. In 2018 I will be what I will be. 

We don’t have to have a 5 year plan, or a 5 week plan. I quite like spontaneity and seeing what happens next.

I don’t have to be ‘My Best Self’ – I’m proud that I’m moderately good at a few things. 

Life is an adventure and sometimes it’s OK to go with the flow, see what comes along, and be flexible enough to cope with an unexpected event.  

  • Sometimes I WANT to change something. 
  • Sometimes I have an idea and go for it. 
  • Sometimes life throws me a curve ball and I NEED to change something.
  • Sometimes I decide to do something and then change my mind. 

And that’s OK. 

If you’re positively motivated by all the ‘change your life’ memes and statements then good for you. Good luck with whatever that change is for you. 

Right now, I don’t have a career dream. There isn’t a burning fitness ambition that I need to fulfil this year. That might change, or it might not. 

If I decide to change something at any point this year, I will change it. If I decide NOT to change anything because actually my unbalanced, unplanned life is pretty fucking fabulous, then I’ll just keep on going, without a plan. 

#resolutionrevolution  #justbe #itsOKtobeOK

#myhappyhour

Inspired by @bryonygordon wearing a ‘Running is my happy hour’ Tshirt, this morning I finally broke my months of excuses and got back out there. 

An hour before I had been moaning that I never have time / don’t feel like I can do it anymore. My husband told me ‘Just bloody go now. It doesn’t matter if you only walk!’  
So I just bloody went. Everything else waited. 

I’m so glad I did. I was rubbish, I was panting, looked awful and will no doubt have stiff legs tomorrow. But I felt amazing. 

I didn’t wear headphones I just ran and enjoyed looking at he trees and saying good morning to strangers. 

I’m posting this not to brag that I ran – finally – but to remind myself that it is important to take that hour, just for me. I’m going to use #myhappyhour as a reminder to do that. Whether it’s a run, a brew with a friend or watching a family film together. I will dedicate that time to one activity. Not multi-tasking, not thinking about a work problem or just quickly looking up that thing in the internet, just making sure a properly enjoy one thing at a time. 

#myhappyhour #headspace

‘I’m getting old’ is getting old

I’ve been wondering why people I know who are approaching 30 seem to worry that they they are getting old. Old!! 

Women today have an average life expectancy of reaching our late 80s, yet before we are out of our 20s we already think we’re past our prime, and start to wish we were (or at least could look) younger. 

What the hell are we teaching each other? 

I started thinking about it when my little boy innocently asked me “why do people always want to look younger” after watching a TV advert for women’s skin care. It was a shock because, although I know somewhere deep inside me that it’s ridiculous, it’s also so fucking normal that somewhere along the way I stopped even noticing. 

“Look at that amazing middle-aged woman. I can’t wait until I have those gorgeous expression lines on my face. That’s so sexy.” 

Said no 20-something, ever. 

Even from a very young age I remember the phrase ‘you never ask a woman her age’, and wondering, why? My gran would sing, “Keep young and beautiful, if you want to be loved”. Sigh. And we all know by now that it’s taken decades for celebrities to be allowed to get older, unless they take to the knife or needle or chemicals, to cut and stretch or fill their skin with age-reversing magic. 

When we are children we can’t wait to grow up to be old enough to do whatever our current age restricts (watch the best films, ride the best rollercoasters, drink all the booze). Then we hit about 25 and realise we’re heading towards 30… when apparently, it’s all downhill from here. So there’s a period of about 5 – 7 years where we think we’re in our prime, and then what? Re start trying to stay young, to reverse ‘growing up’. 

Why do we value youth so much, when age means we continue to grow – in knowledge, experience and an understanding of what’s actually important to us?

We only seem to value people getting older when the numbers get much bigger. Then people start telling you their age all the time. “I’m 83 you know!”  They are proud, and we are impressed because they have made it to a ripe old age, and perhaps they are still showing us that they can have enormous fun. 

Let me give you an example, of dancing in public :

  • Age 5 = cute
  • 25 = sexy
  • 35 – 55 = embarrassing
  • 65 – 95 = Go Grandma!!! 

We just love seeing an obvious pensioner mixing it up with the kids at a festival or dancing in the street. They show us that pure joy is what’s important at any age. They also show us that they give no fucks what so ever. 

I’m 44 and apparently I have a life expectancy of 89. I’m not even half way! It is a fact that I am younger than the average person (just) and perhaps in the absolute peak period of my life. 

My body may not be as flexible as it was when I was an 11 year old gymnast, but I no longer care about which of my friends can do the best standing back-flip. I have other things I need my body to do. My tits may not point in the same direction as they did when I was 22, but that’s because they have been a life source for another human. They can point whichever twatting way they want to after that. 

But I tell you what, mentally I’ve never been healthier. I know what’s important to me and what’s not, and that helps me to realise that I’ll never again waste my energy worrying about how many candles there are on my cake each year, unless they start to cause a fire hazard. 

Every age I have been has been my favourite so far. We need to start talking about THAT. We need to help the teenagers, the 20-somethings and people at every number of candles understand that their age right now can be celebrated – just like the kids showing off their age on a birthday badge; just like the woman who is proud of being 83; we have made it through another year. We have learned more, experienced more, grown more as a person. 

I’m still growing, and I don’t mean my waist line (that’s a given). 

In my 20s – I had a ball, drinking and dancing in noisy, smelly, disgusting clubs, making new friends, shopping for shoes and  flirting with boys. (Maybe more than flirting sometimes)

In my 30s – I had a ball, going to pubs where I could get a nicer glass of wine, a seat and good conversation. There was theatre, gigs, and cinema with a solid group of friends and I ‘settled down’, got married and became a mum’. Life was even better. 

In my 40s – I’m having a ball, going to great restaurants, festivals, museums, holidays with my family, afternoon tea with my friends. Life is even better. 

I look back on younger days with massively fond memories, but do I want to go back to smelly clubs with sticky floors, shit wine and questionable men? No, I don’t. Except, if I do want to go, I will go.  I will be one of those ‘old women’ that my 20-something self would have sneered at because they were embarrassing themselves, drinking too much and taking over the dancefloor, and turning ‘our club’ into a grab a granny night’. How dare they?! 

I’ll tell you how dare they…. because I’m learning it now – middle-aged women have learned the best life lesson there is – they have learned about what’s import to worry about and what’s not. That’s what age is wonderful at giving us – a depleting number of fucks to give. It’s really quite liberating!

If we want to go out and get shitfaced on a better class of cocktail, we will. If we want to wear a more sensible heel, we will. And if we want to stay at home watching a box set, and only drinking tea, we fucking well will and we don’t care if that’s ‘boring’. We earned the right to do whatever we want by drinking a decades-worth of cheap, warm cider and alco-pops then staggering home on blister-bleeding feet. 

So I’m not scared of getting older, because experience tells me that life only gets better. And if that experience shows as lines on my face then that’s just fucking dandy. (Marketing people take note – I’ll still buy face cream, but to make my skin feel nice.)

Let it be known that I am 44, and 44 is brilliant. If you’re not there yet, you’ve got a lot to look forward to. Honestly. And if you’re older, please tell me what else I can look forward to. 

Or have I already lost the plot because I’m so old and passed it?