Author Archives: Lauren

About Lauren

I love taking pictures of everything and anything, i like baking ( and eating it before it's cooked), i like being with people and family and i like life... most of the time! this is my blog.. read about things that catch my attention, make me think or are just a bit different..happy reading :)

Sour Lemons

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When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Or at least that’s what they say… As upbeat as this saying may be, how much do we actually live by it? Making the best of the situation sure sounds good in theory but in real life, when should you make lemonade and when should you just go and get an orange juice?

It’s surprising how much some people will put up with while others will run at the first sign of difficulty or when things don’t go their way. I know people on both ends of the spectrum and I’m still not sure which one is happier in the long run. Perhaps those who accept their situation and get on with it, whether it is a boring job, a not so exciting relationship or a bad hair day, are better off because they are content with what they have. But maybe they are just too scared to look for something else, perhaps something better?

Older generations appear to have stuck at it and don’t run when times got tough. So does that mean they’re happier? Do they look back when they’re 75 and think how happy they were that they took their lemons and made their lemonade? Or do they wish they had been more willing or able to change their circumstances?

Then there are those people who wouldn’t put up with things not being perfect like they imagined and if they don’t like the ways things are going, they’ll change course and look for something new. Are these people brave and determined? Or are they naïve in thinking that there’s a perfect happy ending out there?

Sometimes it’s hard to know what you should put up with and when it’s time to say “enough is enough”. A boyfriend who leaves his dirty clothes on the floor is hardly a reason to look for a new model but how many times should you accept empty apologies or bad days at work. Maybe we should just be grateful because we’re better off than many others but even though we know that, it doesn’t seem to stop us wanting more.

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New Year, New You?

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I must have been asked about 10 times these last couple of weeks; “Any New Years Resolutions?” as if saying ” Happy New Year” to everyone 16 days into January wasn’t enough. New Years Resolutions are not something I have ever really thought about, it was always just that thing people talk about around this time of year to fill the conversation gaps. In fact, if you think about it, everyone asks the question as if it’s totally normal but really what you’re asking is quite personal. “No thanks coffee guy, I actually DON’T want to share my plans to lose weight, climb Mount Everest or adopt a child with you while I wait for my Latte.”

2012

When you ask people about their resolutions, do you really think they are giving you their honest answer about their hopes and dreams for the next year? I know when someone asks me I just brush it off with the old faithful; healthy eating, less alcohol… At least that way if/when you fall off the wagon it’s not really of much importance. But if you really had an amazing goal that you wanted to achieve or something you wanted to change in your life, like open a successful business or swim across the Channel, would you avoid telling people just in case you couldn’t quite get there?

According to the ever reliable Wikipedia a New Years Resolution is “a commitment that an individual makes on New Year’s”. But how many of us are really committed? I don’t just mean to a resolution but I mean to things in general? Are you committed to your day-to-day goals at work or at home, are you committed to recycling or stopping global warning or is it just something you think you should be doing? If we’re not committed then we are never really going to succeed. If you think you should sign up to the gym just because you’ve seen so many adverts on tv about losing those excess kilos but you’re not really committed to having a healthier lifestyle then why bother? You really are just setting yourself up for failure.

Isn’t it about time we started to think about what it is we are really committed too and work towards those goals instead of the superficial ones we think we should be doing at this time of the year. What do you REALLY want to do this year? Where do YOU really want to be? These are the questions we should all be asking ourselves, and not just in the New Year but every day.  Time flies and before you know it you’ll be in 2013 weighing the same as this year and no closer to achieving the real goals in your life…….

P.S. saying I REALLY want to marry Johnny Depp this year won’t get you anywhere, trust me!

A grown up beauty pageant?

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If you own a tv or a computer then it’s pretty hard to not have noticed that the Golden Globes took place a few days ago. Since then, the internet and the TV have been filled with photos of celebrity, making us all feel a bit more worried about losing those few extra kilos that we gained over Christmas. Looking at the red carpet pictures, it actually makes you think that these people skipped Christmas all together, I mean where did all the turkey and the chocolates go? They all look amazing. It does however make me think that the Award Ceremonies in Hollywood seem to be turning into more of a beauty pageant than a recognition of film or music. I mean it doesn’t really matter if you win the award for best film as long as you look good in your designer dress right?

Every year there is a trend colour which actresses seem to have to follow, this year it was ‘Pretty in Pink’ whereas next year they might all turn up in purple. It makes me wonder if they are all competing for the best dress in that colour instead of the best movie in the category.  Also, the more the media push the images from the event into our face, the more we subconsciously think about which dress we liked most and who looked best, thus turning it into a competition.

I can’t decide if this is a good thing or not. I’m the first to admit that I love looking through the red carpets photos and judging the best and worst dresses but maybe it’s not healthy for us to be focussing so much on the physical all the time. Not many of us are realistically going to look that good, in pink, in January, just after Christmas indulgences….

However, at these types of events, we must admit that the Hollywood men really do have it  much easier. They can turn up in a black suit feeling pretty confident that they won’t appear in the  ‘ Worst Dressed’  columns the following day…

If you think about it, most of the pictures we see are of the women in their pretty dresses, we don’t often see many photos of the men.  In the same way, we don’t really hear much about Mr USA or little boys in beauty pageants…do they even have beauty pageants for boys??  Definitely something to investigate.

Admittedly, the Hollywood ladies do have a much harder job getting ready, they have to choose a dress that: a) they like b) suits them c) makes them look as thin as possible and way better than everyone else and d) that the press and thus the rest of the world like too. Quite exhausting really! Although, I still think I would swap places with them any day if all I had to worry about was my dress for the Awards Ceremony!

 

Spoilt for choice

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The grass is always greener is not a new concept and it’s something which I think most of us have experienced at some point. What if I had accepted the other job? What if I’m not going to be happily ever after? What if I never see the world or get married before I’m 30? There are some questions which we might never know the answers to but there comes a time when you just have to make a decision and stick to it (sometimes for better or for worse…) or at least that’s what I thought.

According to the authors of The choice effect: Love and Commitment In An Age Of Too Many Options a new generation of women exists – the choister. A choister is “a woman who, by happy accident of geography and timing, has more options at her fingertips than any previous generation.”

Choisters are normally, like myself, in their twenties living in a western democracy and have everything they could ever want within their reach ( perhaps not always in budget but still attainable!). Fancy a 12 month sabbatical and a trip around the world? Or perhaps a baby at 42? Maybe you want to have 25 boyfriends before you settle down? It’s all possible.

And what about your career? Job possibilities may be slimmer in the current climate but the actual options haven’t diminished. We can still choose between office worker, pilot or president if that’s what takes our fancy. Something previous generations of women didn’t have so easy.

However, all this choice makes it even harder for us to actually choose. With so many great possibilities, how are we supposed to know which is the best one to take? What if we make the wrong decision and regret it. I mean, I can’t even choose where I want to go on holiday. What if I go to the Asia but we could have had more fun in the States? What if, what if…. Life’s great mystery! Really I should be telling myself: “Oh for god’s sake… just be grateful that you can go anywhere at all outside your home town!”

We have become spoilt as a generation and unhappy because of it. With so many ‘What If’s?’ going around your head, it makes it hard to stop and appreciate what you actually have. A house, a good job, a family, a partner and most importantly health. Even if we just have a couple of these, shouldn’t it be enough to make us happy?  Well, it seems not. Perhaps life was easier when it was all mapped out for us a few generations ago: marriage, babies and growing old. Doesn’t sound too exciting but at least we would have just got on with life instead of wondering about it. Hmmm.. What if I could travel back in time and give it a try? What if……Luckily that’s not a choice for me… YET!

Real love or just another magazine cover?

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The other day I was happily lying by the pool reading my Glamour magazine (living in Madrid definitely has its perks) when I read a really interesting article entitled “Are celebrities ruining our loves lives”. At first I thought, that’s impossible, how can people we don’t even know be affecting our love lives?

But the more I read, the more I realised I definitely have some of the symptoms so I think I might also have a bit of  ‘Celebrity Comparison Syndrome’! Not great I know but it could be worse, at least there are no nasty spots or a rash involved…

Apparently this is a very real thing which has been diagnosed by psychiatrists because more and more people have begun comparing their lives and especially their relationships to those of a celebrity couple. Seeing a picture of Brad & Angelina and their 27 beautiful children or hearing about David Beckham taking Victoria to Richard Branson’s private island for their anniversary, is enough to make you look at your love life and wonder why the same doesn’t happen to you. I mean these pictures do make me feel a little bit envious.

Unfortunately, it’s just not realistic; most of us don’t have the time, money or the personal trainer to make us look like these people. Plus we don’t have the same pressure to smile all the time when we’re in public in order to avoid break-up rumours getting spread all over the press if we look less than ecstatic together. And anyway, do we really want our lives to be the same as theirs? Everyone seems to have forgotten that Brad actually cheated on his other gorgeous wife to be with Angelina, maybe not so perfect after all.

My favourite quote in the article which made me feel a bit better about myself was this one: “Celebrities’ claims of domestic bliss bolster their public image and enhance box-office appeal, but their ‘perfect’ image is frequently nothing more than a facade.”

Many of the so-called perfect couples in Hollywood reportedly don’t even sleep in the same bedroom together, let alone have sex 4 times a day like they lead us to believe.  So maybe we should go easy on ourselves, I mean you can’t feel bad about your boyfriend not looking like Ashton Kutcher if you don’t look like Demi Moore…. Plus it doesn’t matter what they look like if they are not happy because in the end they’ll feel just as crap as the rest of us after a big argument or a break-up. So don’t be fooled, maybe it’s not real love but just another magazine cover or a press stunt.

The phenomenon of Twitter, Facebook and other social media doesn’t help matters much either. Following these people daily and reading their constant updates is supposedly one of their reasons why we confuse our lives with theirs.

That reminds me, I better go post my thoughts on Twitter and see what Britney Spears has been doing today……

Any comments?

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Celebrities have become fans over the last few years of wearing a slogan on their t-shirts to show their feelings or thoughts on a particular issue. Everything from an ironic message to the public to an opinion on a celebrity break-up…. They even started commenting on their own breakup…. Take a look at Katie Price & Peter Andre from when they divorced last year.

This PR gesture actually quite surprises me. Usually all we see are celebrities complaining about how they need some space and the paparazzi won’t leave them alone. But what do they expect? If you’re going to tell the whole world what you think of your own divorce then someone is going to take a picture and make some money out of it! At the end of the day, it’s the same argument as forever; these people wouldn’t be famous without the press in the first place so why don’t they just stop complaining and enjoy their 7 houses, 9 pools, 2 Porsches and their free clothes. Life could be a lot worse you know!

Seems pretty contradictory to me anyway, a little bit like Eva Longoria’s very ‘clear message’ which she wanted the world to see…… Definitely not the best way to get that privacy she was looking for.

However, it must be very liberating to wear something like that, sometimes I wouldn’t mind wearing a t-shirt to show what I’m thinking….

“I’m ignoring you right now in case you hadn’t noticed” to your partner….

“Why are you so slow?!” to the poor guy at the checkout…

” Where’s my pay rise?” to your boss…

Unfortunately, unless I become rich and famous all of a sudden and don’t need to worry about the consequences then I doubt I’ll be sporting slogan t-shirts any time soon. What a shame, I could really use one right now for the boyfriend: “Grey’s Anatomy starts in 20 minutes, you’ve been warned ;)”

Plus Size or Real Size?

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Marc Jacobs have unofficially announced that they are planning to launch a range of “plus size” clothing. This would make them the first fashion house to offer such a collection. With plus-size they are actually referring to size 14 (Eu 42)  and above, not exactly huge is it? I think the UK average size is about a 14 anyway so perhaps they should think about calling it “normal” or “non-skinny” size clothing. I mean, isn’t it about time that fashion houses offer clothes for all body shapes and sizes? It’s like presuming that all the people who can afford to buy their clothes are going to be thin too! This isn’t to say that they should only make size 12 and up either. I understand that there are naturally thin people too and this isn’t a negative thing. But with regards to the modelling industry, are they representing these different groups of people? I mean, how many plus size models can you think of? The only one which springs to my mind is Sophie Dahl.

When I was looking into the so-called plus size models, I found this website called Plus-Size Models Unite. To be honest I was expecting larger women…. Looking through the site, most of the models are a size 12 so it still makes the rest of us feel ‘ plus-size’  compared. I don’t want to criticise them though, I do think the site is a great idea and there should be more things like this around.

A few years ago there was a lot of controversy at Fashion Weeks worldwide as they banned ‘overly thin models’. But what do they really mean by overly thin? Size 0, -2, -4, who really knows! Although this ban raised some strong opinions and some shocking pictures, like this one of Italian model, Oliviero Toscani, it doesn’t actually seem like that much has changed.  The majority of models, especially those on the catwalk, still look a few sizes smaller than the average girl on the street and eating disorders are still a very real problem.

This weekend I was actually at the beach and seeing so many bodies in their swimwear really made me realise that no 2 bodies are the same! So why are we constantly trying to look like people in the movies, magazines or on the catwalk?Who are we doing it for? For ourselves or because we want to fit in to what is considered as more attractive or better looking? If it’s for yourself to feel healthier and be fitter then that’s great but if it’s to look like the models on the catwalk or the people on TV then maybe it’s time to stop. Do you really want to end up like Oliviero Toscani? Or do you really want to restrict yourself to being in the gym all day or to not eating desert at a restaurant? Is it really worth it? I don’t think so anyway…. so go grab the spoon and get the ice cream out, it’s only natural!

Dream job or just dreaming?

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I recently read an article in Stylist offering people a chance to ‘play shop’ in a retail space in Central London for 7 days courtesy of the Hospital Club. It was aimed at entrepreneurs  – people with a great business idea who hadn’t got it off the ground yet. The competition gave them the opportunity to ‘live their dream’ for one week and it could be anything from selling cookies to an exhibition of shoe designs or holding a social experiment. 

At first I thought, what a great idea! How inspiring for people who haven’t had that lucky break they’re waiting for. But the more I thought about it, it actually made me a bit jealous. I kept thinking: what about the rest of us? Wouldn’t it be great if we could all have a ‘trial period’ to see if our dream job is really everything we imagined it to be? Obviously, many of us probably have a probation period with any new job, but normally that’s to see if the company are happy with us, not the other way around.

Just think about it. Wouldn’t it be great to have a few weeks working in your new possible job before you actually accept it? That way at least you could see if your new boss was actually more Miranda Priestly or David Brent!

 You could get a real feel for the place and see if it was somewhere you’d like to be everyday.  You could also have hands-on experience of the work, not just read what was on the job advert.  

So why don’t companies do this? Perhaps they’re afraid that no one will want to come and work there after the trail. Or perhaps they just don’t want to invest the time and resources. Or maybe they just don’t want to let the possible new employee actually make a decision before they’ve arrived.

I do admit that it could be slightly chaotic but in my ideal world I would like to think that before they offer me my dream job, I would get to have a try at said ‘dream job’ first. Just to make sure it really is somewhere I could see myself working. I mean, how do you know what your favourite flavour of ice cream is without trying all the others first? Well, it should be the same with your job. You should be able to try out the possible options.

Sometimes we seem to lose sight of the fact that working isn’t just about paying the bills. Where we work is the place where we probably spend most of our time and most of our lives. So that should be a place you love, shouldn’t it?

Perhaps I’m too demanding…. Or maybe I’m just an idealist. Or maybe you could call me a recruiter of the future? (Well, not officially… give me a 2 week trial to see if I like the position first!)

Some fashions never change

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I mentioned in one of my earlier posts that it seems to be getting harder and harder to keep up with ever-changing fashion trends nowadays. However, I’ve recently realised that there are some fashions which never change.

Think about a wedding or a funeral for example. It’s just expected that the bride wears white and at a funeral, everyone wears black. In fact, I remember once at a family funeral, one of my cousins wore a bright green coat and everyone acted as if there was an elephant in the room. The older generations just shook their heads while the younger family members stared in shock. Personally,  I just kept thinking “good on you! everyone’s sad enough already, we don’t need all this gloomy black on top of it!”  But I was still sitting there in my black dress and coat and will probably continue to do so at other funerals.

To be honest, I think I actually like it, the stability and tradition of it all, something that seems to be disappearing in so many other ways. I just find it surprising that the custom has stayed so strong. As I am writing this, I am thinking of one of my ‘readers’ who I know for a fact didn’t get married in white… dark red I think it was actually… but she’s a special case! ;)

I also know that this isn’t true for all religions or cultures so I am generalising slightly but it does seem that black funerals and white weddings are two things that have definitely stuck.  When you were young and you thought about your dream wedding, I doubt that you imagined yourself in a purple or a blue dress! And if you have a funeral to go to, I bet you’re not worrying about what colour dress to buy either.

I know that there is reason behind these things; white is meant to show purity and black is worn as a sign of respect but doesn’t anyone else think it’s strange that everything else seems to be continuously changing and evolving yet this stays the same? I certainly know that people aren’t as ‘pure’ at their weddings anymore yet most dresses are still white… Maybe it’s true what they say: people just don’t like change.

Just something to think about…  and in case you’re wondering, if I ever get married then you’ll definitely be seeing me in white!

Summer Loving?

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The summer is now upon us and I’ve recently seen and heard a lot about the increase in the number of couples breaking up during their holidays. This isn’t a new topic and I actually think that about this time every year there is a surge in information about “How to make your relationship work during the holidays” and a lot more money going into counsellors’ pockets. I’d always thought (being the eternal romantic that I am!) that maybe society was just trying to make some money out of summer. In the same way that valentines, halloween and xmas are becoming more and more consumer focussed events, well perhaps bookstores and chat shows are trying to increase their mid-year income just the same!

But it really made me stop and think when I received an email at work from the company which is responsible for helping us to maintain our ‘work-life balance’ . It said that if anyone was interested then they could request some ‘top tips on how to survive the holidays with their partner’. I thought, hang on a minute.. you’re supposed to help me find a cleaner or a dentist not give me relationship advice while I’m sitting at my desk! Things must be going bad for a lot of couples if this is what they think people need on a Monday morning in July.

I’d never really worried about holidays being a hard time for me and my boyfriend but maybe that’s because I haven’t been married for years either. I can understand what people mean though – being with someone more time than usual can be strange and all those annoying things that your partner does have even more chance to get on your nerves. But surely people notice that their other half is a pain in the ass the other 50 weeks of the year too? I don’t know, I just think it’s unrealistic of couples to say that they’re just fine and dandy until their summer holiday or the week of xmas comes along and that’s when it all goes downhill. Maybe they just don’t want to face their problems during the rest of the year, maybe they put up with less when they’re not in the their routine lifestyle or maybe the love of their life really is a nightmare at the beach!

Whatever the reason, I don’t think that society helps the situation by drilling into our heads that the minute we go away we will start to have relationship problems due to the ‘highly stressful’ nature of a holiday. Maybe if they told us that we would go away and be more in love than ever, then there would be an increase in people renewing their wedding vows this summer, who knows!

My advice would be to just sit back, relax, take in the sights and have a cocktail. If nothing else, at least after 3 Piña Coladas you’ll start to think you’re on holiday with Johnny Depp or Jennifer Anniston and who can complain about that!