Category Archives: People

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!

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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 ;)”

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!)

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!

Why women shop and men know more about football

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This may seem to be the typical question which has been answered by many people and a number of books in the past (in fact my friend was talking to me about one just the other day: “Men are from Mars & Women are from Venus”, I don’t think there’s many of us who haven’t heard about that classic before…)

Well, as much as I agree that the differences between men and women are rooted in our evolution and how we cohabited in our caves thousands of years ago; women at home cooking and multi-tasking and the men out being all, well, ‘ manly’, It still makes me think about why it continues to be the same today. I mean, I don’t know about you but I definitely don’t live in a cave and I don’t see my boyfriend heading out with a spear and coming back with a fish very often either….

To be honest, I think it has a lot to do with expectations. I feel like there are higher expectations for women to look smart, elegant, classy, sexy, fashionable.. whatever your preference, but there is definitely more importance put on how women look then how men do. This causes them to not really care that much about what they put on when they get out of bed in the morning…. I mean if no one pays attention to what you’re wearing, then why should you? As long as they wear a good suit to that important meeting or hot date then they’re sorted. And they can wear the same suit dozens of times, all they really have to do is change their tie! I know there is a small group of men who really do look after their appearance and what they are wearing but I think it is a SMALL minority (ok so maybe I’m generalising but just let me go on!)

Whereas women can’t wear the same suit over and over, we need new dresses, skirts, tops, shoes and jewellery to combine it all together! However, it’s not just us, men do have it tough too… how would it look if they met up with the guys after work on a friday night and they couldn’t even talk about the football game the day before or the most amazing goal which they saw last weekend. It would look really bad, I mean which guy wants to admit that ACTUALLY their girlfriend forced them to go shopping on saturday afternoon and wouldn’t let them watch the game at all. Not very manly at all, very far away from the days of the loincloth indeed! So, just like there are certain expectations for women, men face them too. In a nutshell, we need to shop and they need to watch the football… life certainly could be a lot worse!

Let’s take off the blindfold

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To be honest, I don’t really mind if a film has been awarded an Oscar, a Razzie or a Nobel Prize, I’ll still go and see it if it’s got a good trailer. The only thing I ask is that it makes me feel something while I’m watching it, whether this be angry, sad, happy, in love… anything!!

The Blind Side did exactly that. I had heard mixed views about the film but like I say that didn’t make a difference to me, I wanted to see it anyway and make up my own mind, and I’m glad I did.

It was one of those movies that made me leave the cinema thinking  a lot… about people, life, luck and just about how we live together in society nowadays.

The film may be a bit predictable but it’s not a storyline that’s been invented in Hollywood; it’s a true story about a real family from Mississippi who opened their home and family to someone less fortunate than themselves.

The story really touched me but at the same time it made me feel a bit guilty… how often do we really do anything for someone else anymore? When you see someone struggling on the street, asking for money or trying to talk to you on a train, do you actually take time out of your day to help them? To see what it is they are asking you? Or do you just ignore them, think “it’s not my problem” and walk on. I’m not going to exclude myself from this category because I would probably do exactly the same. I usually think that someone else will give some coins to the guy asking for money on the street or will keep the lonely guy on the train company and so I just get on with my own life.

The Blind Side made me think about if I would take someone into my home who was less fortunate than myself but to be honest I probably wouldn’t… But I would like to think that at least if I see someone today or tomorrow or the day after who needs my help then I will offer it to them and I will try to do what I can for somebody else.

So why don’t you start today too, take off the blindfold and take a look at the people around you, try and see if you can do something good for someone else without getting anything in return? You never know.. it might even catch on….

The Inspiring Thuoy Family

Sexy Ugly?

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Is it just me that uses the phrase sexy ugly? There are some people who you just can’t help being attracted to, even though you know that if you really look at them and I mean really study their face, they’re actually not that pretty at all. I think that the perfect example for me has always been Benicio del Toro, there’s just something about him – I guess it’s that american/hispanic/mafia accent, long hair and mysterious semi closed eyes….

The reason that I’m thinking about this is because I’ve recently seen a lot of pictures of Lara Stone, top model and the new face of Louis Vuitton,  taking the spot from Madonna.

I guess Lara Stone must be a female Benicio de Toro… although I have to admit that I still can’t quite see the attraction. But I do love the fact that when she was younger she probably felt self-conscious about that gap in her teeth and now it’s made her one of the most wanted models in the business. There’s definitely some karma in there somewhere!

Damn it, I always knew I should never have got those braces when I was younger, I could have still had that gap in my teeth and be the face of Louis Vuitton right about now! Oh well, life goes on….