Thursday, 31 July 2014

6 thoughts when you show me pictures of your baby

Babies make me uncomfortable, there I said it. If you show me a picture of your baby I'll probably say 'oh, cool' in the same way you say it to an ex who says they're doing well now. 

What am I supposed to say? 

'Congratulations on the birth of your crotchfruit'. (All credit to Big Fashionista for that amazing word. Truth be told I think I wrote this blog post just to say 'crotchfruit'.)

I know that people get excited about their offspring but babies scare me and make me feel awkward. 

In fact just the word 'baby' makes me squirm can't we call them human puppies? Human puppies makes me feel much more relaxed already. 

When you show me a scan or a picture of your baby, my brain sounds a bit like this: 

What am I looking at?
I feel like Rachel in that episode of Friends where she can't see her baby on the scan photo. Really, where is it? WHAT AM I LOOKING FOR?

Wow babies look the same
Newborn babies all look strikingly similar. I'm surprised there aren't more hospital mix-ups, or maybe there are? What if I was mixed up? Ugh, I don't want to have to meet new people, it would certainly explain me being the only fair-haired one in the family though. 

Don't tell me it has your nose, it doesn't
Nope, to me it looks the same as all other babies. If it had 'your nose' it'd look freakishly out of proportion since you're a fully grown adult. No, it doesn't have your nose. Maybe in a few years time but right now it looks like every other baby I've ever seen. 

You called it what?
Why did you call it that? Do you want your child to get bullied at school? Does giving your baby a terrible name count as child abuse? Surely it should, that poor child.  

Please talk incessantly about your baby because I have nothing to say here
How many more times can I get away with saying 'Oh yeah', oh I hope she doesn't stop talking or ask me a question because I have nothing to add here. 

No, please don't tell me about labour
Please don't start telling me about how long it lasted or any of the gory details. I would rather stroke a snake than listen to that and snakes scare me. 

Sure most people get excited by babies but some of us don't, it's not because we're nasty, we're just awkward. If someone's response is ever 'Oh yeah' to a baby picture, back off and let them think about how awkward that encounter was for the rest of the day, because that's what we do. 

There are plenty of people who get excited by baby photos but I am not one of them. Show me a kitten though and I'll melt into a pile of mush. 

Do baby photos make you feel uncomfortable? I can't be the only one surely. 

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

6 corporate words that need banning

Corporate words don't impress anyone. When someone uses them everyone else thinks they're a bit of an ass because they are clearly trying to sound smarter than everyone else. And no one likes that. 

It's patronising and there's no need for it. If we banned some of these stupid corporate words, we wouldn't suddenly struggle to write sentences or hold meetings. We'd all get along just fine and everyone would know what everyone else was talking about.  

You know the kind of words on I'm on about here: 'Utilising all of these actionable elements we can take our core competency to the next level and become thought leaders in our industry.' 

Here are some of my most hated corporate words used in every day sentences to prove how ridiculous it sounds. 

Example: 'Let's look at what we've got in the fridge that we can utilise in this sandwich.' 
I hate this word with a passion, just say use! It's shorter! As soon as I hear or read the word utilise I think 'oh great, another boring corporate website / blog post / person' and my brain switches off. 

Example: 'I'm going to the supermarket to pick up some elements, is there anything you need?' 
This word is entirely unnecessary unless you're talking about science as far as I'm concerned. 

It's used as a replacement for 'things' or 'tools' quite often and sounds ridiculous. Sure 'things' sounds laid-back but 'elements'? That's no better. 

Thought leader
Example: 'My dog is a hole-digging thought leader.'
Oh this word makes me shudder it's so bad. Why can't we just say 'experts'?

Take it to the next level
Example: 'If I go to the gym five times a week I can really take myself to the next level.'
What is the next level, tell me? You want to improve sales by 50%? Okay, just say that, or maybe 'improve'. 

'Take it to the next level' is ambiguous and makes you look ridiculous because it adds nothing and is about as clear as mud to the poor souls trying to understand you.  

Core competency
Example: 'My core competency is baking cupcakes.'
This doesn't even make sense. Competent means OK, if you're trying to tell me you're really good at something the word 'competent' isn't going to reassure me. 

If a surgeon said 'My core competency is removing in grown toenails.' you would run a mile. You don't want someone who's just OK removing that painful toenail, you want THE best. Maybe you want a toenail removing thought leader? 

There are plenty of things you could say instead of core competencies, for example: 'we're really good at...' or 'my main strength is...'. 

Example: 'I'm making a list of all the actionable items I need to do before the party.'
What you mean to say is 'things to do'. Just say that. 

I discovered a disturbing corporate waffle phrase the other day: 'open the kimono'. It's a phrase used when you want to share a secret with someone, why not just say that? Open the kimono conjures up all kinds of awful imagery and it sounds so creepy. 

What's your most hated corporate word?

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Train to run 8k in a month? Challenge accepted! + week 1 update

I love a good challenge but sometimes when I take on these challenges I wonder if I'm a glutton for punishment. 

In the space of four short weeks I need to train myself to run 8k / 5miles. Yeah, I'm not exactly Queen of Preparation.

At the end of August I'm going to the Belgian Grand Prix. At each track they do something called Run This Track where media, team personnel, drivers etc can run around the track after the days action is over. 

If you complete it and submit a lap time, UBS donate money to charity. To top it all off Spa Francochamps is a beautiful track set in a Belgian forest - how could I pass that up?

It's far too hot and humid in the UK at the moment for me to be running so I've joined my local PureGym so I'll be aiming to take to the treadmill at least three days a week. 

I've done long distance running before. I ran Silverstone's half marathon last March but I haven't run since then. 

Week 1 update
Okay so this is looking increasingly over ambitious. On the first trip to the gym it took me 17 minutes to run just 2k, though I was running 0.5k, walking for a minute and running 0.5k again. 

The next day my legs were in bits so I did 1k which took about 8/9 minutes. Yesterday I ran 1k and it took 7 minutes. 

So my times are dropping but my stamina has to improve a massive amount and I'm not sure it's going to happen. What's life without a challenge though? 

Got any running tips for me? 

Monday, 28 July 2014

Let's Get Lost - Adi Alsaid*

Spoiler free review! 

Title: Let's Get Lost
Author: Adi Alsaid
Genres: Young adult, road trip, 
Release date: 1st August 2014
Publisher: Harlequin (UK) Ltd - Thank you for the ARC! 

Description: 'One girl could change four lives forever....Mysterious Leila, who is on the road trip of a lifetime, has a habit of crashing into people's worlds at the moment they need someone the most. There's Hudson, who is willing to throw away his dreams for love. And Bree, a runaway who seizes every Tuesday-and a few stolen goods along the way. Elliot who believes in happy endings...until his own goes off-script. And Sonia who worries that she's lost her ability to love. Hudson, Bree, Elliot and Sonia find a friend in Leila. But Leila's trip could help her discover something bigger - that sometimes, the only way to find what you're looking for is to get lost along the way...'

Every once in a while you read a book that makes you smile, feel a bit giddy inside and generally feel happy about life, Let's Get Lost is one of those. 

Let's Get Lost is split up into five sections, each told from the point of view of all five main characters. 

The first four sections are told from the point of view of Hudson, Bree, Elliot and Sonia and looks at how Leila comes into their lives and helps them with the big issue they're facing at that point. The final section is told from Leila's point of view. 

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Pet photography #2

This Sunday's photography post is all about our dogs. So grab a cuppa, sit down and prepare to say 'awh'. 

It was supposed to be about Kenilworth Castle but I haven't got round to sorting those photos out yet, so that will be next week, sorry! 

While I have been doing a lot of moaning about this summer thing, it does provide brilliant lighting in the evening. Last week I spent an hour annoying my dogs. 

FYI the Labrador is Bert and the Border Collie is called Dylan. 

Friday, 25 July 2014

Best friends...

Me and two of my best friends - from way back in the emo archives, yes c'est moi on the right.

My Dad always used to tell me about his best friend and him. They could go years 
without seeing each other and when they got together it'd be like they'd never been apart. 

As a kid I couldn't understand how that could work but now I get it. 

I met my best friend about 10 years ago at school. We didn't really speak all that much in Year 7 but in Year 8 we became very close. 

We did all the typical things teenage girls do: played the Sims on console for days straight, obsessed over members of Fall Out Boy and My Chemical Romance, went to gigs, ate rubbish food, woke up at 11AM and made cookies. 

My best friends Mum was often a part of this; she is a brilliant lady who tells it like it is and has so many tales to tell. 

She always likes to embarrass us and tell people stories of 'the great unwashed weekend'.  

What happened was, The Sims Urbz had just come out on PS2. My friend got it on the Friday night and I stayed until Sunday night. She claims that we didn't move all weekend and were glued to the Playstation. I have nothing in my defense apart from; I'm sure we must have moved for food at least. 

Most of my favourite memories with my best friend were playing the Sims and trying to speak Simlish and all the daft things we used to say. 

We see each other less now as I have a job and she has university but every time we get together it's like we've never been apart. 

When you're growing up it can be hard to figure out who your friends are and unfortunately that's part of growing up. I've been wrong about it a few times as well. 

There will also be people who you think are your best friends but somehow you'll just drift apart.

Your best friend will be there for everything: not just the big things or the tough times, they're there for the small things too like obsessing over a new song by a band, talking about cats or a book. 

On behalf of everyone - best friends you are awesome people. 

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Nourish Balance Starter Set*

I think it's fair to say these products received a very intensive test. I've been using them for a few weeks so I've got a pretty good hold on these products now. 

Nourish are a UK based brand that product organic products free from sulphates, parabens and other nasties and they aren't tested on animals. 

This starter set is for combination skin and contains four products: 50ml balance detoxifying cleanser, 50ml balance refining toning mist, 15ml balance nutritious peptide serum and 15ml balance essential moisturiser. 

They also do products for dry, sensitive and normal skin. 

The starter set costs £25 and full size products are around about £11, which I don't think is bad at all. Sure you can find cheaper on the high street but these are high quality products which don't have a lot of rubbish in them, so for me it's worth it. 

Balance detoxifying cleanser:
The bottle recommends you apply this with a cotton pad but I prefer to use my hands as the pad soaks up so much cleanser. 

It's very gentle and left my skin looking clear, clean and matte. It's so gentle I have no issues with rubbing it on my eyelids to remove eye makeup. 

In the morning I like to use this and then LUSH's Dark Angels to exfoliate and my skin looks nice and clear. In the evening I just use this because I'm too lazy for all that LUSH-Y mess twice in one day. 

I will definitely by a full-size version of this when it runs out. 

Balance refining toning mist
Toners help to even out your skin tone and tighten your pores. My skin tone is fairly even apart from my cheeks which are noticeably red. 

I've never used a toner that has made much of a difference to my skin and this was no different. If you're someone who sees the benefits from a toner, it might be worth a try but I didn't notice a change. 

Balance nutritious peptide serum
Having never used a serum before, I didn't know what to expect from this. It's quite runny and a little bit goes a long way, so you only need one pump to cover your face. 

It takes a couple of minutes to dry but when it does your skin feels soft and looks shine-free. 

I felt like this balanced my skin out and help to moisturise it and I will buy a full-size bottle when this runs out. 

Balance essential moisturiser
This is one of the best moisturisers I've ever smelt; it smells like the juciest apple you could imagine. It's almost like a balm in texture and you don't need much to cover your face. 

Unfortunately I didn't get on with this moisturiser. When it was drying it felt uncomfortable, like something sticky had dried on my face. Applying makeup over it was uncomfortable and felt like my skin was really tight. 

On top of that I kept getting mini-breakouts when I used it. My skin quite often takes issue with moisturisers so this isn't shocking for me or a case of 'OMG DON'T USE IT!'. 

It wasn't a major breakout or anywhere near as bad as breakouts I've had when using other moisturisers, so if your skin doesn't normally take issue with moisturisers you should be okay.  

Conclusion Apart from the moisturiser I liked this handy little kit. It kept my skin shine free throughout the day and kept it looking clear. 

I'm impressed with how long these mini bottles last. I've used some mini versions that lasted just a week but I've been using the cleanser most days and I've been using it about a month know and there's at least 2/3rds left. 

I really liked the cleanser and the serum and will probably buy full sizes versions of both when the minis run out.  

*I was sent this by Liv in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the product. 
09 10