I’ve been having a bit of a general muse today about fear and the impact it has on our lives. I think it was brought on by going to London this week to go on a filmed date with a Spanish man I’d never met before called Marco, where I had to speak in Spanish after only learning it for three weeks.

(More on that another time.)

It occurred to me that it’s probably the sort of thing that a lot of people would be too afraid to do.

Would you go on a date with a stranger in another language in front of a film crew? Are there other things that you don’t do because you’re afraid to? And most importantly, what is it that you’re really afraid of?

About four years ago, when I went through that break up that made me really sad, I read a lot of books about fear. The sadness I felt at the time had this permanent edge of fear to it that I couldn’t seem to shift and the longer it went on the more scared I became because I didn’t know how to make it go away and couldn’t see how I was going to cope with it.

One of the books I read was Feel The Fear and Do It Anyway. A lot of it felt a little bit cheesy, but the essence of it is simple – we aren’t actually afraid of feeling or events, were afraid of our inability to cope with them.

The three levels of fear

Susan Jeffers writes about there being three levels of fear. The first level is the incident itself – the ‘surface story’ – and the second is how it makes us feel – the ‘generalised fear’. For instance, we might say that we’re afraid to go on a date in Spanish, which would be the top layer. Dig a bit deeper and we might say that what we are really afraid of is messing up, of people laughing or of feeling embarrassed about the fact that all we can say is ‘tengo tres gatos’. View Post

Post in association with Harris & Jones

It’s a common misconception in my family that I have absolutely zero sentimentality.

If you ask my mum, I would throw away a precious family heirloom soon as look at it, and while she’s right that I’m not a hoarder and don’t keep old stuff just for the sake of it I DO keep things that I think are worth keeping.

I mean sure, I’ve had my fair share of having to deal with children pulling paintings out of the recycling and asking ‘how did THIS get here?’ whilst looking sad, but every parent has that don’t they? Not every single thing your child ever touches is worth keeping. But some are, and so I do.

This post is here to prove that point.

For years I kept all of our special family bits and pieces in a battered old suitcase – one of those old ones that you imagine Laura Jesson in Brief Encounter would have used to run away with Alec Harvey, had he ever been interested in more than just sleeping with her.*

When that became too small – (you see Mother how I amass these treasures?) – I upgraded to a very sturdy plastic box with a clickable lid. Practical maybe, but it doesn’t exactly say ‘precious memories’. Also, it is just one massive box, so everything is jumbled up in a messy heap.

What I needed was something a little more personal to organise things into, something pretty that would make our family memories feel cherished rather than just STORED.

And it was exactly at this moment that Harris & Jones got in touch to see if fancied having a look at some of their beautiful keepsake boxes. (Sometimes these things are just meant to be aren’t they?)

The lovely thing about Harris & Jones keepsake boxes is that they are all handmade. I mean PROPERLY handmade, by husband and wife team Steve and Vanessa and two helpers, Zoe and Clair, all working from converted chicken huts just a few miles from the family home.

(I’m assuming that it’s one very large chicken hut that they’ve converted into a workspace rather than the four of them individually crouched in separate coops or anything like that.)

baby keepsake boxes Harris & Jones View Post

Fancy a little John Lewis shopping spree? I say little, because £50 in John Lewis isn’t exactly going to give you the freedom to sweep things off the shelves, but you’d be able to buy yourself a pretty nice treat selection.

Going to John Lewis is one of my favourite things to do. I like wandering around and imagining how my house would look if I had married money, and then remembering I haven’t and instead just buying a single plate for Instagram pictures. If I’m feeling particularly decadent I might buy a candle, or some of those pink champagne truffles in a heart shaped box.

Anyway, I’m feeling generous so I thought I’d buy a John Lewis voucher to give someone.

I know right? How nice am I??

I was looking for a picture that encapsulated a sort of generosity of spirit, but then I saw this one and I liked it, and also it made me thirsty and want some sweets all at once. It’s by Sarah Takforyan on Unsplash.

I do have slightly selfish motives too. View Post

April 30th was a sad, sad day for Belle.

It was the day we had to give back the Hyundai Kona that we’d been test driving for two weeks, having covered around 800 miles in 14 days, three of which I was out of the country for. At a stage in her life, mid-GCSEs, aged 15, when not much in the world feels designed to bring joy, there is apparently one thing that does – driving around in a nice car, listening to Cardi B very loudly and switching on my seat heater every few minutes and seeing how long it takes me to notice.

As you can guess from my mileage, I made the most of it.

Hyundai Kona

Over the course of the fortnight I did test out all the important little things, like the size of the cup holders (key), and all of my finding are in this Twitter thread if you fancy looking back through.

There were loads of clever little features that I loved, like the fact that it turns the music down a bit when you’re reversing and the blind spot detector for motorway driving, and I really enjoyed the high seating position. It was very spacious and the back seats were SUPER easy to put up and down – fiddly seats are a pet hate of mine, but these worked in one movement and were easy to put down from the boot side too.

I feel at this point that I should say something authoritative about the ‘handling’ but to be honest I’ve never been entirely sure what that means. It went round corners, and no one threw up, so I consider that a win. Have a look at the website for all the techy stuff. View Post

As you may remember, I had grand plans for my garden when I bought my house last year. ‘A tropical paradise’ was how I described the picture of it I had in my head.

The reality looked like this:

garden makeover tips

Sexy garden times.

As you will have seen if you read my garden makeover post, I had the foundations put in place for the tropical garden of my dreams, and the last few months have been spent gradually adding in plants and pots and strings of solar powered vintage lights, so that now it looks more like this: View Post

Note to my Dad: this is one of those posts you’ll want to skip over.

I was out for dinner a little while ago with some friends. We’d had a small half glass of wine or so and we were talking about boys. We were discussing one boy in particular, who I had happened to say in passing that I thought was nice.

‘Ooohhh!’ said one of my so called friends, ‘I’ll message him and tell him you LOVE HIM!’

‘I don’t LOVE HIM,’ I pointed out, ‘I just said he was NICE.’

She messaged him to tell him I loved him.

God.

‘While you’re there though,’ I said, only slurring very slightly, ‘you could casually drop in my renovated vagina?’

Everyone looked at me.

‘Renovated? Like with scaffolding?’

‘Oh,’ I said, the half glass of wine clearly muddling me, (an allergic reaction maybe?), ‘not renovated. REJUVENATED. That’s it. My vaginal tissues have been rejuvenated.’

We got distracted then by talk of my vagina, and then the fried camembert arrived, so I don’t think the boy had the opportunity to be seduced by my vaginal tissues, rejuvenated or otherwise.

Probably for the best.

Geneveve treatment review

A pretty dinner and wine photo in lieu of a close up vaginal tissue shot View Post