Newcastle Photographer and Content Creator, Mandy Charlton, Always on a quest for adventure, often seen on buses, trains and planes. On a quest to be happier and healthier. Lives in Newcastle with her 3 cats, Iris, Maggie and Arthur. Loves good vibes, musicals and cakes. Full time professional wedding photographer in the north east of england alongside content creator on Tiktok, Instagram and Facebook

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Christmas 2017, Your Best Christmas Ever Starts Here....

Make this the best Christmas ever with my month of amazing Christmas content including gift guides, Christmas preparation help, stocking filler ideas and more.

Make This Your Best Christmas Ever

It's hard to believe that 8 weeks today, Christmas will actually be over, it'll be Boxing Day and we'll all be lounging around in our new pyjamas reading our new books, smothering ourselves in whatever lotions and potions we've been lucky enough to receive as gifts whilst we force ourselves to manage one more Christmas chocolate, if you are reading this on Boxing Day, go on, you can do it, just one more!

For me, Christmas is an open season of cheese and one or two festive tipples, it's about gathering my favourite people, eating delicious feasts with buffets and cheeseboards and truly embracing the most wonderful time of the year.

It's well known around these parts that I am, the self-proclaimed Queen of Christmas and this year I've been dipping into Christmas magazines since they were first published at around the end of September.

This year I want to make some changes and that's where you, dear reader, come in.  Now in past years I've declared that Christmas would be an open house because no one should ever be lonely at Christmas (or anytime in my opinion) but this year as I won't be celebrating in the traditional way it's unlikely that if you turn up at 3pm on Christmas Day that I'll be able to treat you to a roast.  I don't, however, want to retract the promises I've made in the past so this year, should you find yourself at a loose end over any of the festive period and you don't want to be on your own please get in touch and come to my house.

Make this the best Christmas ever with my month of amazing Christmas content including gift guides, Christmas preparation help, stocking filler ideas and more.

The feasting period isn't just for one day and I can promise to feed you enough cheese that it comes out of your ears, I love having people over and though it's a very take me as you find me with no judgement kind of arrangement you are all welcome to come sit in the kitchen or the lounge and drink a tasty seasonal beverage, alcoholic and non-alcoholic always on offer as well as good coffee and great tea blends.

What I'm also doing this year, and this starts here, over the next 8 weeks I'm going to be cramming as much Christmas content, not just on my blog but also in my regular Huff Post column, I'll be publishing gift guides for teens, foodies, mums and geeks as well as an article featuring my favourite items for your Christmas parties and preparations and then if we make it to December there's a last minute gift guide and a stocking fillers gift guide heading your way too.   Holly Bobbins is going to be publishing her first ever gift guide for pets and I'm also going to be offering festive advice on cooking and making your home a delight with darling decoration ideas, think "Nigella of the North" obviously I'm not even nearly as glamorous as Nigella but I really do come into my own when it comes to Christmas, it's my season, the season of joy and wonder and because I don't have a special someone to share it with, you dear readers can be my significant others.

Make this the best Christmas ever with my month of amazing Christmas content including gift guides, Christmas preparation help, stocking filler ideas and more.

On the 8th December I shall be throwing an intimate Christmas soirée with the best of my lovely friends plus Looby's friends and Abigail's friends all gathering around my humble abode to kick off the season.  I wasn't going to throw a party due to some recent chaos but I was persuaded by Harriet that I should got for it.  The invitations are here unwritten and they'll be going out soon, in as much as I'd love to say it's an open invitation, for space reasons I'm not sure I could fit thousands of you in my lounge but if you know me and you're local and you'd like to come along send me a message, the more the merrier, it's not exactly raucous but we had a lovely time last year and many of the same people will be in attendance I'd suggest.

So, strap yourselves in for the most festive year yet and let's make Christmas 2017, the best Christmas ever.

Monday, October 30, 2017

When Life Moves Too Fast - An Apology

My dear readers, those of you who've turned up for days angrily refreshing the page wondering if I'm ever going to post again, well I'm here, I'm sorry and it won't happen again.

After shooting 38 portrait sessions over 9 days, editing thousands of images and getting through 6 whole bags of chocolate coins (to give to the small people, not eat myself) I am about as up to date as I've ever been, well with photography anyway.  This here starts the catch up with blogging.

To those of you who think, "Oh well, she must be minted" yeah, I've got nearly £500 to my name, bills, business costs, general living expenses, raking it in, I am! Single parenting is something I would never have chosen but actually this life I have suits us so well and Looby has never been happier, we're back to a full home ed schedule this week and she's going to her first influencer conference this week as I'm shooting headshots at the Ellefluence Influencer summit , if you don't have your ticket yet, it's on Wednesday and if you are a digital influencer, you need to be there!

I want to wind back the clock a little because a couple of weeks ago I had the joy of spending some time with my favourites for the relaunch of Newcastle's favourite burger company (in my opinion) the Meat Stack, as an aside, every time I say that all I can hear is Duran Duran's "The Reflex" I hope you sing "The Meat Stack" for the rest of the day too!

So, big old fabulous burgers in squishy buns, fries cooked in dripping (veggie alternatives are available), the tastiest food you could ever hope to eat, oh and during the day, No 28 where the Meat Stack are residents, well it's child friendly too, I shall 100% be taking Looby to try the West Coast Classic!  My favourite is actually a veggie fave with deep fried paneer, seriously, I love meat but this baby is special!

Cocktails were also available but, sadly for me, I am more allergic to the sulphites in alcohol than I have ever been, sometimes I can drink a little alcohol but at the moment it's not even worth the risk of making myself poorly, I mean, struggling to breathe isn't exactly the most attractive look!

When I went to No 28, I was in the midst of just changing medication and had the most awful anxiety but thanks to my favourite blogging pals being there, I was completely fine, in past times I would have had Prosecco to get me through it so now it sucks sometimes that I have to be the real me which is more anxious, quieter, slightly more boring, yep, I miss the powers of a glass or two of Prosecco.

If you haven't ever been to No 28 you are missing an experience, you know they do bottomless Prosecco right?  well if I can't, you should and you should have one for me whilst you're there, oh and go grab a southern fried paneer burger or a west coast classic, I can guarantee you will not be disappointed!

Monday, October 23, 2017

A Very North East Adventure

Just after we'd been to London and our hearts were full with adventure, we received an invitation to collaborate with the Tyne and Wear Metro, we were being sent on a dog friendly day Sunderland.

Now, I should state that it's not the first place I would have thought of but Holly loves going on the metro and I wanted to test out my new PAYG Pop Card which I didn't even know existed until a couple of weeks ago, it's a great way if like me you don't carry cash and you use the metro a lot but not enough to justify buying a monthly pass, you can get one free as long as you top up by £10, it magically chooses the most economical tariff too so you always know you're getting the very best deal.

We got the metro from our nearest stop, the salubrious Byker station and we travelled to Seaburn changing at monument, travelling to Sunderland has become so much more convenient since the advent of the metro line and I quite often use it when I'm going on photo shoots.  This day wasn't a photo shoot though, we were excited, we were finally going to the Doggie Diner!

Holly loves a good dog friendly cafe, especially when it means she can have a "woofin" and the Doggie Diner is like doggy heaven, they even have an off lead play pen, there were a serious amount of cute puppies in there which I could have quite easily taken home, not sure Holly would approved, Looby would though!

After the doggie diner we walked, and walked and walked all the way to the marina at Roker via the sculpture trail, the harbour and the sea front with a beach stop so that Holly could play in the sand for a while.  For me, it really was more than just a dog friendly day out, it was a chance to run free and wild, to let Looby enjoy the sea air whilst we chatted along the way, home education is the most freeing thing we've ever done and I'm so grateful for this life we lead with daily adventures and lovely companies to collaborate with which facilitate the fun and new experiences we get to have along the way.

Roker seems to have really upped it's game, the harbour is delightful with pretty cafes and restaurants and the most beautiful sculpture garden, there's a playground for the small people and huge wide paths for running or scooting or hopping and skipping.  We're so lucky to live so close to so much beautiful coastline and one day I might actually walk along the pier at Roker, at the moment it's completely closed off to pedestrians, it looks like they might be renovating and restoring so we'll just have to make another day of it when it reopens.

I have been to Seaburn and Roker before but it's not somewhere I regularly go, having that day out though convinced me that it's near enough to hop on a metro, we got our metro home again from St Peters and we'd walked 10k or in beagle terms that's 20k and what you would call a very good walk. 

I want to thank Metro for helping us have a very lovely dog friendly day out and all of my thoughts and words are my honest views, we really need to treasure this transportation system we have, the metro is 30 years old and they still use the original rolling stock, I remember when I was small, my granny would take me on days out on the metro and we'd always go to South Shields because it was the furthest you could go at that time, I loved those journeys so for my own nostalgia I hope one day to take my future grandchildren on grand Metro days out!

Saturday, October 14, 2017

London, We Love You!

I'm lucky to have one of those careers where I don't know what's going to happen next so when I was offered a day in London to go to play with the latest iPhones by Three I didn't pause before accepting, especially as Looby was also included in the offer.

I'd say that Thursday was a gift, it was one of those rare magical days when the planets align to create near perfection, we had a plan to go to Harrods, and then the event at the Three discovery centre in Islington followed by a swift trip to Hamleys at Looby's request.

We travelled down at 8am and got home at 11pm exhausted because we'd also managed so squeeze in a trip to Buckingham Palace, Looby noticed an open window and concluded The Queen must have been looking for us, the same as she had when we'd had a trip to London when Looby was just 4 years old.

I think there's something magical about London, perhaps because I don't have to live there on a daily basis, I know my way around from all of the time I've spent there in another life and I'm pretty good at negotiating The Tube though I will say £18.50 for an off peak day ticket for Looby and I, we're used to just over £5 on the metro!!

So we began our trip at one of the most magical places of all, the Harrods Christmas department, you'll know from previous articles that I have a big of a love of department stores but Harrods is something else, I mean where else could you purchase a reed diffuser for £22,000 or a Suitcase with internal desk for £99,500?  Luckily all Looby wanted was this years Harrods Christmas bear which at £19.95 I think was a bargain and they don't even charge you for the carrier bags.

Yes, Harrods is the place where dreams can come true and when I win the lottery I shall be heading straight there for a celebratory shopping spree, Looby hadn't been there before and loved it, let loose with spare cash I think she could have come away laden with goodies.

Our main event of the day was of course going to Three for a session on the new iPhones, and iOS11, being an Apple fan girl by my own admission I was thrilled to have some time to test out the new iPhone8 plus, I will say that the camera on it is amazing

This is with the 7Plus my current phone which I love

This is using studio lighting mode on the iPhone8 Plus, now if you're me and you're a photographer you'll notice the difference straight away, the shadows alone with the even lighting are amazing, especially when it was shot indoors under artificial lighting, it should be that my outdoor late afternoon light is better but there's just no contest!  If I was going to upgrade right now I would without question however, what I'm holding out for is the iPhone X, that's going to have completely different and revolutionary new ways to take photos and it's going to be more intuitive, have better lenses and modes, I just hope I can pre-order one on the 27th October and have it in time for Christmas, there are rumours afoot that we may not actually see them in reality until early next year.  I also managed to pick up some new tips about Live Photos, did you know you can change the type of photo, it's a bit like having Boomerang but within the camera.

I thought I knew most of the new features of iOS11 but there were some hidden gems, and if you have never played with augmented reality yet, I'd suggest you check out one of the apps, I think AR is at the very beginning of it's creation and it's only going to get better and better, it's certainly got me excited.

After the event we knew we had enough time to go to Buckingham Palace so we had the loveliest wander through St James Park before finally visiting The Queen, it's a total highlight for me and Looby couldn't remember her visit when she was small except for the fact that she'd seen The Queen waving out of the window at her and she looked like granny, who knows if it actually happened but I've always believed it was possible!

She was definitely at home as the Royal Standard was flying this time around, could she have been looking for us too I wonder?  Looby did get a photo standing next to her this time, even if she was slightly more square than I remembered, definitely her though, I mean, look, she's even got a corgi!

Funny that she seems to live in Hamleys though!  I should mention at this point that I thought that Hamleys was actually hell on earth, it was noisy, crowded, they charged us £5 for a reusable carrier bag when Looby bought a London themed jigsaw, I was wholly unimpressed though she loved it and that's all that mattered.

For me, I got a walk in the royal park, I got to watch the pelicans and I got to spend some time soaking in the atmosphere at the palace, Looby said she wished we could have spent more time at the palace but sadly time was not on our side.  London is so vast that you really can't see much in day but I hope we'll get back down there soon through work or leisure, wouldn't it be amazing if I got more work there?  It's more probable than the train tickets perpetually costing half a months rent.

Thanks to Three for facilitating our trip and inviting us to their fabulous Apple event, they did not sponsor this post and all of my opinions are that of my own, I remain a fan of all things Apple and most things London.


Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Still succeeding in spite of anxiety!

still succeeding in spite of anxiety, mandy charlton, photographer, writer, blogger

Yesterday I got confirmation of a couple of things in my calendar which have made me smile.  I work incredibly hard and I'm prepared to work even harder if I have to, trying to support a family on my own, running a now multi award winning business, it all takes time and utter dedication, yesterday I was helping Looby empty out her bedroom, lifting up carpets whilst trying to keep my business going, trying to come up with more ways to boost our income, well at least try to find that constant and before you say it, yes I realise that sometimes it would be a lot easier to just go to work for someone, earn money, come home and not worry about every single minute thing but hey, this is me, it's been 10 years of my life and although there are times when my anxiety is horrific and times when I think my entire life is about to fall apart and we'll end up living in a box on the side of the road, well I still wouldn't change it, it's me against the world with my brilliant teenagers (and super hero dog).  

I'm still trying to establish myself as a writer and get constant work and I'll always be a photographer, that's just who I am, I just hope it doesn't take 10 years for my writing to pay the dividends that photography has because I love them both equally and when I get the chance to use them together, well it's like magic really.

Tomorrow, Looby and I are off to that London, the big smoke, the city, we're thankful for Three who are enabling us to go and we'll be heading to the Three discovery store in Islington for an afternoon of Apple fan girl goodness.  Being not in a position to afford big trips to London, it's a fabulous chance to pop into Harrods and Hamleys to marvel at their Christmas departments before we hop on the train back at 8pm tomorrow night, when we get back we'll be exhausted but it will all have been worth it and you can be sure we'll share our London adventures with you dear reader.  I'm so grateful that they not only chose me to go along but they were so lovely and understanding about Looby coming too, it's the sign of a great brand for sure.

And next week, well on Wednesday we are collaborating with the Tyne and Wear Metro, you'll be able to follow our adventures all day on your social media as Looby, Holly Bobbins and I go on a great northern dog friendly day out to places we usually wouldn't go, it's a very exciting brief and we're so looking forward to it, I won't give too much away but stick with me and you can travel along with us.

I said yesterday didn't I that work is a constant, do what you love, it will keep you sane, well for me, it certainly does, it takes me to places I couldn't ordinarily go and it provides so much more than financial gain, which is just as well really...

We have grand plans in our house at the moment, yesterday we emptied Looby's bedroom ready to paint a giant sky on her walls, think blue skies and white fluffy sponged clouds, it's no secret that one of our inspirations is the decor of our local Sky Apple Cafe, Looby has long wanted to sleep on a cloud in the middle of the skies and we're one step closer to achieving it, yesterday we moved furniture, we demolished wardrobes, from a home education point of view this is a giant art project, it's design and technology and I hope when she has her projector showing the night skies on the walls and ceilings it'll also prove to be a constant science and astronomy guide, well at night, anyway.

Life may be quiet, life may be filled with my own stupid anxiety but at the heart we have each other and that's not something I would let anyone invade, for all of my rhetoric about finding someone, I'm not sure I'd change the dynamics of my family for anyone,

Mama, Teenagers, Bobbins, Cats and a whole lot of love, it's all we need really.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The continued search for the man with the swooshy hair

This is a post that I meant to write last night but yesterday was such a whirlwind, in fact the whole weekend was like a mini cyclone with work so when I got home yesterday evening, I sat in front of the TV unable to say anything other than "Wibble"

So I'm writing this on Monday evening and it's a well timed post because when you read this on Tuesday it will be World Mental Health Day, a day when I think we just need to be out there talking openly about this subject, something I've advocated for years and it's relevant because this weekend for me has really passed in a haze of anxiety. I still went to work though, I still did a great job.

I've had anxiety for years, it's partly due to bipolar, it's partly due to the meds I take and it's partially to do with life in general!  Do you ever feel sometimes that you can't do right for doing wrong?

Fenwick Newcastle Christmas Department 2017, Mandy Charlton, Photographer, writer, blogger

I was trying to be organised, trying to plan my Christmas party early so that all of my friends could be there so me being "wise" I started a group message, put the date out there and, well, suffice to say, I have no idea what happened but all hell broke loose and I remembered why I am a hermit and not great at friendship.  I'm kind of glad that Harriet puts up with me actually!  So after spending an angst filled evening followed by a sleepless night and very much overthinking I've decided that I shall never try and be organised and whatever happens in my life I shall never be temped to try a group message.  To be honest I hate Facebook messages at the best of times, for about 4 years I just stayed perpetually offline even when I was online. I do try to be slightly less hermit and more social butterfly (Yeah I know, who am I kidding eh?) but generally being the kind of person I am, I find friendship to be exceedingly complicated.

I also decided that I probably shouldn't have a Christmas party and then I though, to hell with it, I'm having one anyway, even if it's just me in a corner with jar of pickles and a bottle of sparkling water accompanying myself on the ukulele whilst doing Karaoke to show tunes, go on, you know you want to.  At least I have Holly Bobbins, she's a total party animal.

Holly Bobbins the beagle with the big personality, mandy charlton, Photographer, writer, blogger, the continued search for the man with the swooshy hair

I've also been worrying about dating again, do you know it's around a year since I put my dating profile on my blog? I am still single, still scouring the internet (when I can't sleep) for a swooshy haired bohemian, I've decided that some of my other requirements are negotiable but not the hair, now I'm not talking long hair, I'm talking surfer swooshy, let me tell you, I might have to move to Australia because that could be where he's currently hiding.  I'm holding out for him though and if I never find him, well, hey ho, I'm happy to remain a hermit. Oh and I've just re-read my requirements from a year ago, let's just revise this to 33-40, swooshy, bohemian, funny, smart man who loves animals, travel, and cake. Must love Sci-Fi, Superheroes, and Christmas.   If you know this man, please send him my way!

Aside from that, good things are happening, this week and next week I have 1 special day when both Looby and I are doing things with brands we love, I can't give too much away at the moment but look out for updates this Thursday and again next Wednesday, work is the constant that never let's me down and it's that continual push to stay alive in the world of business and to keep striving to achieve the next level that actually keeps me alive, so many times when I could be swallowed whole into dark places but I fight, I fight some more and then on the really tough days, well my inner strength is an insurmountable thing. Over and over, I say this every day and to you I say the same because I see this message everywhere and it speaks to me...

Do What You Love!


Thursday, October 05, 2017

Last Night I Fell In Love...

Last night I fell in love, yes it actually happened, last night I fell in love with...

an advent calendar which costs just £150!!

John Lewis Beauty Advent Calendar, £150, Mandy Charlton, Photographer, Writer, Blogger

I'll tell you one thing, this beauty advent calendar is a definite way to my heart, just look at it's beauteous goodness and okay, yeah, it's £150 but it does contain £300 worth of beautiful presents, 24 tiny treats to make you fall in love over and over again, well at least for 24 days of December.  Maybe it was made more magical by the fact that it was in John Lewis?

For anyone who doesn't know me well, John Lewis is my favourite and my best, when I'm feeling sad and a bit glum I take myself to John Lewis and everything is happy again, all of the good in the retail world exists in John Lewis, cushions you can bury yourself in, sumptuous drapes you could hang in country houses, only the best people get to shop at John Lewis.

Now I should state for the record, I am not a beauty blogger but when John Lewis got in touch to invite me to their inaugural blogger event in their beauty retreat there was no way I was going to refuse, it's like being invited by the Queen for tea at Buckingham Palace, next year John Lewis, you should have a Christmas bloggers evening although I'm not sure I could cope with so much excitement, John Lewis and Christmas now go together in grand tradition, it isn't even Christmas until after we've first viewed that special advert which heralds the real start to Christmas.

Okay, so I'm guessing one or two of you cynical minds out there might be judging me for my materialistic love of a department store and for the idolisation of a false God but really, without John Lewis and Fenwick, life would be miserable and much like Waitrose the staff are the success of the store, they're always happy to help, always smiley so allow me this one deferment from my usual statement that life is about experiences and not things.
In saying that, last nights bloggers evening was most definitely an experience, I had a Decleor massage, an Elemis facial and a lovely hand massage from Jessica nails, there was music from a divine man announced only as "Mark" who I wanted to steal and pop in a corner of my living room so he could sing to me every time I walked past *insert winking smiley face here*

Last night was about so much more than beautification, it was about teeny tiny canapés, sumptuous macaroons and more importantly it was about catching up with my most favourite ladies from the blogging world, some of whom I haven't seen for ages.  I don't go out a lot at night and I only work with select brands now, juggling a photography business, writing, home educating, single parenting, well it doesn't leave a lot of time and that was one of the reasons I went along, an excuse for a pamper, just for a couple of hours to leave the world behind and spend it in the glittery wonderland that is John Lewis Newcastle.

I really do hope they throw more events and even more so, I hope they invite this fan girl to come along and escape the humdrum of the world outside and slide into a decadent department store where simply everything is taken care of.

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Is Facebook A Dating Site?

Is Facebook a dating site? dating in your forties, relationships, social media, mandy charlton, photographer, writer, blogger

The first time I thought about dating post marriage breakup was probably about 2 years ago, I had a look around, found out what Tinder was, went on one dodgy date with Doctor Dave and that proved that I was not ready to date anyone.

I tried again last year and after a couple of failed attempts I realised that I still wasn't ready although I did make a lovely friend from it so it's not all bad.  The thing is though that men, generally freak me out, if someone approaches me in a bar, I literally try to retreat into the wallpaper or I tense up so much that it's hideously unattractive, and that's just the ones I'm not interested in.  Should I, heaven forbid, see someone I actually find attractive (few and far between, I have niche tastes) I can't even speak in sentences.

On dating sites I swipe left on anyone who's too attractive feeling I'm not worthy and then I swipe left on all of the ones I'm not attracted too, let's just say it's not a huge pool of men left at the end.

I don't know how dating works now, I don't know how people meet people and even more so, I don't know how people meet people without freaking each other out!

I need to talk about a situation dear reader, I need to get this off my chest, in truth, it's late, I'm perturbed and I really don't know what to do.  You see, it appears that I have landed myself in a situation...

Let me just state, if you didn't know already, that I take my Facebook friendships very seriously, it's a rare day when I add someone I haven't already formally asked if it's okay that I add them.  If people add me, I usually accept assuming that I know them or in some cases, that they want to do business with me and haven't quite figured out Facebook business pages or LinkedIn.

So a man added me and then he broke into conversation like I've known him for ages, he's very civil, gave me compliments and can mostly speak in fully formed sentences.  So the first problem I have is right in that sentence, I am not good at accepting compliments, compliments make me suspicious, I'm not someone who gets complimented and when it happens it instantly worries me.  Also from adding someone on Facebook to treating them like you're new best friend, that's weird right?  Maybe I'm in the wrong here, maybe it's perfectly acceptable and it's being brave and the 21st century equivalent of walking up to a stranger in a bar?

It's always a bit of an issue when someone reads your blog and therefore thinks they know you, I hear the same thing from Vloggers, people come up to you and start chatting like they've known you for ages because, I suppose to them, they have.  I mean there's always a chance that someone out there has been reading my blog for the whole 11+ years I've been writing it, yikes, if it's you, you probably do know me better than I know myself.

Now, here's the thing, if someone just started speaking to me on Twitter every day, it would be fine, it wouldn't feel so weird because I think that's kind of what Twitter's purpose is, Facebook, and messaging someone, well that just feels intrusive to me, plus of course I'm on the back foot where someone has a greater knowledge of me and I know literally nothing about them.  I did tell them they'd freaked me out and they said that they just wanted to get to know me and me to know them but is this how it actually works?  Is this the way things are now?  Is Facebook fair game as somewhere you look for dates?

I actually have not replied to the second message, I've written this instead, it's probably a better way to understand my innermost thoughts and I guess it's funny that I'm comfortable sharing them with the 20,000 or so of you that read my blog every month but I can't do direct person to person conversations, it's also entirely possible that I am in the wrong and this is how things are done now and I just need to get with the program.

A friend of mine, in a previous comment or message, I can't remember which but he said maybe I didn't actually want to date anyone, maybe I only ever look for someone unobtainable or set myself unachievable dating goals because actually I'm just not ready, it's more the case I think that I'm scared, maybe I'm terrified of life moving on and things changing, while there's only me there's no one to let me down, no one to tell me what to do, no one to get in the way of all of the things I've worked so hard to build up, no one to argue with, no one to shout at me or get angry, no one to hurt me ever again the way's that I've been hurt before, no one to break my heart or the pieces I've glued back together...


Sunday, October 01, 2017

Slimming World, an Indoctrinated Cult, part 227

Slimming world, an indoctrinated cult part 227, mandy charlton, photographer, writer, blogger, dieting, health and wellbeing

Sunday morning and I've just climbed back into bed, the first day of October has brought with it rain, low light and all around bad photography conditions, especially when my day was supposed to be on the beach, many of my clients must have realised this yesterday as a lot of them had already rescheduled leaving me to break the not so unexpected bad news to the other couple.  I do hope that October gets its act together for the remainder of the month.

October is a funny one, it's nearing Christmas but it's too early to start seriously thinking about, it's the month of Halloween but if you're not a big fan of ghosties and ghouls then it's not got that much significance although I have promised Looby that it's going to be one of our home ed topics this month.

What October does give us though is usually the most splendid photography of the year, it's my busiest period and my favourite for the light (today excepted) which will only continue to get warmer and golden before sometime in November when it starts to get, well a little gloomy as the light levels fall, no matter then though as that's when the world starts to get twinkly, no with light and seasons and magic, the only ones I really worry about are January and February, dark forboding months, hopefully this year with all of that Hygge research they might be a little more bearable.

I read an article the other day which suggested that this is the busiest time of year on dating sites, it seems as we approach the cosier months of the year we all seek companionship a little more and I can understand that, I was just saying to Harriet the other day that it's been ages since I threw a dinner party, it's trickier now that I only have a table for four bottoms but I guess we could do teas on knees and a big bowl of slow cooker stew, maybe with a glass of warm dark red, for those who aren't so allergic!

One thing I am definitely treating myself to is a soup maker, there's that first autumnal day every year when I make the inaugural pot of soup, it's like a welcome to the warmth season, if you're making it, you get 10 bonus points if it's made with butternut squash or pumpkin.  It's funny that a couple of weeks ago I sorted out all of my cookery books, clearly, I was already preparing myself without knowing it. This leads me to my next point, that of dieting, I hate dieting, I love cake, it's been a battle ever since my HRT shenanigans and now I must do something, I briefly tried returning to Slimming World but it's more of indoctrinated cult than it is a supportive club, all of my issues were not only still there but heightened even more than they had been previously, I just can't be part of a club in which avocados are the enemy and also, whilst we're on this subject, I don't want to be clapped every week out of praise or sympathy, especially on the weeks where I already feel the world is too loud.  I've read many books over the last few years about nutrition and I have lost weight without the need of a club before so I've come up with a plan I'm calling "The Very Hungry Mandypillar" except I don't intend to starve, I just quite liked the name.  I'll let you know how I get on but I'm on a bit of a mission to be able to wear ballgowns for the formal nights on our forthcoming cruise to Norway  and not look like a beached whale, every time I look in the mirror at the moment I see Brian and Brian has got fat!

And so, I'll end this multi-paragraphed ramble in the hopes that someone, somewhere has at least enjoyed the emptying of my brain, I'm off to the shops to buy soup ingredients, squashes and avocados, just call me a Slimming World anarchist, go on, I dare you!
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