What do I want to be when I grow up? I’ve no idea…

Lately I have been feeling a little restless. My 20s haven’t started out so good and U’m wondering when it will all fall into place. During this little crisis, I decided it might be time for a drastic career change. I thought the best course of action would be to take one of those silly aptitude tests. I was so surprised to see what it came up with!

This is the result of me taking an online careers test:

Extrovert, Intuitive, Feeler, Judger

ENFJ’s are outstanding group leaders. They try hard to help others be the best that they can be. 5% of the total population.

The ENFJ’s optimistic outlook toward social relationships is a burden to them at times. When external conflicts affect a group, the ENFJ is likely to assume responsibility. Their ability to empathize then turns into a liability. ENFJ’s, when over-identifying with the pain of others, will loose sight of their own concerns and interests. Their idealism can also be the cause of some distress when their assumptions are unable to weather the winds of reality. Fantasized relationships rarely translate into reality and even the best charismatic leader encounters unexpected resistance.

Like all NFs, ENFJ’s will disassociate themselves from stressful situations in an effort to protect their sense of well-being and togetherness. The ENFJ, however, will repress the unpleasant side of life only to have to face it later in an intensified form when it explodes from its hiding place. It can manifest itself as fits of anger, sudden outbursts, or emotional explosions. Often the ENFJ’s body will reflect pent-up stress by manifesting various physical symptoms that will erupt unexpectedly.

And what careers did it come up with?

  • Entertainer 
  • Recruiter
  • Artist
  • Newscaster
  • Writer/Journalist
  • Recreation Director
  • Librarian 
  • Politician
  • Psychologist 
  • Housing director
  • Career counselor 
  • Sales trainer
  • Travel agent
  • Program designer
  • Team trainer
  • Child welfare worker
  • Social worker
  • Alcohol/Drug Counselor 
  • Executive: Small business 
  • Occupational therapist 

For those of you that don’t know, I graduated with a degree in psychology and journalism. I work in Healthcare, closely with patients with Mental health issues. I write a blog. I am over-sensitive and empathetic. I like to assume responsibility and I’m happy to take the lead in situations.

So.. that’s a ‘No’ to the change in career #YOLO

A xo

Find the career test HERE.

Breaking the Habit

Ever since I was little, I have bitten my nails. I have no idea how it started, my mum bit her nails and so did my dad. So maybe it was a learnt behaviour, who knows?

Over the years, I have tried time and time again to quit.
I’ve tried painting my nails bright shades, and every time they chipped or I got bored, I would re-paint them. That was successful to a point but attempting this prior to the exam period was a mistake.

I have tried having false nails put on, so mine have a chance to grow underneath. This is expensive. Also, usually the growth would last 2-3wks, after the 1st week mine would start to look a little shabby with gaps between the nail and cuticle. It would also make my cuticles really dry which would make me want to pick and chew them. Fail.

I am now 25. I so want to have my nails sorted by the time I’m 30! I’ve researched online, read a few blogs and got some pointers from wikihow. I’ve mentioned these on my Twitter account @aimee_finlay
I have now put a plan together- operation #breakthehabit is a go!

  1. When I’m at work, I put post-its on my computer screen, or my desk that says: “DON’T BITE YOUR NAILS!” This is important for me to acknowledge this all the time- what I struggle with the most ‘mindless nibbling’. I’m not even aware I’m biting my nails sometimes, like when I’m watching a movie (dramas and thrillers are a nightmare!).
  2. I apply a coat of Sally Hansen’s Maximum Growth every other day. This can also be used as a bottom coat. I have also tried Sally Hansen’s Miracle Nail Growth whilst I was at university and I saw a definite improvement and my nails felt stronger.
  3. Then, I apply a layer of nail biting solution which is available at Boots. This comes with a nail brush for easy application. I have also tried Pretty Quik Nail the Habit dip & dry solution- really fast and handy for your handbag or when travelling. The only issue with this is that I found the solution transfers to food (ie. crisps, sandwiches etc)
  4. I have also enlisted my husband to prod or tell me when I’m biting them or like I might.

So, this is the first stage of my nail growth regime. I will share my triumphs and failures- what works and what doesn’t!

This is after a couple of days of abstinence (don’t judge):

You have to start somewhere…

A xo

Am I a grown up?

I’m 24 years old. I’ll be 25 in January. And yet, it doesn’t quite feel like I’m grown up enough to be 30 in 5 years.

I look at my friends, my colleagues, my ‘Facebook friends’ and they all seem to be a bit more ‘put together’ than I am.

It takes me forever to know what to wear, I never wear make-up; preferring to have an extra half hour in bed that to drag my ass to the mirror. I get my eyebrows waxed every couple of months when the regrowth looks like a caterpillar has crawled onto my face.
I don’t wear matching underwear sets. I prefer my husband’s t-shirts as PJ’s and there’s no way I’d cope in high heels. My jeans always have rips in the knees- I buy them that way! And instead of blouses I buy band or slogan tees – usually 2 sizes too big.

I was never a girly-girl growing up and I’m certainly not a girly-woman now but is that a bad thing? Just because I’m no longer at uni and I’m married and work for a living, I should drop all my principles and comforts and adopt new, more boring ones? Definitely not. Maybe they just need to be updated. My style should reflect my age and my tastes in a manner that expresses who I am.

I can still wear my band tees, still wear my ripped jeans, but in a way that will still be taken seriously in the adult world. Even though my maturity might be a little stunted, my values and prospects are very much adult. It goes back to that old saying: “Never judge a book by its cover”.

On first impression, I may look like a school drop out or a student that’s had too many all-nighters and not enough of her 5 a day. But I hope that once you speak to me and learn a smidge about who I am, it will become clear that I am a reasonable force, someone to be taken seriously, and someone who knows her own mind.

 

A xo

 

 

Nigella’s prawn & squid supper

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King prawns
Squid (we used basa white fish!)
Chili
Garlic
Lemon zest & juice of 1/2
Marjoram
Parsley
Black Rice (we used rice noodles)

This was a recipe from Nigella Lawson’s Nigelissima tv programme. We were sitting watching it the other evening, wondering what to have for tea and this looked quite easy to make- and it was! A quick trip to Morrisons and I was stood in front of the hob cooking!
We made a couple of substitutes as not all the ingredients were available but it was still really tasty! Fresh, light and yummy! A great meal for the evening, and even greater with a glass of wine! I chose sparkling Prosecco!

CHEERS!

A xo

Happy Sunday!

It’s time for steak.

Being married to a chef isn’t all it’s cracked up to be – late nights, long hours, weird shifts. But we have had the past week off together, we’ve both been more relaxed and have seemed better able to manage things. I think we were well overdue for a breather.

My husband is a man of simple tastes, he hates going to restaurants where the chef is trying to say something with food, he hates fancy over-the-top flavours. Give him a plate of pie & peas and he’s happy- I married a classic Yorkshireman!

One of the things that we both have in common is a love of good food. In place of our Sunday roast this week, Nick cooked me a surf ‘n’ turf. Rump steak, mushroom/stilton sauce, scallops, crabcakes and fat chips! We overindulged to the max today!

Here are the sneaky cheats!
Scallops-
leave in shells! mix butter, fresh parsley, 1 clove of crushed garlic – 1 tspn on the scallop, a few drops of lemon juice and put in the oven 200 degrees for 5mins

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Mushroom/stilton sauce- (I made this! If I can, you can- it’s so easy!)
1/2 onion finely chopped, mushrooms finely chopped, sautéed in butter and a little oil, double cream. Add fresh parsley, season to taste – add milk if too thick.

Crabcakes-
Mix mashed potato and crab meat together with 1tspn of milk. Shape into rounds. Seal in a pan of oil (gas mark 6) and place in the oven for 10mins.

Steak & the chips are self explanatory; cook it how you like. I have my steak cooked BLUE and prefer proper home cooked chips (from the deep fat fryer- I know! unhealthy!) But it would also be ok with oven chips or baked potato!

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The sauce is rich and the flavours in this meal are tasty but not too overpowering. Simple ingredients but extremely satisfying!
I applaud my husband to be able to co-ordinate such a feast! That’s why I married a chef! Nom!

Happy eating,
A xo

Career over babies? Not in politics!

For years, women have been pressured by this ideation of what a normal family should be. Husband goes to work as the breadwinner, wife stays at home to cook, clean and to fill her days with ‘nesting’. The 2.5 children go to school, perform above average and return to a harmonious home life.

I don’t know a single family in my area that conforms to this ‘normality’. Most have step-parents, adopted siblings, 2 Dads, an absent parent and so on. Some of the girls I went to school with are doting mothers, some are ambitious career women; the difference doesn’t make either any less of a woman.

Following Helen Goodman’s support of Yvette Cooper- “as a working mum, she understands the pressures on modern family life.”

Implying that women in politics aren’t as likely to succeed if they don’t have children or even a boyfriend. What?  Does she mean that a woman who doesn’t choose to have children (or who can’t) are less likely to understand the public’s hectic family lives, demanding schedules and so how can they decide what is best for the majority? If they can’t manage a relationship how can they manage a country? What?

As if finding someone to share your life with is that easy? Psst! It might be easier to run the country!

If a man chose to go into politics and chose his career over starting a family, no one would bat an eye. But because it is the woman’s ‘job’ to procreate and she neglects or is unable to fulfill this role, she should be overlooked for a job she does well? No.

As if we care that the future Miss Prime Minister doesn’t have a boyfriend? As long as she runs the country with passion, honesty and fairness, I couldn’t give a hoot if she shags half of Parliament and Pippa Middleton! Who cares? David Cameron has a wife and 3 kids and look at the state we’re in. Having the support of loved ones at home doesn’t seem to improve his politics!

A xo

A Tale of Two Cities. Part 1: Cambridge

When you hear the words road trip, you automatically think route 66, exciting places, camper van, awesome people.

When you hear the words bus tour, you automatically think old people, England, drizzly weather, service stops, boring get-away.

NOT TRUE.

I have just returned home from a fab weekend away on a bus tour. I went with my cousin who is the same age as me and my grandparents who are over 70. It was great value for money and we all had a great time. Plus! because it was a bus trip, meaning we had a chauffeur the entire weekend, that meant we could nurse a hangover Sunday morning whilst still managing to see all the sights!

Saturday, we stopped off at Cambridge for a few hours; city number one. As we arrived at the outskirts of Cambridge on the coach, the houses were awesome, great mansions. The kind only rockstars can afford! There wasn’t that much traffic, i think when you start to go down south, your initial thought is it’s going to be manic. It wasn’t. But there were lots of bicycles. Lots. Whizzing through the streets like Harry Potter on his broomstick!

I have never been to Cambridge and expected a bunch of snotty nose snobby students, looking down their noses at our slightly northern accents and common tongue. It was lovely. King’s college looked amazing in the sunshine as we got off the bus and set off on our first adventure. The architecture, distinctly Gothic and I had no trouble romanticizing it at all!

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King’s College

The streets were crawling with tourists and there were people busking and selling punting excursions. It was great to get away from the hum-drum of everyday familiarity and meet the bustling streets with eyes wide open. Exciting! There was a great market on, offering fresh foot and vegetables, pashminas, scarves, handbags, antiques, and butchered meats! Making my way through the crowds it was obvious that the weather was only going to get warmer too!

We had a lovely afternoon tea in Marks & Spencers (my nan’s favourite) we had chocolate fudge cake and lattes, giving us just enough energy to continue our expedition. We decided to pay the extra cost to go on a punting tour; the young lad who was selling the tickets was clearly unprepared for my nan’s brazen ways. We all laughed as she made him write ‘Paid in full’ on the receipt. He shrewd perception and wit making it impossible for her to take this fellow on face value. The very popular punting tour would give us an opportunity to see all the colleges in their splendor without having to walk there! My feet were starting to hurt! Our punter guide was extremely knowledgeable and made the tour fun by adding in his little jokes about the feud between Cambridge and Oxford and how the architects were mostly drunk when designing the buildings years ago. My nan only made the journey more humorous by answering every question our guide asked, directly. Ha! The lovely young couple seated next to us taken aback by our northern charm! The sun was shining and the heat was amazing, it was like being on an excursion abroad! It was lovely and well worth booking!

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King’s Chapel

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Punting outside the College dorms

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St John’s College

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Mathematical bridge, Queen’s college – built 1902. Students have dismantled this bridge a number of times in a prank!

St John’s College was supposed to have a clock on the tower so that the students would always be on time for lectures, however the architect didn’t want to interrupt the symmetry of the building- it is also believed that he ran out of money! Whether that is a joke, I don’t know! However, when trinity college started doing very well, the architect decided he wouldn’t have the eagle facing the rival college and he turned its head left – breaking the symmetry!

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St John’s

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The Bridge of Sigh

The Bridge of Sigh

After the punt jaunt we had another walk around the city, stopped to get our bearing just outside a lovely Arts and Crafts market. Whilst i was wandering aimlessly, I started to hear drums and chanting. Confused I made my way back to where my little group were perched. I then witnessed a perfectly amicable protest, people chanting about getting the ‘tories out and ‘get rid of the scum!’ waving banners and flags. It was great to see that people are able to express their opinions and fight for what they believe in -without violence.

By this time, our feet were hurting but the sun was shining. The only thing that was difficult about Cambridge, was finding the high street shops. Everything was spread out. But we found a great shopping center with a massive New Look with lots of sales- so I can’t complain too much! I managed to get some lovely cut-out sandals for, black leather ones for £10! Anyway, I’m digressing…

We then fought through a sea of tourists, large groups of ethnic varieties; all angling their cameras at the Gothic splendor, and made our way back to the coach. As we began our short journey to our lodgings for the night; The Hilton Hotel at Milton Keynes, there were a few things that stuck in my mind about Cambridge. I could see why directors wanted to film Harry Potter there, I was never posh (or clever) enough to go to Cambridge university and I have never seen so many bicycles!

Please keep your eyes open for A Tale of Two Cities. Part 2: Oxford – where I’ll be telling you all about our night at the Hilton and our adventure in Oxford!

TTFN.

A xo

“Just rip it off!”

There is nothing more horrifying for a young girl than going shopping with friends, sisters, boyfriends, whoever! And realising that not only are you a size bigger (or smaller!) than you once were. Standing in the changing rooms, breathing in, sucking everything in until passing out is an actual possibility. I have never been one for worrying what size I am, as long as I feel healthy, and to be honest it’s been a long time since I’ve felt normal nevermind healthy! So off we go- clothes shopping.

There were two traumas during this shopping trip; I have misplaced some boobs somewhere, dropping 2 cup sizes. I also got stuck in a dress!

STUCK IN A DRESS.

I have repeated myself because I just want that statement to sink in for a moment… picture it.

Wandering around the shops, grabbing a dress or two, heading over to the changing rooms, I’m full of smiles. Loving the dress I’d found, I dragged my little sister into the changing room. The size 12 I picked up was so skin tight my sister had to push parts of me in just to pull it down!

Not worrying too much I attempted to get it off. “Eh?! So what if I have to get the next size up? I love this dress” 

I couldn’t get it off. I was literally stuck in this dress. I’m giggling and laughing, saying pull and push, this way and that way and it still wouldn’t budge. My sister is yelling at me without shouting (it’s kind of a yelling voice but in hush tones for those that have never done this!) telling me to try and bend over so she can pull it over my head, I’m thinking if I bend, the seam of this dress is going to go and my ass is gonna be out of the thing! I then got really hot all of a sudden as a feeling of extreme claustrophobia overcomes me, panicking “just rip it off, get it off me!”

Finally, using the “PIVOT!” method, I was out of the friggin’ thing.

I was hysterical. Hysterically laughing. We were laughing so much.

Standing in my underwear I then wait for my sister to bring me the next size up. A quick knock and she comes strolling in, with this leading statement: “The 12 was way too small, so I got a 16.” My jaw hit the floor, tongue rolled out, eyes wide. 16?! The size 16 wasn’t much better, giggling to each other and giving up, my sister and I decided to look at shoes. I’m always the same size in shoes!

To jump from a size 12 to a size 16 in 10 minutes is every woman’s nightmare. Or so I thought?

Recently, I have found it hard to laugh. I have found it hard to be positive- especially about my body. Not so much body image but resentful that my body hates itself and gives me chronic pain. And so, this ‘stuck in a dress-gate’ was just what I needed! I needed to laugh. Not only were me and my sister laughing, but apparently the rest of the ladies in the other changing cubicles had a good chuckle about it as well.

The design of the dress, the fabric it’s made out of obviously doesn’t suit curvy women; and I’m sticking to that statement.

So traumatic it could have been, but at least I made myself and other ladies smile for 5 minutes.
I hope this made you smile, just a little.

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Little 16

A xo

Dear Mr Prime Minister,

Firstly I’d like to congratulate you on your recent victory in the 2015 General Elections.

I am hoping that the rise in UKIP and Labour votes and how passionate the British citizens are about the National Health Service have caused you to have second thoughts about disbanding it.

I am only writing to voice my concerns about your plans to make the NHS private. Please don’t. Not only is this country proud to have such a great service but the employees within the NHS work hard to make it so. I know it doesn’t always have a good light and I’ve had my fair share of rubbish experiences via the NHS, but it’s a facility we desperately need in the UK.

I am 24 years old. I graduated university at 21 with honours and started working full time in my chosen field within a few weeks of getting my diploma. I had 4 jobs within private facilities and the NHS; working in mental healthcare. I pay national insurance and starting paying back my student loans. I was doing well.

Last year, I visited my GP with complaints of increasing pain every month, coinciding with my menstrual cycle. I was referred to a gynaecologist. He gave me medication and refused to send me for surgery, thinking it would be too invasive. Six months later, in August, I was so overcome with pain I had to drag myself to the bathroom, crawling into the bath to try and find some relief. I contacted NHS Direct (111) and they advised I sought urgent medical attention. My partner drove me to A&E. I was admitted to hospital and given several tests which all proved normal. I was sent home.

I was admitted to hospital twice more last year. Once in September for a week, where the staff in hospital helped me manage the pain before discharging me and referring me to a specialist. The second time was a week before my wedding. The staff, once again helped me manage the pain, which was excruciating- I can’t even describe it. And I only had 3 days on my feet before I got married, but I made it!

In January 2015, on my birthday, I had my first Laparoscopic surgery. My consultant found that my ovaries had fused to my pelvis and I had adhesions all around my reproductive organs and pelvis. These all had to be lasered away. I was diagnosed with severe Endometriosis.

Endometriosis is a chronic illness in which endometrial tissue (normally found in the uterus) is found in other parts of the body. It is commonly found in the reproductive area but can be found in the abdominal cavity, it has even been found in the lungs. Each month, hormonal changes in the body trigger the endometrial tissue to dissolve (a period), which means the tissue in other parts of the body bleeds as well. This can lead to severe pain. 1 in 10 women suffer with Endometriosis. There is no cure.

It is now 5 months since my surgery and I am in pain every single day. I have had to leave my full time job in healthcare as I was unable to do 12 hour shifts. I now work part-time as a receptionist. I can pretend to be alright most days and manage to fool most people. But unfortunately, I am not always able to do so, leading to time off work.

If you decide to make us pay for medical treatment or healthcare, I will not be able to afford to manage the awful pain I am in. I am already on several different types of pain relief and anti-depressants. I benefit so much from the NHS and they have helped me a lot. I would go out of my mind if I didn’t find some relief from my chronic pain.

So, I am pleading with you Mr Cameron, please please do not do away with the NHS. I know I am only one of thousand’s who wouldn’t survive without it.

Yours faithfully.

Reaching the limit

I can do this?

Over the past few months a lot has happened that has impacted my life in a huge way. I am learning to live with the restrictions my body puts on me, learning what my limits are all over again. Training myself to work through pains and emotions that would have broken me 8 months ago. Slowly, I am realising that my mind must acclimate to these changes as well and acknowledge them if I want to be sane.

You see, my mind is all for hitting the gym for an hour, more than willing to stuff myself at meal times, happy to stay up all night watching Netflix. But the fact is, my body is no longer capable of doing any of those things. (have you read the Spoon Theory? This might help you understand my predicament)

8 months ago I was able to do 13 hour shifts and overtime in a high-stress role. Sadly, I just can’t do that anymore. I’ve missed it and been sad, resenting my body for fighting itself every month, tearing itself to bits, hating it. But my husband just said; “you can’t and it’s that way it is, being sad about it isn’t going to change it and you just have to adapt” – to be the best I can be.. now.

Getting back up..

When your body and/or emotions take a hammering, you’ll find ways of coping. Little tricks that help me to deal with the shitty situation I sometimes find myself in. This past week, I spent another few days in hospital, my little home away from home, with divine cuisine and luxury facilities. Between waking from my pain-killer induced dozes and trying to manage a pain storm, I read. If I ever find a few moments when I can concentrate enough to see the words, I can disappear, be absorbed into the pages and live through the characters in the story – just for a while. It’s my great escape. I have read a lot in since we said goodbye to 2014. Life can be difficult, but it’s the little things that can make it a little easier; a good book, a long bath, pudding… everybody loves pudding.

A xo

Books I have read recently & can recommend:

Please see my book reviews as some are included!