Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Courtesy costs nothing...

... Or does it?

I got involved in an online discussion yesterday about whether or not women should let, or expect, men to hold doors open for them in these days of equality. My response, for what it's worth was - I love having a door held open for me, it makes me feel kind of special. But I certainly don't expect it and I do may fair share of door holding in return.

But, yes, I admit - I like the feeling of having a door held open for me. I'm not sure what it's about - it's more than just the courtesy bit. There's something rather nice about finding a chivalrous man. Or maybe it's just good to be treated as a 'fair maiden' in amongst all the strong and independent stuff that I live every day?

But what I actually love, is finding that some men - and some young men at that - still do the dance of trying to walk on the traffic side of a woman when you're walking along a street together. I thought this was just something my dad did - and my sister and I teased him about - but no, there are still men brought up, presumably by their chivalrous fathers, to protect his lady from life's dangers.

I may be old fashioned - and somewhat contradictory in my views (and judging by some of the strident comments in the online discussion I think I might be unusual too!) - but I freely confess, I like being a girl at times.

Thanks guys, keep up the good work.

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Here's how my garden grows!

I promised to keep you posted on my backyard garden is coming on this year, so here it is.

As you can see, my new roses are starting to flower already and it's all starting to settle in nicely.

Let's hope I can persuade someone to water it while I'm away next week so that it still looks as good when I get back.

Monday, 28 June 2010

Warming up

Ok, so yesterday I let you in on the challenge I've set myself for next week while I'm on holiday. And I even posted a photograph of me sans make-up - admittedly in suitably bright light so that the skin definition wasn't too sharp!

I deliberately picked next week for my 'naked' challenge since I'll be far from home and the chances of anyone I know seeing me without my usual defensive make up is fairly remote. But having had a bit of a dry run yesterday when I went to tango class au natural and managed to get away with it, I thought I'd try thinning it down a bit for work too.

So this morning instead of my usual foundation, powder, concealer, eye make up base, eye shadow, mascara, blusher and lipstick, I made do with just concealer (and not much at that!), powder and mascara. Ok, and a tiny touch of blusher. And some lipstick - but I didn't touch it up during the day!!

And do you know what? I hardly even noticed. There were a couple of times I looked in the mirror and thought I looked a bit pale - but I also thought I looked more natural and less tired. Maybe there's something in this no - ok, less - make up challenge after all!

(and why that picture - well, it's one of my favourites anyway, but I'm also hidden - behind my nephew rather than my make up for a change. But perhaps that's why I like it so much?)

Sunday, 27 June 2010


No, not completely before you get too excited dear reader, just my face!

I've decided to set myself a no make-up challenge for the week of my holiday and this is me practising. I intend going to tango class today without any make-up at all. Not even my usual minimum of tinted moisturiser and mascara.

'So what?', I hear you ask. Well for me this is a big deal for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I really feel I'm beginning to show my age and that I need a little extra assistance to get by in public. I'll never forget my sister saying, as a bold 20 something, women over 30 shouldn't be seen without make-up. I laughed at the time and thought how unliberated of her, and while she might have been out by 10 years, I kind of see what she means now.

My second reason is the state of my skin itself. Now, I realise that the constant make-up wearing and the spots may well be connected, but it's a fact that I have a worse problem with (the delightfully termed) blemishes now than I ever did as a teenager. It doesn't seem fair somehow. Wasn't one of the compromises for losing my youth supposed to be not having to deal with acne, puppy fat and teenage angst. So far it only seems to be the puppy fat that's gone, and it's been replaced by cellulite! Hmm, who said life was fair?

So, next week when I head off for my solo holiday to Wales I'm going to try a whole week without any make-up whatsoever. And today is the practice run. I've already managed the supermarket facially naked. And met people I know and survived!

I'll let you know how I get on. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

New shoes

I finally got round to buying some new shoes today. Not these ones though. Sadly they don't seem to make Leli Kelly in my size. But shoes all the same, even if they were a scarily sensible pair!

Monday, 21 June 2010

Longest day

Sadly the photo doesn't really do the sunset justice.
(Photo taken from the street outside the flat looking up towards Stirling Castle - a fine view for a girl to have!)

Friday, 18 June 2010


I may only have a concrete backyard but not only is it my oasis, it's also proof that you can 'green' just about anywhere.

I had an interesting discussion on that very topic this week at work. We were discussing how we respond to a consultation on what could be seen as just another Government initiative - Central Scotland Green Network. On the face of it the idea looks like just another worthy environment type thing. But the real beauty of it is that it connects and exposes the importance and value of green and open space to well being, happiness and economic prosperity. So it's not just about green for the sake of it (valuable though that is) but green space as a key benefit for communities, and an important right for everyone.

So, what's that got to do with my back yard? Well, on an individual scale it proves the point. You don't need a garden to have green space. And you don't need lots of space to grow stuff. And it really does help make a space into a place.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Summer dining

Do you think the healthiness of the salad makes up for the alcohol in the glass of wine?

Either way, I'm just really to be finished work at last and it's still warm enough to sit and eat my dinner outside. Mmm, bliss!

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Mission accomplished

Tubs are now all planted up and looking promising. I finished them off this evening but did most of them late last night, finishing up at 11pm. Oh, the joys of summer evenings!

Watch this space for photos of the garden over the summer as it grows.

Monday, 14 June 2010

What I should have been doing...

...with my day off, was planting the things I bought yesterday at the garden centre. What I did instead was go walking.

And very nice it was too. A good 7 hour hike over 4 munros, at the same time doubling my tally to date! Much easier than my last walking adventure.

Pics here.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

The path...

The path
Originally uploaded by bexybeads
...can be hard at times. But it can also be rewarding and worth the effort.

Yesterday's post was uncharacteristically down beat for me. It's not that I don't get down, it's just that I usually choose not to write about it quite so openly. But yesterday, it just got to me and I also thought it might help to write it down and explore the feelings I was having.

It didn't. But it's still how I was feeling so I'm going to leave it up there in cyberspace.

You'll be pleased to hear that I'm feeling better today. Not fixed or perfect, but better. And compared with yesterday, for me that's fine.

So, what's made me feel better? I'm not sure really. Part of it has been my fabulous friends, who, knowingly and unknowingly, were there for me when I needed them. Part of it is just a new day and a new frame of mind. Part of is probably that my tango class went well!

Emotions, they're strange and uncontrollable things!

Saturday, 12 June 2010


This is going to be a bit of an uncharacteristic post for me. Sorry, but I'm feeling blue. I don't know why - there's nothing particular happened - but I just can't seem to shake it today. I've done some of the things I normally do to cheer myself - had a lie in, treated myself to some foodie goodies, been for a coffee, sat in the sun - but it's just not working. So now I'm back at the flat, feeling down and feeling annoyed with myself for the pity fest. I knlow I should call one of my friends and invite myself round, or go out for a run - anything but sit here feeling down, but I just can't seem to generate the enthusiasm or energy. And, in any case, why should my friends have to put up with me being miserable? Again!

It's been just over a year now that I've been on my own. And there's no doubt it's been hard. I really didn't cope with it well to begin with but the last couple of months have felt much better. My mood swings are much less - and while the highs might not be as high, they are much more stable and the lows are less deep, which is worth it to be honest. Most of the time now I'm ok - not great, but definitely ok. It's just the occasional day, like today, that it gets hard. I wish I had someone to share things with. Don't get me wrong - I know I'm lucky to have the good friends I do, but I can't help wishing for something just a bit more. To be that extra bit special to someone and have someone that cares just that little bit extra about me.

In my 40s, I find that I don't have the first idea of how to go about solving my lack of a someone special. Well, that's not strictly true - I know in theory how I should go about it, I just don't have the confidence to do it. If I'm honest, I'm scared to try  - scared about being rejected, and also scared of messing it up again.

People tell me how brave I am to be on my own, and how well I'm coping with and dealing with it, but it doesn't really feel brave to me, it's just necessity. It's not like I have much of a choice about it at the moment!

Having said that, it was still the right thing to do, and I am far happier with my lot than I was before. I only have my own emotions to deal with now, and I'm only really responsible for me. I don't have to spend the energy making it right for someone else, often at the expense of what was right for me. And while I may not have someone caring that bit extra about me, nor do I have the disappointment of the person who should be caring that bit extra, not being able to.

Swimming on your own through life's ocean does have some advantages, but it can be incredibly lonely. But it can also be incredibly liberating - and while the ocean can be a big place, it's not entirely empty and if I keep swimming around, I'm sure I'll find company for my travels sometime.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Getting away from it all

Looking North from Ben More
Originally uploaded by bexybeads
You know, I always thought I was quite fit. But the other weekend I went walking near Crianlarich - and found out how wrong I was!

To be fair, I did walk for 8 hours - and covered the equivalent of 3 munros in the process. Three very steep munros I might add!

But by the end of it, I was so sore and so tired I didn't think I would even be able to crawl into the car, let alone get out of it at the other end. Fortunately my walking companion did the driving so I could zone out on the way back home.

And I was sore for days after. There was literally no part of my lower body that didn't hurt. And I mean hurt - it was beyond ache! I could barely move, and if I sat still for too long, you could literally hear the joints crack as I stood up!

But it was actually great fun. I felt a real sense of achievement at the end of it, something that I don't really get in the same immediate way at work. And the company was good too.

So, I'm now all set to do it again next week! At least I know to have the painkillers ready and waiting this time!!

Sunday, 6 June 2010

More meetings with extraordinary trees

You know, my walk back from tango class can be a picturesque experience.

Actually this tree isn't far from the one I blogged about a few weeks back. I know it's nothing particularly special, but it is very pretty. And what better reason is there for sharing it?

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Summer's here

So I'm off outside to enjoy it while it lasts!

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Life is good

As some of you will know, life has had its ups and downs for me over the past few months. But finally I seem to have got through it.

It's a bit like the early summer flowers in my little backyard. One minute there's nothing and then, suddenly you wake up one morning and that patch of grey is brightened by a splash of colour. And that dark corner that you forgot was full of life and beauty last year blossoms again.

When I started writing this post it was just going to be to say that my lovely clematis is flowering again. But as I started, it sort of wrote itself.

Clever thing, my subconcious self!

All I can say is, I'm looking forward to high summer now. Who knows what it will bring!