Friday, 31 August 2012

In which we learn how to read mandarin.

I live next door to a chinese restaurant. And I love it.

It's next door so it's handy for picking up food when I'm flush enough to be able to afford a takeaway. Their food is actually really good and their roast pork chow mein is to DIE for. They're also very nice people and let me have a little discount (only about 5% but still a nice gesture on their part I feel) and when my toilet was blocked, they let us use their toilet when firstborn was toilet training. I love living next door to a chinese restaurant but it's not for any of those reasons.

I love it because of the birthday parties.

Every now and then they get a group in for a birthday. They have a special offer in that the birthday person eats for free, so it's a very popular place for birthday meals. And every now and then, in amongst the general hum of chatter that I can hear through the very thin wall dividing us, I suddenly hear someone clearing their throat and I know it's time to pause what I'm watching or turn down my music and then it begins. A rousing chorus of "Happy Birthday To You". And I love it. After everyones sang the song and the birthday guy or gal has blown out the candles on his kung-po birthday cake everyone claps and cheers and occasionally there's a few hip hip hoorays and I like hearing it. I like knowing that just feet away from me, behind the wall that keeps my living room separate from the dining area of a chinese restaurant, someone is experiencing a moment of true happiness. A moment of clarity where they feel contented that everyone is there for them, to celebrate their birthday with them and generally have a good time before leaving that place and returning to the hum drum routine of every day modern life, all the problems they may be experiencing, all the sadness and sorrow and difficult times.

I don't know these people and I doubt I ever will, but for a moment, while they sing, I feel connected to them in some way and even though I'm not there with them (would be weird if I suddenly burst in and joined in singing to a complete stranger...) I'm sat here smiling, because hearing that and knowing that someone out there is happy for a moment, well it makes me happy too. Because there's so much crap in the world, so much chaos and death and destruction, that we rarely take a moment to stop and see what we have to be happy about. What we should take joy in. And so every moment of happiness should be grabbed with both hands and appreciated with all the appreciation you can muster. And it should be used as a crutch to get through the bad times. And sometimes, listening to someone doing something as simple as celebrating a birthday, well sometimes it just reminds me that there are people out there who are finding strength to carry on somehow, and so maybe I can do the same, if I just remember to appreciate the good times and look after what I have got.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012


Disclaimer: I stole every single photo in this blog entry from google. If it's your picture then blame google for letting me steal it!

I know I shouldn't write this, but it's been on my mind for a while now. And I need to vent because it just bugs me. I'm a 28 year old woman with 2 children of my own. I am very close to my parents and I adore them and would do anything for them. But at 28 years old I am very much an adult with my own choices to make, lifestyle to follow and so on and so forth. At the time of writing this, I am fairly plain looking. I have pretty neutral purple over black hair, 2 lip piercings, my ears pierced twice, one of which has been stretched to 12mm flesh tunnels and I have 6 tattoo's. My mum and dad have always been pretty cool with my appearance. I didn't really start to branch out and try to express myself through my appearance til I was 16 or so but I've always been more on the alternative side of the spectrum, ever since I was little and dressing like Adam and The Ants while listening to my mums Adam Ant vinyl collection. Sadly this was mid nineties but I've always been a little bit behind everyone else. The first time I ever dyed my hair a bright colour I dyed it magenta. I was 16 years old and my hair came down past my bum so it took two bottles. I was so scared of getting into trouble that I did it on a sleepover at a friends house and had another friend come back with me the next day for moral support. Mum saw us walk past the living room window to get to the front door and got there before we did. She threw open the door and yelled "What the bloody hell have you done to yourself??!" I took a step back, grinned sheepishly and said "hi mum, do you like it?" to which she replied (in rather a surprised tone) "Actually yes I do. It looks nice."
And that was my first step into the world of hair dying. Since then I have had every single colour in my hair that the hair colouring industry currently creates. I am an expert at dying, fixing bad dye jobs and bleaching. There is nothing I don't know because I am self taught and I learned from my mistakes. Not that I've ever made any massive mistakes... The time my hair turned green instead of blonde was actually a happy accident as green and blue were the colours I was planning to dye my hair anyway.
When I started college I made friends with the alternative crowd and I stuck with them for years after. I'm still friends with a few of them now although I don't see them as much as I would like to. One of them, who reads this blog bless 'er, (hello Miss Elle!) was particularly conducive in the next stage of my style evolution. She suggested that a lip piercing might look good on me. It was just a random throw away comment during a conversation between about 6 of us but it stuck with me and for a couple of months after that, I wore a fake lip ring to see what people thought. Everyone agreed that it suited me and I think it helped mum and dad get used to the idea because one day I came home from my boyfriend at the times house with a real piercing in the middle of my bottom lip. It was only a stud and it was a little wonky as I'd done it myself, but it was in and before long I had a ring in it. I've still got it there and last year I gave it a little friend and got the side of my lip pierced too. About 3 years ago I decided that I was becoming too mumsy. I had a baby boy and my life revolved around him. I still managed to keep myself looking good but I wasn't looking as alternative as I would like and honestly, even though I still probably stuck out like a sore thumb, I felt like a bit of a wallflower and I felt drab and colourless. Then I decided to fix it by doing something little that wouldn't be too noticeable but would make me feel better about myself. I bought an ear stretching kit off ebay and I started to stretch my ears. My boyfriend of that time and my parents all hated what I was doing and I was getting told every day to take them out and stop being silly but I persevered and now I am up to 12mm where I have been for about a year now and I have a pair of very lovely leopard print tunnels in that the lovely boyfriend bought me last year. I love my flesh tunnels, if I could make them bigger I would but I'm aware that they gross people out, so I wont go any bigger. It's one of the compromises I think my parents and I have come to without actually saying anything!
When I was little my dad was a labourer. He used to go around in a plaid shirt with the sleeves either rolled up or cut off, dirty jeans and work boots. He used to smoke tobacco that he kept in a leather pouch and he was and still is, absolutely covered in tattoo's. He covers most of them up now, but I remember sitting on his lap tracing their outlines when I was really small. The smell of tobacco in a leather pouch always brings back fond memories of Wrestling commentaries and drawing around his tattoos with my finger. Ever since I was little I've always wanted tattoo's and this brings me to my main point. I love tattoo's. I mean to the point of near obsession. I always have done and I always will do. If I was a better artist I would have gone into that profession. The first time I came home with a tattoo my parents were ok about it. It was a small spider on my arm. They weren't too happy with the fact that I was underage at the time, or that I had got one at all but they were ok with what it was and at the time, ok with me having one. The 2nd one they were less fine with but still okish, its on my lower back and it is in memory of my friend who sadly died so they couldn't really say much. And the 3rd one... Well, the 3rd caused a lot of arguments. You see my mum is a massive fan of teddy bears. She's an avid collector. And by collector I mean that she has about 8 black sacks of them in the loft and a further 3 in the spare room and two wardrobes covered in them. She's a huge teddy bear fan. She never let me eat pom-bear crisps when I was little because she thought it was cruel. The ham you could get in the shape of a teddies face? No way. Never, ever, ever. So when I got a kid with a pumpkin head that has a knife in one hand and a decapitated teddy bear at his feet - mum took that as a personal insult. Over the last 10 years or so she's come to get used to it and I've shown her the original comic that I made that it came from and she got it once she saw it in context but she still hates it. She now also hates the fact that I have the word Strength across my shoulders in big gothic lettering and she hates that I have a heart on the inside of my right wrist with the initial of my boyfriends first name in it. And she HATES that I now have a large cobweb around my first little spider tattoo. However she doesn't mind that I have the names of my sons written on a scroll being carried by a badly drawn swallow on my left shoulder. But I suspect thats because it's my kids and she adores them. Anyway. Out of everything I've ever done to alter my appearance, the tattoo's are the one thing my parents hate. Because they're permanent. Hair can be dyed again, piercings can be removed. Tattoo's are forever. And my mum and I often discuss what it'll be like in 40 years time. You see... I have plans for many MANY more tattoo's. At the time of writing I already know what I want for my full sleeve, my half sleeve, one on each foot and one large one on my back. I already know what I want, but I want more elsewhere and I'm still thinking about what to get. And somehow whenever my mum steers the conversation to my ink and she tells me I have too much, I reply with "I don't have enough, I'm getting more" and then she uses the "what will you look like when you're old?" argument. Honestly, I want to say this. But I never will. Because its pointless arguing when our views are so different.

I instead reply that I will never regret them because they are a part of who I am. And even if I change, they're still a part of who I was at one point, it's like a pin in the map of my journey through life. So then she changes it and says that on girls they're tacky and trampy. I also wish I could show her this counter argument but taste is subjective and what I think is beautiful someone else may find repulsive.
For example, here are some photos of beautiful women with tattoo's that I found through the medium of google.

And then allow me to introduce my two idols in the world of tattoo's.

Miss Kat Von D - tattooist to the stars. Quite literally.

And now Miss Micheline Pitt - pin up model and make up artist.

Now you surely cannot deny that at least one of those women is nice looking? Personally, it's my ambition in life to look like Kat Von D or Micheline Pitt. Yeah, the tattoo'd, punked up version of a Barbie Doll. I'll never get there but a girl can dream. And so when my mum says that women with tattoo's look trampy, tacky and slutty, I think of these classy, beautiful women and I sigh. Because she'll never see it and I can't explain it and it's just one of those things that we will never agree on. And I'm ok with that. Because at the end of the day it's my life, my body and my skin and I'm not hurting anyone. 
But as much as I love tattoos (there are two things in the world that can make me drool over someone for physical appearance alone and they are tattoo's and flesh tunnels!) I do have my limits. For example I would never get a tattoo on the front of my neck/throat. Would freak me out too much for one thing. And I would never get a tattoo on my breasts. My main reason for this is because it's the first part of a woman to sag. I know this because I am already sagging. (but then breast feeding two children ain't gonna keep 'em perky!) and when my nipples are regularly visiting my knees, I don't want to see the picture that I previously adored looking like it got pulled out of the printer too fast. Another is my face. I quite like my face. On a good day it's extremely pretty. On a bad day it's plain and average but I rarely if ever look in the mirror and think that I am ugly. Only in my deepest darkest moments have I ever thought that because it's simply not true. I'm not being vain, I'm stating a fact. I'm very fortunate in that I have my mums good genes and look younger than I am and I look like both of my parents who, in their youth, were rather good looking, so I am lucky enough to be quite pretty so why would I change something that doesn't need changing? I already have a lot of make up which I rarely wear, so if I wanted to change anything I could just apply some slap and look tonnes different that way. 
There are reasons that I have what I have where I have it though. While we're on the subject of my face I always thought my lips were too thin. I have a nice top lip but the bottom lip could do with being a bit fuller I always thought. So I got my lip pierced, in a way I think, to enhace what I already had there. I always hated my flabby bingo wings, so I got arm tattoo's to get over my fear of showing them in public and distract from the flabby saggy bits underneath. I hate feet but have recently come to realise that my feet aren't actually that bad looking, so intend to get a small tattoo on each foot in order to boost my confidence in getting them out more. I have what I have in order to help myself feel better about myself. And I'm sorry but I have a dream of walking down an aisle in a white dress with a full sleeve tattoo on show and I'll be damned if that dream is trashed. I love tattoo's. I think they enhance beauty and, if done correctly, help a woman show off her feminity. And so I intend to keep going until there are literally 5 patches of bare skin left on my body because tattoo's are an art form. Some people like to hang art on their walls and admire it from afar, I like to hang it on my body and admire it really close up. And yes it hurts. And yes it's expensive. But both of those statements also apply to having children and I would never ever give them up for an easier life, so why would I give up something I love almost as much?

Monday, 20 August 2012

Story? Probably not.

I awoke with a start.

I was laying on something cold and hard and my head was pounding. I had no idea where I was, much less who I was. I hoped I wasn't in any danger. I tried opening my eyes but with no visual improvement I decided that I was either blind or someone had failed to leave the light on for me. I groped around a bit and decided that I was on a floor. I might be wrong and it might be a ceiling, but I was fairly certain that unless the laws of physics had drastically changed during my time of unconciousness, the chances of it being a ceiling were fairly slim. Either way, I thought to myself, it might be an idea to try and stand up. I don't know why this thought occured to me, but hey, it was something to do... I stood up and immediately regretted the decision when my  head cracked on a low beam. With pain induced bright lights flashing in my eyes I swore a bit, lost my balance and fell over. So far this was going well. I still couldn't remember who I was, this was slightly concerning to me, but the more immediate matter pressing on my mind was where I was, as my bladder decided to inform me that it had reached full capacity. I got onto my knees and crawled in a generally forwards direction. I kept going for a few seconds before suddenly realising that it might be an idea to check my pockets for anything that might be of some help. I stood upright on my knees and started patting myself down. After a few seconds I ascertained that I was wearing a dress of some kind, with some kind of soft and fluffy jacket over it... Handily, in my left pocket was a mobile phone - no signal. A cotton reel and a tea spoon. In my right pocket was a lighter, what appeared on closer inspection (using the lighter to see) to be a packet of methol cigarettes and a red lego brick. Not the best start but two things to light my way at least. I used the lighter to try and see around the room. It was very large and sparse with wooden floorboards, walls and ceiling. I stood completely upright and made my way (carefully) towards the nearest wall. Using the lighter to guide my way I groped along it until I reached a small box with a switch on it. I pushed the switch in and was immediately blinded by a single light bulb in the middle of the ceiling sparking into life. With my eyes barely open I put the lighter back in my pocket and attempted to open them fully. As I blinked around the room I took in everything. The room was empty except for a small wooden box in the centre of the room, near where presumably, I had woken up. There were no doors or windows which was puzzling. By this point I was becoming really concerned about my bladder and it's lack of space. I went over to the small box on the floor and picked it up. It was very basic dark wood with a bronze lock on the front. I couldn't see a key anywhere but felt optimistic that it might hold a clue to my whereabouts or something in it. I thought for a few seconds before remembering the tea spoon in my pocket and, carefully easing it into the crack between box and lid, levered up the lock until the wood splintered and the lid came free.

I stared in amazement. Then I blinked, and then I stared some more. Then I got angry. Inside the box was a solitary slice of toast. This was clearly the work of a mad man. Had I been here before? Did I do this to myself? I sat on the floor frustrated and fed up. I was in a room with no doors or windows, desperately in need of the toilet, with a slice of toast in a box. What the hell was going on??? As I sat there I tried to remember who I was. I had no idea of a name and only hazy memories of a blue sky, a childs laugh and a warm fireplace. Who the hell was I and what was I doing in this sodding room? More to the point, how did I get in here??? At that point one of the walls disappeared. Deciding that my day couldn't possibly get any worse, I stood up and walked to where the wall had been. Behind me the light went out. I walked on in darkness for a few seconds before there was a loud scuffling noise and suddenly I was surrounded by bright light again. Things had improved slightly, I appeared to be in a bathroom of some sort. Everything was gold in colour, the toilet, the sink, the lavish bath with tiger paws at the bottom, there were pot plants in gold pots, even the toilet roll holder was gold coloured. As I caught sight of my reflection in the large mirror above the sink I noticed that the box that contained the toast was now on the side of the sink. I had left it on the floor in the dark. I turned around and the wall that had disappeared to let me in here had been replaced by a deep red velvetty wall with a large sign on it. The sign read "In the interests of hygiene, please wash your hands before leaving the rest room." My bladder, deciding to take matters into it's own hands (so to speak) decided to lurch at this point and remind me that I needed to empty it. So I went and sat on the toilet and after a few seconds, felt a wave of relief rush over me. I remembered to wash my hands and with a nod to the sign, decided to wait and see what happened next. I didn't have to wait long.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Token fashionista blog.

So... I just had a shower. Probably slightly more than you needed to know but I need to lead up to my point and that's where it started. I was in the shower. And then I wasn't. And then I got dressed. And then I went back to the bathroom to brush my hair. And the bath (the shower is over the tub) was still draining. STILL draining. 15 minutes after I had shut off the water and fallen over the side of the bath in an attempt to exit elegantly, and it was still draining. Luckily I was prepared for such an event. I went over to the other side of the bathroom, retrieved my trusty plunger (99p from tesco) from down the side of the toilet and I took to the bath like a professional plumber. (by which I mean I hit the plug hole with the sucky end a few times and giggled at the noise it made) after a few minutes it was draining quicker and satisfied with a job well done, I returned the plunger to its home under the toilet cystern. As I stood upright and grabbed my hair brush I caught sight of my reflection in the mirror and realisation suddenly hit me. It was almost epiphany-like. For years and years I have been struggling through life not quite knowing WHAT I am. I know WHO I am and I'm fairly happy with that, there could be improvements but on the whole I'm not too shabby. I'm funny (apparently) I'm attractive (and vain) and I'm friendly. It could be a whole lot worse. But I've never completely known WHAT I am. Ask anyone who's known me over the last ten years and you'll get a broad spectrum of answers from goth to punk, from rockabilly to chav (my lovely mother) I've been categorized by others according to what I look like on any given day and never really had a say in it. I've never really been comfortable with my body shape and as such I have always had the tendency to dress in all black. Black is a slimming shade (it's not a colour) and so it's one that covers most of my wardrobe. However I am also influenced a lot by the music that I listen to. So for a few years at college I was in baggy jeans and band hoodies. Then when I was working in a care home I was in short skirts, fishnets and DM boots with lots of safety pins everywhere. Then when I was working in an office my civvy clothes were quiffed hair, leopard print shoes and swing skirts. I have been many different things, always influenced by whatever musical genre I am into at the time. Always on the alternative side of the spectrum though. However when you have as ecclectic musical tastes as I do, it's difficult to keep consistency. What do you wear when you're jumping around to the greatest hits of Del Shannon? How about Blondie? Gogol Bordello? How about if you listen to all three of those in one morning?

Yesterday was Sunday and I was doing the housework. I have a routine - on sundays I change the beds and tidy the bedrooms. I decided to have some music on as I did so and I decided to choose some music that I haven't listened to in rather a long time. (Warning: this is a PMM. Proud Mama Moment.) the kids decided to help me and at 2.5 years and very nearly 4 years, they are perfectly capable of helping me do some light dusting, put away toys and do some hoovering. The firstborn even stripped my bed for me and he did it very well. Anyway, we're jumping around my room (it's the one with the cd player in it) to the music I have chosen and firstborn pipes up "I really like this Mama, who is it?" tears well up in my eyes as I crouch down to his level and proudly announce "It's Adam and The Ants darling, I used to love these guys when I was your age too." we embrace and then we carry on jumping around like loons with firstborn teaching secondborn how to shout "Stand And Deliver" at the top of his lungs. It's the middle of summer, the windows are wide open and I'm sure people outside can hear us but I don't care. I've just had a moment where I have looked at my children and seen myself in them. Completely and utterly from my genes. And I am so proud. Why? Because they like something I liked at that age that isn't food or television related. Anyway, later in the day I decided to get on the computer with firstborn on my lap while secondborn is off playing or eating foreign objects or something and I decide to bring up Adam And The Ants to show firstborn what they looked like. And within seconds firstborn has raised a very good point. "You have a coat like that Mama." "You have those boots Mama." and finally... "You look like that Mama."

In the words of a 3 - nearly 4 year old. I dress like Adam And the Ants.

I'm fairly happy with this comment. I've always considered myself to be dashing. Hell it was even my facebook name for a while: Dashing Luna Kendell. Til facebook decided that it wasn't a real name and changed it back to my original one. I could even, if pressed, say that I was dandy. I've even had an affinity with highway men before so put all that together and you've got a description of me hidden in a verse of Stand And Deliver.

But. What would one call this style?
I once went out on a night out with friends in fancy dress. It was meant to be Heroes and Villains night, but due to unforseen circumstances I ended up with literally half an hour to get a costume together. I ended up in a long military style coat, skinny jeans with knee high boots, a white shirt and underbust corset and for the entire night I was referred to as The Hero From Fable 2. Fable 2 being one of my favourite xbox games I didn't mind and for the halloween a few weeks later, that's what I went for. I had more time so I made the weapons and port keys from the game to fully finish off my costume.

And it was the most comfortable costume I've ever worn, so comfortable that since then, my standard daily dress is boots over jeans. Even on the hottest days I've worn that, teemed with a 17th century style thin shirt. I generally quiff my fringe to get it out of my face and often wear a ribbon in my hair so I do look a bit like Adam Ant has been physically thrown into the magical world of Fable 2.

Ok. So we now know what I am. But what is it called? Adam And The Ants were classed as New Romantic. The highway men that the look is based on were from the 16th and 17th century. And if you type "dandy highwayman" into google... Well, you get this...

I am none of those. For starters I am not a man. I am very much a woman.

So until I can think up a decent name for my style and get it used in every day descriptions, I am going unnamed. Hey, maybe I should take suggestions and draw one out of a hat? The winner gets a worthers original. Possibly pre-sucked.