No More

When I was a little girl I was told, as I know a lot of girls are, that I was pretty, had beautiful unique eyes, had hair grown women dreamed about, and that I could do anything I wanted with my life. I accepted it because I was told it by the people who loved me.
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Dad & I 

So what happened between then and now. I have the same eyes and the same thick hair, and I am doing everything that I want in life. and yet I struggle.

I struggle with the fact that despite being told throughout my childhood the things I mentioned above, and many more, the only one that I held on to and has shaped me is the one about my ability to do anything I want with my life. I am doing exactly as I wish with my life. Everything I have done in my life has come from me, and yet when I look in the mirror it isn’t my accomplishments I see, it’s the things I think I have failed at.

How come I managed to turn all that positive reinforcement and support about my abilities and capabilities to achieve anything into a real life existence, yet as I sit and write this I am plagued with feelings of inadequacies about my looks that I have led me down a path to being overweight and horribly unfit.

I think that a lot of it stems from the fact that as girls we are taught by the people outside our home life that it’s the things we achieve in school that define us as we age. We are taught in school so that we can continue upwardly through life, to achieve success. In all that though I think certain messages are lost. I don’t think that girls are recognised for their naturally abilities, only those that are taught by others.

Yet as soon as we are grown those wonderful lessons we were taught, the incredible volumes of knowledge we have had imparted onto us over the years fall by the wayside and we are left with an overwhelming feeling of dissatisfaction that no amount of pay rises, promotions and big offices can over quell.

I judge myself based on the viewpoint of others. I only believe I am a good friend, if those around me tell me so. I only believe I am attractive if the people I find attractive find me so. I am only ‘right’ when someone tells me I am.

I don’t know if any of you reading feel this way, if you don’t then apologies, but I have decided in the last 40 minutes, although its been coming for some time, that as long as I am happy with the person I am, what I see in the mirror and my actions towards others then the opinions of others become null and void.

At the beginning of 2013 as the clock stuck midnight I made a promise to myself;

no more

No more trying to be someone else, no more trying to be the best at things that don’t matter and instead focus on the things that do, no more spending time angry that certain people in my life don’t behave the way I think they should, no more despising the reflection I see in the mirror. No More.

Instead here are my 2013 vows (not resolutions)

- I will not stop watching airbrushed american television shows that make me feel bad about how I look. Instead I vow to read more of the authors who inspire me, follow the lives of women who work for the bodies they deserve and find time to work on myself.
- I will not dye my hair over and over again longing for it to be something it never will be. Instead I vow to be kind to it and treat it well and most of all not try to have the looks of someone else, but create looks of my own.
- I will not pay to have plastic stuck to me nails because I think that the best way to have long nails. Instead I vow to grow my nails with patience and treat them well.
- I will not use fake tan or sun beds. Instead I will embrace my beautiful pale skin which I have recently realised actually suits my green eyes and dark hair.
- I will not read more into the tweets, Facebook statuses or other social networking site posts of my friends. Instead I vow to spend time with them; honest time so that when they post arsey snarky posts (which they still will) I will know that its nothing to do with me.
- I will not eat junk food. Instead I will allow myself a treat whenever I wish as long as it’s a small amount and I can justify eating it.
- I will not continue to allow my body to deteriorate. Instead I will exercise for 30 minutes every single day. Be it a brisk dog walk, a dance class, a swim or whatever else I wish.
- I will not see the success of others as a failure in me. Instead I will celebrate success with them and strive harder to focus on my aims and goals and not take my eye off them.

love what you do

Finally I will not deny myself any experience, opportunity or emotion. Instead I will go through life open-minded, honestly and with every intention of becoming the greatest version of myself possible.

Would love to know what you feel about this?

E x

PS don’t forget you can still enter my Instant Print business card giveaway 

Sunday Social

Today marks the start of my Sunday Social – they will be posts about the lovely places I have been and the gorgeous food I have eaten. I wrote a post about Baltzersens in Harrogate last year and it’s inspired the Sunday Social, because lets face it there is nothing better on a Sunday afternoon than perfect food and company.

Today’s post is all about Orchid, the beautiful adored Thai restaurant within the boutique Studley Hotel on Swan Road in Harrogate. I spent 3 gorgeous hours with my favourite second family, Amanda, Tim, Luke, Harry & Chloe have been in my life since the kids were tiny, in Harry and Chloe’s case before they were born! To sit with Luke, 17 whilst he has a beer and we chat about Uni makes me feel ancient, but at the same time so lovely to have been a part of his life for so long.

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The beautiful Studley Hotel

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The stunning private room we ate lunch in 

This restaurant is regarded as one of the best in town, it is full booked most weekends of most weeks throughout the year, but for me the absolute best time to go is Sunday Lunch.

I bet you have all been to an all-you-can eat, but I bet you have never been to an all-you-can eat like this before. The food is just incredible, the blend of Thai and Pan-Asian flavours and textures, just divine. Unlike a lot of buffets, the Orchids buffet offers the best of the main dinner menu.

Included in the starters section of the buffet are the incredible succulent duck pancakes, light tempura vegetables, a sharp and creamy cucumber and avocado salad. I followed that by the beautiful Red Duck Curry, jammed packed with roasted duck, pineapple, lime leaves and sweet basil, paired with the aromatic rice and spicy soft noodles.

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I cannot describe how beautiful the food at Orchid is, it’s also a wonderful place to people spot as Sunday Buffet seems to bring out the who’s who of Harrogate.

You can also indulge in some wonderful beer from all over Asia, includes Singapore’s Tiger, Singha from Thailand and my favourite Tsingtao which hails from China. There is also nothing more scrummy that a glass of ice cold Rose to cut through the rich Thai curries and to cool the palette after the chili ginger beef.

It’s a great date night place if you are out to impress and with the beautiful hotel attached its easy to make a weekend of it, walk off all the food and booze in the Valley Gardens afterwards.

Would love to know what your favourite restaurants in the area are, then I can add them to my ‘To Visit’ list and for my Social Sunday in the future.

E x

4 days down….27 to go!

4 down

So if you read my initial post about match.com earlier this week you will know that I am on a months trial of the site to see if it can boost my 3.5 year stalemate.

I come with tidings of hilarity and horror! Prepare yourself!

It was all going so well, over 100 views of my profile, 37 winks and 14 chaps chatting to me, I was thrilled. I totally understood the benefit of online dating, in the whole 3.5 years of being single I didn’t get a percentage of the attention I have had on the site.

However, as is always the way, things never do run smoothly in my life. So let me begin with some of the delights on the site, how about the 2 guys on there from Harrogate, who I know have girlfriends who have been ‘active’ on the site in the last few days…hmmm interesting! Then there are the guys who appear to have taken their profile pictures in the dirtiest mirror in the world, or decided that the picture where they are one of 30 people is a suitable one to attract attention. But I think the highlight in terms of profile picture goes to this chap – whose face I have blurred out for legal reasons! But if you are brave have a little look down at the bottom right hand corner……

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Not sure there is much I can say about that! And for the record that’s his profile image, not something he sent me!

But in all of this I think that the most disturbing has to be the guy who asked me out, we made great plans to go to comedy club, he was witty and we have similar interests. We should have been going on our first date tonight, but yesterday the very exciting opportunity to go to Opera North to see Otello came about thanks to Culture Vultures (I will be blogging about this in the next few days); sadly that meant I had to email mikey78 and let him know that we would have to rearrange. The email was a sweet one, his response ..not so much!

He called me most names you can think of including, a cock-tease (not sure he knows what this actually is) bitch and self indulgent. He was even less amused when I responded telling him that we wouldn’t be rearranging the date!

He topped that though, he went straight to Match and reported me as a fake profile! Cue and interesting few emails from Match. In fairness they were really great and understood my frustration with the whole matter.

So all in all an interesting first 4 days on the site. However I will continue with a positive mental attitude and as always humour.  Even if I don’t find love, I am finding a whole world of stuff to blog about!

You can follow the day to day tweetings at @emglobetrotter if you prefer my rants limited to 140 characters!

Until next time….

E x

New Year, New Blog

As I am sure all of you that read my column are aware I am not one to sit on the fence, nor am I likely to keep my trap shut when I feel a rant brewing.

If you follow me on twitter I am sure that you have seen my recent tweets about ‘real women’ it may seem I am a little late to the party as there have been substantial rumblings and annoyance aimed at companies using size 16+ women and labeling them as ‘real’

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I must say I am 16+ and comfortable with my body, and thanks to my ability to inhale & exhale I count myself a real woman, it is in fact the sheer ability to breathe and function as a human that makes me a ‘real woman’ not my BMI or dress size.

If you follow me on instagram you will be aware of my addiction to glossy advert filled magazines, and my need to photograph and lust over them. But in reading them I have noticed my view of ‘normality’ is now somewhat skewed. Although I am aware that excessive air-brushing is used together with clever lighting and technical trickery, I find myself lulled into thinking that the foundation advertised will make my skin flawless, that I could have Cheryl style hair, or that Cosmo’s life quiz might actually cast light on my never-ending single state. I was shocked at the sheer levels of air-brushing and tweaking, saddened by the inane pointless drivel they pedal.

All of this came to a head when reading Glamour magazines tips on how to Internet date and the first snippet of advice went a little like this “make sure your profile picture on the site is accessible, you need to say hello without being intimidating” Ohhhh I see, so that’s where I am going wrong I’m using an intimidating picture. Look at it, brutal!

It got me to thinking about what I really want to read about, and thus Awkward was born.

Awkward is a new blog I am launching in February, filled with lifestyle, culture, parenting, fashion and beauty. At the moment its in the process of being created so looks a little plain, but will be perfect by the launch on 18th Feb 2013.

The contributors are diverse, they know what they are writing about, if they write about parenting then its because they are parents, if they are offering advice; its because they have been there and done it. The Awkward angle comes with each individual, each writer sees  themselves in an awkward light, not in a negative way, just an awkward one.

I would love to have guest posts on the site so if you want to get involved then contact me hello@theawkwardmagazine.com let me know what you like to write about and we can get the ball rolling. You can also find Awkward on twitter

Thank you ahead of time for the support I know I will have from you all

Em x

Yorkshire Sourced….Scandinavian Inspired

I have a coffee addiction, quite shocking really! I can easily drink 8 cups a day – I know this is shocking, but I don’t smoke and I don’t drink often, so please world allow me my coffee adoration.

As you can imagine I am a picky bugger about my coffee, hence when I opened my shop Bespoke I had a bespoke blend made for me and prided myself on the sharp crisp and fresh taste. Even now I am eternally on the search for the ultimate coffee. But I must tell you that is not just down to the taste of the coffee, I am picky about the type of cup it comes in, the milk temperature and standard of their espresso. Then I have to take into account the seating, the music and the general ambiance in the coffee shop.

So imagine my utter delight when I saw the boards go up around a slightly dilapidated shop in Harrogate, I wandered past every week or so to see how they were getting along, nosy as ever at what new shop would be opening, and I have to tell you I was a little skeptical about a new clothes shop, or worse another cheap and nasty shop.

However, on a random sunny Sunday morning in town mum and I decided that we would pop into the new shop.

Image by Colin Murdoch Studio

Baltzersen’s is located on Oxford Street, a pedestrianised busy street, with a number of independent shops and the internationally known Harrogate Theatre.

When approached Baltzersen’s is incredibly striking, with its blue grey exterior and the neon outside seating create a wonderfully trendy welcome, the branding is stunning, striking and very individual and I must tell you they already had me on side. They had clearly thought this through, there was a theme, a process and most of all it was clearly owned by people who not only cared about their products but about their whole brand.

Then as you step through the dark and inviting door you are welcomed by the most beautiful crisp white tiling and wide array of the most incredible looking cakes, from the Cinnamon Buns to the Fat Free Fruit Cake. The staff really make the independent coffee shop, I have never, no matter where I have been in a large scale multi site coffee shop have I ever found staff who really care about the brand, who really represent the company the are working for. My immediate reaction when I was confronted with the Baltzersen’s staff was sheer joy, sincere smiles and genuine knowledge about the coffee and baked products left both my mum and I thrilled.

We both had a Flat White, it is a real skill to make these perfectly, it requires not only skill but practice and care. We also indulged in their apple cake, and if mum had allowed me to I would have had the whole damn cake, but no we shared a piece. Although you order at the counter, you are welcomed to find somewhere to sit and the rest is table service.

Now I am going to really gush, the seating in this joint is perfect, from the benches that are perfect for lunch goers and families, then the lovely neatly arranged couples tables, with a long bench and beautifully upholstered chairs, follow it round and you are met with a ‘living room’ set up, vintage leather chairs all beaten up and loved, big curl up in chairs and a few gorgeous retro sofas. There is somewhere for everyone here, over my 4 visits in the last 2 weeks I have sat in all the areas and think I am the biggest fan of the beautiful vintage, aged chocolate leather chair.

 Image by Colin Murdoch Studio

Image by Colin Murdoch Studio

So whilst I was in having a flat white, I got chatting to Paul the owner and he talked me through the history of the name and the concept and here is what he said……

“Liv Esther Baltzersen was born in Sauda, Norway on 17th April 1923.  She grew up in Norway and in 1948 she visited England, attended the London Olympics and through a mutual acquaintance met her future Husband.  She was a fantastic cook and baker, spoke 7 languages, loved knitting and gardening, but most importantly to me she was my Grandma.

During my childhood, without realising it, I grew up eating Norwegian food whenever we’d visit Grandma.  There was always a battered old Wall’s ice cream tub of serinakaker or mandelskiver biscuits and waffles were a regular snack on a Sunday afternoon – I never really wondered why other people didn’t eat them.  As we grew older Baltzersen’s was a concept often discussed in our family.

When I deployed to Afghanistan in 2010, with the aid of a tatty copy of The Financial Times’ ‘Guide to Business Start Up’, I wrote a document that described what I thought Baltzersen’s could be and what it should mean to the people who worked there and to those who visited.

On my return I married Katie and we decided that life in the Army was no longer for us and I handed in my notice.  I began applying for jobs but I found myself talking about Baltzersen’s during interviews and explaining that this was what I really wanted to do.  After some long discussions we came to the decision that we had to give Baltzersen’s a go, or we’d regret it for the rest of our lives…..roughly 18 months later on 1st October 2012 we opened the doors and the rest is history.”

When I asked what the concept behind Baltzersen’s this is what he said

“Food made from scratch on site using the best produce Yorkshire can offer. Friendly staff who care about what they do and are good at doing it. Coffee done right – whatever that means to you. Clean, functional and comfortable design.” If you want to read more about the concept and the business going forward Paul writes a great blog about it, he talks about the sourcing of the furniture and the wonderful coffee they serve.

I have never been anywhere that whole heartedly embodies its concept from the staff uniforms, to the beautiful etched table numbers.

This is now my go to place.

They also were amazing when I asked about them making something gluten and wheat free for my coeliac friend, not only did they make something with 24 hours notice, they made something so tasty even me a wheat lover really enjoyed it.

I cannot recommend this place highly enough, the coffee, the green tea with jasmine, the deep filled sandwiches and the yummy sweets.

Let me know what you think?!

You can also find Baltzersen’s on Facebook and twitter

eHarmony….shmarmony!

Right I would like at this point to draw your attention to the fact that I in no way see myself as a perfect catch, relationship wise. I have flaws, many in some ways. I am not at my fittest, hottest most awesome self, but I am on the way back there!

Since meeting Mr 3 Piece suit there has been a distinct shift in my attitude towards relationships, I have accepted that although I would love to have butterflies the minute I meet someone, I have to accept that I may just end up disappointed. I also am surrounded by couples, A&K, C&C are my favourites, they show the full spectrum of relationship shades, from the love to the loathing I get to see it all. That is the thing I miss most about being with someone, its not actually the love part, its the being together part, the having someone to talk to late at night when you can’t sleep, the person who knows you by choice not because they have to, someone whose chest I can rest my head on when the world seems a little scary.

And so here I am a month into online dating and to be honest its a sad state of affairs, I am quite honestly shocked and disheartened by the ‘matches’ that eharmony seem to think I will fall madly in love with and go on to star in a sappy tv ad!

Now for those of you lucky gits who have found love in a dark bar whilst dancing to scissor sisters and drinking a vodka&red bull or via your very kind friends then all this ‘online’ dating malarkey may be new to you – if so then it goes a little something like this…..

Step 1- Realise just how hideously lonely you are, go on a night out get painfully drunk and end up calling an ex only to be delightfully awoken the next morning with a patronising text from him going a little like this “Emma, i’m with someone else now, I really think you should find someone too” Yeah thanks dick head! I am clearly trying and failing, hence the late night call to you! Moron!

Step 2 – Accept that maybe you need a little assistance in the whole dating game, see an advert on tv of a shiny cute couple who have found everlasting love via the medium of online dating. So you sign yourself up and wait for the plethora of beautiful, talented, charismatic men to flood your inbox.

Step 3 – Massively regret signing up for this service as all it does is remind you of the fact that you are painfully picky and that the chances of you finding said beautiful, talented and charismatic chap are about as likely as creating a fully functional chocolate teapot!

The particular site I am on asked me a 100,000,000 questions in an effort to ‘match’ me with someone looking for the same things in life, with the same morals and searching for the same type of relationship. Let me just tell you something, whoever made their ‘match maker’ algorithms needs shooting!

I am not looking for someone who is 5ft 4, unemployed and living with his parents. I also do not need to waste my time talking to someone whose opening statement says “I’m awesome”, how about the man who looks a little like Santa after a heavy night out…..I ask you why have they been suggested to me? Is it a subliminal way of telling me that the best I can do is scrape the barrel at this point?

I don’t like to come across as being cruel towards others, Mr 5ft4 may in fact be lovely, and have a genuine reason for living at home and being unemployed but to be honest I am 27 in just over a month and I don’t have time to deal with all of that! I have my own agenda, and I know that it isnt like it is in the movies, but now I have been reminded of that feeling of a racing heart beat and flushed cheeks, I know what it feels like once more to slow dance with someone, and chat about nothing under the stars drinking champagne….

……So here is the new plan – get a new job, get a social life, get a man.

The new job bit has been checked, I started today at a wonderful digital agency in Leeds called Sticky Eyes, and am now surrounded by very like minded, uber cool and all round awesome folks. There are some very cute faces to keep me entertained as well. They are a super social lot and I have already been invited on a few nights out including the work fancy dress night out. So I think that point 2 – get a social life – is well on its way.

Anyone who knows me, knows that when it comes to patience, the personality fairy pretty much missed me out! I do things my way and in my own time, if that means asap then asap is when it will happen. As always if you cannot wait for the next installation of this blog you can follow me on twitter

I think that this blog may be simply the start of the journey… so hold on tight and prepare yourself for my no holds barred relationship revolution!

Slightly stressful arrival but I’m here!

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Well it's been 16 weeks in the planning and finally on 7th June 2012 I touched down in Miami

After the most relaxing massage and pedicure in the executive lounge at Heathrow where I was waited on hand and foot whilst being served perfectly chilled Verve Clicquot made my way to departure gate 18 terminal 3 and boarded the Virgin Atlantic 747 to Miami flight vs5. Plan of action for the flight went a little like this….. Vodka&Tonic, lunch, movie, sleep – perfect – but clearly deluded! It was mostly vodka&tonic and movies, no sleep and awful food :-(

I really want to tell you that my arrival sparked a love affair between the city and I, sadly that was far from the case!

I appreciate how important customs and security is in the states but wow any one heard of air con! Standing in the queue for over an hour, exhausted and hotter than hell on earth I felt my bad mood rapidly approaching – that and the two women in front of me on the plane who were like witches round a cauldron!

Once through the emotionless customs it was baggage time and then a good solid 5 hour wait for my greyhound bus to Gainesville.

Now, I think of myself as a reasonably brave person, happy to travel and blend in, not your typical tourist. Today I was the extreme opposite. I arrived at the greyhound terminal, having been informed that they no longer picked up from the airport, to what can only be described as a scene from a bad horror movie. You know that point at the beginning where you shouting at the screen "give up now! If you think this is bad you have no idea!"

As I pushed open the door practically hanging off its hinges and drag my case to the counter I am informed that the next bus to Gainesville is not until 11am the next day! Which meant a 16 hour wait in the most soulless tin can.

At this point my usually hidden middle class white girl kicked in and the tears began to fall, "that's it" I decide I'm just going to go home! I've tried, no one can say I haven't tried but it's not for me!

As I stared at the departure boards for the next flight back to the UK, I spotted a flight to Gainesville, and as a huge fate devotee I reasoned that I was meant to stay and brave out my adventure.

After that it was plane (excuse the pun) sailing – a tiny plane with no more than 40 people on board the American Eagle ER4. As a less than keen flyer the thoughts running through my mind were, "holy crap I'm going to die" but as I promised myself I had to learn to be brave I strapped myself into the window seat and forced myself to enjoy and boy did I – with some of the most breathtaking views over the lakes and glades I was suddenly calmed and can honestly say loved the 49 minute journey.

Seeing my cousin stood at arrivals in the tiny but perfectly formed Gainesville Airport I suddenly realised that all the drama was behind me and I was at the beginning of the greatest adventure…..

Gonna go now, start making memories, oh and get some food!

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