2012 Cosmo Blog Award Winners!

Well – hello there! It’s been a while. You look nice. Have you changed your hair?

Our Cosmo Blog Award!

Our Cosmo Blog Award!

We’ve both been quite pre-occupied with working on other things and whatnot. Mostly the whatnot, though. Whilst we were busy doing that, you were busy voting for us in the Cosmo Blog Awards. Thanks for that. A brilliant thing happened. WE BLOODY WON.

Crumpet made it to the Cosmo Awards Party to grab our loot and meet the other lovely nominees. First up though, it’s Panda…

PANDA:

We’ve not written anything new for quite a while now, there are loads of different reasons for that, but mainly it’s just life. We never started this because we wanted to be writers we just wanted to share (with each other and we thought maybe a few of our mates) what we were going through. We were two singles girls both with big bastard heartbreaking relationships in our past and both having ridiculous boy adventures in our present. For me a lot of my friends were in relationships so having Crumpet to talk to about my misadventures in love was brilliant, it played a big part in helping me get happy after my relationship ended.

We thought it would never amount to more than a few of our mates reading it out of politeness, but soon through the power of Twitter loads of you were reading our words. I’d never put anything out on the internet like that and having it received so well gave me a massive confidence boost. I began to really enjoy writing and with help from Crumpet I actually improved (a bit) my slack spelling and grammar.

I’m so fond of this Blog, it’s a little time capsule of a really important part of my life. So to have won a Cosmopolitan Blog award last week (and on our two-year anniversary) was just amazing. I genuinely didn’t think we’d win, we were up against some brilliant Blogs and I’m still a bit shocked that we got it. It’s lovely to have that recognition though, and I want to thank you for voting for us, thank you all for reading our words and thank you for sharing with us too. It was always good to have confessed something really embarrassing only for one of you to comment ‘I’ve done that too!’ You’re all brilliant.

CRUMPET:

When Panda & I first started sending each other our long ranty emails about boys, they were never intended for anyone else. Two ladies having a hard but hilarious time trying to move on from some ridiculous parts of our pasts by sharing stories. Once we started writing them up on here, sharing them with you and illustrating them with our quite frankly damn inspirational stick-figure drawings, having an audience who interacted with our thoughts and experiences filled us with the encouragement and enthusiasm to keep going.

We celebrated our tenth post, and couldn’t believe we’d got that far.

We gasped and gawped when we’d kept at it for six months.

When we realised we’d been working at this for a year, we celebrated with our gorgeous new header and logo, and used it as a chance to look back at how the blog, and we, had grown, progressed, changed and improved.

The sheer volume of people who not only read, share, and interact with Panda & Crumpet is constantly exciting and confidence-boosting. But the number of you who nominated and voted for us in the 2012 Cosmo Blog Awards is properly unbelievable. The number is unbelievable because then, after two years of work, WE WON. You, and Cosmopolitan Magazine’s panel of judges, decided that this was the Sex & Relationships blog of the year.

Awards, accolades, prizes, parties – all of the celebration around winning are amazing. But to know that our two years of words and experiences have ended up meaning and creating something bigger than ourselves is pretty fucking brilliant. Thank you.

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“Cosmo, bums, pre-cum… All good.” – Safe Sex whilst Dating

SO. Remember how we nagged you all for a Cosmo Blog Awards nomination? We’ve only bloody gone and made the shortlist!

You can CLICK HERE to vote for us until the end of August under the Sex & Relationships category.  (Or use the handy button over there on the right)

It’s pretty exciting and it is AWESOME to see our name listed alongside some properly brilliant bloggers we love too.

In the mean time, here’s an excellent and important GUEST POST, which resulted from someone sending us a lovely congratulatory email after the Cosmo announcement. Any email which results in Panda responding “Horny, pre cum and anal fun… sounds brilliant” clearly deserves a guest spot, as far as we’re concerned.

Our guest blogger is James Armstrong – an experienced Journalist and Radio Broadcaster, currently writing for Dr Thom – an online doctoring service offering discreet and convenient sexual health testing and treatment. And best of all, he stuck to our rule of using MSPaint to illustrate his post with a drawing, too… Here goes:

1 in 3 people don’t practice safe sex with a new partner. This is like playing Russian roulette with your sexual health. If you take 10 random sexually active people off the street, the likelihood is that one of them will have some sort of STD. So let me get the preachy bit of this post out-of-the-way now; sexual health is important, look after yourself – you can’t trust anyone else (including your partner) to be responsible for it.

Condoms are the easiest, most effective way to protect your sexual health and help prevent an unwanted pregnancy. While dating, if you’re having sex (maybe even with more than one partner – lucky you), you should be using them.

But condoms are far from perfect; from a man’s perspective they’re uncomfortable, fiddly and they reduce sensation (think sucking a sweet with the wrapper still on). Not to mention the fact that they make an already ridiculous-looking organ look even weirder. But none of that is really a problem.

The problems start when you encounter an “oops” moment (we’ve all been there); maybe you’ve both had more than a few drinks and neglected the need for a condom.

Or you’ve managed to forget to buy any, but now it’s really late and you’re both far too horny to go out and buy them!

Sometimes you’re just too absorbed in the moment to kill the mood by stopping to fiddle with a bit of latex.

Or perhaps you’ve done the sensible thing and used one, only for it to split or tear – this is less likely if you’re using some water based lube – which is fun anyway (slippery bonus)!

Maybe there’s been some confusion over which way the condom unrolls (being in a hurry often results in this particular “oops”, though I personally prefer to blame the lack of blood getting to my brain), resulting in pre-cum being on the outside of the condom when it’s eventually used.

And sometimes you’re sharing a shower and it comes off and disappears while you’re too busy to notice (I know; eww – but it happens).

Condom Confusion...

Condom Confusion…

At times like these, you have to consider two things: if you’re not already on the pill or some other form of contraception like the implant or coil, then think about taking the morning after pill, which should be used within 72 hours (the sooner the better).

You also have to consider STD testing. Chlamydia, gonorrhoea, fungal infections, hepatitis, herpes, syphilis, HIV and many other diseases that can be contracted through unprotected sex, or “oops” moments. You may feel fine and still be infected without even knowing it; it’s possible to have an STD while experiencing no symptoms.

Surveys show that (unsurprisingly) men are less likely to go and get tested than women are. So a quick message to all the blokes reading; don’t believe the horror stories, the tests themselves (at the very worst) are only slightly uncomfortable, and I promise nobody is going to stick anything inside your penis – many tests are done on a simple urine sample. So go and get checked out – the peace of mind alone is worth it, and you’re ensuring that nothing is left to fester, which is much worse (I’m told that gonorrhoea feels like peeing razorblades once the infection sets in).

Women, the test for you involves a urine sample and possibly swabs being taken from inside the vagina – once again not painful, just uncomfortable (or so I’m told).

The doctor/nurse will also take a blood sample and may also take throat and/or rectal swabs from both men and women if you have any symptoms in those areas.

STD testing is especially important if you’ve indulged in anal sex. The increased possibility of bleeding and tearing the skin exposes you both to more risk.

Oral sex can transfer STDs too. As can sharing sex toys, either as part of sex or just not cleaning them properly after use!

There’s a hugely humiliating anecdote about a friend of mine who was involved in a rampant rabbit mix-up with her house mate – long story short; by coincidence they both had the exact same model & colour. Aforementioned house mate was cleaning hers in the bathroom, got distracted and wandered off to do something else, my friend entered the bathroom, assumed that she’d left her vibrator there by mistake, took it back to her room and indulged in a little personal time… it wasn’t until later that evening when the mix up was discovered. I take great pleasure in retelling this story to anyone who’ll listen! I won’t mention any names though, she’d never forgive me!

So I’ll leave it at this: enjoy yourselves, just make sure you do it safely!

Posted in Actual Stuff About Boys | Leave a comment

Panda & Crumpet’s Pilot Podcast

Hello! This week we’ve mainly been talking to each other about dates, complicated relationships vs nice easy rides, STEAK and dinosaurs. BUT GUESS WHAT? Instead of writing about it, we decided to hang out in REAL ACTUAL LIFE. We’ve been trying to record a podcast of sorts for about two years… and now there’s a small chance we may have actually done it. What do you think?

(or handy text link HERE!)

Posted in Actual Stuff About Boys | 1 Comment

That time we wrote about some naughty things

We *may* have mentioned about being suggested for a  Cosmo Blog Award nomination. No? Oh. Well some kind people decided to nominate us. DON’T WORRY. You can too. Big pink box over there on the right. Click through to the form and nominate us under ‘sex/relationships’.

Now. When *I* was little, my Much Older Cooler Cousin read Cosmo. Not me. It was pretty sexy and definitely for Older Girls. So this is, too. A little post about ACTUAL PROPER SEX. The best bits, the worst bits, the silly bits and the squidgy messy bits you’d rather not remember. Bowchicawowow.

PANDA:

1993. My house. Bunking off from school

My older sister had a VHS copy of ‘The Lovers Guide’ so myself and four giggly school friends decided to watch it. I still remember one scene vividly  - A man and woman wake up. Man puts on his shirt and tie and goes over to the mirror. STOP! Why on earth would you put your shirt and tie on before your pants? Absolutely ridiculous. I remember his willy just hanging there while he titted around with his 1980′s hair do. Then the woman goes over, starts to fix his tie then gives him a little morning shuffle. WHILST HE’S WEARING HIS SHIRT AND TIE. The man was a yuppy, the whole thing was gross.

Just like yuppy penis man video I only remember snippets from sexual encounters past…

The man who had a mattress instead of a bedroom door

The time his Mum walked in

The man who took the term ‘Feeding the horse’ so literally that I fell off the bed.

The man who carried rats around Southend High Street on his shoulders

The time on the bathroom floor when I nearly got concussion

When dress up when went wrong and he had an asthma attack

Not exactly Mills and Boon stuff is it?

When Crumpet said about writing this post I was a bit hesitant. I know my other half reads it as well as his lovely Mum (Hi, umm sorry). I also pointed out that actually the best sex I’ve ever had is happening right now (not while I’m writing this obviously, that’s just not practical). Crumpet said something along the lines of “Well everyone will think he’s a champion then” which is a bloody good point really.

I’ve done a fair bit of sex in my time. Some good some bad and some completely baffling. Yet I can safely say all the best stuff has happened in the last few years. Maybe that’s because I’m older and more confident, or maybe it’s being with someone who I can be completely myself with. Or maybe just maybe (feel free to go throw up now) it’s because I’m with someone who I really love and trust.

See working in this framework I’m able to have brilliant sex. We can do the lovely slow looking into each others eyes sex that makes you feel all close and together or the drunken bit naughty lets pretend we’ve just met sex (You can call me Kitty Golightly)

STOP JUDGING US!

STOP JUDGING US!

When things go wrong like the time we were in the 2* crack den of a hotel and I had my period and began to wail ‘I look like Carrie when she’s in the shower scene!’ or the time the cat jumped on the bed and totally ruined my orgasm, we’re able to laugh it off (Eventually,once I’ve sulked for a bit first)

I know some people equate long-term relationship sex as being boring, and I’ve had long-term relationship sex that has been VERY boring but with the right person it’s anything but (Go ask @EasilyTempted). I think it’s easy for it to get boring though, you find something that feels good so keep doing that but then it stops feeling good. It’d be like playing Monopoly every single night of your life, there’s other games out there too like connect four and Kerplunk! It’s all about communication and imagination, grown up play time. Sometimes it’s what gets me through the day, the thought of what I’m going to get up to that night.

I asked myself the other day if we didn’t need food to survive, if it was just a pleasure thing and I had to choose between it and sex what would I pick?

I decided that was an absolutely ridiculous question and smugly devoured an entire trifle then crawled into bed with my lovely Mr (Hadn’t even shaved my legs. Long term relationship sex is brilliant!)

CRUMPET:

Now, Panda suggested that perhaps it’d be best to focus on the ‘lovely romantic relationship sex’ vs ‘quick dirty one night stand sex’ angle. I don’t have any other half or almost-mother-in-law to offend so HERE WE BLOODY GO. Five little tales of varying degrees of sauciness, cringe-inducing nonsense, and the usual Crumpet-brand of comical shame.

That Time in a Pub:
A lock-in, winding down at about 3am, after a week of some intense flirting that featured such subtle lines as “I was given a book about oral sex on my 16th birthday”. I was terrifically drunk and in the midst of a frustrating ‘dry spell’. By 3.30am we were all over the place. The bar. A table. A couch. The floor. BUT THEN. Then there were footsteps. The sound of a door creaking open. A triangle of light extending across the floorboards. “Are you still down here? Don’t forget to lock up, will you?” Shit. It was dark. It was definitely dark. IT WAS TOO DARK TO SEE ME, RIGHT? I grabbed my tights (and belt and pants and dignity) from the floor and legged it. They have CCTV now. I’m 98% certain that they didn’t back then, though.

sexy seaside scuba scandal

sexy seaside scuba scandal

That Time In Thailand:
Ah we were so disgustingly in love. So in love, in fact, that we ran away to Thailand for a while after having only spent 10 days in each other’s company as lovers. There had already been sun, heat stroke, a 14 hour bus ride with a ‘discrete’ fiddle under a beach towel and a 4-hour ferry ride in the back of a pick-up van with no windows in the company of a drunk policeman. By the time we reached the sea, we bobbed up and down together in time to the motion of the ocean, legs wrapped around each other as a storm rolled in over the hills and across the bay. Oh how deliciously romantic and sensual that all sounds. Except, there was a scuba-diving lesson taking place directly beneath us, followed by a round of applause once back on the beach.

That Time We Just Left:
I was sure I was of no interest whatsoever to this boy, actually. Then quick as a flash, drinks turn to shots, witty conversation turns to smutty innuendo, flirting ensues, body language becomes as subtle as a 12ft wide flashing billboard that spells out *FLIRTING* *FLIRTING* in a constant loop of programmed chasing LEDs. Both drunk. Both clearly up to no good. Evening rapidly descends to that point where you’re struggling to keep your hands to yourself. With little more than a nod and some perfectly understood eye contact, we promptly scoop up our things and leave. Because sometimes you just absolutely must.

That Time We Broke The Bannister:
Drunk. Storming home from my 21st birthday after a silly argument about a lost gas top-up card. Make up, quick nightcap, stumble up the stairs, don’t quite make it, rip tights, break banister by clinging on to it for dear life. Spend rest of evening digging three splinters out from the palm of my hand.

That Time It Just Didn’t Work:
July 8th, 2005. London is in a strange limbo between chaos and eerie calm. Trains are empty, save the few who sit anxiously clutching their belongings and nervously eyeing everybody else’s as we roll out of London Bridge towards a South London destination, the name of which I will now cunningly disguise to protect identity. So there I am in Bimbledon. We both know why I am there, yet we proceed with this awkward “shall we put a film on, then?” ritual. The film is Baseketball, which obviously sets the mood. Sexy. What followed included me choking on a mouthful of surprisingly loose shoulder-hair and a discussion along the lines of “mmm that’s nice can you feel it? Is it in?” “No. No that’s just a bit of my leg, actually”.

Now that I think about Panda’s suggestion to focus on the differences between relationship-sex and The Other Sort, I’ve noticed that only 2 out of those 5 encounters were mid-relationship rudies.

I’ve not ever ended up stuck in a routine of Boring Old Coupley Sex. I’m not proclaiming myself to be a wild sexy adventurer by any stretch of the imagination. For me, sexytime is just about the moment, I think. What you’re doing right then, and who you’re doing it with. Probably the gift of my lack of considering consequences and overactive imagination once again. Emotions and feelings change things, of course. But only afterwards…

Am also suddenly acutely aware that quite recently, a lovely boy told me that perhaps people find this all a little intimidating to read. That I can write openly and honestly about relationships and encounters and that boys aren’t used to coping with that. It bothered me for a while (sorry for bringing this up again and I know we have spoken about it in person…. but still). Anyway my point is – I actually found it pretty intimidating myself to write all of that down. But I’m glad I did. This was going to be a best time/worst time comparison. They’re just silly stories, really…

Posted in Actual Stuff About Boys | 3 Comments

“If you’re looking for a memory…”

We’ve been reminiscing like old ladies this week, reading old letters and diary entires over Skype and emailing snippets of long-lost-love. As ever… one topic, two pretty different responses. One’s all wistful and soppy with a little bit of bum-sex, whilst the other’s all lopped-off toes and Princess Di. Enjoy.

Oh. And you might have spotted that terribly subtle MASSIVE PINK BOX over there on the right. Some of you decided to nominate us for the Cosmo Blog Awards under ‘sex/relationships’. More of you could, if ya fancy…

CRUMPET:

It seems most things I write on here end up referring to my inability to forward-plan, make goals or look to the future in any sensible way. It’s suddenly occurred to me that maybe this is because I can’t let go of the past.

It’s not about missing things, or pining for long lost lovers. It’s the not wanting to forget. Amnesia is my biggest fear. I have a sharp memory for silly little details; bits of conversation, what people were wearing, what drink they ordered. But what if one day I can’t remember those things?

When I was about 7, I saw something on the telly about a woman who had lost her memory. Her devoted husband had found that certain objects were good at triggering memories, and he quickly filled their home with these little reminders – things that were seemingly meaningless to anyone but this poor lady – a pressed flower here, a pebble from a beach there. And so, I have pretty much always felt the need to collect little mementos, memorabilia and souvenirs of the things I do, the places I visit and the people I meet.

The Great Accidental Nudie Rudie puppet show of 2004

The Great Accidental Nudie Rudie puppet show of 2004

The wristband from the festival where I’d accidentally left the camping lamp on and made what was essentially a pornographic shadow puppet show. A bottle cap snagged from the bar after a guitarist I adored had opened his Smirnoff Mule in 1998. A tartan ribbon from the side of a snare drum, 1997. A box of Polaroids from a weekend in the Cotswolds for my 23rd birthday. A metallic bangle left on my windowsill by a boy who probably shouldn’t have been there. Reams of those sticky barcode luggage tags. A rock with googly eyes on it. An old work security pass. Hotel room entry cards. Beer coasters. This catalogue of junk means so little out of context, and nothing to anyone but me. But this collection is the un-curated taxonomy of my life. It is my history with the opposite sex, told through objects and talismans and keepsakes.

There isn’t much I’d ever want to forget really. Even the bad things. It all makes me who I am.

Last week I grabbed a big shoebox from my parents house. It contains every piece of post I received from boys from when I was 14 until about 18. The cost of a stamp, just to send a note containing little more than “I liked it when we snogged do you want to go further with me and also what TV do you like to watch?” (actual sample). The first valentines card I ever received is in there too. Lengthy correspondence with my first ever boyfriend, who wrote to me on and off about pretty much everything we did in our lives right from the night we met in 1996 all the way up until about 2005. Invitations to the house party where I drank White Lightning and got off with a really fit older boy with curtains who later threw up on the dog, and the 16th birthday bash in Southend where I was first clumsily fingered, whilst trying to sleep inside a sleeping bag. I will never throw this stuff out.

This week, through the sort of sequence of coincidences that no one believes could happen, yet happens to me often, I ended up having a drink with a boy I had met 11 years ago at art college, and hadn’t seen since. He was almost exactly the same, which was nice, but I’d not forgotten him. I had kept a magazine article he’d written in 2001 in one of my Big Boxes of Memory Crap. (I’d be concerned about that sounding weird, but he’s managed to remember the thigh-high rainbow-striped socks I was wearing the night we first met so there you go eh).

The bracelet sitting by my window like a little trophy, rewarding me after some recent excellent debauchery. The photo snapped in a pub of a sticker from an old flame’s band. The ring on my finger, originally an anniversary gift, now just a beautiful thing that somebody made for me because they cared enough to, once. I like having these tangible links to the past. I don’t think holding on to memories, physically or otherwise, is a bad thing. They don’t stop you from doing anything. They don’t make me feel uncomfortable. Sure, objects can be powerful things. But that’s nothing negative or scary.

And anyway. If you think I’M some sort of freaky museum-building hoarder, my mum has my dead grandma’s hairbrush. With some of her hair on it.

PANDA:

I’ve got a similar set of things to Crumpet, sentimental stuff I’ve hoarded since I was about 14. I’ve got cinema stubs so old that you can’t even read what film’s on it any-more. I still love them though and get sad that you get stupid receipts nowadays instead of lovely green bits of card. I’ve got postcards and letters, drawings and photos. I’ve kept receipts from days out and train tickets from trips. I’ve got a pair of knickers that are over ten years old and a sparkly boob tube from my Chaka Khan days. I’ve got things that to anyone else would seem like tat but to me are a little bit of my history and part of who I am.

The things that hold the most value for me though are my diaries. They span from when I was 16 to 22 covering a wide range of topics including Boys, Love, The Pub, Boys, Amputations, Love, Sex, Angst, Boys. I was a bit of a twat, absolutely ridiculous really.

I read them back now in the same way that I watch ‘Se7en’ I know what’s going to happen, I know it’s Gwyneths’ pretty head in the box, but still I wish and hope that’s it’s a kitten, a nice alive kitten.

Gob-A-Job

Gob-A-Job

So I’ll read those diaries and yell at myself and think ‘No Nina don’t do that, don’t drink the coffee that the bloke you fancy has gobbed in because you think you’re cocky and you think he’ll think you’re cool, it’s gross and totally unhygienic. I drank the coffee and the gob and unsurprisingly that one never became my boyfriend.

My diaries detail my health stuff too. I was 16 when I got my first toe amputated, the diaries cover that one and the other four as well. It’s weird I write about it in such a blasé way.

‘Toe looks well red got an appointment with Dr Murray gonna see if he’ll amputate it’

‘Really pleased,had appointment with Dr Murray he said he will amputate it, going in Friday, out for pub on Sunday’

Pleased? PLEASED? How can you be pleased? STOP ASKING DOCTORS TO AMPUTATE YOUR TOES YOU LOON!

Looking back it’s clear I was in some sort of denial, I just wanted to be like everyone else. I’d laugh and joke about having Spinabifida and having missing toes

‘Haha saw Russ tonight told him about my foot he laughed and called me Nina Eight toes,I love him’

When actually I was an insecure mess dying for approval. I was easy and a bit stupid, had no self-worth or confidence. I was harsh and judgemental, defensive and dramatic. I went out took drugs, got drunk and cried a lot.

I was a proper idiot.

For a long time I struggled reading them, I would cringe at the choices I was making and the behaviour I was displaying. I wanted to be so far removed from that way of being that I couldn’t bare to be faced with it.

Now it’s different. So much time has passed that it doesn’t feel like I’m reading about me. I mean I know it is me but I view it like a mental little sister who I’m actually quite fond of. I made all these stupid stupid choices but each one was a step towards here, where I am now and I REALLY like this place.

What life means is different for everyone, for me though so much is about learning. Learning to be happy, learning to accept and get on with yourself. Learning to accept and get on with other people. Learning to love unconditionally, learning to be happy and make good choices, learning how to contribute to the world. These diaries and other reminders of my past serve to show me the journey I’ve been on. They remind me that I’m doing it. I’m playing life and I’m actually doing OK at it. I still make mistakes and I’m still a twat but there’s definite improvement.

I don’t keep diaries any more, I have the internet to record what a geek I am. In another few years I’ll be able to look back at my Face Book timeline and cringe at myself. I do it with some of my earlier posts on here. My spelling and grammar is bloody atrocious for a start, but by seeing that I’m also able to look at how far I’ve come even in a few years. I now know you have to capitalise your letter I’s (thank you Crumpet) and I’m still learning all the time not to give myself too much of a hard time about the more odd choices I make.

Learning and growing and all that Jazz eh.

I’ll finish this post with this diary entry from 1997 (I was 17) it really made me laugh mainly because of ‘Tragic but valuable lesson’ and also because I wasn’t even really that into Princess Di.

August 31st 1997

Today will be a day people remember in their hearts forever. It will be one of those things you tell your children and grandchildren. Our parents can all recall where they were when John F Kennedy died. My generation will always remember today when Princess Diana was killed tragically in a car crash with boyfriend Dodi. In a way I think it’s nice, they would have never been able to live together happily with the press hounding them. Now they can live in peace together. I hope the press have learnt a tragic but valuable lesson.

Love me

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Growing pains

We’re not very good at being ‘grown-ups’. But that’s probably ok. Maybe.

CRUMPET:

Someone recently described my bedroom as being “a teenager’s bedroom”.

It’s been really bothering me ever since.

Granted, it was a particularly messy day. A day when I had thrown a lot of my belongings around in a sort of very modern dance routine aided by my stage partners Gin and Tonic, and yes, I’ve written on here before about my constant need to hoard and be surrounded by crap. A few things that happened in the days that followed the “teenager’s bedroom” analysis made me feel like I am being a bit of a rubbish ‘grown-up’ at the moment. And always.

I’ve done some relatively grown-up-ish things recently. I attempted to deal with fifteen years of disturbing WWII-themed nightmares by photographing an educational trip to Poland with some holocaust survivors. That’s pretty grown-up. Except that my mum was also there. And I didn’t cry much because I was too busy taking photos. And there were some people on the trip I had known since I was 11. Which made me feel 11 a bit. And definitely made me act like I was 11 a bit. But then I had to do some grown-up things like deal with newspaper people to get the photos published. That was fun. But it was pretty stressful. I don’t really enjoy having to deal with admin or staying up late working or speaking to important people on the telephone.

(The nightmares haven’t gone, incidentally. But they are now in colour rather than black and white. No, YOU need therapy)

I have been applying for jobs. I quite like my job but working for a charity means I have approximately £12 to survive on each week. I’d quite like to do something else, and have started doing Actual Writing In An Actual Newspaper. I like that. But I did that as a student and as a graduate so it doesn’t feel very grown-up, really. I sit in an office all day, which is something grown-ups do. I sit in the corner at the back though, so no one can see how much time I spend on twitter, or bidding for old copies of Smash Hits or original Tintin postcards on ebay.

I’ve been spending a lot of time with my youngest godson recently. He is cute and brilliant and it is always a pleasure to, well, to be able to give him back after twenty minutes, much as I love him. Mainly because despite being almost 1 and being able to stand up for long enough to throw everything off of my bookshelves, he refuses to say my name. RUDE. But for a brief minute, about two weeks ago, I thought OH MY ACHING OVARIES I WANT TO HAVE BABIES REALLY SOON.

Pie chart. I like pie.

Pie chart. I like pie.

I don’t though. I really like the pub and gin and not making it home and sleeping in late and not having anyone to answer to.

My life isn’t massively different from the way it was at 17. I like a lot of the same music. I’m still not friends with my mum. At family dinners, I still blow raspberries to my brother across the table. I still can’t keep quiet enough in museums or exhibitions. I am amazing at hide and seek. I still prefer reading Tintin books to learning about the Russian revolution. I’ll always reach for my scruffy trainers to go with a pretty dress instead of a pair of smart shoes. I make up silly nicknames for people. I spent 89% of my time daydreaming. I still don’t know what I really want to do with my life and I’m still not particularly good at any one particular thing.

I’m not one for comparing people, but everyone in my family had reached certain ‘life goals’ by my age that I’m not even really that interested in yet. I remember my mum’s 30th birthday really clearly, and now it’ll be mine in a few months.

What makes you feel like a grown-up? How do you know? How can you tell? I’ve already got all of the hair so I know it isn’t that.

Is it Paying bills? Having babies? Having a job? You can do those things and still act like a childish idiot with the bedroom of a teenager and the mind of a teenager and the wardrobe of a teenager and the income of a teenager and the view of the world of… you get it.

I owned a house once. (With a boy. Mistake. Break-up. Uni. etc etc). I was definitely not a grown-up then. I was 21 and didn’t even own a hairbrush but I owned a bit of a house.

I’ve upped sticks and moved to other cities and even the other side of the world.

I’ve been on holiday all by myself and didn’t even cry until right near the end of it but that was mainly because of a moth.

I don’t feel like a grown-up. I met a really nice man the other day who was like a proper sensible smartly-dressed grown-up man with a career and ambition and nice clothes and I just thought – you’re lovely but I can’t really imagine playing on the swings with you.

PANDA:

When I was five my Nan bought me a toy sweet shop, it was AMAZING. Not only did it contain a real working till with toy money, it also had rows and rows of little jars containing real sweets REAL SWEETS!! Suddenly I wasn’t just ‘Nina Tame 5 year old from Dagenham’ I was ‘Nina Tame works in a sweet shop! (in Dagenham)’ This was a big deal. I mean it still didn’t make up for the fact that I didn’t get the Mr Frosty that I actually wanted but it was good. I felt like a grown up, I had responsibilities now, there would be imaginary customers to serve. My moment had come.

I ate all the sweets.

I ATE THEM ALL. Feverishly I tipped each one of those tiny jars into my greedy little mouth and I ate them all up. I ate all my own stock. In about 60 seconds. Quickly realising I had fucked up my budding new business I burst into tears.

That’s pretty much how I’ve been ever since.

Nowadays though I think I have more grown up moments with fleeting kid moments in between. I’m not being all smug saying I’m a grown up though, I actually think it’s a bit rubbish and I’d like to be a kid more. I think some of it’s to do with being a Mum (I’m gonna do that thing that all Mums do when they’re about to slag off being a parent which is to say ‘I bloody love being a Mummy, best most rewarding job EVER’) I really really do BUT it’s hard, I’m responsible for two real human beings. I have to make sure they eat more than just sausages and biscuits. I have to make sure they’re happy and content and warm and dry. They get to school on time, they haven’t shoved anything in their nose/mouth/ears/bum. That they don’t talk to strangers, don’t play with fire, don’t strangle themselves on anything, don’t stroke dogs they don’t know. Keep them clean, entertained and make sure to give equal amounts of attention to both or they get pissy. The list is endless!! It was hard enough being responsible for a couple of guinea pigs when I was 9. I killed my first ever Goldfish. Kids though, IMAGINE THE RESPONSIBILITY! Also I’m so annoyingly Mum like now, sometimes I’ll launch into a massive long lecture, flap my arms around a bit and sigh and say something about how unappreciated I am and would they like a new Mummy. Five year old me would think I’m a right annoying bore.

Of course there’s a flip side to this though, sometimes I’m a brilliant grown up. I give big cuddles and sing silly made up bed time songs. I give magic kisses that make everything better and I always let them lick the bowl. I listen to them, I tell them how brilliant they are and how they can be whatever they want to be. We watch films snuggled up under blankets and sing our heads off in the car. We go out for milkshakes. We all share a deep love for Jim Henson. We tell each other we love each other ‘all the numbers in the world’ every day. Five year old me would think I was ace.

This pie chart looks a bit like a sleeping moon with a sad frown or a cartoon bum.

This pie chart looks a bit like a sleeping moon with a sad frown or a cartoon bum.

I guess the same contrast applies to the kid side of me as well. I’d say I’m a brilliant big kid sometimes. Whether that’s playing with the boys and dressing up as Batgirl or being silly and free and that whole thing about dancing like no ones watching. Corny yes but totally true. Myself and my friend found ourselves dancing like absolute crazies in our kitchen to some god awful song the other day because two four-year olds asked us to. It was wicked. Whenever I take myself out of my normal routine and do something different I get that same excitement I did when I was a kid. There’s nothing I love more than going off on crazy adventures and switching off from the real world for a bit.

Then there’s the other side of being a kid, the being sulky and stroppy, feeling insecure and a bit needy. Taking things personally and having a little pout and a cry. I’m a horror if I fall asleep on the sofa at night and have to be woken up. I moan and whine ‘I DON’T WANNA GET UP. JUST LEEEAVE ME HERE!’ It’s quite pathetic. I still haven’t managed to get a hold of my finances and I eat way too much cake.

I think during an average day I probably slip into each of these roles at some point, some more than others. Most days I’m definitely ruled by my grown up side, good and bad. I think for a really good life though I should spend less time in moany grumpy adult and more time being a carefree kid. Life would be utterly boring for me if I was a grown up all the time, if I lost that sense of magic and awe. As with most things in life it’s all about finding that balance, being a grown up when you need to be but also letting yourself go sometimes and being a big kid and having all the fun and adventures.

Posted in Actual Stuff About Boys | 5 Comments

Horrormoans

We are not feminists. We are not doctors, or scientists, or teachers. But we are women. As a consequence of this, we are prone to the occasional mood swing. Or to sobbing uncontrollably. Or being insatiably horny. All in the space of one exhausting hour. We thought we’d have a think about why…

PANDA:

Women are mental. What with all the cats, having to maintain body hair on a daily basis (I just trimmed up for the spring it took me hours AND two razors) our love/hate relationship with carbs, shedding our inner lining once a month and inappropriate crushes (70-year-old Granddad round the play school) ANYWAY most of this can be attributed to hormones. Bastard things, I’ve no idea of the science behind them but I know if tampered with they are in fact EVIL.

We’re not told this though, women get things like the pill practically pushed down our throats without any warning of what those tiny little baby stoppers can do. From the age of 16 I was taking some sort of hormone thingymajiggy to stop myself getting knocked up. First the pill which made me fat, spotty and angst ridden. Of course this could be contributed to any normal teenage girl behaviour.

Then in my twenties I began to get severe headaches and more miserableness and was prone to forgetting to take them, so I went on the hormone injections. They never said there’d be side effects, I think possible weight gain was mentioned, but that was it. Well it turned me into a miserable, weepy, angry mess. Although life and relationships weren’t great at the time either so again it could be blamed on circumstance. Although I know in both these situations I instantly felt better when I stopped taking them.

Then I had Children so contraception wasn’t needed (everyone knows once you have children you NEVER have sex) I think in the period between having my two boys and my relationship declining I did try the pill again and once again found myself a total mess. I was getting an inkling then, that maybe hormones disagreed with me. What with the internet I was able to see other people talk about the link between hormone contraceptives and mood swings.

Once my relationship ended I didn’t need to be on anything so was a happy little bunny in my first year of being single but then I met someone. So I trotted off to my GP’s this time armed with the knowledge that perhaps hormones and me just don’t mix. So she put me on a pill that had a low dose and told me to see how I got on. Now this time life was good, I was happier than I’d been in a long time, there were no circumstances to blame my moods on. But moody I became and paranoid and generally a bit of a nightmare so back to the DR’s I went.

Marina coil she said, if you were my sister I’d tell you too have that. What about my fucking mentalness I said. Oh don’t worry it’s a small localised hormone that won’t have any effect at all. WOO HOO!!! Ok so I should state here that I know many of you LOVE the coil but this is how it effected me. I was fine at first, periods were lighter, PMT was quite normal at a few days max. Then 8 months in I stared noticing my PMT lasting a week, then 10 months in it became two weeks. Then just before Christmas it really hit me, I was having more bad days than good, my mood swings were horrendous. I began taking it out on my lovely other half, my behaviour was quite erratic and I was showing some classic self-destructive type behaviour. January of this year I reached a real low, some days I had to drag myself out of bed, I was snappy and withdrawn, my sex drive had disappeared and I pretty much hated everyone and everything. So I did a little Google of the Mirena coil and found forums and forums of women talking about the same symptoms as mine. They also said how their GP’s were having none of it and wouldn’t accept their behaviour and depression was down to the coil.

I felt a massive relief reading that and as soon as I could, I booked in to get it removed. I was all ready for a fight with the Dr and had actually ran through my head whether it would be plausible to rip the thing out myself. Luckily she was lovely,and understanding and didn’t disagree that it affects your moods, so out it came.

That was a month ago now and god it feels good. I’m happy and positive. I’ve more patience with the kids, my relationship has improved dramatically, I feel lighter and basically I feel like me again. Now as I said I know many of you have great success with things like the pill and the coil and other hormone contraceptives. That’s great, apart from the fact it turned me into a Psychokiller everything else about it was brilliant. I do think however for people prone to bad reactions with hormones it needs to be highlighted more. If I’d never connected the link between the two I’d still be an absolute crazy miserable cowbag. I dunno I just think if there’s another way then don’t mess with your hormones THEY ARE EVIL AND THEY MADE ME LIKE OLLY MURS (probably)

I also think if you’re in a relationship then make sure it’s a conversation you both have, it shouldn’t just be down to the girl to sort it out. It’s not as easy as just popping a pill and hey presto HAPPY DAYS. Not for everyone anyway. It’s both your responsibility to stay safe and not just from babies either. So do your research, give things a go and don’t be afraid to talk to your GP if it doesn’t feel right for you.

CRUMPET:

Once a month, like clockwork, I would go a little bit bonkers. Grumpy. Upset. Worried. Chocolate. All of the feelings. This is how it is with The Hormones for a teenage girl. Add to this the anxieties caused by boys, exams, awkward social situations, not fitting in etc… and basically you can attribute most of the ‘struggles’ of those pubescent years to hormonal imbalances. I couldn’t wait to grow out of it, for things to ‘settle down’ and for life to somehow be simpler.

And then I went on the pill.

Now obviously this is a choice. I suffered from horrific period pains as a teenager and in my early twenties too. Some contraceptive pills are particularly brilliant at calming this stuff down. I took Cilest for years and years – after moving in with my first Proper Long Term Boyfriend, and after having had enough of sitting in a bath hotter than the sun for a week just to ease the pain in my abdomen on a monthly basis. Lovely brilliant pills.

I’m well aware that different pills are different for everyone. I’m not talking about everyone. I’m talking about me.

You see the thing is, these general moody imbalances caused by periods, taking the pill doesn’t stop them or change them. No no. It adds a whole new set of symptoms. It’s dismissive to blame the pill outright for this because generally speaking, if I’m on the pill, there’s probably a ‘situation’ occurring with a man. Or that I’m hoping there may be. Which creates a whole set of issues/feelings/moods of its own of course. So whilst it’s easy to blame mood swings, paranoia, confusion etc on the pill, those are also pretty much the same feelings I get when I fancy someone or want to do bad things to them.

A big issue I have with the availability and wide-spread use of the pill ‘these days’, is male attitudes towards it. I’m going to make a massive generalisation here based only on my own experiences. Boys. Hate. Condoms. Which is pretty silly really. Whilst we all know what feels like what and where and when… this shit is important, oui? Men get to say that not only do they dislike a whole bunch of things about condoms, but that they also don’t like to ‘take risks’. So… you don’t want a baby but you want to get rude… So off you go to take these magic little pills that mean you get to have all the sex you like, whilst COMPLETELY changing your body. Taking the pill effects your weight, your skin, your moods, how you think and feel… the works. But it’s OK, because you’re less likely to fall pregnant and you don’t necessarily have to use a condom. The ease at which we accept this situation is completely bonkers when you think about the other issues brought up by taking the pill. Risks of various cancers. Your blood pressure. Migraines. Heaps of stuff.

BOYS! What are YOU doing in this situation, hmm? I’m not generally one for ranting about gender inequality but I know that there are many MANY situations in my recent history where hormones – whether naturally occurring or a result of the pill – have been the cause or root of an argument or some erratic behaviour on my part – words or actions that have no doubt effected the outcome of lots of scenarios.

In the past few years, I’ve swung from the highs of feeling level-headed, fresh and fine whilst taking nothing at all, (but accepting that I must suffer being an absolute bitch with terrible cramps for a short spell each month), to feeling paranoid, depressed, needy and, honestly, a complete emotional mess, regardless of which week in the month it is. Right now, I’m in the 3rd month of trying a completely new pill. Whilst my reasons for taking it in the first place are currently, shall we say, non-existent… (aherm), I feel fine. In fact, a friend said to me the other day “it is SO nice to see you this sane… maybe the most sane since I’ve known you.” – I wasn’t even insulted because she was absolutely right.

But I am taking something.
Which is changing the chemicals in my body.
But I feel okay.
But there are no boys.

So is that why I feel alright? Does my brain produce 4 billion gallons of messy hormonal chaos when I come within 12 feet of someone I like, in some sort of sabotage attempt to force me to stay at home watching Ren & Stimpy whilst sitting alone, in my pants, falling asleep stuffing delicious buttery granary toast in to my gob?

Posted in Actual Stuff About Boys, Most popular | 13 Comments