Week 3 – Free time & acceptance

End of the third week (well, since I started documenting) and I’m still managing to remain pretty balanced. It’s been the second week of working from home and Microsoft Teams has been a lifeline in keeping us all in touch – we even had a Friday beer together over Teams which was fun.

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What else though…….FITNESS

Outside of work, I’ve been keeping pretty busy. I’ve either walked or cycled every day and have a little route which is about 4 miles in total so I am trying to do that most days (almost hit my 10k steps with that walk!). The midway point is the stunning bandstand which I’ve always walked past but never been on. It’s such a beautiful landmark.

 

 

Community drinking…On my walks I’ve been having a bit of a giggle at the amount of empty alcohol bottles in people’s recycling boxes – definitely no judgement! It’s a clear representation of the area you’re in though – plenty of middle class red wine and gin around here (hehe). There are also a few comedic references around which allow for a little smile in these fairly dark days…

I’ve also discovered the app “Down Dog” which is free at the moment (yay for generous companies) until May 1st and includes Yoga for Beginners, HIIT, Barre, and 7 Minute Workout – I’m really enjoying it. If you’re a teacher, student or healthcare professional, it’s free until July 1st ūüôā

Additive viewing….. Also this week, seemingly like most people, I discovered the Tiger King on Netflix. Honestly, if you haven’t, do. Even if just for Joe Exotic’s war with “That bitch….” (if you know, you know). Take it with a pinch of salt, as I’m sure it has been hugely sensationalised but wowzers it was addictive viewing. Oddly reminded me of Making a Murderer – and had me flipping between feeling sorry for Joe Exotic and pure disbelief at any of those involved being allowed to do what they are doing. It actually also sparked me to get on with a project I have been thinking about for a while around animal welfare law, but more on that another time.

Lastly this week, the garden has been mostly sorted and is at least habitable for some (hopefully) upcoming sunny days – feeling very lucky to have that option. There’s been quite a lot of growth from the horse chestnut tree my Mum planted last year for me, I made a tiny snail friend and read a book with a cuppa in the garden – all things I wouldn’t have done or noticed yet if I hadn’t had all this spare time on my hands.

Next week will be the first week of furlough for me, which while slightly disconcerting, will give me a huge amount of time to do things I wouldn’t normally do. I am going to try and really make the most of it as when else am I ever going to get this sort of time to myself – almost certainly never. So I guess the moto for this week is “every cloud”.

Stay safe folks.

Rx

Week 2 – Living for dinner time & walks to the beach…

 

One week down…..??? to go. I actually feel like I’m doing ok. It might be that I’m doing what I often do and not letting myself properly think about it. Time alone has never been a problem for me, I’m an only child, so I’ve always been able to keep myself entertained – I actually really like time alone. What’s bothering me at the moment is definitely the lack of cafes and pubs etc and just somewhere to go….

IMG_20200323_082150_resized_20200328_041051998¬†¬†So what have I done with my time? So far I think I’ve exercised every day, which is great. Long work days don’t always allow make me feel like going to classes. I do exercise normally, but certainly not every day. Along with Yoga, I’ve been trying out PE with Joe Wicks – crazy how many people he has watching that! All the while we are allowed, I’m also making sure I get outside mot days – I’m lucky enough that I can walk to the beach in 10 minutes. Someone left this cute pebble dude….

 

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First week of working from home has been a little weird but I’m all set up now with my standing frame so that should help get me a little more in to the swing of things next week and hopefully help with the hellish hip pain. The work WhatsApp group chat has also been off the scale hilarious – oddly, I don’t think we have ever been so social. Every cloud.

I have noticed myself falling into a slight food obsession – anyone else? Even in the morning I’m thinking “ooh what can I have for dinner”. I think it’s part of trying to find a bit of a pattern to my day. I’ve always been a bit of a foodie and I love to cook but I’m finding that to be even more true now. I’ve also made “takeaway Fridays” an official thing (for as long as they stay open!) because my favourite Chinese (ironically) is basically essential…..so…….yeah. Ooh, I made brownies this week too, which was a bloody good shout and meant treats were available for most of the week. All in all, I’ve seen out week one without much ado.

Now please can this just be done, so we can have summer and fun and we can all see each other again.

Rx

There’s a new C – Word in town…

 

Writing a blog during this crazy Corona time is probably one of the more clich√© things to do – but, I’m going to do it anyway, if for no other reason than to refresh the blog site I pay for yearly and always intend to keep up to date! I mean, I sure have the time now!

So I guess I should start with how I’m feeling about the whole thing. Trouble is, I don’t really know yet. I don’t think it has really sunk in. The most part of me is thinking in terms of weeks as I just cannot comprehend anything any longer than that. I’m focussing on summer and this hopefully being a distant memory by then.

Today for me feels like day #1 – last night the announcement went out about the closure of pubs, cafes and restaurants and let’s face it, that’s a total game changer. I love nothing more than a coffee out and about – ironically, even on my own, which I do regularly. Oddly today I woke up feeling quite fresh at 8am – on a Saturday!? That is not something which ever happens, I’m much more of a “don’t talk to me before 9am” kinda girl! I had a feeling of not wanting too much “day”, since we are so limited on what we can do now – a sad thought really and one I must not make a habit of. In actuality, day #1 has been ok. I realised I’m going to need a list of things I am at least aiming to do during this. So here’s the first draft:

  • Read books
  • Give my face a total makeup break
  • Draw
  • Exercise daily (walk, yoga, cycling..anything)
  • Meditate (yawn…everyone says this…but I have to admit, I’m a fan)
  • Learn something (not sure what yet)

 

IMG_20200321_111447_resized_20200321_071431815So today I started with a couple of those. I went for a walk (alone, of course) and did a mini 5 min meditation on the beach. I can’t decide if I glad it was such a sunny day or kinda wishing it was rainy so it felt like less of a waste. If this was a normal Saturday I would almost certainly be having a cheeky lunch somewhere with a friend and probably have a celebratory “Spring is here” beer in hand.

When I got home I decided there was no time like the present and popped on some Yoga with Adriene. I’m still quite new to yoga so am sticking to the 30 min ones but I think I am going to like having it as a regular part of my routine. I definitely feel fresher afterwords and I guess as time goes by it will hopefully keep me calm (that’s what they say right?).

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I haven’t felt any major worry creeping in yet but I think that’s mainly because it still feels like a dream. At the moment for me, it feels more like huge annoyance (I think that’s easier to process). They can’t be seriously saying we need to stay inside for WEEKS can they? When in life did we ever think we were going to be told we weren’t allowed to go to work?¬†

 

Some thoughts I have so far:

  1. I can honestly say I never took “before” for granted. I have the perfect work/life balance and enough money to save and play. What could be better. Sure, I could save more and sure I’d like to earn more – who wouldn’t. But basically I was living the life and I knew it. I’m glad about that, because I would hate to now be thinking “I wish I enjoyed it before in case it never comes back”.
  2. I will miss people so much. I love my time alone – LOVE IT, but it’s the not knowing how long this will last which is obviously the nightmare.
  3. I’m lucky¬†with my job. I think it will be ok – but obviously it won’t be ok indefinitely.
  4. It wouldn’t hurt to have more skills. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a ditz (some would disagree I’m sure) but am I “World Ready” like the kids are taught to be nowadays? Errrr no….. Hence the final point in my “to do” list.

So that’s me, for now. I was going to get a journal and do this, but I think this makes the most sense and will hopefully provide an online reference for this at some point in the future when this is all just a distant memory.

R x

 

The Barefaced Blogger – My week without makeup.

“As a woman” are words I very much try not to overuse as I do feel that sometimes those words can be used as excuses or to generate blame. That said… As a woman I am only too aware of the role that make up plays in our lives. Some wear “too much”, some are arguably overly stoic in their resolve to wear none. I have often pondered my reasons for wearing make up and whether or not I am reliant on it. There have definitely been times over the years when I have worn less than at other times – I remember a year when mascara just wasn’t a thing to me. If I’m honest though, those times have usually been linked with an extended period of low mood and maybe depression, where I have felt like it’s not worth wearing makeup as my self worth wasn’t high.

I realised, that it would be great to be in a mindset where if I don’t wear makeup, it is because I am truly comfortable and just don’t want to – just like choosing not to wear a belt because your jeans fit just fine without them. I couldn’t really see a way of getting to this point other than going “cold turkey”. I make no secret of the fact that I have what I call “face issues”. I don’t have a great relationship with my face “au naturelle” and I think ¬†this is an issue so many people have.

So last Sunday night at about 10pm I decided I would go for it and start my week of no makeup. Really NONE…. ZERO. I have dabbled with this before and always ended up wearing a little powder (God forbid a bit of shine) and since eyebrows took over the world a few years ago, the idea of not having a least a little bit of brow on was probably the scariest thing!

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Here I am at my desk on day one – feeling brave!

So what were my initial reservations?

  • Will my boyfriend still fancy me?
  • Will people think I look like a boy?
  • Will anyone say anything negative (which will send my self doubt soaring and I’ll have to complete the week anyway).
  • Will I really follow through with this?

I was imagining walking in to work on Monday and several people saying something like “are you ok?” – I have had this before when I have worn less makeup and I have heard other women say the same. What actually happened was pretty uneventful. I walked in, sat down, made a cuppa and cracked on for at least half an hour before anyone said a word. The first comment? My colleague said “You look really well!”. My initial reaction was to think that she had noticed I had no makeup on and was being polite. I knew she was being honest, but only as I looked at her expression more did I realise that she was trying to work out what was different about me – she hadn’t even clocked it. I told her I was wearing no makeup and I could see her genuine surprise – it was a great feeling and really set me up for the rest of the week.

My first mid morning visit to the loo was funny as I had also forgotten all about it until I looked in the mirror and had a moment of “whaaaat?! Oh, wait, it’s fine, I made this choice.”

Over the next couple of days at work, I was talking to a few people about it and everyone felt it was a really positive thing to do. There definitely seems to be a feeling of “I wish I was brave enough” from some people, which I think is one of the reasons I wanted to do this – If I am brave enough then anyone can be.

The only other comment I had at work was from someone who stopped to ask if I had been away. He gestured to my face as if he thought I had caught the sun a little. I told him no and that I was just wearing no makeup. He looked a little embarrassed and shuffled away. He clearly wasn’t trying to be rude, in fact, I think it was a compliment, but when he realised that I must just be a little rosy he probably felt awkward and thought I might be offended. I think this shows that it is not only women who have this sensitivity around makeup – men are also burdened to a certain extent of not “saying the wrong thing”.

Mid week, I went to dinner with a friend and felt pretty proud of myself. My friend in question is a particularly pretty twenty something and one of the loveliest people I know. On a “bad day” I could have easily felt crappy about my thirty something self, but this week I was feeling so good about my new found facial freedom that I was more than happy sitting there bare-faced for the whole restaurant to see. A quote I recently read came to mind; “Someone else’s beauty is not the absence of my own.” So very true – and something I think we could all do well to remember.

On Friday (today) I met my boyfriend for lunch and still felt really good. If I am honest, that morning I did debate putting on a little brow makeup or base, but I knew I would be disappointed with myself. My boyfriend knew I was makeup free this week and I know he is proud of me, which has made the whole thing even more worthwhile. I am very lucky to be in a relationship where I am made to feel beautiful every minute of the day. He really loves my face just as it is and has really helped me to start to believe that I can too!

So what have been the benefits of my barefaced week?

  • Saved myself 10 mins in the morning – I do love a snooze
  • Less “stuff” on my skin – chemicals etc
  • Saved time in the evening – no makeup removal needed!
  • Dispelling my own fears that others would have negative things to say.
  • Knowing I was being brave and challenging myself

It’s a really funny feeling trying to “accept your face” as it is. Makeup is great and I think I will always love it and use it. I love how it can change your look really easily and make you feel a certain way, be it “cool”, “sexy”, “kooky”. Therein lies the danger though – we can feel like someone who is more deserving of love, respect and admiration than with our face just doing its own natural thing. That’s pretty crazy and just feeds our already anxious, over-stressed minds with more negativity. We all know it, we all talk about it. We watch adverts where 22 year olds wearing “natural makeup” profess the benefits of natural beauty (whilst knowing they are photoshopped to s***, but still wondering if they really are).

I think it is everyone’s responsibility to challenge themselves to really be themselves – men and women. We all know how stressful everyday life is now, so part of me thinks if you’re having a bad day and “a little bit of slap” can make you feel more confident – go for it. It would be silly to force yourself to do something which is going to spark an anxiety attack! However, I think it’s so so important to be able to step out of the reliance on makeup, even if that only feels possible once a month. You feel good today? Get your natural face out there! I know the future 80 year old me will be glad I challenged myself in this way while I am young.

The photos below are of me at the end of the week. I am definitely feeling more confident about this barefaced thing and even the thought of going out for a drink on a Friday night hasn’t fazed me. I’ll admit I did take 35 pics before getting three I was happy with – this shall be known as a work in progress!

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A new speed demon….

It’s interesting to me that you can get to the ripe old age of 33 and never have done certain things which aren’t all that out of the ordinary, but just things which have never crossed your path. I mean, I guess when you think about it there are loads of these things. I’ve never abseiled, never skinny dipped, hey, I’ve never even been to Bath (I hear it’s lovely – note to self, go to Bath).

One of these illusive activities for me has been riding a motorbike. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not as if I’d been chomping at the bit to do it, but it had always been something I would like to try. All this changed recently when I met a certain someone; the proud owner of “Be” a Yamaha XJR 1200. It wasn’t long before I went for my first ride – all the way to Ryka’s Cafe in Surrey. Talk about a thigh workout! I think I did pretty well considering!

Initial observations:

  • Illogical fear of putting the helmet on (what if I can’t get it off?!)
  • My thighs are not as strong as they need to be
  • My neck is also not as strong as it needs to be to deal with 80mph winds!
  • Immediate biker chick aspirations – must get cool gear
  • This is coooool
  • It’s not as scary as I thought
  • Helmet hair – hmm

Before I knew it, I was a convert and quite the willing pillion (get me with the lingo!) and the next trip was set – this time a the way to London for Bike Shed 2017

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What an amazing experience. So many types of fancy schmanzy bikes, accessories – you name it, they had it. I fell victim to the retail buzz pretty quickly and bagged myself an overpriced yet cool t-shirt (standard tourist move). I was schooled in the different types of engines and despite the rain, had a bloody awesome time.

Next stop was The Ace Cafe¬†in North London, a quirky, funky hang out for the well-esteemed biker. We were there during the day but I can’t wait to head back for one of their music nights – such a cool place.
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It’s safe to say I am fast becoming a bit of a bike fan. My helmet and jacket are always at the ready and I love the freedom it gives you. Just last weekend we hopped on and nipped up to the V&A museum for an impromptu visit. Who knows where I might end up next!

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Cheeky chia

Chia seeds have always been a bit of an enigma to me. I guess I’ve been a bit of a lazy vegan, since I know they are very definitely “all the rage!” but to date, I hadn’t really looked into the benefits of them so really don’t know much about them at all. So when I was offered a chance to try some organic chia seeds and review them through the Vegan Lifestyle Association I thought now was as good a time as any to bite the bullet and find out more about these little protein wonders. 

I decided to take it one step further and buy myself a Nutri Bullet. I had been meaning to do this for a while and have read many recipes for Nutri Bullet shakes which suggest adding Chia seeds as a “boost”. Now I was committed!

The packaging which Goodyfull foods have chosen is really lovely. It screams “natural” at you, and would definitely be something that would catch my eye in a shop. I love the minimal design and the handy resealable top which keeps those tiny seeds brilliantly fresh inside. 

After doing little Nutri Bullet research, I decided to make a spinach, kale, cucumber and celery juice, with the chia seeds as a “boost”. Granted, it does look scary, but it was genuinely lovely. 

Now that I know how great these little seeds are, I’ll definitely be including them in juices and on cereal. They are a great source of protein, high in antioxidants and omega 3 fatty acids which are great for your heart.

With all that in mind I wish I’d known about them sooner. They are so easy to pop in drinks and cereal (and even make chia pudding with – which is my next mission!) so it’s really a no brainer, they are my new “go to”!

At ¬£5.48 from the Goodyfull website, and the option of free delivery, what’s not to love?

This sample was sent to me free of charge through the blogger review service of the VEGAN lifestyle ASSOCIATION. I have not been paid for this review and it is my genuine and unbiased review of the product.

Platter perfection!!

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It would have been impossible not to have blogged about the recent veggie feast I devoured at Seasons in Eastbourne a few evenings ago. As a vegan, it can be really tricky eating at “rustic / country” type establishments as there is often very little choice and you are left with either side salads or at best a bland soup.

This little place, situated in the picturesque Eastbourne harbour was, happily, quite a different experience. As I usually would, I had a browse of the eclectic menu for something I could “amend” to make vegan, and was temporarily disappointed to find that there really wasn’t anything I could have. I had resigned myself to making do with just a large glass of wine (I know, boo hoo) as I asked the waitress about the “Veggie Platter”. Whilst normally I believe the Veggie Platter involves quiche, some local cheeses as well as lots of lovely veggies, once I pointed out that I “don’t do dairy”, the waitress was only too happy to speak to the kitchen and see what they could do.

What I ended up with, as you will see from the picture, was basically #veganheaven! Beans, peppers, humous, cous cous with broccoli, sweet onions….. an absolute treat.

If you live in East Sussex and haven’t yet visited Seasons, I suggest you get yourself down there asap! On a sunny day you can even sit outside and take in the views of the harbour and wile away the hours wishing you owned one of the stunning yachts moored nearby!


It is probably worth pointing out that I am not an employee or relative of the owner – just a newly avid fan! I have not been paid to sing their praises! ūüôā

Call Seasons on 01323 471948

 

Fresh & Clean with Mangosteen!

I think it would be fair to say that every vegan knows the struggle of trying to find a good, reliable but most importantly NATURAL deodorant. I have to admit, I have not had much luck to date. I have tried several from various health shops and had varying results. Let’s face it, if there’s one thing you need to be able to rely on, it’s your deodorant!

So when I was offered the chance to review Native Uneathed’s Natural Crystal Deodorant with Mangosteen, I was only to happy to oblige! As a vegan and general “anything natural” lover, I wasn’t too worried about what this product might look like as long as it did the job – but for those who may be a little more concerned with aesthethics, you will be pleased to know, it looks like any other stick deodorant you would buy on the high street. In fact, it’s quite eye catching with it’s bold lettering and clear lid. I really liked that you can see the product immediately. The difference between this product and normal high street deodorants of course is that this one is completely natural. Native Unearthed is a crystal deodorant infused with Mangosteen which is a unique fruit bursting with antioxidants, nutrients and vitamin C. The Mangosteen fruit¬† contains a potent concentration of Xanthones, which are one of the most powerful anti-oxidants ever discovered and is also known for its anti-allergic and anti-inflammatory properties and has been used for centuries in the Far East. Sounds too good to be true right? Think again…..!

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The first time I applied this product was in¬†the morning, after a¬†shower and before a normal day at work (which actually turned out to be quite manic!). The instructions are to wet the stick slightly before applying. It glides on very easily and really didn’t have a scent of it’s own, which for me isn’t a problem at all because we all know other deodorants are artificially perfumed anyway and that’s definitely something I try to steer clear of as much as possible.

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I will admit I did do a quick “armit pitstop” around lunch time to see how the deo was faring and I have to say, there was no odour! I was quite surprised since, as I said, the day did turn out to be quite fraught and there was a fair bit of running around!

The same applied when I got home. There was no odour at all and I was really happy with the product’s performance, as I continue to be as I am still using it on a daily basis. It is worth noting that this deodorant is not an “anti perspirant” so it wont actually stop you sweating. What it does do however is it leaves an invisible layer of natural minerals on your underarms which works around the clock to prevent the build up of odour causing bacteria. I am not a very sweaty person naturally so this is no problem for me. Perhaps if you sweat quite a bit, you may notice wetness more than with an antiperspirant but to be honest, I always think supressing your body’s natural processes with things like anti-perspirant can’t be the greatest of ideas.

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At ¬£6.49, I believe Native Unearthed’s Natural Crystal Deodorant is well worth it’s price and having used mine for several weeks now, I can tell it is going to last me months!

Get yours online or at one of the stores shown here

This sample was sent to me free of charge through the blogger review service of the VEGAN lifestyle ASSOCIATION. I have not been paid for this review and it is my genuine and unbiased review of the product.

 

I was recently lucky enough to be included on a review team for Love Shea and their wonderful range of natural skincare. The product I was sent to review was their Himalayan Sea Salt and Rose Moisturising Salt Scrub, RRP £12.99

I have to admit, it had been quite some time since I had used a scrub Рmainly due to the worrying environmental side to them (we have all heard the horror stories surrounding those little plastic beads!), so it is fair to say that I probably had grandma elbows (and probably knees!) when this gorgeous little pot arrived to greet me one morning.

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The product boasts hand crushed salt, which¬†is high in minerals including magnesium, potassium and calcium, great for detoxifying the skin, encouraging skin cell restoration and reducing the signs of ageing. Other ingredients include organic virgin coconut oil, rosehip oil, rose geranium essential and lemon essential oil – it’s one of those indulgences which you don’t have to feel guilty about in more ways than one, as it is also 100% vegan friendly!

Firstly, I have to say, I was very impressed with the packaging. The product comes in a very “on trend” and practical, “kilner” style jar, which I will most definitely be using after the product has been used up. It is beautifully branded, with the font and imagery on the flyer and label, reflecting a natural and calming feeling.

The next thing to hit me, as I opened the lid of the jar, was the amazing fragrance of rose – and I really do mean amazing. It literally smells like someone has just bought you a bouquet of a dozen roses – gorgeous! I couldn’t wait to try the product, and following the instructions, I used it on damp skin in the shower. It is quite a fine grit so it doesn’t feel too harsh on the skin at all, and I have fairly sensitive skin so if I can use it, anyone can.

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My skin felt immediately smoother and actually cleaner somehow, but I did use this for several days that week I have to say by the end of the week I was very happy with the difference. I could feel a complete difference in the trouble spots, like knees and elbows Рin fact I think I had forgotten my skin could feel that smooth! More than that though, I genuinely felt that by the end of the week, my skin generally had a glow to it Рeven my best friend noticed; I just looked healthier.

I would thoroughly recommend this product to anyone, especially if you are looking for a good quality scrub which is 100% natural and 100% vegan friendly Рwhat could be better! You can buy this and all the other tempting Love Shea products, including body soufflé, face serums and soaps here.

This sample was sent to me free of charge through the blogger review service of the VEGAN lifestyle ASSOCIATION. I have not been paid for this review and it is my genuine and unbiased review of the product. LoveShea Skincare is listed with the VLA and offers Associates a 15% discount and you can take advantage of this here. [https://veganlifestyleassoc.com/directory-entries/loveshea-skincare/]

Maybe baby….. Maybe not

Whilst I do enjoy hearing cute stories about people’s children, I am starting to tire of people talking to me in a way that assumes there will be a point in my life when I have children myself. As I think most do, I have mostly pictured children in my future, and if you asked me right now, today, yes I would like one or two at some point. Then again, ask me next week and I may have changed my mind. I have not yet made the decision to have children and more than that, I am increasingly aware that, nature permitting, it is very much a choice, and perhaps one day I will decide not to have them. And that will need to be ok; with myself and with the rest of the world. Also, maybe I won’t be able to have children and then the choice will be taken out of my hands.

People seem to be aware of the issues and stigma affecting those who cannot have children, but not much is said about how it feels when others talk to you about “when” you have children – assuming that you want them and can have them. I say this not just for myself and about my situation, but also for the many many other combinations of situations and opinions of others. Some people may just not like being around children, some may prefer animals as “children”, some may find their life calls them to places and to make plans which simply don’t involve children.

I feel similar about being vegan actually. It’s a choice I’ve made, and since I made it, it has been eye opening to observe how most people assume that everyone else acts as they do and believes what they do. “What…. You don’t eat meat or have dairy?!!…. What do you eat?!!” The idea that there is another way, is often too much for people to comprehend – and of course, must be for weirdos (not for compassionate people of course – that’s a whole other blog!)

I often hear people say that not having children is something people regret when they get old. I find that quite assumptious, and quite offensive actually. As an only child, I often worry about being “old and alone”, but that fear alone is not a reason to have children. That would be like saying “oh phew, now you exist so I won’t be on my own”. I’m sure it is a lovely feeling to know that you have children who will be there for you when you’re old and infirm, but I wish people would think twice about pointing that out as a reason that someone should consider having children, because as I said, you never know someone’s feelings, reasons or history.

I cannot predict the future, nor would I want to, so I don’t like the feeling of social pressure that comes from others assuming that children are definitely in my future. Right now, I hope they are. But if not, I don’t want to be made to feel that my life is less full than theirs, because who knows what any of our futures hold.