The Poets

Poetry is underrated. Yes, I said it. Poetry – one of the most beautiful ways that a human being can express themselves, where you don’t have to stick to the rules and regulations of standard prose; where you just say what is in your heart and it can have the most profound effect on the reader – it’s just not valued anymore.

When I was at secondary school, we did quite a bit of poetry – John Keats, Philip Larkin, Dylan Thomas, my English teacher told us about Sylvia Plath – I was never brave enough to read her poetry… Whilst we were doing our GCSE’s, we analysed poetry from a few poets, sadly I don’t remember the poems or the poets – but some of the things that I read, stayed with me. When it is an autumn day, the wind is blowing in the trees and the leaves scatter merrily all around, I’m reminded of a poem when the poet is a little girl, who is walking through the park with her mother. Her mother seems so tall and powerful, wrapped in her warm woollen coat, her dark hair flying loose and defiantly in the wind, the little girl looks up to her mother, clinging tightly onto her hand, knowing that she is safe with her, that her mother will protect her from all the elements and from all her difficulties in life. I think at the end of the poem we realise that her mother had died…but that perfect moment of feeling completely safe and secure in life stayed with the poet forever.

I’ve written about this before, but one of my favourite poems is by Dylan Thomas – Do not go gentle into that good night. Sadly, this poem in recent times has been adopted by people who have opposing political views to me. However, that is irrelevant. I read this poem when I was 17 years old, a time of confusion – stepping into adulthood, wanting more responsibility, yet not feeling ready. Tired of being treated as a child, but not understanding what being an adult really means. My father had died a few years before and I wish that he had been able to ‘rage, rage against the dying of the light’…a plea from all children to their parents – stay with me forever, don’t let death take you away…

Poetry. The damn thing touches your soul and parts stay with you, you’re reminded of certain phrases in the strangest of moments, not even knowing that you had been touched so profoundly.

There are times in your life when you feel invincible. Treasure those times. That feeling that the world is yours and that you have the power to part water if you were required to. Treasure those moments because as you grow older, those times feel fewer and farther between. A few years ago, I went through a bit of a rough patch. Nothing extraordinary. Nothing incredible. However, life felt tough. I will always thank God for the family that I have around me. They were there – like a shield, a huge support; like a warm, comforting blanket – there for me, in whatever capacity when I needed them. Words of wisdom. Words of encouragement. Words of inspiration. A telling off, if they felt I needed it; at times just a voice at the end of the phone, or a sweet cup of tea…whatever they felt I needed, they were there.

But the person that I had to thank the most, was my husband. My patient, kind, loving husband, who only wanted to see a smile back on my face, and for me to feel as strong as he knew I was. One day, I came up with a solution that I felt would make our lives better and talked through it with him. I was tired of not feeling strong anymore. Of feeling helpless – like a victim. I was frustrated that I didn’t feel like my invincible self. When would I ever feel like that again? I was desperate to take back control of my life instead of feeling so broken, unappreciated and undervalued.

It took him less than five minutes to agree that what I felt would be the best course of action to take – and a surge of relief shot through us both. Something palpable. A change happened and we both felt it. He doesn’t like to read as he simply doesn’t enjoy it – but later that day, he sent me a photograph of a poem that completely took me by surprise and made me weep.

This poem. The gentleness, the encouragement, the fact that being hurt, facing difficulties does not mean that you are weak and worthless – the fact that you got through it, means that you have become so much more. Yes, he would not have been able to express himself in the way that Nikita Gill, the poet does but his message to me was exactly that. That he was proud of me and that I would overcome these difficulties – life was teaching me how to be stronger.

I will be forever grateful to anyone who was there for me when I felt my worst. Those people have an incredibly special place in my heart – when I felt bruised, and battered and worthless – those people who refused to let me accept defeat, who refused to let me believe that I was any of those things – I will be eternally grateful to.

I don’t feel gratitude – but I will always remember the lessons taught to me by those who chipped away at my self-esteem and self worth – as they taught me something incredibly powerful….how people should never be treated. Lessons learned. And I know, just as I had to learn some lessons from life – they one day will too…

I don’t want to end in a negative way though – life is always full of ups and downs. It is incredibly important to appreciate the good times, when we have them and know that the tough times are temporary too. Embrace those who love you and make you feel loved. Embrace those who are there for you to bolster you when you are down. Embrace those who tell you that you are amazing – even when you don’t feel it and feel completely unlovable. These people are simply angels in a human guise.

But my post today, is dedicated to the poets. The people who can articulate feelings through words that resonate with so many souls. And to my husband…who loved me when I just didn’t or couldn’t love myself.

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Why?

I wrote and published my very first blog on 19th August 2016. 3 years ago. I remember having palpitations when I actually shared it on Facebook for the very first time. What would people think? I’m exposing my thoughts and feelings for every one to see – how will people respond? Actually a lot of people liked what I wrote and could relate to some of the things that I have experienced. At times my brother will call me up or text me when I have written about my father or our childhood and he’ll say, ‘I remember that happening so clearly!’ Or, ‘Did that really happen? I don’t remember that at all!’

Some people have asked me why I write.

How can I be so public about my feelings? Should I be baring my soul through blogs on Facebook?

I don’t have an answer to that one. I know that talking about feelings can be unbelievably embarrassing for some. I respect that.

If I wrote about my job, there is a chance that I would get some recognition amongst my peers. Perhaps gain more followers. Perhaps gain some sort of prominence. But I don’t write to achieve that.

I write because there are so many thoughts swimming around in my head, I need a way to articulate them. Every time I have written, it has felt as though I’ve managed to ease my own mind somewhat. Over the years I have written lots about my father. Getting those feelings out of my body and onto a screen has helped me to cope with my own grief – and in the same way ensure that his memory is never forgotten.

I’ve written about relationships between men and women, siblings and the most powerful, all consuming bond of all – the relationship with your own children.

Three years of blogging is quite good going – and I hope that I am able to keep writing for many more years to come. Sometimes I look at my daughters and hope that they will be able to read back on my blogs when they are older and gain some words of wisdom, or simply some comfort from their mother.

There are three things that I want to cover in this blog that I hope will help not just my daughters, but all daughters who read this.

When I was a little girl, I was lucky that I was good at school. I grasped things quickly. I was smart. But it was never enough. Why? Because whenever people met me, the first thing that they noticed was: a) I was overweight; b) I wore glasses. So random strangers in the South Asian community, felt that they had the right to tell me and my mother – she needs to lose weight. She’s not ugly – but she needs to lose weight otherwise she will never get married. Men don’t like fat girls.

No word of a lie. This began from the age of 8. I learned that I would never be good enough for anyone or anything because I was not slim. And so began the self loathing that refuses to go away.

As I grew older, the weight didn’t go, in fact it piled on. I did well academically – but I wasn’t able to communicate with men because I assumed that they would find me an object of ridicule. Why? Because I was fat.

Things changed when I moved away to London. I made friends who helped me to learn to love myself. Who encouraged me to go to the gym. Who made me love and recognise my own strengths and how much I had to offer the world. I didn’t need to impress men – they needed to impress me. I was smart, doing well in my career, owned my own property, a kind person…

I had moved away from narrow minded people who lived in a small pond and felt that it was their right to comment on a little girl’s appearance – away from the negativity, away from the toxicity, away from the comments such as, ‘She’s got a degree, is she getting married yet?’ Away from that, I was able to thrive and be who I am today.

My eldest is now the age I was when people began commenting on my appearance. When people began telling me that I wasn’t good enough. Those negative thoughts that I still battle with on a daily basis. But when it comes to my daughters – I go into tiger mode. First of all, if anyone is going to make negative comments about their appearance, they’re going to need an ambulance on hand because I won’t tolerate that nonsense from anyone. Secondly – they’re never going to be told that they are not good enough. There are times when we may not achieve what we want, things may not go our way, that is life. But it is never, never because they are not good enough.

The next thing I want to cover – exercise! I went to the gym yesterday and worked really hard. I worked so hard that my heart was thumping in my chest, my body was pouring with sweat and I was taking deep breaths to regulate my breathing. I looked at my reflection in the mirror and I smiled a huge, crazy grin. Luckily gyms are a bit like being on the tubes in London. Everyone avoids eye contact. No one wants to speak to one another. Everyone is in their own world, immersed in the motivational music blaring out of their headphones, or staring intently at their smartphones between exercises. So no one could see the crazy Asian woman smiling dorkishly at herself in the mirror. But the reason that I was smiling was because exercise makes you feel so incredibly happy. Sweating and aching and breathing – there’s a happiness in knowing that you’re making your body fitter and stronger and that hard work is fun.

So girls, ladies, women – whatever you are. Go to the gym, do your cardio and then lift weights. Exercise and burn your stress away. Exercise and focus on your breathing. Exercise and revel in how much stronger you are and how much easier it is to carry heavy objects. It is the best form of self investment and indulgence ever.

Finally.

And this is really important. Stay away from horrible men. I’ve said this before in other blogs but I get incredibly annoyed and am full of contempt for women who claim that they are attracted to ‘bad boys’. Honestly, if you’re attracted to men who are misogynistic, who have a roving eye, who treat you badly – but happen to be vaguely handsome – then you’re a massive idiot who will experience a lifetime of pain.

The truth is, there are many, many good, kind, caring men out there. Many. Find them. Find the ones who will put you first. Find the ones who will take care of you when you are sick. Find the ones who find different ways to make you feel special. These men do exist.

Do not give the men who treat you badly and show you their true colours, the benefit of the doubt. They don’t deserve it. Neither do you. Someone who tells you that you’ve put on too much weight, who tells you to stop making a scene when you are questioning them about something, who tells you that you embarrass them – these people are dangerous. Don’t be with them. Why are you with them? What do you gain apart from heartache and heartbreak and not to mention a whole load of mental health issues?

The 8 year old me, who wore glasses and was overweight never imagined that one day I would be married to a kind, loving man, who actually looks after people’s eyes for a living. Who would never, ever make me feel fat or unattractive. Who would love me regardless of my size. Who admires what I do for a living and supports me in everything I do.

Daughters – there are many, many toxic people out there. Those who judge and tear down others. Avoid them. Recognise them and move away from them. Surround yourself with people who will build you up. Who will respect you. Find those people. There are so many of them out there. You will find them because you know – birds of a feather, flock together. If I was able to find happiness – anyone can!

The best of times…the worst of times.

You’ve probably heard of that famous line, written by Charles Dickens, in ‘The Tale of Two Cities’ – It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…’

One of my most favourite lines in literature, ever. That, and the way that Cleopatra is described by Shakespeare in ‘Antony and Cleopatra’. Enorbarbus, a general in Antony’s army, debates with another soldier, who thinks that Cleopatra is no more than a whore. He describes her in the words that follow:

Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale
Her infinite variety. Other women cloy
The appetites they feed, but she makes hungry….

I read ‘Antony and Cleopatra’ as a 17 year old, for A-Level literature, and I was blessed to have a passionate, intelligent, sensitive English teacher, who was the head of department and a massive feminist. She opened my eyes and talked about how many men throughout time had dismissed Cleopatra as nothing more than a weak woman who was only able to stay in power because she slept with the right men. If we dig a bit deeper, then we realise that Cleopatra was a smart, intelligent politician. A queen. She ruled in a time when it was virtually unheard of and impossible for women to rule. How successful she was as a queen, I haven’t researched. But what inspired me, was Shakespeare’s words about her.

The fact that her age would never destroy her, and that she was so extraordinary, where other women satisfied the appetites of men, she only left them wondering what more she was capable of, and what she would do next.

As a 17 year old I studied those words. I learnt that quote off by heart to use in my written exams, and I was determined, no matter what the context, I would shoehorn that incredible quote in. I can’t recall if I did use the quote in my exams, all I know is that those words never left me. Every time I see or read about incredible women, I am reminded of Shakespeare’s words.

I’m going to go back to Dickens’ words, about it being both the best and worst of times. In my life, this quote reminds me of my late 20’s being both the best and worst of times. I suppose at that time of my life, I was the most confident. I was confident in most aspects of my life, my career, my ambitions, my opinions. The world was mine, everything was black and white, I had no commitments, I could do anything I wanted. I had overcome many struggles in life, proven a lot of people wrong, shattered many gender stereotypes, and proven to myself – I could do anything. I had incredibly strong, fierce and loyal friends, we would put the world to rights all the time and feel bamboozled with others who would make foolish decisions and make life worse for themselves.

However, it was also the worst of times because I wanted to meet ‘the one’ and it just didn’t seem to be happening. People around me seemed to be in stable relationships, having children, living the dream and it just wasn’t happening for me. This would make me feel down, insecure, doubts would begin to creep in, but my incredible friends were always there for me to snap me back to myself.

Now, I’m not in my twenties.

Now I do have the things that I once longed for – but I wish I had savoured and valued being younger for longer. I wish I had valued my skin and how I looked, and how easy it was to lose weight. I wish I had valued how easy it was to make a simple decision about whether or not I was going to go out – without there being 50 other things to consider.

I am also aware of another massive thing – if I am lucky enough to grow older – then I should be valuing what I have now, instead of lamenting over my weight gain, older skin, restricted decision making. I should be valuing how my daughters still hang on my every word. How they seek me out for a cuddle because that makes their worries go away. How they watch me do my makeup with awe. How my youngest enjoys writing stories because she feels like she is blogging, like Mummy does. How ‘movie night’ and family holidays brings a huge buzz to their lives. How going shopping is still quite exciting because they are ‘helping’.

Yes, I have lots to appreciate and savour for now.

I know that when I am 60, I will look back on photos of myself from now and think that I was an idiot for being so hard on myself and not appreciating the positives.

I want to, I desperately want to be that Cleopatra-esque woman, who knows the right thing to say, at the right time. Who makes smart decisions. Who oozes confidence and inspires awe in all who she meets. Who people say – that age cannot wither her, nor custom stale her infinite variety……

Simply amazing!

However, I do remember that Cleopatra also got into a huge fix and had to commit suicide by being poisoned by an asp!!!

So, perhaps me being me, at times brave and confident, at times incredibly insecure. At times wise and insightful; at times losing my shit with my daughters because of the mess they make. Perhaps, I am who I am and that’s ok?

The best of times, the worst of times – it’s always happening now. It’s the present moment. Where we are now is the best, and at times, the worst. However we should savour and love each moment of this crazy, insane, frustrating, painful, incredibly beautiful journey that we call life.

Whenever and wherever you’re reading this – love and appreciate each moment now. This moment right now, you are the smartest, wisest, most beautiful that you’ve ever been. Stop giving yourself a hard time. Don’t put yourself down. Relax. You’ll never get this time back ever again….

Ambition

It’s interesting – the word ‘ambition’.  The definition in most dictionaries for this word is, ‘a strong desire to do or achieve something’.  The word conjures up an energetic go-getter.  Hardworking.  Determined.  Lets nothing get in their way.  Ruthless at times.  Focussed.  People to be admired!

Ambitious people don’t understand people who don’t put their careers first.  Ambitious people don’t understand when people have other priorities in their lives and therefore are not motivated by money or promotion.  Ambitious people find those people very difficult to understand – because they do not know what motivates them.

Family, you tell them.  Yes, but everyone has a family, I have a family – what makes yours so important?

And therein lies the difference in perspective.  A career driven person is deemed to be ambitious because they are chasing a desire to be financially successful and achieve status and respect because of their talent – what they do.

A family driven person is also ambitious.  They have an overwhelming desire to have a family life where they can look after their partner, be there for their children, be present and mindful and make their house a happy home.

Sadly – this is looked down upon as a lack of ambition.  But if we go back to the definition of what ambition actually is – then what is the difference?  Following one path will make you financially rich and secure – but it may come at a cost.  What cost?  Not being able to be there for the ones that you love because of the demands of your job.  Not noticing that anything may be wrong with the ones you love because of the demands of your job.  Having to neglect the ones that you love – because of the demands of your job.

Following the other path may mean that you are seen as lacking commitment by your employers because you put your family first.  You may miss out on opportunities for promotion or not even be considered for certain roles because you don’t give your ‘all’ to work.  This may mean that financially you are not as well off as you might have been, if only your thought processes or approach was different.

In each case – neither person is wrong.  It is not wrong to want to be successful in your job, to be talented in an area and want to strive to reach new heights and be good at what you do.  However, it is also not wrong to want to look after your family.  To have the time to tuck your children in bed so that they sleep peacefully.  It is not wrong to refuse to take on additional responsibilities at work, because you know that takes time away from how much you will be able to be there for the ones that you love.  The latter choice is not a lack of ambition – it is a different ambition though  – to have a successful family life.

If we could – we would marry the two up.  Be extremely successful in our careers and have plenty of time to spend with loved ones.  Some people to manage it – at least from afar, it appears that they do…

But the point of my blog today is, let’s not dismiss the homemakers – the people who make a choice to stay at home and look after their families; or the ones that decide that they only want to go ‘so far’ in their careers.  Let’s not think that they are lacking in ambition, are lazy, or just don’t have what it takes!   Let’s dig a bit deeper and realise that their ambition – to create happiness and stability in their family homes is one to be admired as well.  These people that are there to comfort their loved ones, who have the time to ensure that their family is healthy (mentally, as well as physically), and happy  – these people are just as important and necessary and are just as deserving of respect as those who are financially successful and receive promotion upon promotion.

It is important to remember – and this is where I will end really…a job is just a job.  If you love it – that’s brilliant.  I have a job that I am fortunate enough to love.  But it’s the people in my life that drive me.  Not money.  Not finance.  Nothing else.  It is the people around me who look after me when I am feeling sick, or tired, or need cheering up.  It is the people in my life who I share my happiness and successes with, who make me laugh and bring me joy.  Jobs will come.  Jobs will go.  Family and loved ones – we should do our best to keep them forever, and make as much time as we can to be with them.  Money, you can earn again.  Promotions, you can achieve those later.  But once a person that you love has gone, or once your child’s childhood has changed into adulthood – no matter how much you try to turn back the tides of time – you can never get those people, those moments or those missed opportunities back ever again.

Is it love?

Love is such a funny, overused word isn’t it? The problem with the word is that it fits everything, it means everything. However, said at the wrong time – it could spell trouble. If it’s not said when it is expected – it can cause anguish.

I love watching Game of Thrones. I love the seaside. I love being by the sea. I love hugs and cuddles at bedtime with my girls. I love being in my pjs, after a day at work, snuggling on my sofa and relaxing. All wonderful, acceptable uses of the word ‘love’.

If I came up to you, after only knowing you for a short time and told you that ‘I love you’ – how would that make you feel? Uncomfortable, I imagine? Uneasy? Creeped out? I know I would feel that way.

So – it’s a throw away, overused word, that can be used in any context. However, it can also be extremely powerful – and evoke quite positive or negative thoughts and responses too.

Lots of acts are committed in the name of love. Lots of unholy, unhinged acts – all in the name of love.

On the spectrum of love, you have the positive sides – someone surprises you with a gift that you have wanted for a long time, or someone takes you out to dinner, or jets you away on holiday, or is an ear that listens when you are in distress. These are what we expect and enjoy about being in love. Moderate love. Extreme acts of love could be self-sacrificing – we haven’t got enough food to eat, so you give away your portion, your loved one needs a kidney – you give them yours – this is not ordinary – this is extraordinary love.

Of course, then you have the other polar end of the spectrum. Love supposedly brings out the best in you, but it could equally bring out the worst in you. So you start off mildly negative – checking your partner’s phone messages and emails. You monitor who they are calling, who are they interacting with apart from you, who are they interacting with on social media? You start discovering things that you don’t like. You start building stories in your head. And then comes the next step – control. You set conditions and ultimatums – you can’t see that person anymore. I don’t want you to communicate with that person anymore. If you don’t listen, then there will be consequences.

Perhaps you ‘love’ someone from afar? Perhaps you haven’t got the nerve to talk or interact with them in real life? Perhaps the love is unrequited? So, you start taking an unhealthy interest in everything they do. Their likes become your likes. Your thoughts, every aspect of your life, revolves around everything they do. Then comes the next step – control. For whatever reason, you cannot be a part of that person’s life – either it won’t happen organically, or they don’t want you around. So – you start to try and shoehorn yourself in. You go where they go. You do what they do. Whether they like it or not – you are there. Control.

Those examples of negativity seem quite mild, don’t they? After all, it’s not physical violence, it’s not sexual assault. So, it’s ok. It’s not that bad.

Is it?

Survivors of physical violence and sexual abuse know something. The violence and abuse did not start straight away. The perpetrators are smarter than that. If someone you have just met, is violent or abusive, would you meet with them again? No – of course not. No. These people mask their behaviour. They present themselves in the best light possible. They take time to get to know you, make you laugh. Know what makes you tick. And then, when they have gained your trust – that’s when it starts. Of course, there are the apologies later. They never meant it. You drove them to it. It will never happen again. They have a back story that makes you ‘understand’ their behaviour…but it happens again and again. And each time, a chunk of you is torn away – which was their intention all along. Control.

Love is not about control. You do not control the people that you love. You show respect. Everyone deserves respect. You expect your partner to love and respect you. For example – when entering into a relationship with someone, you create some rules that the both of you decide to live by. Perhaps you decide – we’re going to be mutually exclusive, we won’t be with anyone else. You decide how often you will see each other. What you will do on special occasions. And there are unspoken rules – I won’t cheat on you; I won’t discuss our private moments between us with other people; I won’t text or flirt with other people in a way that is disrespectful to you. If you feel that the other person is breaking those rules – then instead of trying to modify and put conditions on their behaviour – surely you should think – is this love? Confronting them and hearing them lie and calling you crazy – that’s not love. Lying awake and wondering where they are and what they’re doing – that’s not love. Seeing them talking and laughing with an attractive person and wondering what might happen next – that’s not love. Knowing that they have strayed before and you have to put sanctions in place. That’s not love.

Being suspected constantly when you have done nothing wrong – that’s not love. Being told who you can and can’t speak to – that’s not love. Being ordered to get home daily by a certain time and knowing that your every move is being analysed. That’s not love.

Controlling someone or being in control – this is not love.

Love is easy. Love is respectful. Love is letting people grow. Love, sometimes, is letting people go.

If you are with someone you do not trust – let them go. They don’t make you feel good about yourself. You deserve better.

If you are with someone who doesn’t trust you – walk away. You deserve better.

If you are with someone who controls you – walk away and don’t look back. Get advice on how to walk away so that you are safe. But don’t stay and be controlled – no one deserves that.

And if you are a person who feels the need to control others – get some professional, medical help. Controlling others, hurting others, it doesn’t make you happy – get help.

The point of love is – it should make you feel alive. It should make you feel invincible. You should feel free and elated. You should feel that anything in the world is possible. You should feel that you could tell them anything and you should feel that you would gladly do anything for them.

If you’re with someone and you don’t feel that way – is it love…?

My single friends…

For the first time yesterday, I felt the temperature drop. Properly. Outside was cold with some sleet and I gleefully put on my scarf and coat. Finally, it feels as though we’re on the cusp of winter.

Normally, I wouldn’t have ventured out on a day like this. I would’ve snuggled up in my house, wiling the day away, doing my best to stay cosy. But I had arranged to meet my friend, we were going to travel into Birmingham by train for a spot of lunch and then window shopping.

I arrived at the station- which was a second home during my university days. Back then, I had a train pass, I didn’t need to check the electronic boards for the train times. I just knew when the trains were coming, which platforms they were leaving from, and efficiently I’d make my way to where I needed to go. Sighing impatiently at the novice travellers who with bewilderment, would be standing in the middle of nowhere, constantly checking where they need to go, checking the boards, moving slowly and holding everyone up.

So, imagine my feeling of chagrin, when I’m not sure where to buy my ticket from, which ticket to buy, which line to stand in. Suddenly, I felt old – standing in a world that I used to feel so comfortable in, that I used to have dominion over. And then of course the station was packed. Packed with university aged students, all in flimsy Halloween costumes, standing around chatting excitedly in large groups- waiting – going nowhere – just taking up space, dressed up as skeletons and vampires and zombies- wearing clothes that definitely would not protect them from the chilling cold.

Once my friend and I had purchased our tickets, we waited barely a minute before the train arrived at the platform. As expected, the train was crowded with passengers which meant that my friend and I had to stand all the way to Birmingham. But we didn’t mind. We hadn’t seen each other for 2 years and although that time had passed so quickly, we had a lot to catch up on, and within a blink of an eye we arrived at our destination. The platforms were crowded with shoppers, eagerly pushing forward to shop, and families on half term, travelling with their various coloured suitcases, escaping.

Walking to Selfridges took about ten minutes, but it was comforting being in the excited, purposeful hustle and bustle of the shopping centre. Bright lights, clean pathways, beautiful shops – I’d missed it. It reminded me of London and just being back in that atmosphere again made my heart soar.

My stomach often dictates my actions, so we had lunch first. In the end, style trumped substance. I am a fan of Indian street food, and there was a stylish street food restaurant within Selfridges, that we opted for. Luckily, if the company is good, it doesn’t matter if the food isn’t.

So, now we have almost arrived at the point of my blog.

My friend and I, came back in contact with each other 11 years ago, through Facebook. We used to go to the same primary school, but at secondary we went to different places and life took us in different directions. There were many similarities in what we had been through when we were children, and 11 years ago we met up again and have been firm friends ever since then. At the time that we came back in contact again, we were both at the stage of our lives when we were looking for that person that we wanted to spend the rest of our lives with. 11 years on, we are both in stable, happy relationships, both with the knowledge of hindsight – why were we worrying all those years ago, things worked out the way they were meant to.

Let me illustrate this point in a different way. One of the biggest things that my mother drilled into me, from a tiny age – look after your skin. Moisturise, moisturise, moisturise. It still shocks me when people I meet, don’t do that. But skincare is really important to me and my skin feels dry and tight if I don’t look after it. So, as we were in Selfridges, the holy grail of make up, skincare, perfumes and all things gorgeous, it would have been remiss of me not to look for a winter serum to add an extra layer of protection for my skin.

It was simple really – I knew I wanted a serum, I knew what I wanted it for, I knew where I wanted to go to look for them. I approached the counters that I was interested in, one was incredibly warm and helpful, made me try the product, I was pleased with it – the assistant went to get it – but it was out of stock! I didn’t worry, I went to the other counter that I trusted, they also, had none of their serum in stock.

Honestly, I was beginning to get downhearted. This was supposed to have been a very simple task – buy a serum, go home, moisturise. I know it sounds incredibly dramatic and nonsensical to be worried about not getting a product, but it was how I felt. Immediately my friend carried out a google search for respected serums, and as she read out the list of recommendations, my ears pricked up and we headed towards Debenhams to make our purchases. When we arrived, the assistant was extremely helpful, knew just what I needed, gave me some helpful advice and a few free samples to help. I left feeling looked after and satisfied.

So what was the moment of enlightenment that I had? The serum shopping experience got me thinking about life on a larger scale. More specifically, when you’re looking for someone to be in that special relationship with.

When you’re single, you look around and so many people appear to be in such happy, wonderful relationships, people ask you why you’re not in one too – you have no answer. It should be easy for you to find someone, you have everything going for you, you’re doing the right things and are in the right place at the right time, so why not?

The reason why – it’s simple. The reason you haven’t met that person is because the universe is looking after you. Either, the person you are going to be with forever isn’t ready yet and has a few life lessons to learn – or equally – you’re not. Nonetheless- you will find that person. It might take a bit longer to find them. And when you do, you’ll look back in hindsight with relief and be grateful that all the relationships that you thought were ‘the one’, didn’t work out.

The reason for me writing this, is because those of you who might be feeling despondent that you haven’t met that person that you want to be with forever – don’t lose hope. Don’t lose hope. It is always better to be alone, than to be with someone who doesn’t make you feel that you have arrived home. Don’t compare your life with anyone else’s. Don’t be brought down by somebody else’s timeline – you should have been married by this age, children by this age, house and car by that age. Forget all that. It’s archaic, it’s ridiculous, it’s obsolete.

It’s your life. Your very special, unique life – and even though I do believe in reincarnation- this particular life, you will only live once. So live it. Whilst you are single, do all those things that you won’t be able to do when you have a partner, a mortgage, babies and nursery fees.

Go on holiday. Travel as much as you can. Swim in the sea. Climb mountains. Meet new and interesting people.

Smile. Smile as much as you can. Don’t waste life thinking about what you don’t have YET. Appreciate and be grateful for what you do have. And when the universe knows it’s the right time for you – that person will just be around the corner…