Dear August: Like Ships in the Night

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Dear August,

I'm starting to think that we are but ships passing in the night, because yet again you have come and gone and we appear to have missed one another. This is becoming a regular thing and I'm not sure how I feel about this situation, but I fear that this is just how it is going to be between us.

Are we still friends?

Vaguely, but definitely not in the way that we used to be when you brought freedom and opportunities. But, I am learning to accept it now, that although you are a little distant from me, you are still an important part of my life - just like all of the other months. Why am I suddenly accepting that? Because our relationship has changed, it has....dare I say it, grown up!

At 32, I finally feel like a grown up. Who knew!?

This year August, you seem to have brought change - good change, and it was definitely one that was unexpected, but so desperately needed. In hindsight that change has given us both freedom and opened up amazing opportunities, so maybe you were more than I realised at the time August.

But isn't that how life is, we don't appreciate things enough until they are over. And I've been trying so hard to change that this year, because so much has happened and I've done so much that I am grateful for.

I guess what I'm saying is: I'm sorry August, I'm sorry that I ignored you, even though you tried so hard, but I see how amazing you were and I am glad that I had you looking out for me this year :-)

I am so glad that we can finally be friends again.

Love you lots August,

Kat xxx

Let's chat, trade tips, gossip and share 

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Dear August: We've Come So Far

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Dear August,

So here we are again. Meeting like old friends who were once so close but over the past few years seem to have drifted further and further apart. Once my favourite month, August, now you just blend into all of the rest - no different from June or July. When did this happen?  When did our mutual love for one another just fall apart?

A lot has changed since we last met August: I started a new job, made some fantastic new friends, had some amazing experiences and started wedding planning much more seriously - I bet you didn't expect that one did you August? Me getting married is one thing, but actually taking the whole thing seriously - that's a laugh isn't it!

That is what I have always loved about you August - you were always full of laughter and smiles.

But now August, I can't help finding you to be quite a stressful month. Kids everywhere, people everywhere, loud music from all directions, the weather is so erratically hot/cold/windy/wet delete as applicable, probably several times a day - all are theworst ingredients for ultimate anxiety.

I'm trying to conquer that anxiety August, but it seems to be getting harder, rather than easier. I want to start appreciating your goodness again. 

I hope that we can figure things out before you have to go again.

Speak soon August.

Love, Kat x

The Introvert Girl's Guide To Wedding Fairs

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When you're a little bit socially awkward, the words "Wedding Fair" can sound immensely daunting. Trust me, I know, because I have been there. Since I got engaged just over a year ago, I've put off going to Fairs because they sound like my kind of nightmare. I hate crowds, I hate talking to people that I don't know and I hate Sales Pitches!

However on February 15th, I pushed myself hard enough into actually going to a local Wedding Fair and I have to admit that I probably will not be attending another one any time soon. Despite that, I would definitely say that it was worth going and I don't regret it one bit.

So, I basically wanted to put together a guide for fellow introverts to help prepare you for the scary task of attending a Wedding Fair.

Never Go It Alone

It's easy to say that when you are not looking forward to something, the best way of dealing with it, is to never try dealing with anything on your own. I know it's cliche, but the old adage that "a problem shared, is a problem halved" really is true, when it comes to Wedding Fairs.

Wedding Fairs are - quite literally - social events, so don't be afraid to turn it into one, bu involving people who you feel comfortable around (your Mum, Gran, Aunts, Bridesmaids, even your Other Half), because you're more likely to relax when surrounded by people who you know and trust.

Prepare for Sales Bitches

There is no going about it, you will be bombarded by a lot of people desperate for your attention and desperate to sell you everything that you probably don't need. Most Assistants are really lovely, but others - however - really aren't.

There are several ways of dealing with this:

  1. Listen to the Sales Pitch, nod politely, accept all the paraphernalia you are offered (you can always browse it at home) and thank them for their time.
  2. I found that a lot of Sales People tended to ask if I already had a particular aspect sorted (ie the venue, decorations, hair and make up etc). If you don't want to talk to people, put yourself into automatic "Yes I have, thank you!" with a polite smile, and move on. Sometimes, they will get pushy and ask more questions, but generally saying that you have something covered is enough to get rid of them for a little while.

One thing to note here, is that some Sales Bitches (and they really can be Bitches), will try to trip you up by asking you for more details about which venue you're using etc. The best way to handle this is to just throw an answer at them, or if they seem to be particularly rude, consider ignoring them and don't let them upset you. They're not worth it.

The Switch Up

If you find yourself becoming increasingly overwhelmed by the whole thing, it could be worth taking a step back and pretending that you are not the bride.

My friend noticed that a lot of company's were scanning left hands to check for engagement rings, so I started to take mine off periodically. This didn't always work, as I'd been handed a bright pink bag when I walked into the building which my acceptance kind of gave me away.

Nevertheless, if you have a friend or relative who knows what you want incredibly well, it could be an idea to ask them to pretend to be the bride and start conversations going on your behalf. If they (and you) build a rapport with a company, that could help you build up your confidence to speak out as the actual bride.

Building a Rapport

It is incredibly easy to feel suckered into something by pushy sales assistants in most situations, but when it comes to your wedding it's even more important to not be pushed by them, because more often than not we are talking a lot of money.

If there is something that you are keen to purchase and/or put a deposit down for, but are torn between several companies, the best thing to do is talk to them. Even using the switch up method, mentioned above, if it helps.

In my opinion, the Assistants job is to provide you with a service and that service should not include making you feel uncomfortable, because you'll never be happy working with someone like that. Therefore, if you find it easy to talk to the person representing the company, it is more likely that you'll feel more comfortable working with them, and asking questions about the nitty gritty things.

Just remember that Wedding Fairs are there to benefit you. Try not to commit to anything firmly - take time to go away and think about things. If a company has an offer for the day of the event only, there is no reason why you can't go away to think about it and then return later on.

Let's chat, trade tips, gossip and share 

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Dear August : So We Meet Again Old Friend

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Dear August,

Here we are again. My best friend and my Nemesis. Yet again I find myself feeling jealousy towards the kids who get to appreciate summer in all of the ways I wish that I still could – with absolute freedom.

A couple of weeks ago, I went to see Transformers: Age of Extinction at my local cinema, which just happens to be close to the seaside. On the walk along the seafront, to have dinner, I came across a group of teenage girls – they were probably 13 or 14 – and I marvelled at the innocence and the happiness, as they skateboarded across the seafront, and ran across the sand towards the sea (which inevitably was really far out). The screaming and the laughter was so nice to watch, and yet so saddening, because those years are now so far behind me, and there was that brief realisation that those girls were half my age, and that made me feel incredibly old. I could almost be their mother.

I’m fortunate enough to be at a stage in my life, when I genuinely feel happy. I have most of what I want out of life, and I am planning for my wedding – a day that I never expected to see, which seems crazy when you’ve been in a long-term relationship for eight years, but marriage didn’t feel right for us until earlier in the year.

It’s weird, because a part of me thought that by getting engaged would stop the “oh when are you getting married” malarkey, but now those same people seem to be obsessed with dictating our wedding – where we should get married, what dress I should wear. And then people keep complaining about not being told about it, but getting engaged was never meant to be such a big deal.

When people congratulate me, I feel like I’m pulling some big case of fraud and somehow feel guilty that they’re making this big deal out of something that seems so trivial to me. How can you congratulate someone when they haven’t actually done anything, other than put a ring on their finger and start organising a big event?

We wouldn’t congratulate each other for breathing, or for getting out of bed in the morning, because they are things that everyone does, so what’s the difference?

Marriage is still a strange concept to
me. Getting married is apparently a natural part of life, so why is it that people make it into this huge thing? And why does everyone seem to have an opinion on it?

Soooo, August – yes, whilst my insecurities about you are still completely the same, everything else in my life has changed. I’m in a different place (literally), and the world seems different – brighter, perhaps, but that’s probably this crazy heatwave that we’ve been having recently!

Love, Kat

PS – Thank you for being sunny today ;)

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The NHS and Fat People

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Yes, you read that right. I just used the f-word in the title of this post. Now, to business. For the past goodness knows how long, I've been reading a lot from people complaining about the fact that fat people receive help to diet courtesy of the NHS. Apparently this offends them, apparently the NHS should use their resources for better things.

As a fat person, I felt that I had to weigh in on the issue (ha! See what I did there?). Now, as a said fat person, I want to lay it right out, that I have never sought help from the NHS for anything weight-related. Personally, my weight is my problem and I should deal with it for myself and it is no one else's business. When I moved house and registered with a new doctors surgery six months ago, the Nurse did actually offer me ten-weeks membership to Weight Watchers, but I turned it down, because I was already a member.

I've also heard that alongside Weight Watchers, some Doctors will also refer fat patients to their local Gym, offering them free memberships. I've never been offered that, so I don't know any facts.

Now, these offers are what people moan about the most, but let me put it another way:

According to an article on the BBC's website yesterday, for a fat patient to have a Gastric Band costs the NHS £15,000 and that's not including the extra £20,000 that is needed to cover patient after-care. All together, that adds up to £35,000. Now, if we're discussing Gastric Bands, we're going to be talking about really obese people, people who are also likely to not fit into standard-sized beds and equipment, meaning that larger sized things need to be purchased, costing even more money.

Therefore, surely the solution is to tackle "fatness" before it reaches those astronomically expensive costs, right?

Let's break this down.

I pay roughly £21 a month for my membership to Weight Watchers, so for the equivalent of £35,000 for one person's Gastric Band, that is roughly 556 people that could be helped to kick start their weight loss for the initial three month period. Over the period of a year, that could help roughly 2,222 people.

So, which would you prefer?

Option One: Allow people to just get bigger and bigger until they are really enormous, costing more money on a per-person basis or;

Option Two: Tackle it early, and help more people fairly cheaply?

Whether we like it or not, we are a nation that has a big problem with food. It controls our lives, whether we binge eat it or avoid it completely. I'd love to say that it's time to change our attitudes towards food, but we all know that changing attitudes is often easier said than done. Food is like a drug; many of us are controlled by it whilst others use it to take control over an aspect of our lives.

The NHS is designed to help people. They help smokers, alcoholics and drug addicts, so why not help people with eating disorders? 

Let's chat, trade tips, gossip and share 

(Go on! You don't know what you're missing!)