How significant can a piece of paper be?

As a 30 year old female in the Western world, one topic has become particularly prevalent in conversations with friends over the last 18 months; marriage. Loads of people I know have either got or are getting married, so it’s one of those subjects that keeps cropping up. I’m pretty sure I’ll find the same thing happens with the topic of babies in another couple of years’ time as the former so often leads to the latter.

I still have a massive question mark in my head as to the point of it all in today’s society though.

Let’s take an example – one friend I have confessed to me that she’s more excited about the party than the actual marriage. I totally get it; they’ve lived together for years so what is the marriage except a continuation of the life they already have? The actual wedding day though, well that’s a great big (expensive) celebration of their love and lives together. That sort of makes sense because who doesn’t love a party?

Does it warrant the cost of a house deposit / car though?

If we wander back in time just a handful of decades, marriage was a critical part of growing up. Society said that before we could co-habit or be so brazen as to tell the world we’d had sex by having a baby, we had to be married. Women also had far fewer job prospects and were expected to make lovely homes for their industrious husbands, so we can see why marriage was essential; men wanted sex and dinner on the table, while women needed a living (and sex – but nobody admits that).

Yes, I know I’m generalising and making a bit of a joke of it but my point is that previously, adult life really began at marriage. Wedding presents were homewares to help the happy couple set up their first home and begin the adventure of living together. Today, we’ve already done that and most of us frown upon those who dare to marry without testing out the living together bit first. We can have babies without marriage and our wedding “presents” are usually no more than a donation to an epic holiday fund, or “honeymoon” as we continue to call it.

So why do we do it?

Some people do it to represent their commitment to each other and that’s a great reason to enter the contract of marriage. Does it really signify commitment though? Divorce is hugely prevalent these days, so much so that marriage is almost an “I do until…”. It’s far harder to get out of a complex series of financial contracts than it is the marriage itself.

Some do it because they have a family and they would like everyone to have the same name. Strictly speaking, marriage isn’t needed to do this as you can just change your name but my issue is actually that still these days, it’s usually the woman who changes her name. I’ve seen an increase in double-barrelled surnames cropping up on my Facebook as women marry and want to hold onto some semblance of their former selves but goodness only knows what this means for the names of married women in the next generation, just imagine a Simone Smith-Jones-Brown-Thompson! Surely the changing of names is an outdated tradition by now?

And talking of outdated traditions, what is with the whole ring thing? I mean really, a bloody expensive rock gets put on the woman’s finger prior to the marriage like some sort of indicator of ownership. How is this still a thing? “Look how much of a man I am, I bought a huge rock and now I own her.” “Look how much he wants me, he bought me a huge rock and now I’m complete.”

Some might say I’m cynical and maybe I am but I’m struggling to justify marriage in my head. I don’t have any problem with others marrying and I love weddings but all of the above is what goes round in my mind when someone asks me when I think my boyfriend will propose. My answer, by the way is “hopefully never”. Sure I’d marry him if he was desperate to do that but that would be my only reason. Maybe that’s it. Maybe every couple has someone who needs that security and that’s why they get married. Me, I know I love my boy and I never want to let him go. I hope that’s enough for him too!

Snowdonia: A Holiday in the UK

Well aren’t I a lucky devil, I have just returned from my second holiday so far this year. This time we went a little off-piste though and holidayed in the UK, with a trip to Snowdonia with our beautiful little pooch-faced babychops (Lexi).

Here she is in case you’ve forgotten how stunning she is:


Lexi on Harlech Beach

Usually we go further afield but we really wanted to find somewhere dog friendly to explore, so we rented ourselves a little house in a coastal village called Harlech, packed up our impractical BMW coupé and off we went.

What a trip!

If like me you haven’t really holidayed in the UK since you were a small child, I highly recommend it. We saw some of the most beautiful places I have ever seen, my phones had no signal most of the time and we had loads to occupy us. I can’t remember the last time I felt so relaxed. That’s not to mention the fact that our little girly LOVED it and had a wonderful time getting the sand in her paws.

Here are some snaps / highlights in case you’re thinking about a trip (these are just phone snaps; imagine the colours in real life!):


Craggy, waterfall-y goodness at Fairy Glen


This is how clear the water is in the streams; my dad tells me some people have this pumped directly into their taps. We drank it, we’re alive


If you like history, there are castles galore. This one is Harlech Castle


Feeling gluttonous? Why not grab an ENORMOUS pancake over at Scoop in Caernarfon?


Or you can head over to Tu Hwnt I’r Bont tearoom in Llanwrst


Need a beach? We had this place to ourselves. Port Iago (in the middle of nowhere after a lot of driving in circles but so worth it – following images are the same place)



Throw in some zip lines, lots of delicious food and a steam train ride and you have yourself a holiday. I can’t recommend visiting Wales, especially the traffic-free, stunningly beautiful Snowdonia enough.

Much love! x



Why do some childhood fears stick?

Over the last 2 days I have thrown a ball around on a basketball court, (some might call it shooting hoops or something cool like that) and I have ridden my bike round in circles at the local park.


Well actually both of these activities pushed me way outside my comfort zone. You see, as a kid I didn’t spend much time playing sport and we weren’t really an outdoorsy family. For me, outdoorsy is clearing leaves off the lawn or re-potting that plant that just will not die, no matter how much you neglect it. What I learned as a kid was how to peel potatoes, build IKEA furniture and play really quietly so that we didn’t disturb my parents.

What that meant was that I never really “got” sport. I don’t have any natural sporting ability and my hand-eye coordination is mediocre at best, so I’ve mainly just ignored the things that other people seem to love. I chose hockey as my sport in secondary school because I knew I’d get away with just standing there while everyone else got stuck in and I deliberately made no attempt to win at athletics in the summer. Why? Well, because I was never going to be the best and that terrified me.

It still does.

Yesterday, the BF spent the first 15 minutes bouncing that basket ball around on his own while I sat on the grass. There were other people in the park so I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t show my weakness, I couldn’t let anyone know that I’m not the best at something. It’s fine to say it because people assume you’re downplaying your talent but showing it proves you’re below par.

Luckily for me, the BF is incredibly patient and eventually coaxed me onto the court where I had a great time missing the (non-existent) net. He did the same thing today, calmly suggesting that if riding my bike down the pavement was terrifying, I could just walk it to the park and start there. There was no judgement, he cycled about 10 times as far as I did but he was pleased that I gave it a go. More importantly, I was pleased that I gave it a go.

So why do some of our childhood fears stick? Why do I still feel like a teenager, terrified of people seeing my weaknesses when I look at a basketball? I’m 30 years old.

My fear of exposing the side of me that isn’t perfect is so great that I miss out on doing things on an almost daily basis. I’ve always been this way and although I hide it better now that I’m an adult, I still know it’s happening. Why has this stuck with me?

It’s not a question I think I’ll find the answer to, just a pondering really. Anyone else in the same boat?

Review: Orly Amp’d Nail Polish

Hello and sorry! Yes I know, I know I’m a terrible blogger and I haven’t written anything for ages but I promise I’ve been busy doing stuff.

Orly2One thing I have done is tested out a new nail polish, well nail polish system really – Orly Amp’d. The other week I was doing the usual pay day, buy loads of stuff I don’t need shopping spree and I came across this in Boots.

I’ve been making a conscious effort to use gel less recently because I always end up picking it off and my nails are consequently in a terrible state. This Orly Amp’d stuff promised that it would provide 7 days of wear, dependent on nail condition and I figured I’d give it a try as it might be a contender as an alternative to the Seche Vite top coat I usually use.

So, how was it?

Firstly, I loved the way it went on. The brush was easy to hold and a good width for covering most of my nail in one stroke. The colour itself went on beautifully as well; each coat provided a strong amount of coverage without being splodgy or me worrying that it would never dry through being so thick. Two coats of colour later and I was ready for the top coat. The top coat also went on nicely and really did make the polish dry quickly to a hard, glossy finish.

My nails are in such awful shape that I didn’t get a week out of the colour, I actually got about 3 days out of it before part of it lifted on one of my nails and I lost half a nail’s worth of polish. I didn’t mind. The reason I didn’t mind is that often that happens to me within 1 day, after I’ve spent an hour waiting for the polish to fully dry. This took 15 minutes and I got 3 days. For someone with strong, healthy nails, this has got to be a win.

The Orly Amp’d colour range includes some stunning, bright colours too so I’m definitely going back. It felt like such luxury polish that I can’t wait to try again with a party colour.

Has anyone else tried it out? What did you think? x


Here we are, it’s 31st December 2015 and I have to say this year has been the best year of my life so far. It’s been simply amazing and if 2016 is even half the year that this one was, I’ll be one lucky girl.

I know everyone does it but I can’t resist bragging a bit because here are some of the things that have made this year fantastic:

Adding Lexi to our family* Moving in with the boy* Paris* Warsaw* Greece* France* New York* Dog walks on the beach* Turning 30* Buying a house* Winning an award at work* Hanging out with friends* Great food* Family*


I’m unbelievably grateful to all who have contributed to making my year what it’s been. I’m on cloud 9 and appreciating every moment of it.

Here’s to a super 2016, may it bring you everything you could possibly wish for! x

Is my clock digital?

I’ve had a truly fabulous festive season as always; any time when I get to hang out with friends and family having a laugh is time well spent in my book. There’s just one thing that’s bothering me though…

Over the course of the last month or so, it’s been made abundantly clear to me by people from all parts of my life that a 30 year old woman should want marriage and children. Prior to my birthday trip to NY, I was asked repeatedly if I thought the boy would pop the question and then on my return, was asked whether he did. I’m not sure how many more ways I can say, “I don’t want him to. I don’t want to get married!”.

Then over Christmas, as well as the usual number of people my age announcing babies or their intention for babies, I had one of the most awkward conversations of my life. Picture this: Boxing Day, round with the would-be-in-laws-if-we-married and I end up having a conversation with just his mum. Firstly, she completely undermines my whole career by telling me that like she did with the boy’s father, I’ll likely be “supporting” the boy by following him around on business trips like some kind of trophy in future. WRONG! Then came the big one…”And what about children? Do you have plans for children?”

I couldn’t believe my ears. That question was so far beyond direct from someone I barely know, that I was completely wrong-footed. What I wanted to say was that it’s none of her business. What I actually did was tell the truth and say that we haven’t any plans for children within the next couple of years and I couldn’t say beyond that.

Why is it that a month ago, at 29, it was OK to not want marriage and children but now I seem to be an old maid and should be desperate for these things? I don’t have a ticking clock. Or I can’t hear it if I do. Maybe mine is digital and it’ll stay silent until some sort of alarm goes off. I feel like I’ve only just got my own life sorted, I don’t want to ruin that now by introducing another life into the mix.

From the prevalence of posts of this nature that I’ve seen all over the blogosphere lately, I think we’re facing an issue with a change of life expectations. There’s not only a generational divide but there’s also a divide among my own age group. It still seems that many people in said age group expect their peers will want marriage and babies by 30 as a default setting. There are so many more choices available now that it’s just not the case. If you are traditionally inclined, please do the rest of us a favour and back off. Sure, if we’re best mates, you can probe a bit more but everyone else can get back to floral arrangements and nappies and leave me to my shoe shopping and cocktails. Please. This pressure is unnecessary and unwelcome; we don’t openly criticise you for “settling down”, so you should afford us the same courtesy.

I’m 29 and 13 months old today. That is how I will be counting my age from now on, to avoid these awkward “life” conversations. Just an idea some of the rest of you might want to adopt!

Love to you all, regardless of your marital status🙂 x

New York, New York

As you may have gathered from my previous post, I have recently been to New York so it seemed rude not to post a little something about my trip.

What can I say? The city is HUGE and completely unlike any city I’ve ever been to before! All of the buildings are so tall that I don’t think you really appreciate how big they are until you come home and look at the tiddlers we have in the UK again.

Loads of people offered me hints and tips of places to go and things to see while I was there but even a week is barely enough to scratch the surface. I always recommend following your gut; if you think you’ll like it, go and if not, well don’t go.

On advice from a friend, we stayed out in Brooklyn, away from the hustle and bustle of Manhattan and I’d thoroughly recommend that. Try and get central Brooklyn though as there are loads of great bars and restaurants there. It means you have somewhere to explore if you fancy having a more relaxed brunch or a quiet(er) drink.

We also made it out to the MetLife Stadium in New Jersey to watch an American football match. I really wanted to watch a sports match out there because I’d heard that they make a huge event of it and I wasn’t disappointed. American football is great if you’re not usually a sports fan because they play for a few seconds, then there’s a minute or so when you can chat and then the play resumes and so on. Ideal for short attention spans!

Overall though, my top tips are just these:

  1. You can never leave enough time to get somewhere in Manhattan, even on foot. Get to know and love the subway
  2. Do the Empire State Building – I know it’s cliché but it’s fantastic and try and get there for sunset because that is beautiful
  3. Department stores are huge, seriously enormous compared to what we have in the UK so allow loads of time for getting lost in them!

Right, now here are some photos!

New York 089

The Rockefeller Christmas Tree

New York 030

The Statue of Liberty – as seen from a helicopter…oh, didn’t I mention that!?!

New York 084

The stunning sunset we saw from the top of the Empire State

There’s so much to see and do in the city, I really just suggest you pick a little part of it that you think will suit you and start there.

Happy travels! x

20somethingfreak has moved on!

Hello everyone!

***It seems that I somehow messed up the scheduling so this didn’t post last Monday as it should have done. Sorry – here it is now!***

Well, the day is finally here and I am 30 years old. As from today, all of my 20somethingfreak followers will be re-directed to 30somethingdreamer.

I’m super excited to begin a new decade of blogging. I thought about giving it up but then I realised that would be the definition of insanity and what I should actually be doing is blogging more frequently, not giving it up. Duh!

I feel like I’m the same old me except that this time, I’m not so much blogging to fill a gap in my life but blogging just because I like to write and ramble on.

I’m in NY right now, likely having the time of my life. I’ll update you on everything when I’m back. In the meantime, have a super week and get those Christmas trees up🙂 x

Saying goodbye to my 20s

Yes, I know, I haven’t quite said goodbye to my 20s yet but I’m a mere week away from turning 30 now! Even as I write that, I feel a little anxious flutter at my core and what I can only describe as nervous anticipation. I think I’m going to do well at being in my 30s but I’m also terrified in case I spend the next decade making the same mistakes again.



Me, in my 30s. That’s a grown up age. Lots of people in their 30s are married with kids and the idea of doing those sorts of things is still TERRIFYING! If I think too much about the fact that I’ve just bought a house and have a dog I freak out, never mind actual lifetime commitments.

Anyway, the real purpose of this stream of consciousness spiel is to reflect on my 20s because I think it’s a difficult decade to get through. Some people sail through it and love it and the rest of us look on, wondering why our lives are a pile of poo by comparison. So if that’s you doing the wondering, don’t worry about it because I’m about to explain why that’s a good thing.

If I look at my 20s as a whole, there are just 3 main themes to the journey I took and the lessons I learned and the ratio isn’t great, 2 bad : 1 good. Here we go…

Theme 1 – Depression

I still can’t really admit that I have ever been depressed because my background tells me that depression leads to suicide, which leads to other depressed people and I refuse to accept that. What I can admit is that I spent months following this routine:

Wake up – cry – stare at the wall – go to work – hold back the tears – come home – cry – stare at the wall – cry – go to bed

I can also admit that when I managed to stop the staring at the wall behaviour, I still spent an inordinate amount of time crying. The reasons for the tears were varied, but in reality I had a huge sadness inside me that I couldn’t confront and it was ruling my life. This sadness sapped my confidence and stopped me doing and achieving as much as I wanted to but I realise now that it was a process I had to go through. It sounds so cliché to say this but I know now that it really doesn’t last forever, as long as you’re prepared to let the good stuff in.

So, if that’s you right now, let it happen. Sometimes the only way you can move on is to fully embrace the problem, let it flood your mind and then mop up the puddles slowly but surely.

Theme 2 – Debt

During those depressed years I racked up a heck of a lot of debt. Tens of thousands of pounds spent on utter shit that I didn’t need but which I thought might change my life and make me happy. A small portion of the debt was spent on fun, but it really was mainly on junk, oh and some bad car choices. (Never buy a used Corsa VXR!)

That level of debt when you’re on a relatively low salary is crippling, so what I did was bury my head in the sand and keep going. I’m hugely fortunate that I was dug out of the hole by a very generous inheritance, else I would still be in that hole now. It was a good lesson though and I’m glad I learned it at a young age. If you’re struggling with a similar situation, please seek help; just Google it and you’ll find places you can turn to for support.

I sound like an old person now, namely my father, when I say that money really isn’t everything and the stuff you think you need, it won’t make you happy. You’ll have the moment of joy looking at those new shoes but you’ll spend far longer worrying about how you’re going to pay off the cumulative sum of 10 new pairs!

Theme 3 – Good Times

Here’s where the biggest lesson lies for me…the good times are there, they are happening no matter what your situation is, it’s just up to you to decide whether or not you want to be part of them. I feel such gratitude toward all of the people who kept dragging me into the good times and showing me what I was missing. The people I feel this most strongly about are my parents who have been through some really tough times themselves in this last decade, but who remained strong enough to pick me up every time I fell, cuddle me and then invite me to start enjoying life again. Without them, I’d probably be rocking back and forward in the foetal position on my bed right now!

I’ve achieved some stuff too and I’ve managed to build up something of a career, even with a couple of redundancies along the way. I’ve just climbed onto the property ladder, I own my car outright (even if it is 12 years old),I have a beautiful dog, a wonderful boy and many friends. I’ve been on girly holidays, I’ve read loads of books, been out for unbelievably delicious dinners at lovely restaurants and generally smiled and laughed loads, all despite themes 1 and 2.

A huge number of the good times have been in the last 3 years, exactly coinciding with the time that I realised that I can’t find my own happiness in other people, it has to come from within. I can’t tell you how many times people said that to me and I poo-pooed their advice, thinking that I was sorted and other people were making me miserable. I was wrong. I was miserable and as soon as I fixed my own misery, my life transformed and I flipped the ratios:

Happy Days : Blue Days – Sam until age 27
1 : 10

Happy Days : Blue Days – Sam post age 27
10 : 1

Well, I think I have rambled on long enough now so I’ll leave this post where it is. Watch out for some interesting changes to the blog; I can’t be a 20something freak forever🙂

30s – I’m comin’ to getcha!!! x