As Fresh as a Daisy!

New Picture (2)Sooooooo…I hope you can tell what this post is about. 20SomethingFreak (2SF) has a new look! I’d been looking at the old theme for a while and thinking it just looked a bit tired and dated and then today was the day I just HAD to change it 🙂

I won’t lie, this freshen up is also part of a much larger 2SF project that is ticking away in the background and hopefully I’ll be able to tell you about some exciting changes soon. In the meantime, I hope you appreciate this little facelift and I’ve also added links to a 2SF FB page which is part of the upcoming changes and my YouTube channel. Both of these will be seeing a lot more action in the near future.

Have yourselves a lovely Thursday, I can’t believe how quickly this week has been flying by! x

When Communication Fails

Today we live in a world filled with communication methods, especially those of us in affluent countries such as my homeland of the UK. We’ve got email, texts, video-conferencing, faxes, telephones, the list goes on (somewhere in there is meeting face to face for a chinwag too). Yet some could argue that our communication skills are worse than they have ever been. Take this for example, here I am communicating with people I’ve never even met when I’ve got friends I haven’t even spoken to in months…what is that all about???

It seems that with all of this communication, we are so busy making our stamp and ensuring we’re heard above the rest that we’ve somewhat forgotten how to listen. I don’t just mean read a Tweet or “like” a Facebook post, I mean pick up on the subtle signals of those around us and really understand and respond to what they are trying to tell us. I thought I was listening and I thought I was trying to help someone very close recently and in my heart, I honestly was but by golly I was being stupid about it. I kept on tapping away at the problem in the only way I could think of until I became part of the problem myself. I completely missed some of those subtle signals that would have helped me tailor my message to get it through and now I’m paying for it.

Now, I’ve never been the best at picking up on subtleties, I think I should have been born a man, I can be such a bull in a china shop it’s insane! What’s not helping though is that people like me are spending ever more time “communicating” on a global scale on the web where we have time to think about what we are doing, so we’re not honing our instinctive reactions to what real people in the same room as us are saying and doing. It’s breaking up our real-life human interactions and forcing us further into the cyber world; how do we break this cycle? Well, I for one am going to start actively listening to those around me; not watching TV at the same time or writing my blog or even cooking the dinner, I’m going to devote my whole being to listening when people are talking. I think a well-known tea company are onto something with their current advertising suggesting we get together with friends over a cuppa to talk about the really important things. Count me in! x

Good Old Fashioned Fun (With the Girls)

Somehow, despite pay day having only just been and gone, pretty much everyone I know seems to be totally broke and I am definitely at the helm of this pauper-style living! With that it mind, it was time to get creative on the weekend just gone as there’s nothing worse than spending a whole month of weekends doing nothing because of a lack of funds. So, the girls and I decided to spend Saturday baking and watching movies; proper girly fun, the good old fashioned way.

Since gluten and I don’t seem to get on very well at the moment, I found a recipe for gluten-free cupcakes (and then amended it slightly) and off we went.  The recipe I stumbled upon can be found here; we doubled up for the first batch of 12 so they came out huge and then made another batch of 12 on the recipe sizes. We also added some xanthan gum and baking powder to the mix to make sure the cakes weren’t crumbly and that they rose enough.

Well, the first batch were pretty huge and consequently quite hard to ice so we were glad we made the second batch smaller! With the actual icing mix, we ended up adding a fair bit of icing sugar as well as we couldn’t get the mixture firm enough to be able to sit on top of the cakes. We then piped the icing on amateur style, (no nozzle, just a bag) and got round to the fun part of decorating those bad boys! Check out my amazingly edited video of us in full on piping action!

Bare naked cakes

Piped and ready to go

Some of our best work

All of our beautiful babies!

As you can see, we got a bit carried away with the decorating. We started off quite refined, creating sophisticated little numbers and then we went wild sticking on a whole array of sweets and decorative bits! It was brilliant fun!

The cakes themselves are not as moist as my friend over at Cuppies and Cream makes but they weren’t dry which is great considering they are GF. We also made one batch with lemon icing which I really love, a pretty good effort considering we were first-timers. Now however, my thighs are approx. 6 times the size they were last week because I’ve eaten so much cake!

I thought I’d share because it was such great fun and I’d really recommend getting back to basics with your friends when the pennies are tight. Do as they did in the old days and fill your time without using computer games, Facebook or the TV and you might just surprise yourself in just how much fun you can have! x

Say Hello to Pseudo-Sam

When we’re children, most of us are encouraged to dream about the future; what we want to be, where we want to live, etc. and then when we get to the teenage years it becomes less about what we want to be and more about finding who we are now. That fabulous phrase that so many people use comes into play, “finding myself” – whatever the heck that means! Generally, once we actually reach adulthood, we’re pretty much supposed to forget all of this and just be. Be who we are, doing what we’re doing and if we’re lucky, we like it; if not, it’s pretty much tough, there’s not enough time in a day to try and change it.

Or so it was…

These days we seem to be encouraged to dream all the way through life and never settle for anything less than perfection. Some of us are natural born dreamers; every personality test I’ve ever taken and more recently, the Strengths Finder test I took, all say that I’m a dreamer. When I speak to those around me, I realise that they haven’t spent their whole lives wishing for something else, it seems to just be me who has to spend all day, every day in a bubble in order to survive. Essentially, I will never be satisfied because I’m always striving for something better in the future. I blame my mother; she told me that if I worked hard I’d get everything I wanted so I am working hard and now I’m expecting everything I want! (That’s a joke…sort of.) Anyhow, being of a naturally dreamy disposition, I realise I have fallen prey to the virtual world and become a victim of my virtual life.

Rather than really living my real life and changing the things about it that I hate dislike, I’ve created a pseudo-Sam. She’s the online presence that represents me and she is way cooler than I am. Pseudo-Sam wears cool clothes; I know this because they’re on Pseudo-Sam is a writer- uh, I wonder where you’ll find evidence of that!?! Pseudo-Sam is also way up-to-date on all the latest trends; Twitter tells her what they are. All of these web-based activities represent the me that I wish I was; pseudo-Sam only associates with the people I wish I was like, the people whose lives I covet. The most realistic version of Sam you’ll find is on Facebook. Facebook got in there first; it has both Sam’s – the photos represent pseudo-Sam who is always happy and loving life and the statuses represent real Sam who is mainly disappointed that she hasn’t morphed into her pseudo-persona.

What is this strange world that we inhabit and how do we extract ourselves from it? Will I really have a life left if I cancel my Facebook, Twitter,, Pinterest and WordPress accounts or will I collapse without pseudo-Sam there to prop up the flimsy real Sam that remains? It’s a genuinely tough question to answer and for now, I think my flimsy self is too scared to find out so I’m going to let pseudo-Sam carry on playing, I mean, is it really that different to watching SATC and wishing I was Carrie Bradshaw!?! x

Exercise, Theatre (standard!), Online Shopping and Meeting the Parents!!!

Yet again since my last post there has been more theatre going activity. This time I was back at the Hexagon in Reading watching The Naked Truth which turned out to be rather funny. It is cast entirely of women, is about women and as such had an audience almost entirely made up of women but that was part of what made it so enjoyable. The characters are quite predictable but that meant it was easy to relax and enjoy the show, much like going to see a chick flick at the cinema and it was definitely good to get out with the girls and have some fun. Michelle Heaton also showcased her super hot bod and pole dancing skills…we are now thinking more seriously about taking up pole dancing having seen that! There is in fact a class at the uni this Sunday evening which could definitely be a possibility.

Talking of classes, I also returned to the scene of the crime for another exercise class. This time we did aerobics, figuring it would be easier as we would have only our feet to trip over and not the step as well. We were wrong…big time! Not only did we put more energy into the workout but the class leader also threw in some circuit training style work. I don’t think I have ever sweated so much in my life! What made it worse was the somewhat chunkier girl with the belly lapping me in the running and generally being much fitter than me. I felt like a total let down, I look the part as I’m fairly slim and I had on my brand spanking new Nike gym gear. Oh yes, new pink Nike T shirt thing and tight black bottoms – learned last week that jogging bottoms from Zara are not the done thing. The sad thing was I also own Nike socks and Nike trainers…like a walking ad until I start exercising, at which point I think the brand managers at Nike would rather I wore anything other than their brand!

Anyhow, exercise is old news now, no need to update you on that unless I suddenly become pro or find a class which burns calories without you even noticing. The other form of exercise I have been doing is much more fun, or at least it would be if I didn’t manage to get it so wrong. What am I talking about you wonder…no, it’s not sex, but I have been clicking my mouse; I’m talking about exercising my credit card, I’ve really been working on stretching it’s limit recently. Online shopping has become something of an addiction but I am crap at it! So far I have bought a headunit which eBay are now due to refund as it didn’t work and the seller didn’t respond; a pair of Topshop shoes which turned out to definitely not be Topshop and some kind of cheap, ill fitting copy…which I’m hoping eBay will refund. Then I bought a faux fur coat which is beautiful, size S, unfortunately it’s the biggest Small I’ve ever tried on so that will be going to the tailor to be taken in. Then I bought a leopard print playsuit from Miss Selfridge; I’m always a 10 so that’s what I bought…except in this instance when I need an 8; can’t find it in the shops so will probably have to send it back and order another one. I cannot tell you how many times I have made these same mistakes, yet as with any addiction, I just can’t stop. (Here are some more occasions within the last few months… 3x playsuits, 1 New Look, 1 ASOS, 1 Dorothy Perkins…all the wrong fit, 2x underwear sets M&S, 1 I ordered the wrong set (duh!) and 1 didn’t fit…it seems selling works much better for me!)

A friend told me she read a magazine article that basically says mine and her shopping habits mean we are trying to fill an emotional void and that we should work on the route cause of this. I say…bollocks to that, I love shopping and am happy to keep trying to fill the void! I’m even on that Retail Therapy game on Facebook (don’t try it!). However, online shopping is an even bigger anticlimax than Xmas; firstly the parcel is always later than you think, then when it arrives you get all excited before 1 of 3 things happens: 1.) you open it and instantly realise your mistake and try to work out the quickest way to send it back and get your money back. 2.) You open it, it looks and feels amazing, you try it on and it doesn’t fit / looks shit on you. 3.) Very rare occasion, you like it and have nothing to moan about so instead inspect every last thread whilst trying to find something to moan about. Bad times all round! I vote…get off your arse and go into town; calorie burning and more efficient!

Enough moaning about the internet, what I have to say next is the really important part of this post. Tomorrow I am going back to my bf’s home town to meet his family and some of his friends…OMG! Never has this been a big deal before as I have always had bf’s who lived at home and thus met their parents straight away. This situation seems a whole lot more scary; my main worry is that they find me either shy, rude or crude. Many people have found me to be 1 or more of the aforementioned and that is just not a good impression to make. Or, what happens if I go the other way and I’m so over friendly and nice that they just think I’m a total weirdo!?! How much of your real self should you show to people you don’t know but need to impress??? Argh!!! And, even more scary than meeting family is meeting friends, they are way more judgemental and openly so usually. In 1 weekend I could potentially completely bugger up 4 months of good times, oh the pressure!!! I will update next week to let you know if I still have anything to bugger up! x