Monday, 18 March 2013

Thinking Out Loud

Today is one of those days where I could quite happily stay in bed catching up on my Youtube feed and drinking countless cups of tea. Yes, I know the weekend has only just gone, but I've woken up with the biggest headache and horribly blocked sinuses. It doesn't help that we currently sleep with the air conditioning on every night (we have to - the heat is unbearable without it!). But anyway, I can't stay in bed all day - there are things to be done. So I'll just stay here for a liiiittle bit longer and catch up n some blogging (at least that's somehow productive...).
In all the drama and business of recent weeks, Organised Chaos hasn't quite had the chance yet to become what I was hoping. I wanted to write on here more regularly than I have been doing, and really enjoy it. But somehow, I haven't felt relaxed enough to just sit down and write a chatty post, and maybe I've been putting too much pressure on myself in the sense that if I do post on here, it's got to be a well thought-out, meaningful post. Well, actually that was completely defeating the object, as this was meant to be an outlet for me where I could write about precisely what I want, when I want. If I want to sit down and ramble on about whatever is going on in my head, then that is exactly what I'm going to do, and it's exactly what I'm doing now.
It's three and a half months now until we move back home. The time is ticking by so slowly, but I know in reality it's not far off at all. It's funny how a life back home, doing the simple things that I always used to do and having the choices and freedom that I always used to have has become my dream life. Having things taken away and having to live a simple, basic life teaches you what really matters - family, friends. Having options.

I know you're probably wondering what on earth I'm talking about. I mean, I'm living the dream, right? Life in Brazil must be so perfect, lying on the beach all day, cocktail in hand, deep blue sea as far as you can see.
The thing is, the idealistic vision people have of living abroad is not always the reality, and it is not taken into consideration that perhaps it might be a really difficult thing to do. There's the isolation. I'm not about to sit here and moan about what a terrible time it's been, because it's all been a learning curve (and I can't deny that I've been lucky enough to get to know some beautiful places in Brazil), but there have definitely been tough times. I went from having lots of friends and a busy social life back home, to essentially having no one besides my other half. I had difficulties with his family, and when it came to making friends it just wasn't to be. Every time I thought I was getting somewhere, I was stabbed in the back, so eventually I decided that I'd rather not have any friends here at all than have pretend ones.
But that's almost all in the past now. Blogging saved me, for a start, and now the end is in sight. I couldn't be more thrilled! For all this time, I've had to put my career on hold, and have been doing a job that was never for me. Teaching has had its moments, but ironically it was always the one job I'd said I'd never do!
I can't wait to get back, and build a home, and have a social life again. Be able to go around to my parents' house for a roast dinner on a Sunday, or meet my sister for coffee on our lunch breaks from work. To decorate the house so it really feels like ours, and to get back to studying and applying for jobs I'd really like to do! I'm well aware that I might not necessarily get them - it's not that easy, is it? But just having the chance to make my own future again, that's something you can't put a price on.
And then there are the other things. Blustery walks along the coast, all wrapped up warm, followed by cosy pub lunches and a cheeky weekend tipple. Girly nights in with friends, cooking together and drinking wine, that inevitablt turn into girly nights out. And just having access to the shops and the food that I like again! Clothes and cosmetics not costing the absolute earth, and not having to buy them online and wait forever for them to arrive. Being spoilt on my birthday instead of sitting at home with nothing to do. Having a Chinese takeaway on a Friday night. And spending the Christmas festivities with family.
They are all such little things, but those things have become my dream.


Saturday, 9 March 2013

Young Love and Whiskers

Lately, Mr Whiskers has been bringing his girlfriend round for dinner. We'd seen her around a fair bit beforehand, as they seemed to have been hanging out together for a while, and a few weeks ago I caught her in our kitchen eating his food. She had been sneaking in through a tiny little window in our store-room at night when nobody was about, eating everything and then making off again as if nothing had happened. At first, she always seemed terrified of us. She'd go and hide in the darkness, peering at us with big, frightened eyes before running away.
Once I realised she was obviously hungry, I knew that I would be able to tame her, and the hubby and I decided that she must be pregnant - we naughtily haven't had our cat 'done', so he's probably been out there sowing his seeds like there's no tomorrow. He doesn't behave like a Tom cat though - he's a big baby when he's at home, and he behaves like a complete gentleman around 'Mrs Whiskers', even allowing her to eat his food without seeming at all bothered.

Now, it's got to the point where she'll actually come and sit outside the window miaowing on her own, just like Mr Whiskers does, demanding food. She eats like an absolute trooper, and I'm sure I could feel something moving around in her big belly the other day. She comes into the house and lies on the floor as if it's her own, and Mr Whiskers again just sits back and watches it happen, no hissing at all.
It makes me wonder is she has a home at all. She seems to be well looked-after, and her fur is glossy and soft and healthy looking, but she doesn't wear a collar. I can't decide if she's really starving, or just greedy. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't hoping for kittens, but it worries me that we don't know who her owner is, as I want to make sure that they will be well cared for when they do appear. Something tells me that she'll probably want to give birth at our house, better get some midwifery training in quick smart!

Hope everyone is having a lovely weekend.


Monday, 4 March 2013

Last Week I....

Last week I....

1. Drank hazelnut lattes and chatted about the future with the hubby.
2. Had lots of cuddles with MrWhiskers and watched him being extra lazy while I was getting ready for      work each day.
3. Made healthy juices every single day (carrot, orange, beetroot, acerola and ginger)
4. Dug out one of my favourite vintage blouses and wore it for the first time in a while.
5. Did a tiny little bit of shopping, which included getting the La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo. Yes, I know everyone is bored of it by now, but I'd never felt the need for it until my chin started going a bit crazy lately.
6. Baked some yummy cupcakes but didn't eat any of them myself :(
7.  Finally maanaged to take a picture of the infamous frog 'toad in the hole' - he's now taken up residence in our back garden. And speaking of toads, the one at the front gate has now quadrupled in size and found himself a mate, so we now have to contend with two enormous creatures blocking the front gate each evening when we arrive home.
8. Cooked lots of healthy dinners - this one is grilled salmon with sweet potato puree and roasted vegetables.
9.  Got used to the whole 'selfie' thing on Instagram.
10. Tried to figure out which of these three products had caused my skin to go insane the week before.
11. Spotted Ferrero Eggs in the supermarket for the first time but held my ground and didn't buy any...until next time.

Sorry the photos aren't the best quality, but that's going to be something of a pattern with these posts, as the images I use are direct from my Instagram, and the quality of my phone camera leaves a lot to be desired! Not to worry though - I'll be upgrading to an I-phone in June.

Hope everyone had a great week last week, and fingers crossed that this one follows suit.


Friday, 1 March 2013

Musical Memories

The power music has to evoke memories of times gone by has always struck me as quite impressive. I only have to hear a song from my school days, or my university days, or one that I used to play on a repeat when I was doing a certain job or in a certain relationship, and without a moment's notice I find myself whisked right back there. The way it enables you to relive a certain day, moment or situation is even a little bit unnerving, should you find yourself transported back to something you'd rather forget.
For me, there have been many different soundtracks to my life, so today I thought I' take a bit of a trip down memory lane and share them with you.

The songs that remind me most of my primary school days are mostly those that would blast out from the car radio on the way to and from the place. Usually mixed in with the voice of my father talking loudly on his mobile phone, I remember songs from Phil Collins and Frankie goes to Hollywood often filling the journeys. When I got home - and this is more than a little bit embarrassing to admit - I would run straight up to my room and pop my favourite Peter Andre song on repeat. I absolutely loved that man, and I had a poster of him on the wall next to my bed in all his topless, pectastic glory, that I would kiss every night before bed. The first concert I ever went to was his, and it passed in a blur of euphoria. Afterwards, I bought all the mugs and t-shirts my pocket money would stretch to, and yet more posters with which to adorn my bedroom walls. Oh yes, he had my heart back then. Cringe.
Another favoutite of mine, at that age, was of course The Spice Girls - Ginger and Baby being my favourites. I remember how all the girls at school started turning up in towering neon wedge trainers for mufti day, one of them even attempting to replicate Geri's infamous Union Jack dress from the Brits. Needless to say, it didn't go down too well with our head teacher. After school, we would run to the shop to stock up on Spice Girls photos to swap in the playground the next day - a craze which replaced GoGos, Tazos and of course, Pogs.

Secondary school was a different kettle of fish. In the first year, I made a spectacle of myself by entering the talent show with some friends as the girl band Bewitched. We didn't actually sing the song though - oh no. We simply donned cut-off jeans and mimed into our hairbrushes. But clearly, that wasn't enough for me, as I later remember doing the same thing to the soundtrack of TLC's Unpretty - only this time we treated the audience to a synchronised dance routine and some strangled cat-like vocals. Needless to say, we didn't win.
At this point, the Backstreet Boys were an important aspect of day to day life, and everyone in my group of friends was required to have a different favourite, as two people just weren't allowed to like the same one. Even those who were left with the less desirable Kevin and AJ wholeheartedly threw themselves into the pastime of fancying them, covering their walls in memorabilia and stating that they were 'gorgeous' at every available opportunity. No ne seemed to clock the lack of enthusiasm on their faces.
At the age of fourteen, things changed. Being pupils at an all girls school, it took us until then to establish a real group of male friends, and once we did we quickly assumed their music tastes. All of a sudden, our CD collections consisted of Green Day, Nirvana and Blink 182, and that was to set the tone for the next few years.
Later, I realised that it was ok not to like everything I had previously tried to convince myself that I did. There had been some bands and singers that had just been a step too far (think Marilyn Manson), and I was ready to chill out and listen to what really did tickle my fancy. Of course, some of the rock bands had become firm favourites of mine, but I no longer felt the need to listen to them on repeat, and suddenly it was ok to have more of a varied taste in music again.
After leaving school and moving in with my friends, the drum and bass era began. This was a time where driving around with my housemates listening to Andy C on full blast was the norm, and the monthly drum and bass night at a big local club was what we lived for.
When I was at university, my tastes in music took more of a turn towards fun. The first band that springs to mind is the Kaiser Chiefs, as it was a time when they were at their peak and were continuously releasing catchy songs. However, I didn't really get the chance to become a fan of them myself because - that's right - my parents beat me to it. This was a time when you couldn't get into either of their cars without the first album being played on repeat, and you couldn't enter a room without my dad whistling one of their songs out of tune. Eventually, this put me off them completely, and by the time my parents went to see them live at the Eden Project, I'd had enough.
Towards the end of university, funky house became my music type of choice, mainly due to most of the fun nights out I had around this time being set against a backdrop of such songs. To this day, there are songs which make me want to get up and dance, and remind me of some really good times. But then, isn't that true of all the musical phases I've been through?

Nowadays, you'll find me listening to anything from MGMT to Rihanna, The Pixies to Calvin Harris...and even, at times a bit of Taylor Swift and One Direction. It's funny how I still feel a tiny bit embarrassed admitting to those last two, and I suppose it's something I've carried with me from the past. But nowadays, I definitely don't feel the need to pigeon hole my musical tastes, and would get very bored quickly if I did. 
Variety is the spice of life.


*pictures courtesy of Pinterest

Friday, 15 February 2013

Pervs, Sleazes and Other Delights

Today, as I was walking back through the park to our temporary home, the token pervy drunk (well, there's always one, isn't there) started shouting and singing at me as I passed him by. Not a beautiful serenade or anything - don't be silly. But one of those trashy songs that his type genuinely seem to believe will make them irresistibly attractive to the opposite sex.
Anyway, as he began slurring and bellowing his way through the lyrics, I rolled my eyes as usual and carried on ahead, and it wasn't until a few steps later that I realised how much I had tensed up, and was breathing really shallowly. It struck me as interesting that, while on the surface I was very blase about it, clearly it had affected me subconsciously in some way, without my knowing.
As I thought about it, I realised that this is pretty much always the case when I get shouted or whistled at in the street (not that I'm saying I'm irresistible, either. But let's be honest, pervs will be pervs, and even more so over here in Brazil, from my experience. They're not fussy, as long as you're female).

What I want to know is, why?
Why do I somehow feel intimidated by this unwanted attention, without my knowing? And, more to the point, why should I? Or you, or anyone else? Why should someone who is simply going about their daily business have to put up with that, with someone staring at them, and drawing the attention of other people to them when they probably don't want it?
It's silly, really. I know that the majority of them are harmless, and I also know that they will do it to any female with a pulse who has the misfortune to enter their line of vision. Now, I'm not going all feminist on you or anything, but this kind of stuff really does grind my gears, and I feel annoyed with myself for tensing up or feeling nervous in any way. Because if we do that, then surely they have won? Maybe that's a bit dramatic, but it's clearly that kind of reaction that they feed off.
On the other hand, I think they probably feed off anything, as back in the UK when I have said some choice words to someone who was bothering me, it did little to stop them, and seems to be a great source of amusement to them and their 'mates'. Over here though, it's different. You have to be careful what you say to these people, as rather than being a bunch of lairy builders on a building site, the offenders tend to be lone crack addicts who wouldn't think twice about pulling a gun on you if they happened to have one on them (not as uncommon as you might think). Saying that, the majority of them are too far gone to even realise what's going on, but the risk is always there, and it does tend to make you hold your tongue.

I'm not really sure what my point is here - this is more just a bit of a ponder and a rant. It just angers me that still, even in this day and age, we have to put up with this sort of thing, and if I'm honest I can't see it changing any time soon.


Thursday, 14 February 2013

Book Club #1: 'Trafficked' by Sophie Hayes

You probably don't know this about me, but I've always been something of a big reader. As a child, every day when my mother dropped me off at playschool, I would have to go and hide in the library corner and bury my head in a book for an hour or so before I was ready to come out and join in with the other children. Whether this was down to shyness or being traumatised by my mother leaving me behind for the day, I'm not sure, but since then books have continued to be an important part of my life. There's just something really self-indulgent about curling up and getting lost in a good book, and while I do have times where I just can't seem to concentrate on anything, it's a hobby I hope I'll always maintain. With this is mind, I've decided that I want to make sharing my favourite reads with you a regular part of this blog, so without further ado, let's get going!

Trafficked, by Sophie Hayes, is a hard-hitting autobiographical story of the dangers of mis-placed trust. Aged twenty-four, Sophie agreed to go on holiday with her best friend - and the man who claimed to love her. But before long, things began to unravel as Kas became violent ,and suddenly she finds herself plunged into the terrifying world of forced prostitution.

This book is utterly gripping, and from the moment I picked it up, I couldn't put it down. It's terrifying to think that things like this really happen, and shocking that even normal, happy girls like Sophie are at risk. It's so easy to imagine that there are 'easy targets', such as people from troubled backgrounds or with existing drug problems, but really, it can be as simple as being a little bit too trusting.

I would highly, highly recommend this book, but be warned that you may find it distressing in parts. I won't tell you what the outcome of the story is, but it's an eye-opener and well worth a read.


Animal Anecdotes

(not the offending shoe creature - I was too traumatised to think about grabbing my camera- but he looked a lot like this. Source)

'Toad in the Hole'

The other day, I was getting ready to go for my morning run, and having donned my usual attire, I realised that my trainers were not in their usual place in the shoe cupboard. Remembering that I'd taken them off in the bathroom the day before, I headed in to put them on, slightly rushed in doing so as I had been a little bit distracted by my Bloglovin' feed earlier, and was cutting it a bit fine. I hurriedly jammed my foot into my right shoe, but as I attempted to do the same with my left, UI felt my toes knock against something hard and puzzled, I lifted the shoe up to eye-level in order to investigate. Certain it was probably a forgotten sock from the day before, all bunched up in the toe of my trainer, imagine my surprise when I see a pair of hooded eyes peering out of me. Yep, don't worry, it wasn't a sock in there - just a flipping massive, warty toad!
Honestly, you should have heard me scream. I was so shocked that I flung the trainer down and started shrieking and shrieking as I ran out into the garden to tell my husband what had happened. It soon turned to hysterical laughter, to the point where I couldn't even breathe, let alone speak. A little dramatic, some might say, but you try finding a toad in your shoe. I should probably also mention that I'm in Brazil, so I think along with the shock was just a smidgen of fear that it could perhaps have been poisonous.

We seem to be having quite a few reptile-related incidents lately, come to think of it - although this was the first that directly involved me. 
Every night for the past few weeks, when my husband has been arriving home from work in the dark, a huge great toad has hopped towards him out of the darkness by the front gate, stopped, and promptly done a huge wee. No word of a lie - every night. At first I thought it might be having 'accidents' because it was scared, but hearing that it actually approached him cast doubt on that theory. We later Googled it and discovered that toads often do this when they feel under threat, as it leaves them lighter, should they need to escape in a hurry.
In the front garden, there tend to be quite a few lizards running around, and whenever someone comes outside they make a break for it and scurry up the wall. Now, while that would usually be an end to it, a few weeks ago, shortly after my husband (yep, him again) had gone out to the car, I heard a shout from outside, and a few seconds later, in he came. When I asked him what had happened, he said that one of the lizards had 'jumped' onto him from the wall above. Please bear in mind that he absolutely hates the things. I couldn't help but laugh at him, particularly at the fact that he took it so personally, but sure enough, a few days later it happened to him again. It's now happened a handful of times, leaving him extremely wary each time he passes the garden wall. He always warns me to watch out, but I think it's pretty apparent that it's him they want. Whether they are suicidal or just have something against him, I'll never know -  that's between them and him, but he's now convinced that the reptilian world has got something of a vendetta against him and that they've all been conspiring against him.

I'll try and get some action shots of the toad that guards the front gate next time the hubby is working late.