Tie Dye Jumper

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‘Viva Forever’ Together Again!

The Spice Girls will be reunited today for the launch of ‘Viva Forever’ – a musical inspired by them!

I am absolutely buzzing about this news and it feels like it has been a long time coming… I mean with songs like ‘2 Become 1″, “Mama” and of course “Spice Up Your Life” their back catalogue creates lots of opportunity for some musical magicianry.

This production is the brainchild of Judy Craymer – the creator of ‘Mamma Mia the Musical’ – so it should be similarly fabulous! The most exciting thing about the musical is that the script has been written by comedian Jennifer Saunders so I’m sure the Ab Fab writer will have worked her magic and created some hugely funny one-liners.

As a child the Spice Girls were my ultimate idols! Each year my allegiance would switch between either Sporty or Scary and my style was greatly influenced by platforms, crop tops, Afros and belly button tattoos (transfers obv). Because I was only five at the time this did slightly worry my parents… During nursery I was Scary Spice for my local talent contest (the youngest person on stage but hell that didn’t stop me) and funnily enough this experience marked the beginning of my absolute love for theatre. We didn’t win but who can compete with the guy who plays the drums with a broken arm? Slightly unfair advantage I would say.

ImageThe Spice Girls played a huge role in moulding me into the lass I am today 🙂 You know a total crazy show off… (jokes) So I am really chuffed that ‘Viva Forever’ has come about because the girl group really deserve more recognition for their feminist, fun and funky music. And let’s be honest they were a lot more inspirational than ABBA that’s for sure! Girl Power lives on.

Peace x

Julia x

Days Three, Four and Five and Yes I’m Still Alive!

I haven’t managed to keep up-to-date with my LBLUK blogging because I have been so so busy…sleeping. I have honestly never felt so tired in all my days! The surprising thing is my hunger pains have diminished and it has become much much easier to eat smaller, less appetizing meals. So much so in fact that now I no longer crave my usual treats. I think my stomach has shrunk. Which makes me dread the fact that tomorrow when I dive into normalness again, I might not actually be able to consume as much as I had hoped. Prevention.

So even though now, as I write this, I have just finished my last official LBLUK meal, I feel no weight lifted off my shoulders, no sigh of relief – to be honest I am surprised at how little I feel. I can’t believe that I am typing this but I think I might actually have managed to adapt. Shock! My father told me how proud he felt today – “because it was a difficult task to put your body through” but I feel undeserving of his pride. After all millions of people live on lite

rally £1 a day or less, and that’s not for just food & water, that is all they have. I had the choice to live on a £1 a day for a week, many people have no other choice. I am content with what I have achieved but there is absolutely no glory in my accomplishments. In fact I would say it’s shocking that some would say “oh I couldn’t do that!” because in this country everyone can.

I urge you all to try it – set yourself the task, if you feel that it is beyond you (which it’s not) then all the more reason you should have to give it a bash. Choose any week, choose any charity, set up your own sponsor sheet and stay committed. Whinge about it, tell us all how hard it is for you (which I have obviously done!) after all for many, including me, it is a complete lifestyle change.

So enough of this hard-hitting seriousness, let me tell you what I ate for days three, four and finally five. Day Three’s breakfast was something of a giggle to create – Chapati (100g flour & water fried) which managed somehow to smoke out my entire downstairs house without me noticing (whoops) Mum says I used the “dodgy” pan. I have this with 2 tablespoons of jam and it went down pretty well I must say. Lunchtime was a Vegetable Rice dish – packet golden rice, onion, mushroom and carrot with vegetable stock cube to add some taste. *Dish of the week ladies and gentlemen* ^^^^^ Tea time saw me attempt a bean burger and chips, the chips were divine but there were no burgers just crumbly-burnt-kidney-bean-bits. >>>


Day 4 – brekkie = classic porridge with jam, lunch = more vegetable rice, dinner = chilli sin carni, again, but this time everything was cooked well.s, the chips were divine I will say but the burgers were not burgers more crumby-burnt-kidney-bean-bits.

AND FINALLY today – brekkie = Chapti (managed not to burn the house down this time) lunch =potato salad, which was so yuck that most of it went in the bin – even on £1 a day I still manage to waste food, grandma would be displeased, dinner = bean burger and chips, which actually worked!!!!

I’ll let you know how I feel once I am able to consume my usual crap tomorrow. Toodles!

Day 2 and I’m Feeling Sleepy

It is quite remarkable to feel the effects of not-eating slowly draining out your body. I have random bouts of total exhaustion and hunger sickness, and when I think about what I have eaten during the day it doesn’t seem like I should feel undernourished.

Every day I make sure I eat breakfast/lunch/dinner, with a small treat  if I have money left over. I’m not being silly about the process and starving myself, I make sure I eat things that will keep me going, like porridge and kidney beans etc. But because I’m not filling myself up and my body lacks sugar, my movements feel heavy, I feel slow and frankly really moody. I’ve come to realize that food not only effects your physical well-being it can also change your mentality.

I have always had quite a complicated relationship with food. I have gone through various stages in my life where food has played various roles, acted as comfort, just eaten when bored or sometimes my indulgence in fatty foods like cheese left me feeling very guilty. I was brought up with a very healthy diet, home-cooked meals every dinner-time, soup lunches at the weekend and we rarely had sweets or fizzy juice in the house. I learnt to appreciate food and its natural taste without all the additives that many children are used to. I don’t like to put extra salt on my meals – I don’t know why but I see it as an insult, not only to the cook but to the food as well.

When I had my body brace I found large portions a challenge, and eating became more difficult for me as my body was restricted by how much it could take in. More recently my diet has gotten slightly worse, it is by no means bad, but I tend to indulge more in takeaways, treats and quick fixes. This leaves me feeling the hunger guilt – for example after a long day I would try and enjoy a big bag of crisps with red pepper humus, and then immediately after demolishing the whole bag I would feel terrible.

I think it is this snack-when-I-want mentality that has made my body react the way it has. My body wants more and expects me to eat something quickly to fill a hole, but I am unable to so my body has went on strike. I know things will probably get much easier as the week goes on so I am optimistic that this experience will enlighten me not only in terms of my own necessities. But the much worse circumstances that millions of people across the world live in every day of their life.

On Tuesday I ate porridge and jam for my breakfast again, veg & potato salad for lunch (only without the tomato and the peas because they were truly awful – so really all I had was carrot, sweetcorn and potato 20p) and for my dinner I had chilli sin carni (47p).  My dinner was fairly enjoyable, it was a concoction of  rice, kidney beans, red plum tomatoes, chickpeas, sweetcorn and onions. I under cooked the kidney beans and managed to overcook the rice so it wasn’t amazing but it was stomachable. Because I had taken out some veg from my lunch meal I had 24p left on my budget – so as I was working all day and needed the sugar boost on my break I purchased a chocolate bar for 23p. I still feel like this was cheeky, but it was within my budget and I felt like it was necessary so heigh ho!

 

Here’s a picture of what I face for breakfast – doesn’t it look yummy! Oh and there are my toes!  x

If you are wanting to donate to this worthwhile cause here is my link: https://www.livebelowtheline.com/me/jooleea1
Peace x

Day One Begins…

I have officially started to Live Below the Line, and on my birthday as well! Spending only £1 a day on food and drink, an unbelievably difficult task. 

My preparation weekend was spent researching recipes, coming up with meal plans, all with a calculator at hand. I had to make sure that no day I was eating anything over the £1 limit. I was totally proud of myself when I managed to spend just £7 on food to last me the week. Sometimes I will spend just that amount on a Pret A Manger lunch! Totally unreal. To be fair most of my products were located on the bottom shelf and were Tesco Value so probably won’t taste incredible. But so long as I have food in my tummy, and am able to properly function, I will just have to grin and bear it.

Yesterday I fuelled my body for the week with my birthday dinner. Tacos, mexican platter, prawn cocktails, crisps and cake were all consumed. I think this was the worst idea possible, because although it was a lovely evening, it made my tummy stretch out so when I woke this morning I really needed something to fill it.

For breakfast I ate 50g porridge with 1 tablespoon jam – 9p (without milk unfortunately so it was bloody awful, water is really not the same)

For lunch I managed to stomach I horrid mixture of boiled potato (cold), sweetcorn, tinned peas (YUCK), tomato and grated carrot – which was fair too soggy, thanks cheap tinned veg! This was called Potato salad (31p) but how can it be called a salad without lettuce???

Dinner was by far the best meal – I managed to make myself a pizza – 25p  (flour base, tinned plum tomato sauce, and mushroom topping) unfortunately there was no cheese on my pizza, but I was so hungry by this point that I would have pretty much eaten anything.

For an evening treat I enjoyed a baked banana (23p) with cinnamon and sugar. 

Today was a tough. I’m sure it’ll get easier, and I know I am a total moany cow because why should I complain? But do not judge until you’ve tried it. Would be great to get some donations/sponsors in so follow the link below if you’re wanting to help out a worthwhile charity.

Peace x

 

Living Below The Line for a Week!

I haven’t been a BzzAgent for very long – but their latest campaign has really got me tingling! It’s all in aid of charity, which is obviously great, but it also asks people to challenge themselves and experience a week of  severe poverty. The World Bank states that anyone living on $1.25 or less are living in severe poverty. This amount is our challenge. Although I am left wondering what the hell I will eat, and my friends will think it’s doubtful that this foodie could achieve such a task – I honestly love a challenge and cannot wait to get started.

The Live Below The Line campaign challenges individuals to eat and drink on only £1 per day for 5 consecutive days. Approximately 1.4 billion people live on a £1 a day or less so by joining them in their struggle, whilst raising money for your chosen charity, you can experience the difficulties that they face every single day. This campaign which will run from May 7th-11th is a great way of fundraising, but it also raises awareness too.

My birthday is actually on May 7th so my first day will definitely be my most difficult. No birthday cake, no sweets, no crisps and dip. Ah well, I know it will be 100% worth it. I’ll be documenting my days on my blog, detailing the various meals (or unmeals) I am eating and I’d appreciate all the support I can get.

If you decide to take part, see if your family/friends will join in too, after all it is so much easier if you pull your money together and share meals. For those of you interested in taking part, which I strongly suggest you do, here is the link: https://www.livebelowtheline.com/uk There are a range of different charities that you can choose to support and the website gives you lots of help and advice, including recipes etc.

My chosen charity is UNICEF and I am hoping to raise over £150 – here is the link for those of you kind enough to donate – https://www.livebelowtheline.com/me/jooleea1

Inside the Man’s Mind

Why is it that whenever we women try our damned hardest to impress- with bright colours, flattering shapes – our men fail to appreciate our efforts and instead think of the practicalities? Most men do not, and will never understand female fashion. In fact they are so oblivious to our personal style that they either don’t notice when a special effort has been made, or they vocally complain because what you’re wearing isn’t ‘normal’. Every man is different, they have different dislikes and irritations, but ultimately it is impossible for a woman’s wardrobe to completely satisfy a man’s aesthetic needs. The underwear drawer is usually the only happiness he’ll find (but sometimes men even have issues with your lingerie- honestly!)

 

My boyfriend, Rory, and I have daily disagreements over my style choices. Rory is an athletic chap who rarely “dresses up” and spends most of his week in his sports gear. In my case each day is a fresh opportunity for me to express myself visually, and I tend to indulge far too much in patterned clothing that reminds me of my childhood. Excessive jewellery and clashing colours are other faux pa’s I enjoy. Rory has actually admitted that if given the chance he would happily “burn” some of my attire, including a blazer he calls my ‘Abba Jacket” and another favourite of mine, the “Harry Potter cape”.

 

With the assistance of Rory and his friend Paul I have compiled a bewildering list of female trends that men despise. And I am not talking about silver jumpsuits and balaclavas here, ladies, oh no these fashion statements are much worse (apparently!). Unbelievably what they find hideous are items that we consider “wardrobe staples”. Prepare to be blown away.

 

Number one on their list is Uggs. You know, the sheepskin boots made by that popular Australian brand? Harmless, right? Wrong. In fact Paul has forbidden his partner from wearing these “unacceptable” shoes. He describes them as being “clichéd…oversized, expensive slippers that are impractical and people seem to think they go with everything.” I would have to agree that in some cases Uggs don’t work (like with a pencil skirt!) but ultimately there is little else that are as comfy.

 

Rory is similarly aggrieved when it comes to footwear. But his problem is with wedges. He finds them desperately unattractive. He says “It is like someone couldn’t be bothered to make the heel so just stuck a lump of wood in its place.” I tried to explain that they are much easier to walk in compared to a stiletto, but he dismissed this and yelled ‘hideous!”.

 

As I mentioned earlier, underwear doesn’t always make men happy, and this is the case for Paul. He absolutely hates thongs! Come on! – what could be sexier? Apparently “the sheer nature of thongs is a turn off – they sit far too high.” He much prefers the classic Frenchie – so I guess less isn’t always more?

 

Paul and Rory both agree that flaunting yourself is not a hot look. The underwear as outerwear trend is clearly not appreciated, and neither are leggings. Wait what? Leggings? Apparently so. Rory describes his frustration with women wearing leggings without covering their bottoms. “It looks like they’ve forgot to put their skirt on – they are too clingy and they leave nothing to the imagination.”

 

Other things they want us to avoid: fur coats “unless you want to look like a walking rodent”; dangly earrings because “ear lobes freak [them] out in the first place”; and waist-cinching belts because “it makes you look like you are in a fun house mirror”. The list goes on and on….

 

Now, I know what you are probably thinking – why are you telling us this? Do you want us to change our style to suit our guys? No, quite the opposite. Don’t dress for your man, dress for yourself. If you feel hot, then you’ll look hot. Confidence is your greatest accessory. This Valentine’s Day treat him to an outfit you know he’ll like, but never compromise your individuality. I have to laugh when Rory criticises my outfits, because his responses are so creative that he deserves it. I will continue to wear things that are far too “crazy” and he will continue to tease me about it. But really, who cares?

The Underwear Blues

It’s a deliberately annual and frustrating occurrence. You see this impulse charging at you. You cave.  Surely not again? Surely you have not just spent even more money on Valentine’s Day underwear? Are you…a Fool?

Moments later, you’re standing in front of your bedroom mirror, examining, caressing, posing, wriggling and huffing whilst you try to convince yourself that it was the right choice. The black lace teddy looked vital as it hung there in Agent Provocateur’s window. So why is it now that you are home this familiar feeling of guilt fills you? The answer lies in your underwear drawer. You peek at the many once-worn sexy outfits that have built up after years of anniversaries, birthdays, Christmases and of course, Valentine’s Days, and you realise that this was a step too far.

This is the scenario that greets me every year as Valentine’s Day approaches. I have not fluctuated in weight, I have not out-grown my clothing, underwear is timeless so is still “in fashion” – there is absolutely no excuse for my continuous overspending when it comes to lingerie. It is pure greed. I have argued that I do it for my partner in the past. I want to surprise him with new visual delights. But he doesn’t care, and in fact he is the one who diagnosed me with my illness when he turned around and said that he didn’t mind if I wore knickers more than once. For him to notice such a thing really is worrying.

But I am not the only one who suffers from this curse.

Apparently the average woman spends more than £20,000 on underwear in her lifetime, compared to £1,200 for men. The difference in expenditure is shocking, but not surprising. Emily Bendell, founder and CEO of Bluebella, a social selling lingerie company, says “Wearing fabulous lingerie makes a woman feel confident – it’s just like having a beautiful new handbag or pair of shoes and yet so deliciously secret too!”

Emily created the Bluebella brand because she wanted to treat UK women to “beautiful products that celebrated their sensuality” and she was “shocked by the lack of choice”. She decided that a social selling model would work for her company, as it offers women a “relaxed and informative shopping experience” where they can purchase “high end design and style” for affordable prices. Women have the chance to become Underwear Consultants and host parties selling this beautiful lingerie.

When brands like Bluebella exist, with their elegant designs and feminine structures, it is no wonder that so much money is spent on feeling glamorous underneath. Underwear as a gift is becoming more popular as well. And nowadays it is not uncommon for men to treat their partners to sexy underwear when Valentine’s Day arrives. There is usually a spike in underwear sales figures around February and men are now turning to panties instead of pansies.

But why do we spend so much more money on underwear than men do? Forget the 50% of men who wear their undies for two days running, and the huge commercialisation of barely clad females – ultimately nothing feels nicer than the soft fabric of new knickers. You feel fresh, presentable and weirdly, content. Cute underwear makes you feel feminine. Whether you’re a size six or 16, Keira Knightley or Jennifer Hudson – you can look and feel hot in a flattering bra and pants.

It is the obsessive, compulsive buying that needs to stop.

Let’s take some advice from a real underwear expert. Calvin Klein once said that what he found sexy was “a woman wearing her boyfriend’s t-shirt and underwear”. So this Valentine’s Day raid your man’s wardrobe and find the most ridiculous underwear you can (I’ll be going for the classic ketchup-bottle print “I’m Saucy” boxers). You’ll be saving yourself some pennies and his reaction will be priceless. Who said romance is dead?

Bluebella are currently recruiting Consultants to host Bluebella parties which gives you the perfect chance to work from home and in your own time. If you want to join the Bluebella team, apply online at www.bluebella.com   

 

 

Inside the Man’s Mind

Why is it that whenever we women try our damned hardest to impress- with bright colours, flattering shapes – our men fail to appreciate our efforts and instead think of the practicalities? Most men do not, and will never understand female fashion. In fact they are so oblivious to our personal style that they either don’t notice when a special effort has been made, or they vocally complain because what you’re wearing isn’t ‘normal’. Every man is different, they have different dislikes and irritations, but ultimately it is impossible for a woman’s wardrobe to completely satisfy a man’s aesthetic needs. The underwear drawer is usually the only happiness he’ll find (but sometimes men even have issues with your lingerie- honestly!)

 

My boyfriend, Rory, and I have daily disagreements over my style choices. Rory is an athletic chap who rarely “dresses up” and spends most of his week in his sports gear. In my case each day is a fresh opportunity for me to express myself visually, and I tend to indulge far too much in patterned clothing that reminds me of my childhood. Excessive jewellery and clashing colours are other faux pa’s I enjoy. Rory has actually admitted that if given the chance he would happily “burn” some of my attire, including a blazer he calls my ‘Abba Jacket” and another favourite of mine, the “Harry Potter cape”.    

 

With the assistance of Rory and his friend Paul I have compiled a bewildering list of female trends that men despise. And I am not talking about silver jumpsuits and balaclavas here, ladies, oh no these fashion statements are much worse (apparently!). Unbelievably what they find hideous are items that we consider “wardrobe staples”. Prepare to be blown away.

 

Number one on their list is Uggs. You know, the sheepskin boots made by that popular Australian brand? Harmless, right? Wrong. In fact Paul has forbidden his partner from wearing these “unacceptable” shoes. He describes them as being “clichéd…oversized, expensive slippers that are impractical and people seem to think they go with everything.” I would have to agree that in some cases Uggs don’t work (like with a pencil skirt!) but ultimately there is little else that are as comfy.

 

Rory is similarly aggrieved when it comes to footwear. But his problem is with wedges. He finds them desperately unattractive. He says “It is like someone couldn’t be bothered to make the heel so just stuck a lump of wood in its place.” I tried to explain that they are much easier to walk in compared to a stiletto, but he dismissed this and yelled ‘hideous!”.

 

As I mentioned earlier, underwear doesn’t always make men happy, and this is the case for Paul. He absolutely hates thongs! Come on! – what could be sexier? Apparently “the sheer nature of thongs is a turn off – they sit far too high.” He much prefers the classic Frenchie – so I guess less isn’t always more?

 

Paul and Rory both agree that flaunting yourself is not a hot look. The underwear as outerwear trend is clearly not appreciated, and neither are leggings. Wait what? Leggings? Apparently so. Rory describes his frustration with women wearing leggings without covering their bottoms. “It looks like they’ve forgot to put their skirt on – they are too clingy and they leave nothing to the imagination.”

 

Other things they want us to avoid: fur coats “unless you want to look like a walking rodent”; dangly earrings because “ear lobes freak [them] out in the first place”; and waist-cinching belts because “it makes you look like you are in a fun house mirror”. The list goes on and on…. 

 

Now, I know what you are probably thinking – why are you telling us this? Do you want us to change our style to suit our guys? No, quite the opposite. Don’t dress for your man, dress for yourself. If you feel hot, then you’ll look hot. Confidence is your greatest accessory. This Valentine’s Day treat him to an outfit you know he’ll like, but never compromise your individuality. I have to laugh when Rory criticises my outfits, because his responses are so creative that he deserves it. I will continue to wear things that are far too “crazy” and he will continue to tease me about it. But really, who cares?

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