Tag Archives: Facebook

Pretty Green Eyes

This weekend my kids sat down at the dining room table with an array of art equipment to write their letters to Santa. Okay my 14 month old didn’t exactly write her’s but she did scribble on it once eldest daughter and me had finished writing  it out for her. Every year Royal Mail run a letter from Santa service that the children can write to and receive a personalised letter back from the North Pole (local sorting office?) and it officially starts Christmas in the Geordie household.

This year the kids have asked for some fairly standard things although I fear I am already bringing up a teenager at the age of 7, the first thing on her list is an Orbeeze Foot Spa…she’ll want her eye brows waxing next. Luckily her second item is a Barbie Photo Fashion doll which she can have so as long as she’s not taking profile pics for Facebook with it. I was ecstatic to read that I will be receiving roller skates with pink wheels while Geordie will be the proud owner of some new trainers (because he’s always wearing trainers apparently). What I love about this whole tradition is watching how the children totally buy into it, spending a good hour colouring in their lists, carefully writing the address on the envelope and then quickly scribbling things they want but forgot to write on the neat list! So all was well with the world come Sunday evening and everyone went to bed content that Santa would bring the goodies. I had a stroll into the village to post the letters today and was even more chuffed when I bought two first class stamps that had a Santa’s face design drawn by Axel Scheffler who illustrates books such as The Gruffalo and Room on the Broom! Woohoo It’s going to be an awesome Christmas. Just as I was about to post the letters my phone rings from within the abyss of handbag, I switch the baby to the opposite hip and fish my mobile from the abyss of handbag. When I answer it I hear my darlings daughters voice all panicky, instantly I worry what on earth could be wrong?

‘Mum’ she says ‘before you post my letter to Santa don’t forget to write a black fluffy cat with green eyes on the bottom, okay bye’………….Bugger

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The Lending Library

Following on from my earlier post/rant about lack of money I am reminded of a saying my ex father-in-law used to say when I was off work on maternity leave ‘Another day at the lending library is it?’ Meaning, another day whiling away the hours doing nothing basically. Who’d have thought that I would go on to focus on the lending library quite so much 7 years later?

Cover of "George's Marvellous Medicine"

George’s Marvellous Medicine

I have now read every single children’s bookin the 0-3 and 4-7 age group at the local library (for research purposes of course) as my own short series of tales for the 4-7’s has finally begun to take shape. This is the first step in a very long process and I’ve still got some work to do before getting myself a literary agent however I wanted to take a minute to say thank you to a few people who have helped me to push forward with my writing dream and make it a reality.

You’ll not be surprised to read that my first thanks are to Geordie and our beautiful little girls. The girls have given me so much inspiration and they’ve often trashed what I thought was my best idea with the blink of an innocent eye. Geordie is just well…Geordie, always super positive and encouraging me to do random things such as rowing (?!) for the sake of gaining a fresh approach to my writing, I wouldn’t have even started the blog had it not been for him.

Thanks to my lovely sister Caroline for all the free advertising she’s done for the blog, and for allowing me to recall some of our childhood mishaps for all the world to read. To my super talented brother Andrew for agreeing to provide some illustrations for the books on completion, thank you and I will be calling in that favour very soon!

To all the people on Facebook that always answer my crazy research questions and who take the time to read the blog. Watching those viewing figures gives me a ton of hope so thank you very much, I hope it’s made you smile if not laugh occasionally? Last but definitely by no means least (I really mean that) thank you to anyone who has ever read the blog as this site is basically writing practise and experience to help me to break into the big bad world of publishing.

Wish me luck!

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Growing Pains

 

I would hate to be a teenager now, with social media invading our every waking moment and some subconscious moments too, it’s far too easy to become a victim of bullying. New terms have been invented ‘cyber bullying’ ‘trolling’ to name a couple of tame ones and as this new wave of hate takes over it seems that teenagers are predominantly in the spotlight inciting hate, riots and openly mocking the tragic deaths of many youngsters, I struggle to work out where it all went wrong?

Angel with mobile phone

Angel with mobile phone  (Photo credit: Akbar Sim)

When I was at school, which wasn’t all that long ago, mobile phones had only just been introduced to the masses and you didn’t need to carry a briefcase to own one, pagers were more common. So when the pager trend hit it was  just a starter for the mobile phone main course. I don’t remember everyone having a pager but those who did loved them and the ability to converse in a whole new way and so the emergence of mobile social media began. Around this time MSN Messenger was also quite popular and I spent many an hour after school chatting to friends who I’d left less than an hour previously talking about the events of that day. Next came mobile phones, if I remember rightly I was 16/17 when I got a mobile, I’d just started sixth form and the text messaging craze began in earnest but it wasn’t until I reached my twenties that I realised my mobile phone had become and extension of my right arm. I quickly got into bad habits, never switching my phone off at night in case I missed anything(?!),  my little Nokia brick needed charging constantly, despite texting never calling….that was far too much hassle actually talking to someone! This impersonal approach quickly escalated with the introduction of our family computer.  I never bothered with Myspace, couldn’t really figure it all out so when I joined Facebook around 2006 I instantly got to work on uploading tons of photo’s from our work nights out and other random adventures and shared them with the world. Now 6 years on I’m more cautious of what information is available online but with Facebook and Twitter constantly changing the goal posts on security and ‘sharing’ it’s becoming impossible to keep up, leaving many with no option other than to deactivate their accounts.

I think I have been quite lucky in that I have only received a handful of negative comments/status’ during my 6 years online, compared to some this is just a drop in the ocean. There are pages and pages online specifically set up to mock, abuse and hurt others, for what gain? Despicable people who go out of their way to contact grieving parents or those who have disabled children purely to mock them should be reprimanded with an iron fist, but how do you police online behaviour and what punishment would be right? My generation did their fight picking in person or by writing on the wall of the underpass outside of our high school, they did not hide behind a vague FB status that is written especially to cause hurt but not specific enough to be able to point a finger, you know the ones along the lines of ‘Dont you just hate it when people…blagh blagh blagh’ Accusations of lying, two-faced attitudes and violence have become the norm because it’s so easy to type it and press enter.

English: MOBILE PHONES AND CHILDREN

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I worry for my two little girls growing up in this online society. If I say no to them wanting to use the laptop, have social media accounts  or shop online will they be mocked for not being the same as their peers? Will they be targeted because I want to protect them? I dread to think how far the online social media world will have developed by the time my little ones are teenagers. It’s so hard to not cave into peer pressure as a parent too, my eldest has an ipod, controlled access to my laptop and my old mobile phone that’s purely for texting her grandparents and she’s only 6! It’s astounding how many toddlers know how to work dvd players and Iphones.To the teenagers of today and tomorrow I feel for you. It’s truly awful that you have to deal with such pressure to conform on a daily basis, to agonize over the consequences if you dare to stand out from the crowd and be constantly reminded of it every time you pick up your phone or start-up your computer. Bring back pen & ink?

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Bounce

Hi, how are you? Yet again it’s been a rather challenging week for me, picked up a cold from my sister at the weekend and my back has gotten progressively worse since my train journey on Sunday, hence not blogging all week. Finally found a comfortable place (flat on the living room floor) to be able to lay down and write. So here it is.

First and foremost here is my weight loss update which I know was due on Thursday to keep up the pressure to exercise and watch the diet. I’m absolutely delighted with the result and it just goes to show that even the battered disc and snotty nose won’t put me off walking the dog. Although I have consumed a naughty amount of galaxy chocolate this week….for medicinal purposes. I’ve tried to crack on with preparation for the 5×50 Challenge as well and dragged my little dog out in the gales to complete the 5k, admittedly I only managed it four times this week, but it’s a good start. I apologize  for the picture quality, I was literally stunned and so wobbled a bit taking the photo. So that’s a just on a stone in two weeks, thanks guys, I did it with your help and more importantly I’m really eager to carry on! Here’s to next Thursday’s results.

While the typical British Summer weather lashed against the window panes this week I have busied myself with reading the other two Fifty Shades books, which I know I said I wouldn’t bother with. They were a welcome distraction though and as with the first book, I was definitely more interested in the will they/wont they end up together storyline and not the erotica. In my humble opinion, it got a bit boring. There’s only so many times she can bite her lip, and he can raise an eyebrow! However now that I have completed the trilogy I’m happy to move back to my crime thrillers and a little something for the soul……..Geordie got the full low down on the latest fad which is..wait for it…..Buddhism! I don’t really know why? I’m not a particularly religious person and I have conflicting opinions on Christianity but I would never deny anyone else their beliefs. I guess it’s trying to find some faith, nothing wrong with that right? So tomorrow I begin with ‘An Introduction to Buddhism’ on my faithful Kindle #2. I’ll let you know how I get on.

To draw a definite line under Fifty Shades of Grey and the curiosity that drove me almost insane I shall end this post with a brilliant poem by my wonderful and gifted friend Ann Briggs. Enjoy.

My Porn Poem

NOT FOR under 18’s or the easily offended!

by Ann Briggs

 50 Shades of F*&ing Weird (4th June 2012)

Middle class housewives everywhere have discovered 50 Shades of grey,

And book groups since page 60 are becoming quite risqué.

Sneaky reads on school runs, hot flushes in four doors, are leaving the women of Middle England, curious, panting and wanting more.

Ann Summers are delighted at the sale of ball gags, cuffs and bondage ties.

While Equestrian centres are confused, as despite recession the sale of riding crops is on the rise.

Discussions held on Facebook casually mention words like butt plug and vanilla.

But I have words of warning for the readers of this bondage bodice ripper.

In the past I frequented a fetish night, witnessed images that have haunted me.

The unsightly squash of male genitals when encased in see thru PVC.

Couples who led their partners round on a dog collar and choke chain.

The oddly named playroom which in truth was an area for pain.

The whips, the paddles, the crucifix, studded belts and wooden canes.

and other instruments of torture so historical, I still don’t know their name,

Of all the perversity I encountered there, the worst that I have seen.

Was a group of closet transvestites who dressed as Margaret Thatcher and the Queen.

Now I quite fancied owning a slave, thought he’d be handy with the mop.

And rubber is so practical when doing housework but his gasmask put me off.

Despite the voyeuristic value and education the whole scene appeared somewhat seedy.

The people weren’t exotic and exciting, just middle-aged, a bit desperate and needy.

I was put in mind of Michael Hutchence, all rock star glamour , hedonism and sleaze.

But what’s exotic about dying hanging from your belt with your pants around your knees.

Now there’s nothing wrong with a bit of kinky, I reckon the Beckhams even have their scene.

Both wearing Primark in the bedroom watching QVC whilst troughing on ice cream.

But there may come a point when you question where will all this stop?

As you prowl across your bedroom in rubber knickers flexing a riding crop.

Your partner suspended from the ceiling naked in a swing.

He’s beaming with anticipation while you’re thinking “This just ain’t my thing”

You’ll miss your weekly 20 minutes sandwiched between the news and footy highlights.

When sex was a set of tried and tested moves, minus whips and fishnet tights.

And getting ready for bed meant washing your armpits and brushing out your hair.

Not four hours of talcing up the leather bodysuit and fixing on the bondage gear.

And safe words where phrases like never mind love, it might be cos your cold.

Not random words like purple lorry  cos you’ve reached your pain threshold.

So ladies enjoy the titillation from the book, there’s no harm in a bit of tease.

But leave the dark stuff to the professionals, the clergy and MP’s!!!

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Hair Today

Recently I was in a real rut with my hair, desperate for something new but as I only had shoulder length hair it’s not like I had a lot of options. I think this unrest has come about because of my sister, every time I go home she has a different hair style or colour and every one of them suits her. I’ve never been that versatile, but I’m not afraid of change. I find my hair gets to just past my shoulders and that’s it, I’ve usually had enough and booked in with my hairdresser for a graduated bob.

My hair is dark brown/black courtesy of Live Colour XXL Schwarzkopf and has been on and off for around three years. The graduated bob I usually sport sits just below my chin and is shaped in and short at the back. I like it, always have and most of my friends say I suit my hair around this length. I went much shorter and highlighted blonde after the break up of my first marriage, you know, as you do when you have a meltdown and think that having shiny bouncy hair will solve all of life’s problems. It looked good when I was tanned from my little jaunt abroad, but back in the harsh UK conditions, it just didn’t suit me at all which brings me back to Live Colour XXL.

I’m always jealous of my friends hairstyles too, especially the girls who have really long glossy tresses and can pull off tons of different styles for nights out and special occasions. I often attempt the glam look, lots of preparation with heater rollers, back combing and hair spray. Sadly this results in me looking like an extra from Dallas and I brush it out and start again. My hairstyle fave’s are Dannii Minogue and Katie Holmes. Both have short styled dark hair which always looks immaculate regardless of where/what they are doing. Have you ever walked into your hairdressers with a picture of the hair style you want? I always see ones I like but think I’d look like a right idiot and the stylist would laugh her behind off at my unrealistic demands.

There has been a new twist to the hair style saga in that I have moved house to a totally new area and am now faced with the dilemma of finding a good hairdresser. Everyone has different opinions/standards when it comes to their hair stylist so without vetting my entire village it was always going to be a little hit and miss. My first experience was a positive one I’m happy to report, I threw caution into the wind and chose a modern salon in the middle of town hoping that the decor was comparative to the stylists skills. Once inside I played it safe and went for a shorter than normal graduated bob, asking the stylist to take it shorter on two separate occasions. I was happy with the result but as per usual, wished I had been braver and gone much shorter.

Two weeks later and I was already bored of the shorter bob, I asked my friend to recommend a decent stylist as I’d had enough and definitely wanted the Frankie Sandford style….Just to point out I am not 21, petite, particularly slim, or a mega famous pop star..Okay?

When I saw my lack of hair for the first time after ‘the cut’ I was completely gobsmacked. I’d purposely not had a mirror in front of me during the process so I couldn’t chicken out when the lengths of dismembered hair tumbled down to the floor, so when I saw the end result I panicked. What had I done? The longest piece of my hair was only four inches, and that was just my side fringe. In that moment I lost what was left of my self-confidence (two children, a failed marriage and career later) I didn’t recognise the person in the mirror and found it hard to adjust to. I went home and showed Geordie and my girls the result of my over excitement and delusion of youth/coolness trembling with nerves as I knew they were going to hate it. Obviously they all said it was great and ‘really suited me’ but I was in a blind panic and instantly wrapped a scarf around my head to give the illusion of long hair piled up. This went on for a couple of weeks, replacing the scarf with a big fascinator for a wedding, and a multitude of wired hair bands when I was in public. It’s been two months since ‘the cut’ now and I’ve even had it shaped in again a couple of times thanks to the steady hands and skills of my Mum. I’m still on the back foot confidence wise, it’s amazing what a simple hair cut can do though. Now that my style has grown in a little and I’m much more used to it I’ve been able to recognise the positives such as it only taking a quarter of the time to get ready in the mornings. However, I’ve only just uploaded two photo’s from our Jubilee weekend celebrations on to my Facebook account and I’m incredibly self-conscious if I bump into anyone I know in the village. So in short, I can’t wait to get my graduated bob back!

I’ve been told to man up, so with a big gulp and squaring of the shoulders….. here is the new hair. The photo quality is rubbish because I’m still at the stage of only just allowing photo’s and only from far away! Tell me what you think and remember, if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all!

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The Bucket

Has it poured down all day where you are today? It has here, and there’s nothing like a boring rainy Sunday to make you contemplate where you’d rather be. A number of my friends are working away in sunnier climes at the moment and being their friend on Facebook is becoming increasingly difficult. The sunrise over the mountains in Bali is absolutely breathtaking, but it was six am and chucking it down outside when I saw the picture, way to ruin my day! It seems much easier to continue to travel once you’ve made the initial leap, a few have moved abroad for work then later taken trips to other continents which appear closer than the 12 hour journey they involve. I’ve been very lucky to see a small part of what the world has to offer outside of the UK and my eldest daughter has even experienced Las Vegas and New York before turning 3.

My parents have travelled a lot too, especially my mum who, now retired enjoys an average of four holidays abroad a year. We were discussing this earlier and she told me about one of her friends who made a life changing decision to go and work on cruise ships, age 50. The woman in question has raised her two children, put them through university, out-grown her husband, paid her mortgage off and retired after a long career in law enforcement. She felt that she had to put her duties as a mum and wife before being able to follow her dreams and tick off her bucket list. Now she has a year round tan, spends six months of the year in the Caribbean and flies her grandkids out for holidays.

I couldn’t help but feel inspired by her story and wondered if all those things that I’d wanted to do before I had children, would still be possible after their grown and living their own lives? The places that I want to visit and really immerse myself in the culture may not be suitable for a 7 month old baby and hyperactive 6-year-old. Even though I have tried to break down the boundaries of long haul city breaks with young children, it’s not always much of a holiday when nappies and sterilizing bottles comes before snorkelling and romantic strolls on the beach. I have a bit of an unofficial bucket list, most will find it boring as the majority of points are about travelling and seeing the world. Here’s a few points;

1. Visit Niagara Falls and pluck up the courage to ride on the Maid of the Mist. It would be great to not have to spend at least a few minutes each day watching the falls on the live camera feed online to see what it looks like!  You too can be mesmerised by it here.

2. Sit front row at a designer fashion show. Okay so this one is unlikely and definitely a no no with kids…but you never know!

3.  Attend the Cannes Film Festival. Don’t really mind if I don’t get to sit next to a superstar at a premier, but to be there during the festival itself would be awesome.

So probably not massively exciting to you but I guess I have devised my list based on what is actually possible and what (with a huge amount of luck and praying) could happen. There are also points that I’ve been able to mark off too, visiting New York was so much fun, especially playing in Central Park when my daughter was a toddler and working at the Sydney Olympics was also an amazing once in a lifetime experience that I will never forget.

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls (Photo credit: moarplease)

What is on your bucket list, and if you don’t have one yet what would you write on it? I want to be able to look back on my life and remember the day I peed myself going under Niagara Falls, sat next to SJP at Gucci and had my picture taken with Johhny Depp at his yacht party in Cannes. Or I could sit and laugh with my kids about our annual all-inclusive trip to Salou, I’m sure that would make me equally happy.

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Hey Good Lookin’

I’ve been thinking about writing an article about my other half for a while and its only the worry of publicly mocking his dress sense that has stopped me. I realised that he gets far more stick on Facebook from his work mates than I could ever inflict on him using fancy words, so here it goes.

The first time I met my bloke he was wearing Gap jeans, a Haynes Manual Ford Cortina t-shirt and Fred Perry pumps, all fairly casual, standard items for a 29-year-old guy. I knew he had potential to pull off a range of looks, he’s tall, broad-shouldered and stuck in the 90’s so there was definitely room for improvement. It’s only fair to detail what I was wearing at our first meeting too, Gap Pinstripe Shell top, River Island cropped jeans and Irregular Choice shoes. I could have been more conservative but you only get once chance at a first impression and I thought I’d make a statement, you can probably tell that we’re complete opposites already?

The natural progression for fashion-shy boy meets switched-on girl is that she moulds him into a socially acceptable dresser and broadens his fashion horizons by introducing smart casual garments into his collection of footy shirts and jeans. Also you’d expect that someone with a passion for all things trendy would be in her element starting out with a fresh canvas, however my husband is rather stubborn and the last three years have been something of a battle. If you stopped him in the street and asked him ‘Who’ he was wearing I’m pretty sure he would think you were a pervert.

My bloke likes to wear what he calls ‘manly’ clothes. He’s not into knitwear, suit jackets (when not wearing a suit) or shoes that are anything other than Timberland boots, Onitsuka Tiger Trainers or Dune brogues. Not a bad start really as I’ve never been attracted to guys who take longer than me to get ready for a date. But when sportswear is the ONLY option he resembles a P.E teacher rather than sexy jock. Same goes for trousers really, Gap jeans or combats have been his only casual wear until we reluctantly tiptoed into Next and purchased a pair of sand colour chino’s that definitely didn’t make him look like a JLS wannabe. Clothes shopping with him is like dragging Horrid Henry around Debenhams, you know it’s going to end with someone being in a huff and a Costa Coffee to clear the air.

We were on a roll, a couple of plain white versatile t’s followed, and god forbid, a pair of navy blue espadrilles that he’s had to wear around the house a few times to get used to. Now that I have endured half a dozen of these courageous shopping trips I think I have nailed the approach and can get him to wear a plethora of more stylish items, it’s all about confidence. It’s not really about copying the mannequin in the Zara store window, or forwarding him the trend report emails from ASOS menswear as a hint, it’s simply about making him feel confident in the clothes he wears….. Albeit in slightly more interesting ensembles than a 1997 football hooligan.

What’s so infuriating about this whole situation is that he looks good in everything, I’m not just saying that. I’m very lucky to have a good-looking guy for a husband and I’m well aware of that, but its kind of taken the fun out of watching the metamorphosis from a 1990’s country bumpkin into an on-trend, passionate dresser. I’ve accepted the fact that it’s going to be a long process and that I should carry on bin bagging the washed out and misshapen Superdry t-shirts when he’s at work and replace them with Zara fine knit jumpers. Hope he doesn’t read this!

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What a Week!

Hello again and to begin, sincere apologies for my lack of blogging over the last week. It would seem that I am totally unable to write anything legible whilst working/travelling/parenting and being a little under the weather.

Today is a new day and the meds are working so here I am. My first fashion dilemma this week is about occasion wear. My younger sister is getting married in two weeks time and I’m stuck between a Navy embellished neckline, tulip shape dress or an Orange (yes that’s Orange) flared shift dress. I shall be purchasing both tomorrow and blogging for your opinion.

I was ready to let my 6-year-old, brutally honest daughter decide for me, however based on her reasoning skills displayed today (swears she could HEAR a spider behind the shower curtain in the bathroom) I think it might be better to throw caution into the wind and get you guys to comment. If however you think you can hear spiders it might be better to keep your opinions to yourself!

Equal Parenting Alliance

Equal Parenting Alliance (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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There’s No Place Like Home

I was born on the other side of the world where the sun shines bright, the sea is warm and the beer is cold. The most popular question people ask me when they hear of my sub-tropical beginnings is ‘What on earth are you doing here’?

Australian Coat of Arms (adopted 1912)

Australian Coat of Arms (adopted 1912) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The move to England was totally out of my hands, I tried as hard as I could to gurgle and blabber my wishes to stay in Aussie to my anglophile parents, but at just 10 weeks old communication wasn’t my strong point. The trip back to Blighty was fraught with the usual  tensions applicable to travelling 12,00 miles with a new baby and naughty toddler. During re-fuelling at Changi Airport, Singapore my elder brother, then 4 years old decided to sneak off in the duty-free toy shop and hide on a shelf behind a particularly large monkey teddy. This sparked a security alert, cue my Mum hysterically tearing the shop up, shouting his name and wailing like a banshee that someone had taken her little angel. On the verge of a full security lock-down the little sod meandered out of the toy shop where an eagle-eyed officer spotted him and an international air travel disaster was averted.

I recently moved house again but with my own little family, and just a few hundred miles away and not another continent. If I’ve reckoned it up right, and it’s taken consultation with 5 different people, I think I have now moved house 22 times. This includes various UK cities, as well as two moves abroad, and its only now that I can appreciate the military precision with which my Mum expertly organised and coördinated what we saw as ‘adventures’. For a long time it’s been hard to find a place to call home, I have emotional ties to many places but my roots are too entangled with trains, planes and automobile tracks to choose only one of my many past dwellings. One of my passports says I’m Australian, the other says I’m British, even the powers that be cant agree where I come from or more importantly where I belong.

Now I have similar plans for my brood, I’m keen for my children to see as much of the world as possible, my eldest daughter has been abroad 17 times in 6 years. I committed the ultimate sin and took her to the adult playground that it Las Vegas and to New York when she was just a toddler, trying to break down the barriers against taking young children on long haul city breaks. I will never forget the look on her face the first time she saw the Statue of Liberty, that made the 9 hour flight so worth while. (Ps, she did not bawl her lungs out during the flight, she was very well-behaved and the air stewardesses loved her….genuinely)

Newyorknewyork-corner

Newyorknewyork-corner (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I may not have grown up with the same group of friends from nursery to university, but thanks to Facebook and other online social networks that’s hardly a worry. I believe that my gypsy-esque upbringing was an amazing adventure that has shaped me to be the out-going, friendly person I am today. To all of those who have a place to call their home town, cherish it, embrace its familiar ways and changing landscapes. To those like me, who are undecided, class yourself as a citizen of the world…always the new girl, never the veteran.

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