Tuesday, 27 March 2012


It was about 4am & halfway home that my previous good cheer began to wear out. We had been celebrating my 23rd birthday in York & I believe it was more than fair to say that a good night had been had by all. In the taxi that was hurtling along in the misty darkness was my other half who was by this point in a full blown drunken stupor, as well as his good friend & my oldest friend who were politely chatting away in a light fog of alcohol, with me interjecting from the front seat from time to time.

After a little while the conversation turned to work, education & travelling. I resolved to face forward & slowed my interjections. As I listened to tales on each subject I realised that I hadn't anything of value or relevance to contribute to this conversation whatsoever. Not a fucking sausage. As I racked my brain & listened on I wondered why I felt so sad about it all. I have a beautiful family, I'm not unintelligent, so why did I feel so put out?

When I left school at 16 my plan was to get 4 A levels & on to a decent university. Entirely achievable.

When I was 18 I dropped out of college, completing only 3 AS levels at C/D grades. Though not bad grades in the scheme of things, I knew damn well that I could have done far better & that is what clinched the decision to jump ship for me. It was in ill thought out & lazy choice I had made, but all the same not the end of the world. When I found out I was pregnant 6 months later, however, that really did change things. In short, life got serious & full on & since then there has not been much room for what I need or want. As I was finally getting somewhere with my life it was all pulled from beneath me again, the business I managed was being sold in desparation, but, again it wasn't the end of the world. There were other jobs. About a month after all this, a week before my 22nd birthday, I found out that I was pregnant again. Things got full on & serious once more. Now I have two beautiful girls, a comfortable house, a partner who keeps us all secure & a mental illness. I have never been happier, yet I have never been sadder.

To say that my life has not gone according to plan is an understatement, & that is what gets me. That was why, in that taxi I had tears in my eyes & self-loathing at my core.

I often feel as though people assume I'm not intelligent because of what my life entails. People never seem to take the time to find out, to delve a little deeper. Though this often contributes to a lot of my despair, I of course realise that it's not rational to live life worrying because of other people's shortsightedness. It just doesn't help, is all.

You may be thinking that I should be thankful for having what many others don't - a beautiful healthy family & security & yes, I certainly am more than thankful & never do I want to appear ungrateful for that but what causes all these problems I have is the knowledge that I could have so much more, if only I'd have done things in a more logical order. I was reckless & made some bad decisions, but don't for one second think that I regard a teenage & unplanned pregnancy as a bad decision - just as a tough one. The achievement of raising a family coming from nothing is not something that I wish to diminish. I am very proud of myself for what I have done for my girls, however it is simply an entirely different ball park to academic & professional achievement & the experience of taking in the world.

If I'd have done thing the 'right' way around I'd have certainly done better by my children, offered them much more security & a better example - if of course the 'right' way would have allowed for children & a family - but I suppose that my job now is to give them an example & hope that it's the second best one that I can offer. I find it hard not to dwell on the past, though of course I know it will only hinder me going forward if I do. I'm just not over it yet. I am however, making solid plans & semi-selfish decisions now, that will benefit me in the long run, but hopefully benefit my girls too. The thing is getting it right. I need to be sure that what I choose to do will absolutely be achievable & that I will see it through with conviction.

I'm going back to be a student. I want a degree. That decision is made, however I am yet to work out what I'll study. I'm on the right road, anyway. I think.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012


Okay, so it was 'happy birthday to me' yesterday & the celebrations (drunkenness) will be taking place this weekend. I'm currently experiencing a bit of a numb patch in my brainwaves - whatever that means - & so I've decided that the best thing to do is to enjoy my weekend & take a week off blogging.

In summary - I'm taking a week off blogging, see you all next week, sometime.


Sunday, 18 March 2012

Drowning, Not Waving?

Tomorrow I am 23. With two children in tow, I am wading a little out of depth for my age. I have spent most of my adult life being told how wise I am for my years but feeling hopelessly young & often naive. I have learned a lot in the past four years or so. I have been through a hell of a lot, yet looking back, the things I have endured that seem the most hellish didn't seem to have too much of an immediate affect on me. It is only with a little more added on top that I begin to realise how these experiences have changed me, for the better & for the worse. Anxiety, depression & all the rest I don't think would ever have been so severe without some exaserbating factors & aggrevating people that have crossed my path & yet I think that without these experiences I would be no better off. They allow me context in which to take everything else which has followed. Things could always be worse & will certainly get better.

Love is something which baffles me & I often wonder if it is real. I've thought I've felt it on many occasions but with each end & restart I'm unsure. The conclusion I make is that romantic love changes & differs from that which has gone before & to take each experience with caution & open-mindedness.

As I look back I laugh at how naive I have been, at how my imagination & assumptions have often contributed to my lack of good judgement on certain characters. I have been guilty of elaborating on someones personality & only after some time realising what I have done. I wonder what I will think of myself with hindsight in years to come. These days I approach with a little more caution but I think that it will always be a ritual that I am bound to repeat. No doubt in the years to come I will be looking back on my 23 year old self & still be laughing at the naivety of me.

People move in strange ways & life is a constant learning curve, but I hope that one day I will be waving, rather than drowning in this ocean of my own creation.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Groovy Mums, Not So Groovy.

This week I am finally getting my bum in gear & joining in with Kate on Thin Ice's blog hop.

I've totally been slacking recently & though I've had good weeks, this last week hasn't been great & has sort of reached an awful crescendo over the past few days.

But, there is no use in being miserable. Onwards & upwards & all that crap. Having said that I'm sat heere at 11.45am in my pyjamas, despite having been up since 8.00am. All is not fixed or well.


This week Kate put an idea out there that bloggers should get together to do a cheeky calendar for a good cause. She is looking for models as well as a photographer, venue & many more roles, so if you have any suggestionos or would like to get involved then please get in touch with her at kateonthinice@gmail.com.

Well, I most certainly am in & shall be offering my modelling services if I can! Groovy eh?

Kate has also asked us to think about whether we can use our time more effectively. I'm sure I could, but at the moment, I struggle to think past the end of the day, let alone the rest of the week. I'm finding it hard but we have things in place like a chalk board that is a great visual reminder of what needs doing for the day & the week.

The next thing she writes is 'What gives you light in your life?'. For me, light comes from friends who are there for me, no matter what & from my other half & of course my girls. I'm lucky to have something so special to live for, even if I do forget this from time to time.

As for the blogging part of the challenges - will you nominate me for a BritMums Brilliance in Blogging award? I was reluctant to put myself out there at first, & so decided not to, but now I think well, why not? I'd love it if you did! Just click the button to the right hand side!

I'm skipping special days, as I'm very busy before Easter & my birthday is to come in less than a week. That's extra-special!

The Big Question. Why do I put up with it? I'm not sure how to interpret that, but I don't think that I have to put up with a lot. If you read my previous two posts you'll see that when I have a problem or feel that there is something wrong in my relationship I will maybe over-react & then settle on a reasonable explanation after I've talked it out with my OH. As for putting up with other things, such as mental illness & all that shite, I put up with it for my girls & the love they & my partner offer me. Otherwise I'd be flat out of here, one way or another.


As you all know, in September I plan on running  the Great North Run for Mind. To do this Ineed at least £300 of sponsorship. Turns out this is all a little bit tricky!

What I'd like to know is how have you raised money for a cause in the past?

I'm thinking bake sales & putting some stuff on eBay, but have you got any more creative or plain ingenious ideas?

If you would like to sponsor me or see more about why I'm doing the run then please see my fundraising page.

Thamks all, look forward to hearing your suggestions!

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Last Night

Looking back on last nights pitch black darkness post, I think it's fair to say I was slightly over-reacting. The thing that I forgot to take into consideration is that my partner is not the type to go into some strip club for his own satisfaction at any given time. Though the whole industry does not sit well with me he is not hugely buying into this & so I can cope with that. After all, he writes blog posts about how wonderful I am while mostly I just air my insecurities on my blog. I think that says a lot.

Last night was not a good one. I've been doing well, but last night I was well & truly going out of my mind. It was the kind of night that saw me rendered incapable of switching off that ever-anxious mind of mine.

Two thirty came as I was losing it in the bathroom, tearing through the medicine basket, & lining up what was there, just to see. Not much, as it happened. It's so stupid when I think back. So bloody stupid but when I'm there I'm blind to anything else. Trapped in my claustrophobic black box. Three o'clock came & saw me pull myself together slightly, only to fall apart again fifteen minutes later. I text a friend describing my piteous state & she was there. I am very, very lucky to have someone there for me when I need. Very lucky indeed, & once again I calmed.

Three forty five. I needed to get out of the house. I left & walked up the street & back. The stillness & darkness was comforting & the crisp, clear air that allowed me a panoramic view of the blue-black, star sprinkled sky was refreshing. I wasn't in the least bit tired & so I gazed into the unfathomable, for as long as I dare, before I spotted a figure at the end of the street. I was nervous & so I made my way back into the four walls & felt instantly confined. Chamomile tea. A little writing. Back to bed.

Four thirty & I cried & cried & cried. My partner woke but didn't know what to do, in half a stupour. I don't know what to do on these nights either, so he must feel even more helpless. I cried & I talked but I didn't talk about the medicine basket stuff. I felt such an idiot. That stuff doesn't make any sense when you say it out loud. It's really scary too.

Today, well, I've stopped crying I think. I told him about the scary stuff. Today is the hangover. Tomorrow is starting yet again.

Empowerment & Getting Naked: Bedmates?

What is it that I don't like about strip clubs?

Last night my partner went on a stag do. Of course, they went to the strippers. I knew this would happen, I laid down my rules & he had permission, yet why, now do I have this awful uneasy feeling eating away at me?

What is it? 

Why are there no male strip clubs? Why don't women feel that they need to seek out this form of 'entertainment' to such an extent as men do? When I think of all the sorts of riske entertainment for women, all that pops into my head is stuff like the Chippendales & male strippers on hen dos with lots of drunk women shrieking & giggling like school-girls, taking it as a great laugh & a hoot & not thinking much more of it, but when the roles are reversed, when it's blokes going to so called 'Gentlemen's clubs' & so on I think of ego & chauvinism. Men don't hoot & giggle, men leer & lick their lips...Don't they?

This is the image I have engrained in my mind but I'm not sure it's entirely like that. I would like to find out & you know what, I think one day soon I may do that. I would like to see if their is any truth behind the notion that these girls find stripping empowering, or do they only find this empowering because society has taught them that?

But back to my question - is it this that bothers me? Men & women are very different creatures indeed, that is for sure. I'd say that I'm quite a sexual person, more so than quite a lot of my friends, at least. I can be excruciatingly shy in a room full of people, but between the sheets (or wherever else) I have usually found I'm fairly confident once I get into my stride, as it were. Anyway, no more detail or else you all who don't wish to know will start bleeding from the eyes. My point is that I have always felt secure because I have always felt I have most control & confidence over the sexual aspect of a relationship. I am by no means beautiful or sexy in the conventional top-shelf magazine sense, yet never has this held me back. I think the reason that I feel least secure about my man striding into a strip club & getting an eyeful of a room full of magazine-beautiful & -sexy women in all their glory is because by choosing to walk right in there he is not only accepting society's warped view of what 'a woman should be' (whether he realises it or not) but wolfing it down like the very different creature that he is. Simultaneously, he is removing an enormous chunk of the control I hold & allowing me to fall back into the clutches of my insecurities. 

But what about me? Why should there be no other aspect of life in which I can feel empowered? Now I'm certainly not suggesting that a woman should not have empowerment through sex - hell, sex is more than enjoyable & should be for both parties - but what I am saying is that of course that shouldn't be my sole source of satisfaction, & because - at the moment - I am so insecure about magazine-perfect women taking the control from me then I have done exactly the same as my partner & accepted society's view of 'what a woman should be'. If it is true that strippers only do their job because they are accepting our society's harsh terms, rather than questioning them (I said if, remember, I am yet to find this out first hand) then am I not just a stripper with a more specific & non-paying audience? Hell, if I'm going to feel these insecurities, I'd at least like to get a bit of cash for my troubles.

It's a vicious fucking circle (not a vicious fucking-circle, that's an entirely different blog post).

I don't know what to do or think. I'm working mostly on assumptions, deductions & what I've seen in the media. Anxiety doesn't help matters either. Can anyone enlighten me here?
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Saturday, 10 March 2012

Of Single Days Gone By

Perfect. Everything about his personality is what I would wish for in any friend, & any potential bed-mate. He’s intelligent & talks in a tone edged with wisdom. He is clearly a thinker. Though what is it that doesn’t sit quite right when he tells me with enthusiasm: “Oh, absolutely! You’re so right there – nobody else can make you happy, it’s down to the individual!”?
I struggle to tell whether his zeal comes from finding someone who shares his opinion on self-fulfilment, or whether he is aiming to flatter me.

“You seem as though you have it all figured out.” he says, with just a hint of awe that softly jabs the pit of my stomach. I feel embarrassed. I do have it figured out, don’t I? 

On paper, he is perfect. He ticks all the boxes. So why, oh why, can’t I appreciate how pleasant our evening has been; how refreshing it is to speak with someone who is on the same wavelength? He clearly is, yet I constantly have this underlying feeling that something is missing. He puts me at ease, yet I think that ease is exactly the problem. He does not challenge me. I feel no stir of apprehension. There is no niggle of doubt that this person may prove me wrong. He would simply concur & discuss the point further, as though it were fact.

I’d like to explore. I’d love for someone to have a point of view that was new & exciting. Sure, you have to share opinions & views on some things – there must be common ground – but wouldn’t it be wonderful for someone to come along & say “Well Chlo, what about this…” & completely blow my mind, or even divulge something that would get me a little riled – just a little though.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

The Ugly Proof

Did I mention that I'm running thirteen sodding miles for Mind in September? Yup, I'm doing the Great North Run & guess what.. You can sponsor me! Please sponsor me...PLEASE! Just click to see my fundraising page or click to see my reasons for running!

I'll be keeping a log of my training. Today OH kindly showed me how to strech beforehand (I had previously just been doing the stretches we learned from school) but I'm convinced he was just trying to make me look like a douche.

The previous run I went for was a 3 mile run about a week & a half ago which took me 31 minutes. I was dying by the time I got home! Today's run was a simple 2 mile run, round a new route. It took me 24 minutes, which means I'm worse! Onwards, onwards & no slacking I guess is the answer! Damn!

Just to prove I have actually run, take a look at the colour in those cheeks, sexy!

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Running for the Mind

Holy crap. Have you heard?

I've signed up to take part in the Bupa Great North Run 2012. I'm running to raise money for Mind - the mental health charity. They do good work. They do great work & if you'd like to read about it rather than me re-hashing it in an incomprehensible gush of admiration, you should just visit their site - www.mind.org.uk - or follow them on Twitter @MindCharity

Why Mind? Well, as you may or may not have heard, or deduced, I've been struggling through the murky depths of depression & anxiety. I've been pretty damn mental for the past year or so. Even more so than usual that is. There are lots of great mental health charities out there, some of which have helped me during tougher times, usually via the wonderful platform that is Twitter, but Mind have such reach & have offered me such a lot of advice & support that I should like to give a little something back, in order to help other who have been in similar situations.

Why run? I keep asking myself this. 13 miles. 13 bloody miles. Argh! Well, I've signed up now & there's no wriggling out of it. I love running & before I fell pregnant for the second time I was just getting very into running & was feeling all the better for it. Running is something that helps both my physical & mental wellbeing & to have a goal like doing a half marathon for such a worthy cause will hopefully help me to feel better at the same time as being healthy for my girls & donating to such a good cause. Everyone wins.

That's not to say that I'm not bricking it all ready. 13 sodding miles.

Bloody hell!

So, to have a good old laugh at my expense, please help me reach the £300 target & sponsor me!

Just follow this link: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/ChloeSkinnerMind

Any amount is greatly appreciated & it's for such a good cause - the wellbeing, health & happiness of others. 

Alternatively, you can click the pic of me looking like a slightly smug runner to the right hand side of this post to donate at anytime! It only takes a couple of secs, do it, dooo iiit!  

To see how your donations are being used, take a look at this: http://www.mind.org.uk/thisismind

I'd also ask you to share this wherever you can too. Whether you've experienced mental illness first hand, had a family member struggle or are just a believer that everyone should have the support they need to be happy & healthy then please, please help me!

13 shitting miles. THIRTEEN.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

You Probably Shan't Go To The Ball, But What Does That Matter?

I heard today that some mothers want to ban their children from reading such stories as Cinderella. Though I can see wherer they're coming from - poor down-trodden Cinders does all the housework but in end is unrealistically rewarded with man, money blah blah... - to me, banning ancient stories is madness.

It's fair to say that I think the whole 'Disney Princess' bullshit that my daughter so loves is wrong, in many ways. Disney has a lot to answer for. The shallow ideals of the stories, all the tat merchandise that is bought, making her think she is beautiful because she looks like any one of these characters. I'm all for her learning through roleplay & makebelieve but where do I draw the line? Yeah, I do wish I could stop it sometimes & I do my best to limit it. She is beautiful as she is, a pretty little girl in her little girl dresses. Children are innocent & they should remain so for as long as possible, in my opinion. Of course I'm not saying you should not educate your children in the ways of the world, but you must allow them the freedom to enjoy their childhood for as long as they need & for as long as is appropriate. Isn't that what we all want for out children? But is controlling what they are exposed to allowing them full enjoyment of childhood? I suppose that would entirely depend on what society lobs their way.

I detest the way in which our society encourages adults & children alike to buy into all this bullshit & think that being as grown up & beautiful & unrealistically successful is what they should strive for. For Christmas this year, at the tender age of three my daughter received presents of make up. I was appauled. But why should I be? I wear make up, I conform to society's expectations of me & I feel bad when I go out in public with bad skin & no face on. It is a fact of society & though I would like to change it, I cannot & so I do conform to an extent. This is not to say that I am a pacifist, far from it, but all this comes from somewhere. We want to look good in order to find a mate & reproduce, like many other creatures on this planet & this is our way of doing it & we have to accept this to a degree, however I do believe that there is way too much pressure on women & increasingly on men too to look unnaturally good & to live their lives in a certain, plastic way. Pressure to mutilate our bodies in order to please others. This is a step too far & I am afraid that it stems from an exposure to media from an early age. There is nothing I can do to stop the pressure that will inevitably be put onto my girls, but I can limit how they are exposed to it - we never owned a TV until we moved in with my OH, but even so, the girls hardly watch it. Maybe once a week, if that. They hardly want to either, but that is not to say they don't enjoy what they do watch. Sometimes I feel as though I should control what others buy the girls too but unfortunately I cannot, without being a dickhead about it - & what kind if example would that set? There is a fine line.

What I can do is provide them with the knowledge, love & example they need to become strong individuals in the future. This is what I strive to do anyway. I will paint Eldest's fingernails occasionally, if I am doing mine - its fun & she enjoys showing off - & I will be teaching her how to cook & do the laundry (hell, the sooner she learns the sooner it saves me a job!) but equally I'll be teaching her how to put up a shelf & change a washer in a tap (notably these are things that I can do but my OH can't. Just saying...) & all these things I would do regardless of the sex of my children.

The point that I am trying to make in a very round about way is that banning our children from these things is all very well, but where is the faith in our own skills as parents? Where is the faith in our children's intelligence? Faith that they will grow up & work out, as we have, that life isn't like a fairytale? Just because life is not so, it doesn't mean we can't enjoy whimsical tales of princesses, ogres, & kingdoms far, far away. The most important thing we can do for our precious ones is to allow them their enjoyment, giving them as much stimulation in all aspects of life & play for now & equip them with the skills, information & example they need to make their own decisions about the big bad world. Surely?

As I type, my eldest is playing at soft play, wearing a builders hat. That's my girl!

As for banning Cinders, well the unimaginative, westernised Disney bollocks...

...I couldn't give a toss about to be entriely honest, but I grew up with this beautiful version. One of the many childhood books & illustrations that fired my creative passions:

Now that, my friends, is what a handsome prince should really look like.

All in all, I think as long as we do our jobs correctly as parents, girls & boys can enjoy a wealth of traditional & contemporary stories. There is no harm in that.