I first started thinking about stuff after being under the weather for a few days, I’d been laid in bed and crying into my pillow about ‘missing out on life’. You see exhaustion and illness can do that; scare you and remind you what you’re missing. I’m not talking about the big stuff re. Life’s journey. No! I’m ruminating on the little things that make our existence bearable and smiley. The stuff that can turn a grey Monday into golden opening to the week; like finding a tenner in a jeans pocket whilst doing the laundry (holiday shoebox appeal). So I got to thinking about guilty pleasures, we all have them. However, as the weekend has progressed I’ve needed the comfort of these pleasures to distract me from the deep feelings of sadness and loss that are encompassing me. Yes! No shit. Life can be utter poo at times. So rather than continuously crying, I’m dusting us all off and taking us all on a journey of, what I’m calling ‘silly stuff that makes life ok (when it’s clearly not sometimes).
Guilty pleasures. Mine are neither Steps, reality telly or eating my own body weight in chips, cheese and mayo (do like this but not that much). However, I’m no whiter than white holier than though coolster. I have a fully fledged list that
a) you might be aware of in places, and
b) will also surprise you.
Love it/hate it, I don’t care, because you too are welcome to have your very own list (not that you ever needed my permission) which you will never be judged for (not by me anyway) as it’s allowed as the clue is in the title.
Here’s my top ten. Read it and (yes I’ll allow it) weep with laughter:
1. Literature and cinematography (books and films): The English graduate in me should lend herself to serious fiction and films. I do read the Booker prize shortlist (and long list) yearly. Furthermore, I am no stranger to an arts festival, gallery or obscure foreign films (actually love them). But…How educated would I come across of I told you two of my favourite top ten films of all time are Coyote Ugly and Sweet Home Alabama? I love the pure abandonment of bar top dancing in the former. My goodness, how wild and wonderful my life could be if I could do that every day? Imagine the freedom of just ‘going out dancing every night’ BUT GETTING PAID FOR IT!! As for the latter, Reece Witherspoon and a fab country (yes I know! Country music ahem) soundtrack, wrapped up into a romantic comedy with some gorgeous guy called ‘Josh Lucas’ . Both throughly exciting films and make me feel warm, cuddly and like changing my life every time. (This category also includes all eighties films for muchly same reasons (it’s the tried and tested formula). As for reading? Who doesn’t like reading trashy and mindless fiction? Life is too short! Yes, escapism.
2. Musicality: I’m a shameless Manilow fan. When I recently heard he was going to do a one night at the O2, I wad straight on it!! However, as much as Him likes to join me in the Bazza love, he’s not biting (at the minute). I just love his vibe (pre too much plastic face which looks like it might melt and prompting me to moniker him ‘plastic melty man’) plus: Copacabana, Looks Like We Made It, Could it be Magic?…need I say more? Also, this love extends to another man (sadly deceased) in the music world ‘Johnny Cash’. If you need convincing I’ll just point you to ‘Walk the Line’ (song and flick). Niff said.
3. Dogs: Rosie Dog keeps me smiling all day. This fog came to me at a time when I thought the sun would never shine again. Gone are the days of me staring into nothingness; numb, empty, feeling let down by people I loved and trusted in the world. My goodness, don’t let anyone ever tell you that pets cause work. They just breed love, provide strength and support. They also give unconditional love; needing only feeding, walking and in Rosie’s case, cuddling! No drama, no stress and never have I once felt excluded from her life. She’s my best friend (apart from Him). Therefore, I’d call her my guilty pleasure (but do not feel guilty and she’s always a pleasure)
4. Food is a must. I can eat (if prompted) hourly. I exist on mini snack attacks. Top food items are: cheese, crisps, cold meat, sausages (to name a few). In fact I’ve had a bag of Wotsits whilst writing this. You might think ‘heffer’ re. Amount of food I actually consume but I counter balance with lots of exercise and healthy (not health freakish) choices (never quinoa or nuts and seeds as don’t like boring food). Food and eating is good for you. Just don’t exist on lots of Maccy’s
5. Apparel. Well, what I mean by this is not what I wear on a daily basis but all the stuff I covert and store in my wardrobe but hardly wear. I’m talking about the dresses and shoes that never see the light of day as never go anywhere. The £150 secret that’s never been worn. The dress I’m about to order as ‘have to have’ but know might only get one outing. The surprise in hide from my face when I forget about the item which is ‘found’ when one of the children needs an outfit for a night out. I might just open a store…
6. Refreshments: cup of tea. Can’t function without one. Can’t live without Him as Him makes me cuppa every morning. I can also make tea but find myself struggling as feel that he has outclassed me on tea making duties. Awh, but that tea moment can be bliss. Especially after a hard day. Best cuppa ever? The one in hofpital after having Little E. Nothing beats in. Don’t think I need go on…
7. Bathing: twice a day. Love, love, love the ritual. Bubbles. Water on skin (I’m a cancerian and also love swimming) it all makes me relax and feel cocooned. Can’t wake up without a bath/shower or feel like a tramp all day. Can’t sleep without one or feel like a scruffy dirty uncomfortable thing all night. This is with the caveat that after all bathing ‘moisturising head to toe is a must’. Followed by perfume and deodorant. Everything has to smell nice and feel clean. Maybe that laundry pile is my fault???
8. My family. Am I allowed them? Hardly guilty to love them is it? But I feel guilty I can’t always give them what they want. You see, love is in abundance in our house. Cuddles are a must (can’t sleep without them – please see below). However, all that love and affection can get lost in the wicked web of crappy life. They can push you away. Unkind words can slip out, a bad look can make you feel like the worst parent in the world. I love them all, no strings, would die for them (dramatic), so why does it feel like it’s never enough? So, the guilty pleasure for me is all those stored up memories, photos and footage of them when life was uncomplicated. When all we worried about were feeding, changing and keeping clean. Annual zoo visits, shopping trips and holidays were filled with laughter. All before teens hit!
9. Napping: whether on the sofa, after a bath or a cheeky eye close at the cinema. Napping with cuddles is the ultimate. All children trained at an early age to nap with mummy on the sofa whilst watching CBeebies. If it all gets too much? Take a nap
10. Sunbathing. So uncool. So dangerous. So bad for my ageing skin. Guess what? Don’t care! I feel of the warmth of sun on my skin is pure bliss. I’m sure what harm it goes is blasted away by the increased serotonin in my body. Greek beach is not essential but massive plus. It’s the thing that gets me through the other 340 days of the year (I’ve subtracted annual holiday plus approximation of days summer in UK). Therefore, as bad as it is for me, I think I’ll take my chances
So, there you have it. Super indulgent but I’m making no apologies for it. Sometimes we need that hug and it’s not there. So short of turning to cigarettes and alcohol, it’s good to have a list of things to make you smile. All the other stuff I do – exercise, eating chocolate, writing, reading so much it drives him mad – that’s all just to help me function. My list takes me one step further; protecting me in the scary grown up world, where, let’s face it, we’d sometimes rather retract from. No one wants to grow up really (I tell my girls this when they have ‘I’m growing up and don’t like it’ wobbles. So get yourself some guilty pleasures and you will always be able to come out smiling in the end.
PS As it is a Bank Holiday I suggest you have at least one self indulgent moment on this bonus time.