Tuesday, 29 November 2011

News Flash

Today's blog is no normal blog, in fact it is no more than a press release.  The new man in my life is a journalist and I work in PR.  A month or so ago he was telling me how good I was at PR-ing myself (I see no problem with this and think it is something we should all do more of).

In the name of journalism and as a little joke reminder of what a delight I am (he may beg to differ) I decided to send him a press release, all about my good self.  Please see below.

News Release

F.A.O A certain man

24th September 2011
Amazing woman found in Birmingham

Rebecca O'Connor was today discovered in Birmingham, just generally being amazing.

The petite 33 year old was found to be living in a flat in Erdington.  Experts do not know how long she has been there but all agreed that she was a rare and precious gem to be treasured.

The ebony lovely is said to work in public relations and boasts many talents including being cute, hilariously funny, intelligent and great fun to name but a few.

Those in the know say that it is rare to find a creature of such loveliness and concur that it will be a lucky man that manages to capture such a wonderful specimen.

A doctor from the Department for lovely things at Birmingham University said: “We were delighted to come across such an wonderful find, especially so close to the city.  We have all been drawn in by her magnetism, she really is something special.  When she's around we all just feel generally happier and more at ease. 

“It is believed that many men have tried to lure her from her natural habitat but have failed.  It will be a lucky gent who manages to keep her for himself.  It is a pleasure just sharing the same room as her.  If there were more people like Rebecca in the world I truly believe it would be a better place to live, I am even convinced that she could even, given the chance, be responsible for world peace at some point in the future.

“I think we are going to see amazing things from this fantastic young woman.”

If you wish to see Rebecca O'Connor she can be viewed in  Erdington, Birmingham after 630pm most weekdays but appointments must be made for weekends, due to her hectic social life which is a side effect of being wonderful.


Wednesday, 23 November 2011


In a time when we all seem to be about the “I want”, “I need”, “I must have” and in a world that at times appears to have gone consumerism mad with many people seeming to believe that a flat screen tv, a minimum of two holidays a year and owning at least two cars to a family is what will make them happy, I have been having a think about whether real happiness can be bought?

I mean I love shopping as much as the next person but I can honestly say I have never had any long term happiness from a pair of shoes, new dress,coat, handbag or miraculous new make-up product (to be honest I don't consider make-up a luxury more a necessity, and anybody who has seen me first thing in the morning will vouch for this). These items are more like lust filled flings, I see them, I want them, I get them, wear them endlessly for a short period (sometimes combined with feelings of guilt) become bored and then forget about them and move on to the next shiny, beautiful thing that catches my eye.

When it comes to the things that have have given me long term happiness (the solid as a 50 year marriage kind), most of it comes down to the things money can't buy, the things nobody can steal nor replace....memories. It's rare that anybody ever sits back, smiles fondly and gets a far away look in their eyes as they reminisce about the time they had to miss a mortgage payment because they went mad in Selfridges on a Saturday afternoon.

Like I say I'm not against a bit of mindless blowing of cash as my ever expanding wardrobe will confirm, but the things that have made me happiest and can guarantee to raise smile when I'm having a bad day include (and this is not a full and comprehensive list):

Kayaking in New Zealand

The memory of New Zealand full stop is an amazing, happiness inducing one, but remembering setting out into the sea with an instructor and five other people (with varied kayaking experience), looking at a beautiful coastline and paddling out amongst the seals will be something that stays with me forever.


I mentored a young person for a short time and can honestly say it was one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life. Seeing another person grow in confidence and achieve things that they themselves never thought they would achieve and knowing you helped them do that is the best feeling in the world. All the shoes in the world can't beat the feeling of knowing you've helped make a difference to somebody else's life.

Out of the blue post

Now I'm at an age where most of the letters that land on my mat are telling me that I owe money or trying to get me to part with my money it is always a joy to return home to an enevelope with familiar handwriting and an unexpected card or letter from a friend thhat they have decided to send ' just because.'

My 30th birthday party

Some people dread turning 30. I loved it as it was a brilliant excuse to get all the people I love and care about in one room and even if I don't remember most of it, the pictures tell me that we all had a great night.

Laughing till it hurts

Nothing beats the feeling of getting together with good friends, eating food, drinking wine, catching up and laughing until it hurts so much you actually fear that you might stop breathing. Luckily for me I can't pin this down to just one memory as I am fortunate enough that I have had numerous nights like that.

And my favourite memory.......

Dancing round the living room with mum

When I was a kid, I remember many a Sunday when mum would put on the Mowtown, you know a bit of Stevie Wonder, a bit of Diana Ross and the Supremes et al and we would spend the afternoon singing along and dancing round the living room. My song of choice was Bonny M brown girl in the Ring and to this day will still get me up dancing.

So there you have it, like I say not the full and exhaustive list, but more of a taster. I'm sure we all have different things on our lists of things that make us happy and the memories that will keep us warm in our old age may differ but I'd bet Louis Vuitton clutch that not many of them involve possessions.

Friday, 22 July 2011

What everybody should know (in my opinion)

The other day I heard a song that I absolutely love, Baz Luhrmann Everybody's Free (to wear sunscreen), if you have no idea what I am talking about take a look on YouTube.  Anyway I digress, listening to him and his words of advice got me thinking about what advice I would give my younger self and here is what I came up with.

Don't believe that school days are the best days of your life
When I was at school and grown ups used to tell me that my school days would be the best days of my life I was filled with horror.  The thought that life wasn't going to get any better than being told what to do all the time, stupid rules that nobody was willing to explain, bitching, insecurities, your mates being off with you because you've been off sick for a few days, needing a diary to remember who your best friend is that day, how could these possibly be considered the best days of your life?  Fair enough you have no responsibilities, you don't have to worry about bills and money but still the best days of your life? 

I would tell my younger self that this is a load of old rubbish and that the people who say that school days are the best days of your life probably need to get out more and actually have a life.  Trust me if you live your life right things get a whole lot better than school.

Honesty isn’t always the best policy
When somebody starts a sentence with the phrase ‘can I be honest?’  Or says the line  ‘I was just being honest’ 9 times out of 10 this translates as “I want to be a bitch but nobody will call me that if I disguise it as honesty.”  Trust me on this, when you were a kid and your mum told you that if you didn’t have anything nice to say it’s better to say nothing at all, she was right.   My rule of thumb is if being honest is going to stop somebody from getting hurt do it, is going to hurt them for no other reason than you felt that it was necessary to mention that you didn’t like their outfit then don’t bother.

One day you’ll get hangovers
In my carefree student days when I could drink copious amounts of cider and roll out of bed fresh as a daisy for a 9am lecture I would never have believed it if somebody had told me I’d one day get crippling hangovers, but boy do I believe it now. 

The decline into hangovers from hell kicked in at 26 and has got progressively worse.  At 26 the hangover probably lasted a morning and I could probably be back out on the night, by 30 it was lasting a whole day and now if I deign to stay out past 3am on a Saturday you can guarantee I’ll be turning up to work on Monday still feeling slightly jaded.

Don’t take advice from people whose life you don’t want
What I mean by this is if there’s an area of your life that you’re having trouble in and you want advice on it choose whom you ask for it, carefully.  For example nobody would/should ask me for relationship advice or how to be a domestic Goddess, but they might ask me how to make a wicked spinach and goats cheese lasagne, where to go on a date or how to maintain a hectic social calendar. 

Basically what I’m trying to say if you want relationship advice ask somebody who’s relationship you admire, not somebody who’s relationship you look at and think “no way no day would I put up with that shit”. If you want advice on asking your boss for a pay rise or getting a promotion go to somebody who is successful in this area, if you want somebody to give you tips on hosting a great dinner party ask somebody who's party you've enjoyed.  It's not brain surgery.

Find a passion and make time for it
Life is short and what you do for 8 hours a day and 5 days a week won’t always fulfil all your needs.  I love working in PR as I love writing, coming up with ideas and dealing with people, but as much as I wouldn’t choose any other career it doesn’t fulfil all my needs and I suspect it’s the case for most people.

So, I try to get my fix of other things I love in other ways, for example, writing this blog, seeing new places, and doing voluntary work with young people (although currently looking for a new project), these are the things I love. 

I have friends with everyday jobs who sing in bands on an evening, another who spends a few hours a week working voluntarily with RSPCA, a few who run marathons (crazy in my opinion), work with homeless people, the list is endless.  The thing they have in common is that they’ve all found something that they are passionate about.  Whatever the passion whether it be climbing mountains, sailing oceans or just taking time out to read a book with a good glass of wine, take time to do it and your life will be more fulfilling.

When it comes to friendship get rid of the spreaders of doom
Sometimes we end up in friendships, which start off great, like a great romance but platonic, and like many of the great romances things can go wrong. One person becomes to needy, bossy, whiny, spending time with them leaves you feel deflated and a bit crap.  Generally they are what I refer to as zappers or spreaders of doom.  If this is your friendship then I say run, run for your life. 

Now I’m not saying ditch your mates when the going gets tough (we all have times where were a bit down, grumpy, teary), but for some people this is just the way they always are. 

Example one, cheery friend: “Shall we go to that festival our favourite band are playing it’ll be great?” doom spreader “I’d rather not it’ll probably rain or they’ll cancel”

Example two: cheery friend “Let’s go to that party, that guy you like will be there” doom spreader “He’ll never fancy me what’s the point”

There are some times when the doom spreader is happy, usually when you’ve had a row with your boyfriend, lost your job or your cat as died and they want all the gory details.  They seem to thrive off your misery like some blood sucking vampire.  Trust me anybody who’s company you leave feeling deflated, tired and emotionally drained needs to go as no good can come of it.

You’ll get your heart broken and break hearts to
Unfortunately this one is pretty much a given and for most people it will happen more than once.   Everybody gets his or her heartbroken; everybody has that moment where a break up is so bad that you think you’ll never recover.   I once broke up with a boyfriend and couldn’t eat or sleep for about 4 months, all I could do was cry, drink alcohol and cry some more.  I swore I would never get my heartbroken again, fast forward a few years and I’m crying and drinking again and so the cycle continues.

On the other side most of us will have a time where we the heartbreaker who leaves with no real reason or who says the cruel thing just because we know it’ll hurt.  This is how life goes.

The good news no matter what we might be told not many people actually die of a broken heart, most of us  survive heartbreak, can one day laugh about some of the tales of woe and will hopefully go on to meet somebody who makes us question what all the tears previously were about.

If my younger self decided not to take any of this advice I’d just say go and buy a copy of Baz Luhrmann Everybody’s Free (to wear sunscreen).

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

The Patron St of Lost Causes

Of late I have been giving some thought to the problems with my love life and it has only just dawned on me what the problem is…I go for totally dysfunctional men. I am sure that there are no gasps of shock from people who have known me for a long time, who have been there through the ups and downs of commitment-phobes, borderline alcoholics, cheaters, people who are already attached and crazy stalker types (to name a few), but for me this has been something of a revelation.

Having given it a lot of thought I realise that I have been afflicted with this condition from a very, and I mean very early age. At the age of just five mum and I spent Christmas in Florida with a rock band (yes, that alone sounds quite dysfunctional). Now being quite an earlier starter, at five I already had a crush on one of the band members. Not only did I spend my days telling the said crush of my love and how beautiful he was, but I could already pick a dysfunctional lost cause out in a room full of men (and given the said band were a full on 80’s, leather trouser wearing, wild hair type rock band - think Bon Jovi and Europe stylee), that‘s no mean feat but I did it. My crush was approximately 26 years old and already on wife/divorce number three. Unfortunately I haven’t grown out of this, on my living room wall I have a framed picture of Jim Morrison (a man who was undoubtedly beautiful and wild but he did die in a bath, an alcoholic with a serious drug problem).

The thing that made me take stock and realise that I am playing a key role in in this exciting but disastrous love life of mine is that the past couple of months have been a dating frenzy and a pattern has arisen. Emotionally unavailable/functioning alcoholic/inability to commit? Men with any of these criteria have been pretty much guaranteed a second date, if they’ve managed to be all three and possibly more I’m practically planning the wedding.

On the other hand I have also been on dates with some men that my mother would seriously approve of self sufficient/no major emotional issues/ability to commit to something more than three days in advance and what’s my response? ‘Run Becky run’ and I’m away faster than Forrest Gump.

As I am writing this I am laughing but in reality it is a bit of a problem and the problem lies at my door. As much as people might say ‘it’s not you it’s them’ I have finally taken responsibility and am prepared to stand up and say “hello I am Becky and I am a commitment-phobe”. Allegedly admitting it is the first step to recovery.

I remember reading in a glossy women’s magazine that if you fear commitment you subconsciously give out signals to men who won’t/can’t commit. This explains recent attractions to men who live anywhere but the West Midlands. I have decided that it is my fear of the mundane that causes this. The deep down fear that one day like the majority of other people in the world my evenings will be spent sitting on a sofa, eating dinner, watching soaps and arguing over washing-up. Hey I know that’s normal every day life, but if as a five year old your spend your time on tour buses with rock bands how are you ever meant to want the mundane?

So I am going to try and learn from the friends I see who are happy, that funny, caring ,willing to commit men can be just as much fun as the wild ones. From this point forward maybe looking dreamily at my Jim Morrison picture thinking of what could have been if I had been born in another era is as wild as it’s going to get. Well maybe after just one weekend with a crazy, fickle, wild man I met at the weekend who lives south of the Watford Gap.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

The bad patient

I am writing this from my sick bed, well actually I am writing it from my sofa after watching Loose Women ( painful) and taking a variety of medicines, because it's official. I am poorly. I went to the doctors this morning and was told I had a severe case of Bronchitis, was prescribed a double dose of antibiotics and told to rest. What's the big deal you might think, but the big deal is, I don't do illness, it's just not on my radar.

For example I have been poorly for two weeks from losing my voice to having hot sweats and coughing like I smoke 40 a day, but still I went out twice at the weekend, saw my personal trainer and just generally tried to carry on as normal. Why I ask myself, why not just accept the illness and give into it?

It might be because as a kid my mother wasn't particularly sympathetic to illness (as in 'for God's sake Rebecca it's only mumps stop moaning'). Maybe it's because I rarely get ill (this is my second day off sick in four years). Possibly it's because I see illness as weakness (don't ask why, but when people have coughs and colds a little voice in my head tells them to 'man up'), also I am not very patient with sick people. I am not even patient with myself when I am sick, already after only a few hours off work I am thinking 'for goodness sake Beck get a grip a trip to the gym wouldn't hurt that much.' Don't worry there will be no gym activity my trainer was one of the people to tell me to get to a doctor.

As it stands I am not sure what to do with myself. Granted I don't feel fantastic but I am not sure how long I can lie on the sofa dosing and watching crap TV. Is this normal? I know there are people who take a sick day at the drop of a hat but I am not one of them. It's not even like I do it to be a martyr, I think it's just that sometimes I take my optimism too far, believing that if I just act like I'm not sick it won't happen, result epic fail.

What's worse is my motivation to go to the doctors didn't come from

1.The fact it hurts to breathe and I ache all over
2.My work colleagues getting sick and tired of my TB like cough
3.A couple of weeks of nagging from friends that I am not normally ill for such lengths of time

No, my motivation to get better has come in the guise of a very hot, funny, man who has said he will take me on a date on Thursday night if I get better. What sort of shallow person does this make me, if the only thing to inspire me on the road to wellness is the thought of drinks with a hot man and the fact that I can't have a hacking cough and red nose for such a date?

Oh well I am going to try and relax and use my road to recovery as time to sleep and decide what outfit to wear to dazzle the hottie when I am better.

Monday, 14 February 2011

The joy of getting older

Well it is the eve of my 33rd birthday and in true me style I am beside myself with excitement. I am sitting in my living room with presents and cards around the place and it is taking all the self-control I have not to just rip all the gorgeous shiny wrapping paper off. As anybody who knows me will know, I absolutely love birthdays. I love getting presents, I like seeing lots of people that I love, I enjoy getting spoilt, actually the list of things I enjoy about birthdays is endless.

Plus I have come to the conclusion that I am loving my 30's. I enjoyed my 20's but feel that my 30's have definitely been the best years so far. Things I love about being in my 30's:

1.I have learnt to say no

In my 20's I spent a lot of time doing things that I didn't really want to do. Going to places I didn't want to go and just generally pleasing other people more than I pleased myself. I've found that in my 30's I do this much less and for all my worries previously nobody has actually fallen out with me about it and I find that the things I do do I get much more enjoyment from.

2.Less body issues

In my teens and 20's I had a whole world of body issues. Bum and boobs too big, hair too wild, worrying that I had a bump in my nose (I still think this exists but nobody else can see it). In my 30's yes my boobs and bum are still too big (in my opinion) but I accept it, go to the gym and work on them but most importantly I've learnt to live with them and even like them a bit.

3.Knowing what I want

In my 20's I went out with some real unsavoury characters. In my 30's, when it comes to love I am not as willing to negotiate. I know what I want and have realised that in love some things aren't negotiable such as being honest, faithful, kind and having the ability to make me laugh. Areas that I am now willing to negotiate on that I wasn't in the past are, it's not important for a man to be the hottest man in the room especially if has nothing to say and that a six pack is nice but it won't make you laugh until you cry.

4.Not minding staying in on a Saturday

I used to hate staying in on a Saturday night. I had a constant feeling that I was missing something, after years of wasting money on rubbish nights out, I am now happy to just go out when I want to and if Saturday night is sometimes X-Factor, pizza and ice-cream then that's just fine with me.

5.Not caring what people think so much
I used to want everybody to like me, whether it was people I worked with, friends of friends, people's parents absolutely everyone. I also used to worry what people thought about the choices I made whether it be about men I chose to date or clothes I chose to wear. In my 30's I can honestly say I don't really care. Yes, I still want people to like me but, I'm not overly bothered if they don't and I have realised that I don't need everybody to agree with every decision I make, in fact I usually don't even need too much of their input as I do exactly what I want anyway.

So on that note I am going to sign off and look forward to celebrating being 33 and for all those people who don't like birthdays as they don't like getting older just relax and enjoy all the things you learn with each year. Plus, if you think about it, as much as you might not like getting older the alternative is a whole lot worse.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Things I'll Never Do

This is a blog that I may regret writing, as once I commit in print my list of things I promise to never do there is no escaping it, but hey ho in for a penny in for a pound and all that so here we go.

Cosmetic Surgery

In a world obsessed with celebrity, Botox and being size zero I feel that I might be alone in this one, but I will never succumb to cosmetic surgery. Not because I think I'm all that and a bag of chips, but because I believe that you should grow old gracefully and be happy with what you've got and if you don't like it change your hair, make-up and get to the gym. I'm aware that I am all boobs, bum and teeth (as my mum once not so kindly put it), but at least they're all mine, I don't want anybody injecting anything into my face, or sucking fat out of my thighs (no matter how much I want them to be thinner). So what if I get wrinkles at least you'll always be able to tell whether I'm happy/sad/angry etc and to quote The Black Eyed Peas I'm happy with all my “lady lumps”.

Stop Eating Chocolate

Other than at Lent when I give up chocolate each year (just because I am a secret sadist rather than religious). I will never, ever in a million years give up chocolate. I don't eat it every day but I do enjoy the taste of it's creamy goodness. Chocolate may be guilty of assisting with the lady lumps mentioned above but it has also helped me through break-ups, arguments, bad days at work, hangovers and much more, which is why I will never let it go.

Get a Capsule Wardrobe

Gok keeps on about it, the magazines keep on about it but if I am honest I don't want a bloody capsule wardrobe. From what I can gather a capsule wardrobe just requires a few key items that you can mix and match into numerous outfits. Where's the fun in that? I don't want to own only a few items of clothing. I like having more clothes than are necessary, I love that sometimes I find items in my wardrobe that I haven't seen for years (it feels like having something new without shopping). I have no desire to own only three pairs of shoes, why would I want only three pairs of shoes when I can have three pairs that are practically the same but in different colours? The fashion mags and Gok can carry on bleating about the capsule wardrobe but I don't think it'll ever catch on.

Ditch My Mates For A Bloke

I never have and never will be one of those people that ditches there mates for a bloke. I personally think there is room for both and anybody who does ditch their mates for a man is making a big mistake. I think we all know that mates stick around forever whereas blokes come and go (well unless your one of those smug people sitting reading this while snuggled up on the sofa with your first love from when you were 15).

All I need to say to prove my point is where is my first love from circa 1993? Who knows probably married with kids. Where are Helen Elmore (1985) Nina Cannon and Jodie Owen (1989) et al? That's right, still here. I rest my case.

And finally I will never stop living by the rule If I Can't Remember It, It didn't Happen

This one has got me out of loads of trouble. Seriously the things you can get away with due to alcohol induced amnesia are amazing, saying inappropriate things, decelerations of love, arguments (about absolute rubbish), getting into situations with unsuitable men etc. A whole array of misdemeanour's can be erased. The only thing I need to learn to do now is encourage everybody else to not be able to remember these things also.