Being used a Catfishing bait

So weird one I thought I would share with you. A guy got in touch with me to let me know someone has been using my publicly available images to Catfish people, including him.

What the heck is Catfishing?

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So I prefer the first definition, but the one about luring people into a relationship by creating a fictional online character seems to be what’s gone on.

Now then. My initial reaction was “I don’t believe you” so I asked for links and how long it had been going on. He said it’s all been taken down and it had been going on for quite a while. So I am now left a little perplexed.

Was someone using my photos? Do I need to do anything about it now? I don’t know. I enjoy using instagram, not only for browsing and seeing what other people have been up to, but also to share and that includes my own face. I feel bad if anyone has been hurt, but it wasn’t my actions or choices that caused that hurt.

So for now I am going to carry on sharing as I share, and just politely ask: please don’t use my face. It’s mine, I grew it myself (with the genetic help of my parents), and I don’t like to think that it is being used in a dishonest way, because I am not dishonest.

Stay safe out there, on and off line.

Redundancy

It really is about as much fun as it sounds. Once I was around my third week of job hunting and spending the majority of my days motivating myself I had gained a little more understanding of how hard it can be.

It’s a big change to go from seeing your little team of colleagues everyday, and having a set routine, to having the freedom and challenge to plan it all.

I was very fortunate so as my family and in-laws were super lovely in keeping me busy with weekly invitations to do things, such as visiting the South of England Show.

I knew I would find it harder to find work than my developer colleagues. Their skills are in demand in Brighton and all three found new jobs in the first few weeks. The Admin side of things is much more competitive, as there are lots of talented people with transferable admin skills. I was sensible and spent each day checking jobs boards for roles that interest me, I also accepted all advice and suggestions made to me. I wanted to be in work. I wanted to be useful.

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Upside of being frugal and having free time: enjoying more of Brighton’s parks.

One of the the things that I had found frustrating was the suggestion to ‘sign on’. I didn’t want to claim Job Seekers Allowance if I could possibly help it, I had some savings – yes they were for a trip we are planning for next spring to the USA but that could wait. I feel that benefits should go to those who need them, not people like me, who should have been able to manage. But my savings were small, and new, and not the recommended three months worth of bills and mortgage payments I’ve now read as the right amount to always have set aside.

Past Laura was frivolous with money and I am quite frustrated with her.

Future financial plans include learning from my past mistake and setting aside a emergency fund, to help if I or Jack is ever in a similar position again, though I really hope not!

The good news is: I have just started a new job at Liquid Light, so wish me luck!

What advice would I give to you, myself or anyone who wants some:

  • Have some savings for emergencies
  • Try to set yourself a routine – you will get back to work and you don’t want it to be a shock.
  • Set yourself goals for applications, even if it’s just one or two per day.
  • Vary your search terms and read the job details thoroughly, there might be exactly what you are looking for, just under a slightly different job title.
  • Accept help: if someone wants to recommend you, say yes. If someone wants to pass on your details, say yes.
  • Know your rights and apply for what you are owed as soon as possible.

The process of getting redundancy compensation via National Insurance in hindsight was quite quick, but waiting for the initial payment was painful and I am glad I had my savings to fall back on.

Have you been unemployed before? How did you find it? What advice would you give someone?

Relationship Rules

That sounds like not much fun does it! I’ll start with this: I can’t comment for anyone else because I am just one person with my own experiences.

Later this year we will be approaching 8 years together, and although we are strictly speaking “newlyweds”, we aren’t in the traditional sense. We already lived together and had our routine kinda down. Life  easily gets in the way of spending quality time together and sometimes we can find ourselves in ruts, where we don’t go out much, romance is wilting and being in control of the tv remote is important (to me).

Last year I read about a couple who had a 2-2-2 rule:

  • Every 2 weeks, they go out for the evening.
  • Every 2 months, they go out for the weekend.
  • Every 2 years, they go out for a week.

I really liked the idea of try to make more of a priority of spending time together. Now we aren’t quite in the same double digit set of guidelines, but I liked the idea and we try to:

  1. Have a planned date every two weeks – this is a walk together, or dinner out or home, going to the cinema, or just out for a couple of drinks.
  2. Put technology on the back burner on dates, and in the evenings in together.
  3. Have a weekend away every 6 months
  4. A week away every year.

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I can’t say that I have asked friends what they do, because everyone is different and I so would not want to imply that anyone else needs rules like these. But they help us out.

Is there anything you try to do as a rule in your relationship?

Valentine’s Day – When you are married

So this year is a little different for Jack and I. It’s our first Valentine’s day as a married couple. And Jack surprised me back in January by booking a night for us in Rye. I counter surprised by booking a table at a steakhouse for dinner out in Rye. (Yes, maybe this does make a me a bad vegetarian, but I think it makes me a thoughtful wife.)

Not the card I have chosen, but a super appropriate one nonetheless - from Paperchase.
Not the card I have chosen, but a super appropriate one nonetheless – from Paperchase.

Back in the day, we’ve muddled through with valentine’s gifts, and flowers and “romantic” dinners out. What I’ve learnt over the past 7 valentine’s days together is that those bits aren’t the important part. Yes – I do bloody love roses, and I will always dream of being surprised with a beautiful hand-tied bouquet of pinks and reds. But does it mean quite so much when there is already the expectation of those type of gifts… maybe not.

Valentine’s Day aims these days:

  1. Spend time together, doing or visiting something new.
  2. Express my unending affection for the awesome man I married.

Keeping it simple really.

What are your plans and/or thoughts about the day?

Mooncup

This isn’t something I necessarily thought I would blog about as a topic. Periods don’t really enter the subject matter I read about, let alone consider writing about. But recently I have had conversations with friends discussing the possible pros and cons of such a device. And then last week I watched a couple of YouTube reviews and thought I have to try one of these things.

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The environmental impact disposable sanity products have and the cost saving for me were key factors in trying one. Yes  – the upfront cost of the cup is more than I would normally consider spending. But in just three months, I would have spent that on tampons and pads that litter the earth.

So what did I make of it?

  • It was bigger than I thought it would be
  • The pamphlet was super helpful and informative – you will want to read it before cracking on with using it.
  • I couldn’t feel it – so based on that it was very comfortable.
  • I worked out and had no issues at all.

Would I recommend it? Yes! Can I see myself going back to using other sanitary products? Nope.

A couple of facts I have stolen from the Mooncup site:

  • One woman will use over 11,000 disposable sanitary products in a lifetime
  • 22 tampons or towels are used, on average, each period
  • In the UK alone, 4.3 billion disposable sanitary products are used every year

There are other menstrual cups you can try, Mooncup is just one of many brands available and I just went with that as it’s stocked in Boots and was recommended by a friend. Just a few of them are:

In case anyone wonders, I wasn’t asked by anyone to review this product and my review is my honest opinion. This post is simply to encourage women to consider the other options out there.

New Year and a new resolve

Firstly: Happy New Year! I hope 2016 brings you happiness.

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I never used to attempt to set myself resolutions for new years. I assumed I would fail, so why bother starting. But really I’d been doing myself a deservice – surely it’s better to try and fail than not try at all.

With that in mind my 2016 resolutions are:

No Added Sugar

This one is definitely going to be a challenge for me. I am a chocolate addict and at the end of last year all my pre wedding good behaviour and weight loss had been undone by this.  Sugar is addictive folks – you don’t need me to tell you that! I’ve been reading a bit of Jack’s copy of I Quit Sugar for Life by Sarah Wilson, and she talks a bit about the science behind why we can’t / don’t feel the need to stop eating it. Our brain’s have “that’s enough” switches for carbs, protein and fats, but not sugar.

Start Each Day with a Glass of Water

Simple – but writing this post this morning has served as a reminder that I nearly missed this today, and it’s only day two!

Visit the Gym Three Times a Week

Again nothing groundbreaking here. I’ve been a gym member since joining with my encouraging old housemates back in 2012, and although I have continued to attend it has been with varying enthusiasm. I wouldn’t say there has been more than a 3 week period were I haven’t been but there definitely have been ups and downs and I hope to make 2016 more consistently up.

Not planning to be strict – 20 mins, or an hour sessions – they will all count.

Mind My Money

Being more conscious of how I am spending my money is the aim of this one. I have a bad habit of just popping in to H&M or grabbing a new piece of make-up from Boots rather than paying too much attention to a budget. No more – treating myself this year, will hopefully be about seeing my savings grow, rather than dipping into them.

What resolutions, if any, are you making this year? And do you have any advice on how I can stick with mine?

Let’s talk about smears

Yes. I do mean smear tests.

I know. No one *wants* to talk, think or have smear tests. They aren’t an enjoyable. I had my first when prompted by a letter from the NHS a couple of weeks before my 25th birthday (a little while ago now). And I was super nervous about what it entailed so I went and met with the nurse at my local surgery and she talked me through it, showed me the little brush thing they use and it really put me at ease.

In case you didn’t know: if you are between the ages of 25 and 49 you should be having a smear test every 3 years. Lucky me that means this year – Happy 28th Birthday Laura!Screen Shot 2015-08-27 at 11.50.32 am

There are the obvious reasons I won’t be delaying on booking my test in:

  • Most women’s test results show that everything is normal, but for around 1 in 20 women the test shows some abnormal changes in the cells of the cervix.
  • It’s possible for women of all ages to develop cervical cancer.
  • It’s estimated that early detection and treatment can prevent up to 75% of cervical cancers.

When I was 18 years old a friend of my sister and mine passed away. I will never forget her – she was awesome, like the best person. And it would seem so disrespectful if I were to not pay attention to the fact cancer can strike younger than you think.

I have struggled with the fact I know lots of my female friends haven’t had smears yet, even though they are old enough – so if you are too please do yourself a favour and get one done.

If you want anymore information about the test check out information on Cervical Screening here.

Gratitude

I struggle with this one. I am such a lucky person: I have my health, my family, a lovely home and the list goes on but in life I am a secret or not so secret ‘glass half empty and why has someone else got more in theirs’ type person.

I recently read a couple of articles about keeping a gratitude journal and I think I might give it a go. I do have a diary. I usually only write in it when things are really getting me down so it doesn’t make for cheery reading and I like the idea of turning that around. Making my focus the good things that are going on.

Paperchase Notebook

I have a journal on the go from Paperchase from a few years back but I am currently coveting this lovely fabric floral one.

Anyway – not the point – I need no more stationary! I’ll let you know how I get on. Is there anything that you do regularly to try to be more positive?

Changing names – what’s the deal?

Screen Shot 2015-08-05 at 9.06.17 pmI’m not keeping my surname. That is in some female circles a surprising statement apparently, or so I have discovered in the past year. And more recently I have heard from a chap: “My girlfriend’s a bit of a feminist, so she’d want to keep her name.” To clarify: I am still a feminist – I believe in gender equality and choosing to change my name hasn’t changed that. Learn some sense people.

Not to rant but…

Feminist: Someone who supports feminism.

Feminism: the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes.

You can totes be pro equality of the sexes and choose to be a Mrs. It is freaking 2015.

Now where was I? The time has come: we’re back from honeymoon, and have no immediate travel plans. But I am now posed with a new set of troubles: what needs changing and how on earth do I go about it!? (and what is it going to cost me…)

Here’s my list and I hope to get back to you with answers shortly and chat about how amazingly easy it all was…

  • Driving License
  • Passport
  • Bank accounts
  • Mortgage
  • Doctors and Dentist
  • Tax office – bet that one is fun!
  • Blood donation
  • All insurance – house, life, car, personal
  • Phone contracts
  • Email addresses.

It’s definitely safe to say: changing it on social media is the fun easy one and the items above are probably going to make my head ache.

The “What NOT to do” of Hair Care

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14 years young.

One quick look through my profile photos on Facebook and it’s clear that I am an indecisive creature (yes, they are all me). I have spent my life to date torturing my hair with a variety of colours. Do I want to be Blonde or Brunette? Do I want to home-dye or pay for salon prices?

My hair is now in a state where, in the run up to one of the most photographed days of my whole life I wish I had treated it better and there is little I can do to miracle it better now.

So my list of things not to do:

 

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15 years old. Red.

Use HomeDye for going any shade – yes, when you go a darker shade it does start glossy but even the dark shades have damaging chemicals in them.

 

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16 going on 17. Dark Brown.

Change your colour or cut on a whim – I have so often seen someone with light hair when mine has been dark and wanted a change or seen someone rocking a blunt cut fringe and thought “That could be me” – No, it couldn’t. I have naturally wavy hair that with the slightest damp or humidity that fringe goes crazy and I begin the task of growing it out – again!

 

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19 years old. Blonde! My sister helping me with a home highlight cap.

Use a hairdresser because they are cheap – like unless you are on a seriously tight budget, or not fussed what your head looks like it’s worth investing in the thing you wear out every day of your life.

 

 

 

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21 years old. Brown. Box dye fades.

Think that your natural hair colour could be better – let me tell you: It’s that colour for a reason, the shade is going to suit your natural colouring.

 

 

 

25 years old. Blonde - professional but dry!
25 years old. Blonde – professional but dry!

Not being bothered about Heat Protection. Heat damage is real everyone. I have the damaged, split ends to prove it.

What I wish I’d done from the start (before Sun-In aged 12!):

 

 

26 years old. More blonde!
26 years old. More blonde!

Loved my natural colour. It’s mousy but it’s mine. And Free! I calculated how much I spent on having my hair coloured over the years and it was four digits.

 

 

 

26 years old. Brunette and long. Tried to get it dyed to match natural roots: failed!
26 years old. Brunette and long. Tried to get it dyed to match natural roots: failed!

Got hair cuts to maintain hair hair rather than change style – I’ve flitted around with growing it long, cutting it short, getting layers and then growing them out that I’ve never had one thing long enough to know if I like it!

 

These days I trust my locks with the lovely team at Simon Webster Hair. I have given them a bit of a nightmare task, but each time I leave it looks much, much improved!

I’m now rocking a mixture of all of the colours you can imagine, mixed in with the odd grey hair (I’m too young). I’ve resolved to not dye my hair again after our wedding in July to see how it looks before the greys take over I am never know how my mousey brown coulda/woulda/shoulda looked.

 

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