Every so often, I like to take a look at my blog analytics to see what kind of things people typed into Google which brought them to this site. I mean, most of the time it’s just people searching for magnetic eyelash reviews, or wondering what to wear with a midi skirt or something, and I’ll have a brief moment of confusion, where I think, “Wait: why would that question lead someone to ME?” before remembering that, once upon a time I used to wear clothes other than jeans, and sometimes even spend more than two minutes on my makeup.
Brief moment of silence, please, for The Old Me: may she rest in peace.
Anyway! As I said, most of the questions that bring people to the site are about eyelashes or midi skirts, but there are a few others that crop up, too, and today I thought I’d answer some of them. Mostly because – and I’ll just be honest here – Max has started waking up an hour earlier than he usually does this week, and I’m much too tired to think up a proper topic for a blog post. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe never. In the meantime, here are some of the questions you (Or someone like you…) typed into Google…
“If I freak out on a chair lift, could I enjoy the London eye?”
OK, so, first of all, I have never been on a chair lift (And I can say with some confidence that I never WILL…), so I can’t give you a direct comparison here. I have, however, been on the London Eye, so I CAN say this to you: it is scary. Or, at least, I found it scary. Most people will disagree with this. Most people will tell you that The London Eye moves so slowly that it cannot possibly scare you. They will point out that the “pod” things are so large that, why, it’s just like sitting in your living room at home!
These people are lying to you, though.
I, on the other hand, will tell you the truth, and the truth is that this is a gigantic wheel with little glass pods dangling from it, and while it IS certainly true to say that it moves so slowly that you’ll sometimes wonder if it’s broken down, it’s also true to say that, when your pod reaches the very top of the wheel, and you’re perched precariously on top of it, you might well find yourself wondering if you’re possibly about to die.
Or that’s how I felt, anyway.
I mean, I should probably point out here that I’m a little bit scared of heights. And everything else, basically: so going on the London Eye wasn’t really my best idea, all things considered. If you’re a relatively normal person, however, you probably won’t find it remotely scary. Most people don’t, after all, so I guess MY question to YOU is, “How normal ARE you? Like, on a scale of 1 to Forever Amber?” Because, although I have no way to compare the two, my guess is that the London Eye is nowhere near as scary as a chair lift would be, and, on the plus side, you do get spectacular views of London from it. To answer your question, then… er, I can’t really answer your question, sorry: you’re just going to have to try it and see. Let’s pretend this question didn’t happen, then, and move onto the next one… (Oh yeah: on the off-chance that you DO think I can be of more help to you, you’ll find a full post about my experience on the London Eye here…)
“How to make an effort with your appearance when you have children?”
Dammit! I was hoping for one I could actually answer this time!
In all honesty, I’ve basically been a complete wreck of a person since I had Max, and every single day takes me one step further away from being someone who looks like they have made even the slightest effort with their appearance. With that said, I do have a few suggestions for you, and here they are:
01. Get your eyebrows done. Mine are microbladed, but if you don’t want to take it quite that far, even just getting them waxed/dyed/otherwise licked into shaped will instantly make you look a little more “groomed”, even when you’ve just rolled out of bed and picked your clothes off the floor.
02. Ditto eyelashes: get them dyed, lifted, curled, whatever – it’ll save you the effort of having to wear mascara, while simultaneously making you look more awake. Clever, no?
03. Create a capsule wardrobe. I’m not saying you have to throw all of your other clothes away, but when you don’t have a lot of time in the morning to carefully select outfits, having a small number of high-quality basics that mix and match effortlessly will make your life easier, and your appearance that little bit more polished.
04. Red lipstick. It’s the cure to almost every single sartorial problem, I promise. Also, it makes you look like you’ve made an effort, even if it’s the only makeup you’ve worn all week. Try it.
05. Read this post on how to look like you’ve made an effort when you’re secretly covered in spit-up for some more suggestions.
“C-section for mental health reasons what to tell people””
This one made me a feel a bit sad, to be honest. I really want to be able to answer it by saying that if you’re having a c-section for mental health reasons, then you should simply tell people, “I’m having a c-section for mental health reasons,” but, of course, that would be completely ignoring the fact that there’s a whole lot of judgement out there for women who actively choose to have a c-section, and I’m guessing that’s what you’re worried about here, right?
Trust me: I get it. When I started considering having an elective c-section, Terry actually suggested that, if I went ahead with it, I simply tell people that I was having to have one through medical necessity. He didn’t say this because he was ashamed of the real reason, or because he didn’t agree with it, I hasten to add: Terry’s position right from the start was that it was 100% my decision, and that he would support me either way, but he also made it clear that he personally believed a c-section would be the least traumatic option for me. No, he suggested we tell people I HAD to have a c-section, purely because he was aware how judgemental people can be about this topic, and he just didn’t want me to have to deal with that, at a time when I was already struggling with extreme levels of anxiety.
I understood where he was coming from, but I, on the other hand, felt strongly that I wanted to be honest about my experience: partly because I truly believe that every woman has the right to choose the type of birth they believe is best for them (Within reason, obviously: I’m not advocating going against medical advice, or anything like that…), but also because I knew there were lots of other women out there typing questions like this one into Google, and hoping to connect with someone who understands how they feel.
So, to whoever wrote this: I understand how you feel. And while I can’t promise you that no one will judge you if you tell the truth about your reasons for having a c-section, I CAN tell you that I got (almost) nothing but support when I was honest about mine. Seriously, I’ve had hundreds of comments on this topic since I started writing about it, and only one was even remotely negative. ONE. Out of hundreds. I suspect there were at least a couple of people in real life who didn’t understand/approve, but, luckily for me, those people were kind enough to keep their opinions to themselves. And, of course, 18 months later, literally NO ONE cares how my baby was born, or why. So there’s that.
Ultimately, it’s totally up to you what you decide to tell people: my personal feeling is that, if more people were honest about their feelings on this subject, there might be less judgement about it, but I also know that it’s an incredibly personal decision, and one that you shouldn’t feel you have to justify to anyone, so, “It’s private, and I’d prefer not to get into it,” is one way to shut down any unwelcome questions.
Alternatively, simply direct them to this post, and I’ll answer the awkward questions so you don’t have to.
“As a child I was frightened of my house burning down”
OK, this one isn’t actually a question, obviously, but I’m including it anyway, because, DUDE, ME TOO. I was so scared my house would burn down that I sometimes used to force myself to stay awake until my parents had gone to bed, then creep to the top of the stairs, so I could sniff the air to make sure there were no traces of smoke in it. Should we maybe start a club or something for Survivors of Anxious Childhoods? Did you also by any chance spend a lot of time worrying about Guerrilla Warfare, and wondering why other people weren’t more concerned about the fact that gorillas had somehow taken up arms, and were waging war against humans? How did they do it? Who taught them? Why were there never any photos of the gun-toting apes to accompany the news reports about them? SO MANY QUESTIONS.
Everyone in my family was glad when I finally grew up, needless to say.
See also: 4 things I was scared of as a child
“Is it ok to say someone has pale skin?”
I mean, it depends on the context, really. If there’s some factual reason to say someone has pale skin – like, I dunno, you’re buying them makeup, or something? – then yes, it would be perfectly acceptable to make that observation.
If, on the other hand, you’re basically just walking up to people, all, “OMG, UR SKIN IS, LIKE, SO PALE!” then that would obviously make you a bit of an asshole, and you should probably watch that, tbh.
“Is it weird that my friends are unfollowing me on Instagram?”
Not really, no: you are SUPER annoying on Instagram, seriously.
OK, I’m joking. It’s still not all that weird, though, because, no matter how much you love someone in real life, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to want to follow them on Instagram. I know a lot of people feel that they’re morally obliged to follow the people they know, but if the people you know are just relentlessly spamming their grid with something you’re not interested in, what are you supposed to do?
I’m thinking here about people who only ever post photos of a really specific hobby, say, that you don’t happen to share. Or who just post cheesy “inspirational” quotes or – even worse – “memories” of cheesy inspirational quotes that they posted this time last year, and have just been reminded of by a bot. (Yes, I know that’s Facebook I’m talking about here: I just really wanted to complain about it, OK?). No matter how much I like the person, I still don’t want to see that kind of thing all the time, and it kind of ruins my enjoyment of the platform (I rarely use Facebook, for instance, because of all of the absolute rubbish people share over there all the time: sorry, family and friends – I love you, but Snopes.com is your friend…), so, in this case, an unfollow wouldn’t be any personal reflection on them, it would simply be an indication that I don’t want to have to keep scrolling past photos of their motorbike, or whatever it is that they’ve dedicated their Instagram to.
(I’m obviously lying here: I would NEVER unfollow a real life friend on Insta, because then they might hate me. I’m not remotely offended when someone chooses to unfollow me over there, though: I AM super-annoying on Insta, and I know it…)
“What can we learn from Five on a Treasure Island”
Can I just quickly say how much I LOVE this question? Whoever you are, mystery Google-searcher, I feel like we could definitely be friends: you, me, and the person who was worried their house would burn down. And, of course, there is so much we can learn from Five on a Treasure Island. SO MUCH. We can learn, for instance, that:
01. Girls can totally be just as good as boys, but only if they are exactly like boys, and, also, kind of stroppy and weird all the time.
02. Dogs can climb rope ladders. Because how else did Timmy get out of the well?
03. It’s not remotely bad parenting to allow four young children to go off and live on a deserted island by themselves, as long as they’re accompanied by a dog, and have a steady supply of potted meat sandwiches.
04. Even if you have enough gold ingots to fill an entire room, you will still be quite poor.
05. Even if you are quite poor, you should still be able to employ your own private cook, and go to boarding school, because who doesn’t?
This, however, is all just off the top of my head, as it’s been a while since I read this particular book (I’m obviously fighting the impulse not to go and read it right now, though…), but if you want some more general observations about the things we can learn from the Famous Five, you’ll find them here.
As this post has now rambled on for way longer than I intended it to, meanwhile, I’m going to call it quits here. If you have any other burning questions you’d like me to answer, though, feel free to leave them in the comments box, and I’ll do my very best.* (Or, if you’d rather ask on Insta, there’s a question sticker on my Stories today, too…)
(*Assuming it’s stuff I actually KNOW about, that is. I’ve noticed that any time I post the ‘questions’ sticker on Insta, I tend to get a lot of people posting things like, “I know you’re a pale-skinned ginger, Amber, but can you recommend a really good foundation for dark skin?” Or questions about cooking/ darts / the stock market/ other things I have never shown even the slightest interest in, and have no idea why people think I’ll have some inside knowledge about them…)
(*I have never been asked about either darts or the stock market, btw. I have been asked about cooking, and for product recommendations for skin/hair types that are totally different from mine, though, and while I’m flattered that people think I will know about these things, I just… don’t. Sorry. I DO know quite a lot about The Famous Five, though, so there’s that.)