The Streets Where I Live….

If you happen to pass this way on a regular basis, you’ll know that I live in the South of France having uped-sticks from Blighty a couple of years ago. After I lost my husband I knew that I needed to make a drastic change or I would risk spending the rest of my life existing, not living and so I found an apartment, packed up my stuff, booked the flights and the rest is history. I absolutely LOVE it here and so I wanted to give you a little tour:

If you happen to pass this way on a regular basis, you’ll know that I live in the South of France having uped-sticks from Blighty a couple of years ago. After I lost my husband I knew that I needed to make a drastic change or I would risk spending the rest of my life existing, not living and so I found an apartment, packed up my stuff, booked the flights and the rest is history. I absolutely LOVE it here and so I wanted to give you a little tour:

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This was the view from my first apartment; I was still spending much of my time in floods of tears but it felt easier to be miserable here (if you know what I mean)

 

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I’d been here a few months and was lucky enough to have made some friends who took me white water rafting for the first time (awesome experience!). This was at the end of the day – we went up into the mountains and Oh My God!!!!
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Lunch by the Sea. Why am I showing you this? It was December, a month when back in the UK, I would spend freezing my arse off and moaning incessantly about the weather
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So this was me after the whole blonde episode sitting rather high up and overlooking the South coasts of both France and Italy. Can you notice the slight tension radiating from my entire being? I don’t like heights!
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This is the view I have now: sea. I never grow tired of the sunsets or sunrises………
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This was taken from the Villa Ephrussi De Rothschild in St Jean Cap Ferrat which is about 30 minutes drive from where I live; the views were stunning!
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The tiny narrow streets of the beautiful Eze Village; real old world charm
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Finally, overlooking my beloved Monaco, is my best friend without whom I probably wouldn’t have done or seen half of what I have since I arrived here. I’m so thankful to him and all my other friends for showing me that I can LIVE and not just exist.

 

I hope that you’re as happy in the streets where you live as I am in mine…..

Lisa x

What’s Wrong with Porn?

We know that, during the course of our 45 minutes (or 15 or 5), we are unlikely to arrange ourselves into 20 different positions and we know that if we were heavy breathing for the entire time, as seems to be the case in most porn movies we’d probably end up hyperventilating and passing out! 

I like watching porn every now and again and I’m not ashamed to admit it. I don’t watch it very often but I can honestly say I can’t see anything wrong with it; is that an outdated view I wonder? Many young people, especially women, seem to think that it is wrong on just about every level – it’s the objectification of women, sex should only be between two committed people, it’s tainting the act of love and so on and so forth but many also seem to feel threatened by it. Just as women can become insecure about their own bodies when they see perfectly proportioned, eternally young, superstars at every turn, it appears that their insecurity is also fueled when they see their boyfriends reactions to female porn stars. Apparently they question their own appearance and, above all, their own sexual prowess….

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Does true love really encourage you to stand in the pouring rain or is it just another Hollywood romance?

But, here’s the thing, when all is said and done, porn films are films just like any other – they are not real life, nor meant to be a reflection of real life. It’s like the screen portrayal of love; the two central characters are always beautiful, invariably young and you know that, whatever trials and tribulations the story throws at them, they will end up in each others arms, pledging eternal devotion to each other by the end of the film. Either that or, if it’s a sad romantic film, one of them will die. There is no real deviation from those story lines, even the charming and much maligned Pretty Woman fitted the profile, it’s just that she was a hooker and he was insanely rich. It’s not meant to be a portrayal of real life, it’s meant to be entertaining and its exactly the same with porn!  Just as none of us really expect to be swept of our feet by a gorgeous billionaire, we don’t really expect the sex we have to be like it is in a blue film i.e. moaning and groaning for 45 minutes with the guy who popped by to fix the washing machine! We know that, during the course of our 45 minutes (or 15 or 5), we are unlikely to arrange ourselves into 20 different positions and we know that if we were heavy breathing for the entire time, as seems to be the case in most porn movies we’d probably end up hyperventilating and passing out!

Onto the subject of objectification and, I’ll admit, it’s a tricky one. Firstly, IF the sex shown is non-violent and between consenting adults who are, when all is said and done, doing a job that they are paid for then I would say that it’s a personal choice for those who perform and those who view. Some critics say that porn encourages men to view women as mere things but I would say that, if that is correct, then the same must hold true for the way that women view men. A porn film is designed to titillate and to provoke a physical response; it’s not meant to be a deep analysis of the emotional interactions between men and women. domanatrixThat said, films that depict violence against women are another thing entirely and, I would suggest that they are less about sex than about power and domination of one person over another. I don’t believe that adults looking for a little visual stimulation would really be interested in that type of film as they have very little to do with sex per se. However, we should also consider that, dominatrix (people who punish or inflict pain on others at their behest) are, invariably, women which goes completely against the widely held belief that women are naturally submissive in the sex act.

Many people who hold strong religious beliefs feel that sex is something that should only take place between those who are in a loving and committed marriage and I can completely respect that opinion if they can also respect the fact that people who chose to have sex outside marriage or watch pornography should not be condemned for doing so. The physical act of love is just that; one does not need to be in love to enjoy the intense physical pleasure that sex can provide and, by the same token, two people can love each other deeply but have no real appreciation for each other physically. As for sex and pornography being sins, my personal belief is that if God created our bodies in such a way that we find pleasure in sex, he did it on purpose. I don’t mean this to be offensive in any way at all but there is so much hatred and violence in the world today, why shouldn’t we take our pleasures where we can?

Another issue is the effect that porn can supposedly have on a woman’s self-image and her beliefs about her sexual prowess. Firstly, a question, do you doubt your partner’s love for you when they admire someone in a film? Going back to Pretty Woman, did it make you feel inadequate, unlovable, undesirable or were you too busy laughing or admiring her sass in the famous shopping scene to even give a thought to what your partner was thinking? Why should a porn film be any different? Ok, the laughs may be fewer and there’s usually not much shopping but still, what actors portray on screen should have no effect on how you see yourself – it’s make believe. Male size.jpgSecondly, if anyone is questioning their sexual prowess it will be the males watching! We sometimes forget that many men put themselves under extreme pressure to satisfy a woman and it’s common knowledge that the size of their ‘equipment’ is often a serious concern for them. Yet here they are watching men who are probably better endowed than they are (size does matter in porn films apparently) satisfying women (if their moans are anything to go by) with apparent ease. When it comes to insecurities I generally believe that men and women are really no different.

Natural born killers.jpgLastly, do porn films encourage men to degrade or be violent towards women? I think that encourage is the wrong word; if men have a natural proclivity towards that type of behaviour and they have no real moral compass then I think they could persuade themselves that it is acceptable. However, the same holds true of many types of film; if someone is an incurable romantic then they could spend their whole life searching for the kind of love that only exists in films and miss out entirely in real life, rejecting one person after another because they don’t fit within their ideal of a perfect relationship. The same applies to violent films; someone who is naturally aggressive and lacking in normal social boundaries could eventually be led to believe that their behaviour is not wrong when it is “normalised” in films like Natural Born Killers or Rambo.

Films that depict consenting adults having sex and enjoying it are, in my view, doing no harm, that said, films involving children or violence, for me, do not fall within that genre; pedophilia and depictions of rape should be known for what they are.

I was prompted to write this piece after reading a really thought provoking article by BeautyBeyondBones so thanks to her for the inspiration :O) x

Try, Try…..Try Again and….

Either that or you have to completely change your shopping habits and try to persuade the proprietor of your local small shop that there will be a huge demand for quinoa and chia seeds if he would but stock them and what does he mean he’s never heard of Swiss chard???

Oh f**k it! I give up! How many times do we say those words? Well, maybe not exactly those words but you know what I mean. We start something new with all the passionate enthusiasm of a child wearing big pants for the first time and then what happens? The newness wears off, we wander slowly towards mundane and then its just a few steps to “what new project? Oh that, yes um well…….[quiet muttering]”

How do we go from rampant excitement to complete indifference, or even irritation, in a few short months or weeks? I think pretty much everyone likes to experience new things, even if they might have some trepidation before hand, and people often like a challenge but, sometimes, we start at point A and focus all our attention on point Z without realising that we have points B, C, D, E etc in between the two.

expectationsThis is one of the reasons that so many diets fail. People have an idea in their mind of what they’ll look like when they’ve lost 40lb and it’s an image that pleases them so they decide to lose weight. A quick search on Google brings up 91,800,000 diet plans (I checked) and they pick one; all is well, they have a goal in mind and then they have the novelty of a new mental focus – counting calories. This can be quite fun at first, until you realise that all the foods that you would normally eat have so many calories that, no matter how hard you try, you cannot shoehorn them into your new regime without cutting down to one meal a day. Either that or you have to completely change your shopping habits and try to persuade the proprietor of your local small shop that there will be a huge demand for quinoa and chia seeds if he would but stock them and what does he mean he’s never heard of Swiss chard???

So there you are, 3 months down the line, spending 2 hours in the supermarket every time you shop, calculator in hand, trying to work out the calorie content of your weekly shop and wondering how you will ever face your local shopkeeper again after he got stuck with the 400 packets of Quinoa that you persuaded him to buy……

Lycra failThen there’s all the money that you spent on all that new exercise gear. Of course, when you decide to lose weight, it’s not actually mandatory to spend $300 on a pair of trainers or to equip yourself with the entire Nike Spring line but, let’s face it, shopping is fun and wearing the new clothes will be fun and, no doubt, the exercise will be fun when you finally get round to it. Not everybody does ever get round to it but if you’re a bit more of the determined type you might rock up to your local gym with every good intention. It will be at that point that, faced with the mirror covered walls, that you’ll realise that lycra is not the most forgiving of fabrics; you can just wear leggings or shorts and an ordinary t-shirt……

All of this is going straight to Z, and putting enormous pressure on yourself to boot, so don’t do it. You honestly don’t need to. The fact that you have a leaner and healthier image of yourself in your mind is a fantastic starting point but just accept that it might take a little while to get there. In the meantime, give yourself permission to celebrate each little achievement on the way – if you only lose 2 ounces in one week – so what? The fact is that you have taken a step in the right direction. black-woman-celebrating-being-single

Don’t change all your eating habits over night and don’t expect to learn the calorie content of every food on the planet before you die – it won’t happen! Instead, focus on eating less than you do now. If you want a little bit extra to do, write down everything that you eat today – drinks included – and, tomorrow, reduce that amount by 10%. The next day write another list and do two things:

  1. Notice that the list of today is smaller than yesterday’s list and write yourself a little message of congratulations
  2. Reduce today’s list by 5% – that’s all.

Do the same thing again the next day and see what happens but don’t forget to write yourself a ‘well done me – I’m awesome’ message (in your own words obviously).

Man walking at sunsetYou don’t have to lose 5lbs a week, the diet gods will not smite you if you don’t; all you need to do is take things slowly but surely and, little by little, you’ll get there.

The same thing applies to exercise, you’re not going to transform into Usain Bolt overnight! What you can do is write down what exercise you do on day 1 and, on day 2 just do 10 minutes more. That’s it. Just an extra 10 minutes – we can all spare that, however busy our days are. Try that for a week and then, the following week go for an extra 15 minutes and so on.

It may have been one giant leap for mankind but it started with one small step ;O) x