Last month saw the union of two of my best friends in Holy Matrimony. That sounds mega posh.
THEY GOT HITCHED.
You may remember the Bride – Ellie – from my ‘How to organise an unforgettable Hen Party’ post. I can honestly say, she was the most calm, chilled and unflappable Bride I have EVER seen. Nothing phased her. I was doing a bit of nervous weeing and pacing about myself – and all I had to do was walk!
Far away from downing multicoloured cocktails and shots in Portugal, the Bride and the Bridesmaids were transformed into beautiful, classy, ethereal ladies, floating down the aisle. No but seriously, look how hot we all looked:
In fact, have some more pictures.
The ceremony went beautifully, with Ellie gathering a massive audience of tourists and locals alike, outside the church. They even cheered when she got out of the car! There were a few happy tears when they said their vows – and all of a sudden they were man and wife.
From the church it was on to Kingston Country Courtyard – an absolutely stunning venue. We’d spent the day before setting up, with plenty of fairy lights and birdcages covered in pretty flowers.
The speeches from the Bride’s father, Best Man and Groom were all brilliant, each one having us all in stitches.
After a delicious dinner it was time for a few drinks and a dance. And God, did we dance!
I didn’t quite catch the bouquet – check out my reaction!
It was an absolutely brilliant day and evening – although it took a few days to recover from! The Williams clan do not shirk on the booze. Nothing was overlooked – Ellie had even put a little survival kit together in the bathroom for the girls, with hairbrushes, hairsprays and plasters for those wedding shoe blisters.
I can’t wait for my own day, but I can only hope it lives up to this one.
Warning: I’ve been asked to put a disclaimer saying this post is ‘gross’, even though it’s about something we as women all go through – the most natural thing in the world. But if you’re easily freaked, BYE!
You may have seen recently the advert and hype around Bodyform ditching the ‘blue liquid’ which is often used in tampon and pad adverts, in favour of using red liquid. You know. Like blood. Like the blood women menstruate. I mean, what’s the big deal, man?
I’m a pretty open person (okay, VERY open) and have no qualms talking about bodies and functions and sex and subjects people can be prudish about or find gross. It doesn’t make me any better than them, I just think I give less of a shit. Who cares? I’m a human not an android.
I thought it was pretty shocking, the reaction this advert got. A lot of women praised it and were so happy to see the fake blue stuff replaced for something more realistic. However, it was more the abject disgust from women, mainly on Twitter, who get the gift of Aunt Flow every month that I found so odd. It’s 2016 – why are we shaming ourselves about this? It’s a great thing! Hey look at you – FERTILE. Your BODY WORKS. Let’s not go over the top and get on the hype with free bleeding (a little TOO much, even for me, thanks) – but what’s the biggie, really?
Anyway, I started baiting my female friends and family with casual questions about periods and I was quite surprised to discover almost all of them were totally grossed out.
It gets better. You should have seen their faces when I said I was going to be starting to use a menstrual cup that month.
A menstrual cup is a type of feminine hygiene product which is usually made of medical grade silicone, shaped like a bell and is flexible. It is worn inside the vagina during menstruation to ‘catch’ the blood.
It’s reusable. That means no more £5+ on sanitary items each month, as well as the icky dryness that some women can get when using tampons. It’s clean, it’s good for the environment and it WORKS.
There’s SO much stuff on the internet about this, as more and more women realise the benefits of using a cup. I’ll let you do your own research if you’re interested. I had known about this beforehand, but the girl that really got me into doing this and feeling comfortable with it is Bree. She’s a young entrepreneur who runs her own business selling cloth pads and menstrual cups. She is an advocate for being comfortable with our bodies and talking about things like this, rather than being embarrassed or grossed out. Check out her YouTube videos. A few of them and I was hooked on the idea. Thanks Bree!
So, here’s something one of my friend’s said when I mentioned I’d started using a cup (name withheld to protect the squeamish):
“I’ve never thought about using a cup before. I’d always assumed it’d be really dirty and messy. It’s probably the fear of the unknown. How big is it? How do you get it up there? How do you know when do take it out? Can it get stuck? Too many questions need answering before I trust it over a good old fashioned tampon!”
How big is it? This big.
I can hear the “ewwwwws” already! Don’t worry – brand new and never used! The little thing on the end can be trimmed to your requirements. I’ve never had to trim one but it’s just what you are comfortable with! This is a Femmecup – but there are SO many to choose from, depending on your age, whether you’ve had a child or not. It can be a little overwhelming but just do some research and look at a few review videos online. You’ll be golden.
How do you get it in? Make sure it, and your hands, are clean, firstly. Then simply do a ‘c-fold’, which is folding the cup in half and and then in half again. Then just…put it in like you would a tampon (you can use a bit of lube if you want), but without letting go of the c-fold. Once you’re happy – let go – and the cup should ‘pop’ open, creating a seal to prevent any accidents. You’ve still got a little wiggle room so just make sure it’s comfortable and that you can’t feel it. There are other folds you can do too (check out this video) – it’s just a case of doing some research and doing what feels comfortable to you.
How do you know when to take it out? This is the benefit of a cup. You can wear it for up to 12 hours which is awesome. This is due to the cup ‘collecting’ rather than ‘absorbing’ and getting full. It’s great for all day at work, and fine for overnight too. GOODBYE sneaky tampon-up-the-sleeve in the office, and BYE massive night pads.
Won’t it leak?
Not if you have inserted it correctly and the rim has ‘popped’. You can check this by inserting a finger and running it all the way round the cup to check it’s open – you’ll be able to tell if it’s not. Use a panty-liner for a couple of days if you feel unsure, but honestly – should be fine.
How do you get it out? Can it get lost or stuck?
No. Just like a tampon, it can’t get ‘lost’. It sits lower than a tampon, but you still can’t feel it. You get it out by bearing down, gripping the bottom of the cup and squeezing to release the seal. It should then be easy to remove. It takes a little bit of practise (see below), but stick with it. Seriously. If you can’t ‘find’ it, or get a grip on it, try some deep breathing and go in with a little lubricant if needed. Once you’re relaxed, you should be fine. It’s probably best not to start using a menstrual cup when you’re in a hurry. Practise makes perfect!
Isn’t it gross?
TMI: The first time I removed it, I couldn’t get a good grip on it and after about five minutes started panicking as I was going to be late for work. When I finally got a grip, I just yanked it as I didn’t have time to faff about any more. Bad move. Flung it everywhere. Hammer House of Horrors. No one needs that in their lives. I ended up being late, as well. ANYWAY, just whilst you try to get that image out of your head, after a little practise, you’ll get it – promise. Once you’ve mastered it, you’ll realise what sort of, ahem, force you need to get it out. In terms of general grossness – meh. I mean, it’s a little more graphic than a tampon but it’s not like you’re going to inspect it, right? Just tip it away, rinse with warm water and a little soap if you want, and you’re good to go again.
What do you think? Intriguing or still totally gross? Thinking of investing in a cup or sticking to what you know? Any more questions – let me know!
I’ve been absolutely loving reading some of these posts. Not only does it go to show you don’t HAVE to have high-end to look great (you all look beautiful!) but they have given me lots of inspiration. My May Lust Have list is HUGE this month.
Being curious, I have added up my own face. I’m still a little shocked, bearing in mind this is just the bits and pieces I use on a daily basis, not including all the little pots and potions I keep for special occasions, for example.
I’ve popped the links to transactional sites below, if you’d like to try some of the items for yourself!
I’d been meaning to write this post for a while, but it had to be at a time when I was feeling calm, as this is still a frustrating subject.
In mid 2008, I changed my surname legally by Deedpoll from Baker to Delancey. The reasoning behind this was that I hadn’t spoken to my father in years and at that time, unfortunately, no longer wanted to be associated with him and his name. I didn’t particularly want to change my name back to my mother’s maiden name which was Cox – so I chose Delancey.
Luckily, my father and I are on much, much better terms these days – but I still don’t regret my name change.
As for my first name, I have always been Dannielle. Over the years, my nicknames have varied from Dan, Danni, Elle, Lucy, Lou, Dee … and Ella. It’s pretty much the same as someone called Richard who is then called Dick, or a James becoming Jim, or even a Robert becoming Bobby.
None of these names I have chosen, they have all been bestowed upon me by friends and family. Ella however, is one that stuck at university and one I’m happy to use on a day-to-day basis. I am still Dannielle though, officially – and always have been.
All of this sounds simple enough to me.
So what’s the problem?
Over the eight years I’ve had my name, I’ve faced a hell of a lot of backlash. One of the most frustrating things was, (and still is) that many people didn’t bother to ask me about it. Instead, I was on the receiving end of catty, sly words and even anonymous comments posted on my social media channels: “Swear your name is Danni Baker?”.
It’s like I was being accused of making it up – completely changing my identity for the lols rather than it actually being a sensitive subject and an acute source of pain at the time.
I was pretty lucky in that most of the family members who knew I’d changed my name didn’t get upset, even if they didn’t understand why I did it. I also had total support from some people, like my mum, and my boyfriend at the time. I remember a few people at school changed their second names midway through, due to family changes – I don’t believe they received the same amount as bullshit about it that I did. People change their names all the time, through family changes, marriage and just pure and simple reinvention – each to their own. I just didn’t and still don’t understand why something as simple as someone else’s surname is such a bone of contention or confusion for some.
“But I’ve got no idea what to call you!”
Why not? Just call me what you’re introduced to me as. I’ll introduce myself as Ella or Dannielle, depending on the situation. But my surname stays the same, thanks.
I’ve written this for those who may be curious but haven’t wanted to ask. I’ve also written it for those who were complete bastards about it and who although they would never admit it, are still watching my life. I love my name. Jog the fuck on. Or, stay – read my blog and ping me a message. Maybe we could be friends now.