On Professionalism and Portugal

I struggle often.

I think everyone does, it is human.

But often I am made to feel that I am just weak and making excuses and you know what, sometimes, maybe I am.

But most often I am not, I push beyond what is my limit on a daily basis and yes my limit is perhaps smaller than yours,
but so what?

Am I less human for that? Am I less an adult?
I struggle with pain management and hormonal imbalance. Some days I am just in a mood and I don’t wanna be but my stupid brain has gone through the washing machine backwards and come out all crinkled and hormonal and bleh. Plus I have my house, cat husband and extended family to think of as well as developing my business and creative endeavours.

Yet, I always strive to remain professional and to remain polite… and it is taxing, because so few people offer me the same courtesy, especially in Portugal.

Professional conduct here I have found to be anything but, there is an unspoken rule if they say it will take 15 minutes, expect to wait 30 if they say it will take 7 days expect it no earlier than 10.

That is an incredibly annoying way to live life, either admit to me you are not going to be able to meet our deadline or give me the 10 day deadline rather than the 7 day one from the start be blunt, don’t play nice and give me the shit eating grin and expect me to smile right back as the shit hits the fan, ’cause that way all that happens is I get shit between my teeth and no deadline met either.

Can you guys just… be professional.
If you wish to be the new tech capital of Europe, if you have set up a “ task force” to poach businesses away from the UK after Brexit, get your shit together, because this isn’t going to fly with lots of companies, especially those from outside of Europe.

I expect professionalism both in tone, performance and general etiquette, as do lots of other people, do not look at me like I am the crazy one and need to relax, look to yourselves, you are the odd ones out. A lackadasical approach doesn’t cut it to the wider world.

In this country, more adults feel a fulfilling career is the deciding factor in a happy life, but lots of people report not being happy.

Perhaps if you became more efficient, took pride in even the most menial job, (Yes you may be assembling a burger in Mcdonalds, but you are feeding a person who is hungry, you are paying taxes and you have a job, you’re better off that at least  30% of the population) and didn’t have to spend hours after work fixing miscommunications and departmental cock-ups everyone would in general just feel better and feel their work life balance exists and their time is well spent.

Apologies for the rant, its been one of those days.


The truth is perhaps a little more complicated than that- An Essay


Recently, I have been unabashedly declaring That “ I am a writer that hates to write”, it’s too much work, I wanna float around.
Woe is talented little entitled me.

The truth is perhaps a little bit more complicated than that.

Writing has long been my passion, I mean, truly, I always had notebooks and little scraps of paper hidden inside my other very obvious loves, books and/or CD cases.
Reminders of things to write a poem about, reminders of my otherworldly, world changing wisdom, proof of my own sense of brilliance.
Thinking myself the next great voice of my Generation, if not, at least the best voice from Stoke-On-Trent.
As I ‘grew’ to adulthood, quickly it became apparent that with all the other crap life gratuitously throws at you, whilst it sure makes good material for my next poem or novella, it sure as hell does take up way too much of my time too.

Truth is…
Life IS work.
Love is even harder work.
Throw in the creative, back at school Husband… Well, “Work, Work Work, Work, Work, Work, Work” is pretty accurate.

I don’t hate to write, I really shouldn’t say that. I have to write, It is pretty essential to my existence, I hate that I don’t have time to get to it and when I do, I am so exhausted I fall asleep at the keys.

What I hate, is the tips, the tricks, the encouragement that just amplifies my “failure” and makes me feel like never writing another word.

Yes my ‘writers ego’ is fragile, I am a very good actress of the ‘tortured artist’.

I hate every idea I ever had that held so much promise, that became nothing but more and more aged pieces of paper that withered, ripped or just plain got lost.

I hate every idea I developed for someone else’ dime, at the loss of mine.
I hate that I live in a country, whose language I speak and write, but I can’t be “Natalie” in, I don’t have all the words, all the vitriol and most importantly all the spade-to-the-head bluntness.

I feel like I will forever be the chump writer for hire for the crappy jobs or jobs I pick up freelance via my own little thing because I can be automated in Portuguese and its what is hired these days.

I hate every poem lost that I destroyed in one of my grief riddled fits of rage.

I hate every blog I had attached to my old email and no matter how I try I can’t find them, I wish I was as scrupulous a ‘backer-upper’ back then.

I hate every essay I wrote but felt was too personal… or not personal enough.

I hate my own doubt.

I hate that I allowed my own creativity to go on the back burner to my( admittedly brilliant) husband and I took to caring for him and his process at the expense of mine.

Life, thus far, has treated me pretty fairly, I have been through lots its true, death, disease, poverty the pretty big hurdles of the human condition I have experienced.

I have experienced the great blessings of the condition too, love, laughter, travel, education, passion, acceptance.

All, however, experiences that took me away from my words, took me away from my true love.

Either I am too much in the moment, caught up in the sights, sounds, laughter, sex, booze, movie, music.


I am so deep in a  ‘I hate the world, must eat all the foods’, cycle, that I have no free hands to write in-between ‘fries-in-mouth-stuffage’ ergo my only chance of catching the moment would be if it tried to nick one of my fries.
I’ve cried, I have binged I have held everyone up when they couldn’t anymore, I became a very good copy of my grandma, a role I was bestowed with at the ripe ol’ age of 16.
I have been ok, not been ok and come out being awesome again, or quite the opposite.
But so little of this I have immortalised.

In that life has been unfair.
Mostly, I hate that I am still so bitter about it all, that I had to put in the work to get it out.

But, ultimately I guess I am not a writer that hates to write.

I shall try and rectify it, but we shall see what becomes of that.. I’m a magnet for distractions.

Friday Feminist Ramble: Three

What the hell can I possibly say?
What is there left that hasn’t been said before, what of our struggles are somehow different than they were 100 years ago?
Yes, we may be allowed to vote, but that certainly doesn’t mean we are being represented. I am perhaps more represented as a white, hetero girl.
But black girls, latina, transwomen, most members of the LGBTQ community? All Governors worry about is where they wanna pee, or what country they arbitrarily were expelled from a birth canal in.
Whilst rights get slashed, whilst our elderly have their meals taken away from them, whilst women and the poor have their healthcare removed, whilst they sit with your tax dollars covering their care.

What else is there to say?
The world is in a sad state.
I always prided myself on being British, not in a nationalistic sense, but what our “values” had always represented of the fact my state was a “welfare” state, that Medical was paid, that nursing homes were paid, that being without a job didn’t mean you are without a meal, that being ill didn’t mean your life felt meaningless, now it is the world in which a private business can sue the NHS for losing a contract.

It would be easy for me to blame Trump for everything wrong in the world, hell he has been responsible for  SO FUCKING MUCH, but it is a sickness that is spreading around the world.
Europe used to feel safe and a bastion for acceptance and goodwill, but with separatists getting more emboldened and Brexit and the uncertainty, even here things are starting to feel lost. At least as a Brit.

I am aghast, but I am not defeated.

I shall continue to write, eventually I hope, with fresh words, that have more meaning, I will continue to be opinionated and loud and “Brash” I will always #resist,  I will always march. I will always be for all women everywhere, I will always be feminist, I will always be egalitarian and I will always be a socialist Liberal girl. I will always want what is fair.

Perhaps this isn’t a rant, more a” Friday Feminist Introspection” but alas, I am but human.

This is all I can really say on Trump et el at this point, just be strong, I am here, I will be loud, I am an ally.

Reach out wherever you can, I promise I shall respond.

Much Love,


Musings on Late Night Car Alarms

Have you ever noticed that suddenly hearing a car alarm (in Portugal at least) means your neighbourhood is changing?

It means there is now a need to have alarms when previously there wasn’t. A car alarm constantly went off last night and it occurred to me it’s the first car alarm I have heard in three years but we are starting to have more and more conversations in the neighbourhood coffee shop about this break in or that break in.

It’s sad.My neighbourhood is being eaten by crime and bad behaviour and I can’t stop it.

I try to model the behaviour of love and acceptance but it doesn’t seem to matter, I can attend the council meetings, write or call the câmera municipal. People still attempt to break my window if I have it open, still, attempt to force my front door, try being buzzed into the building under false pretences still try to harm my cat who is innocently sitting by the aforementioned window.

I think we have to move because the moment one person breaks the boundary into my haven I know I will become one of the criminals too and I don’t want to be that person.