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.


Writing and Coffee

I was never much of a coffee drinker

I preferred tea, hot chocolate and honestly… Pepsi.

As I get older I find myself writing more often than not with some form of milky coffee to my side and I begin to realise.

I am turning into my grandma.

She was always a coffee drinker, coffee with that “coffee mate” stuff.

I would make her a coffee every day,it would be something we bonded over when I was little and a relatively menial task I could do as teen that let my grandma sit down and take a load off.

I would make the coffee and we would sit and watch countdown or deal or no deal or come dine with me.

They were precious after school moments that added so much to my life, I am not sure how I have gone 11 years without them.

I am turning into her, but the question is…
Will I do her justice?

Much like every new “doctor”, the people they are wondering.. ( aside from if they will ever measure up to David Tennant)

Will they do them justice?

I am like her, but I am not her.

For better and in many cases I am sure worse.

Would she be proud of the woman I have become?

Would she take great delight in the things in which I am like her?

Would she be ok with the few tweaks and changes I did to her character? In my own interest, my own politics,my own generation?

I don’t know.

One thing is for sure, every time I say a word with a potteries inflection and take a sip from my coffee, I get an urge to watch quiz shows and talk about race horses and eat cottage pie.

Its one thing of this regeneration I would never change.

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,


Mini Musings: Wednesday Edition on Thursday

I got caught up in International Women’s Day.
I tried to avoid the anti-female rhetoric a great number of men posting on social media and talking in the streets of this country care to engage in.
Tried to focus on my female positive and feminist husband
and the cider he brought home for me to share with him along with a bunch of flowers and my favourite coffee,
In a show of solidarity with me on this day when men take great pride in attacking.
More simply just a man bringing his wife flowers to make her smile.

I deliberately held back posting this until the day here had officially passed.

To those men:

“Feliz Dia da Costela do Homem*”( Happy day of the rib of man)
Is disgusting
It doesn’t make you a “Homem Tradicional”( Traditional Man)
It makes you a dinosaur
a pig
a disgrace.
To a specific man, I know
You have a daughter,
Grow up.

To all my sisters around the world

*Reference to the biblical story of Eve being made from Adam’s rib

Ireland Should remove the 8th. Period.

I want to start this post by stating plainly, I am Pro-choice.
I will always be Pro-choice and I will always be Pro-Abortion(Legal).
Legal and medically safe abortions should be available to every woman everywhere it’s my simple held belief.
I will always support a woman’s right to make any choice regarding her body and fetus and if you are pro-life I do respect your views and your right to hold them for YOU.


A lot of you may know me as “The English Portuguese” I have lived in Portugal for most of my adulthood it’s true and I’ve been involved with devilish Portuguese men even longer still.
What some of you may not know is that before moving to Portugal I lived in Dublin, Ireland for around a year.

I had come to expect a certain level of care reproductively and in terms of contraceptive and sexual health.
My Birth control was free on the NHS ( information and helpful links can be found here) and condoms were available for free at family planning clinics and I believe are now even more widely available.
Family planning, maternity care and postnatal care are all free.
Seeing a gynaecologist is free, tests for a reproductive disease are free, fertility tests are free.
Basically, in the regard of being safe and well during a pregnancy and those crucial months afterwards, I would be ok, I would be safe and I would be healthy, no matter how or when my pregnancy ended.

I honestly and naively thought, in “Modern Europe” and especially a country that had such close relations with the UK, shared a border with the UK and were ultimately trying to put the horror of the Magdalene Laundries behind them, things would be much the same.

I was wrong

Whilst there was a more relaxed attitude in terms of sexual freedom, there certainly was not a relaxed attitude towards pregnancy  and pro choice.

“If you fall pregnant, you have the baby, the child shouldn’t pay for the sins of the mother”-A direct quote from a neighbour of mine.

I was flabberghasted.
Could we really, still be touting this to women, girls and even men, who last I checked, generally have an equal part to play in the creating of a foetus.

“What about if the girl is raped? ” I asked
“Well then, it’s still not the baby’s fault is it?”
I stood aghast.
“Anyway They can always go to England if they are really so desperate to end their child’s life”

To be clear, Abortion in Ireland is (or should be) legal only in cases where the mother’s life is at risk, even in the case of suicide.
However, speaking to a number of Irish and foreign girls during my time in Ireland, the picture that is painted is one that is quite different.
Often even in cases where a woman may be at risk there feels an underlying pressure to try and keep the child and often abortion is never even mentioned as an option, adoption is often discussed in the cases of mothers feeling suicidal.In cases of rape, incest or foetal abnormality, Abortion is not legal.

More information can be found here.

This is simply unacceptable.
Post-abortion care is offered and actual abortion is not.
You are tying womens hands and uterus’ up in government red tape and making them travel abroad during a time when they most need support are most vulnerable and ultimately most at risk.
You can not make up for a lack of a safe medical option by having after care available in the capital city( those in rural areas are even more cut off from the services they need)

You can not make a law less restrictive by offering during face to face counselling sessions leaflets and advice about abortion as long as you can afford to go aboard.
(There are no charitable options that would/could help with the trip and the costs involved)

You are forcing women( Up to 5000 a year estimates indicate) into situations they shouldn’t be in.
You are treating them as second class citizens.
You are pro birth not pro life.
A woman’s life has to be worth SOMETHING, we’re not simply hosts for new life.
We are not dirty, filthy, sinful or destitute.

This HAS to stop.
Repeal the eighth*, abortions WILL happen, you won’t ever stop them, at least have the decency to protect your citizens and their families.
Amendment 4.3.3 does not help.


Friday Feminist Rambling: Two.

Note: I had originally planned on writing about the state of womens rights in the USA right now, as discussed, with my new blogging friend Julie ( You can visit her blog here), in the comments of last Fridays post, however, it was just too much of a post and I got too impassioned to properly make sense in the post.. it will follow shortly, when I am able to properly edit and do the subject justice.

I have a pretty cool dad.

He never thought I couldn’t do something because I was a girl, I was always encouraged and made aware of my worth and how capable I am. I think he was made to be the father of a daughter, Him and sons would have been a big ol’ explosive mess( I speak from me and him often being a big ol’ explosive mess)

I wasn’t a girly girl when I was a teenager but sometimes I wore my short denim skirt my ripped up fishnets and a top that accentuated the girls, I walked past him looking this way, got into his car looking this way and he drove me to various gigs looking this way.

I didn’t get a lecture because I didn’t need one I had been raised with a sense of right or wrong, didn’t smoke and although I liked beer, Pepsi was generally cheaper and I liked that more. Most importantly I was raised to trust my own judgement and I had ample self-respect/confidence.

I had a hand me down phone, with £5 credit, my dad, grandma and mums numbers in my last three calls and twenty quid in the hidden pocket of my jacket( just HAD to get a shirt Everytime)

“Hope you have a good time, ring me if you need anything or are going to be late”

Not”ignore the boys”,
Not “make sure you don’t get yourself raped”
Not “don’t act like a slut tonight”
Not “don’t be a tease”

Just a dad saying “have fun”, “call me” and ” I’ll be here when you get back.”

He was raised that you do nothing to girls, don’t hit them, don’t do anything that makes them uncomfortable don’t do anything to a girl you wouldn’t want someone to do to your sister or mum.

I used to think it was sexist nonsense, the feminist in me telling him “I don’t need a boy to defend me, I can defend myself”

It’s true I could, but I am beginning to think that mindset was a better  one for boys to be raised with than
“She was asking for it”
or “every ‘No’ can become a ‘Yes’ “

I know had I come home and told him I was raped/drugged etc, his reaction ( in no specific order) would be:-
1)Call the police
2)”I will kill THEM”
3)”Are you going to be ok Natalie?”

I truly don’t believe I would ever be blamed for something befalling me.

It’s sad that girls are taught to police themselves, that we have classes on how to behave in school, have to really take a self-defence class  to feel safer, and taught how to spot if we have been drugged or not to leave our drinks unattended.

How about we teach “don’t drug unattended drinks” or ” be polite, don’t be an asshole” or ” Consent is everything” regardless of your gender?

Why aren’t men taught that women are equal, ‘No’ means ‘No’ and rape is NEVER ok?

I think I would rather all men were like my Dad, my Husband, Grandpa and Godfather.

Women aren’t inherently weak but we should treat them well and defend them in their toughest times and blame and properly charge the perpetrator, not the victim.

If it takes raising men, in a way the young feminist Natalie considered kinda sexist, might it not be worth it for women in the long run?