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.