Happily Ever After? Guest Kween: CAITLYN FAIRHEAD

Happily Ever After? Guest Kween: CAITLYN FAIRHEAD

To celebrate #STFTL’s one year anniversary, we’re checking in on some of our favourite Kweens and Kings.

What are these gems up to now? And how much can really change in a year? So…

Happy 1st Birthday #STFTL! I can’t believe it’s been a year. We’ve had some good times, haven’t we? All those mornings reading your posts in bed instead of getting ready for work… I’ve treasured every one. You’re a breath of fresh air out here, girl, and we love you. Keep doing your thing!

When Carmela asked me to write this ‘one year on’ piece, I felt like a bit of a fraud, because very little has changed since this – I’m still very much the mother/wife/teacher/whinger I was a year ago. But I’m a whole year older now, so some things must have changed, surely.

I’m still teaching (it’s going good, thanks for asking), studying (also good), mothering (it’s good/relentless) and I suppose I’ve grown a little bit. I still don’t feel like a grown-up though, it’s like any minute now someone’s going to tap me on the shoulder and ask me to step aside so the real grown-ups can take over.

Has anyone (a child, probably) ever told you they want to be like you when they grow up? I recently had this experience and I’m not going to lie to you, it was a bit of a shock.

Not that a five-year-old might look up to me (she’s five, she doesn’t know any better) but that I’m considered a ‘grown-up’. Not just an adult, someone who has literally ‘grown up’, A GROWN-UP!

I looked at her little face and, after briefly wondering why my own kids don’t say these things to me (note: do not pull at this thread), I chuckled pretty lamely and said something like: “Oh, wow, and I’m not done growing yet!”

I’m willing to concede that at 32, I’m possibly not getting any taller at this point. And I admit I’ve done some grown-up things. I got married and had kids (not necessarily in that order), sometimes I buy the expensive tissues instead of the 99c ones and I know my tax file number by heart. Those seem like grown-up things.

But in lots of ways, I’m nowhere near grown-up. I have the attention span of a goldfish and still have a lot of things I want to achieve. I still run late in the mornings. I think thongs go with everything and I drink the cheapest wine I can stomach. I still don’t know what half the settings on my washing machine do and I can’t do eyeliner to save my life. At best, I’d say I’m en route to being a grown-up, but still a way off.

After some pretty self-indulgent reflection on my part, I think I’m in this weird, in-between stage where I still feel like a young person, but at the same time am bloody glad I’m not one. I guess that cliché about growing old, not growing up, is pretty spot on.

I love that I’m not in my twenties anymore. God, I feel like I’ve been waiting my whole life for my thirties. Going to bed when I’m tired! Saying no to things! Making time for myself! Taking risks! Having a career! Being wiser, smarter, sexier (‘cause of the smarts) and not caring what people think of me! (At least, not as much as I used to). It’s bliss. I’d honestly never be a teenager again.

I don’t know if this feeling is unique to me or what, but frankly, I’m really enjoying getting older. Granted, in the scheme of things I’m still young, but so far I’m only getting more comfortable with myself with each passing year.

Wrinkles? Gimme ‘em. Grey hairs? Sure. Retirement? Farkin’ BRING IT. I know, I shouldn’t wish my life away (or my kids’ lives, since I’m supposed to be enjoying every precious moment, woopsee woops), but you can’t bloody tell me Gloria Steinem wasn’t onto something when she said this:

To that little girl who may one day read this (you just never know): don’t worry a damn about growing up, my darling. Eyeliner is hard, girlfriend, and to be honest the cheap wine does the same job. And f*** that washing machine, too. Just enjoy growing older.

Maybe I’ll change my mind when I’m in my seventies, but this growing-up business can go jump. Growing older is where it’s at!

Caitlyn is a thirtyish-year-old teacher with a passion for good books and cheap wine. She has two children and an ever-patient husband, though her true love is Mexican food.

 

13 reasons why (I love myself sick).

13 reasons why (I love myself sick).

1. I’m not ashamed to order a small family’s worth of McDonalds and to tell the cashier that I’m pregnant. So they make it fresh.

2. I’m not ashamed to spend an entire sunny bank holiday weekend on my friend’s couch, binging on episodes of ‘Love Island’. While eating a whole tub of Nutella.

3. I’m not ashamed to have had at one time only £12 in my bank account and to have spent that on humous, cheese and bread. The good bread!

4. I’m not ashamed that I ball my eyes out like a baby every time I watch Will Smith in the ‘Pursuit of Happiness’. Every. Time.

5. I’m not ashamed that if I want to look 5 pounds lighter, I think of getting a spray tan but then chicken out because that means standing in front of a perfect stranger naked. Exercise also never presents it’s self as the best option.

6. I’m not ashamed that the only thing I can successfully cook in the kitchen is a salad and a toasted cheese sandwich. I once called my Mother and asked her how to boil pasta. 🤦🏻‍♀️

7. I’m not ashamed that the only time I ever shave my lady parts is when I think I might be gettin’ some. So rarely.

8. I’m not ashamed that on one particular day, the only time I left the house was just to buy donuts. And successfully ate 4 in one sitting.

9. I’m not ashamed that recently I was so hungover that I ordered Deliveroo 3 times in one day. From the same restaurant. That restaurant may or may not have been McDonalds as well.

10. I’m not ashamed to respond with ‘sorry I’m busy tonight’ when all I’m doing is heading home to wash my hair and pop my pjs on. And watch Love Island.

11. I’m not ashamed to take myself out for a dinner and a show. Solo dining is liberating AF! Even when you have to respond “No, just just me” when the waiter says “Table for 2?”

12. I’m not ashamed to have 3 different dating apps on my phone and that I still gush over a guy, if he shows me the slightest bit of attention. Seriously. Yesterday a guy emailed me at work and I had zero chill about it. A fucking email!

13. I’m not ashamed that I was ashamed about these silly little things in my twenties. How fucking cool is it to be in your thirties?

How fucking cool is slowly giving zero fucks about the stuff that would of had you stay indoors or kept you up at night when you were younger?

There is something fucking cool about slowly settling into your own skin and scars. There is something fucking cool about staring at your flaws and imperfections and charging forward anyway because you now know there are other parts of you that are just as flawless and perfect; and that needs to be celebrated too!

Oh the wonder of simply sitting with your own quirks and weirdo moments, without needing someone else to validate them. The bliss of having the ability to feel really good and not good at the same time, because let’s be honest, happiness is not a destination.

No matter how hard we try, we will never arrive at ‘happy’. We’ll drive past it, around it, and stop at it, many times. What’s fucking cool is how we’ve also learnt what to do when we arrive at the other stops, like ‘uncertainty’, ‘misery’ and ‘devastation’.

If getting older simply means loving yourself sick just a little more every day and pulling through the ugly stuff with gusto; then bring that shiz onnnn!

I also encourage you to make a *list. It sounds small and pointless but give it a go. I promise not only will you feel better but at the very least, have a good chuckle at your fine self.

Yasss Kween!

Big love,

Carmela

*Your list may not have as many food references as mine. I mean, if loving carbs is wrong, I don’t want the be right! Riiiight? #Guilty 💁🏻‍♀️

Introducing Carmela Contarino, the #PowerKween behind ‘So The Fairy Tales Lied…’ 👸🏻♥️✨

Carmela is an Aussie in London with wanderlust. A TV/Radio rebel. Fierce feminist. Loud laugh-er. Emotional eat-er. Pop culture cat. Red wine wooer and karaoke kween. She hopes that her experiences are just like yours, funny, warm, loud, raw and that maybe you can figure out this thing called ‘life’ together. #YasssKween 🙌🏼

“Will you be my Palentine?”

“Will you be my Palentine?”

As a single female in her thirties I’m sure you would expect, considering it’s Valentine’s Day, that this would probably be a rant about how I don’t have a man to send me flowers or take me out on a romantic dinner date, it being just another day that highlights that I am still on the shelf, rejected by the opposite sex. Sorry to disappoint you, but that’s not what this is at all. The way I see it, even couples who have been dating for years or are even married don’t treat Valentine’s day like it’s marketed to be treated, instead they cry the cliché “National Hallmark Day” and go about the day as per normal. No teddy bears, no heart shaped boxes filled with chocolate, not even a decent shag. Then again, if you happen to find yourself in a relationship that does do those things on Valentine’s Day then well done, bravo, I condone that behaviour. But from my perspective, no I don’t feel excluded or that I’m missing out; if anything I wanted to take this chance to acknowledge the kind of love that I do have in my life.

Recently I went back home to Australia to spend time with my family. What I noticed was that I don’t have a great relationship with my sister or brother: we’re like aliens from different planets that struggle to communicate with each other. My relationship with my parents is the stock-standard relationship that you have with your parents: fueled with unconditional love but riddled with conflict based on being generations apart. As for my childhood friends, the more I’m away from them, the more those relationships become strained due to the lack of time invested. So, I’m left with a group of people that I now call “My people”; a family that I have created for myself.

In my thirties, I’m starting to realise the things that are really important, and the meaning of ‘life’ seems to ring louder than it did in my twenties. In a way I loathe this, mostly because when I was in my twenties ‘older’ people would say this to me all the time. “Oh you’re only 25? Trust me when you’re in your thirties you’ll know what life is really about.” “When you’re 30, you won’t feel this way.” I resented their wisdom based on me seeing it as an insult of how ‘young’ and ‘naïve’ I was, but the truth of the matter is, I was young and naïve, especially when it came to ‘life’ and ‘life lessons’.

In my thirties I now see that it doesn’t matter how many friends show up to my Birthday party, or how big my circle of friends is but how many friends I can call in the middle of the night in a panic or if I’m having a crisis will pop around to my home or meet me at the pub in a matter of minutes. I’ve always been a person who has put everyone else in my life first. I’ve always worried, cared, loved my friends much more than I actually think they worry, care and love me in return. In my thirties, I no longer want those people in my life, selfishly I need this to be a two-way street, what I put out I deserve to get back in return. Or at least it’s healthy to recognize the friends that do do this (and may always have).

So, this is a shout-out to my pals. Will you be my Palentine? I have a group of people currently in my life and I want to show a great deal of gratitude towards them. These people know who they are. Kelly, Jane, Paul and Mikey to just name a few.

Thank you for taking my neurotic phone calls.

Thank you for hearing my way over-thought thoughts.

Thank you for just hearing me. Even when I’m being outrageous, you know me, so you know what my reaction is really about.

Thank you for being patient when our catch-ups are mostly dominated with my day-to-day silly dramas.

Thank you for making me feel sane when the rest of world is constantly testing my sanity.

Thank you for making me laugh when I want to just cry.

Thank you for loving me in a way I sometimes forget I deserve to be loved.

So, I ask again, “Will you be my Palentine?” Because I want to let you know that being my pal is everything to me these days. I know that ‘Galentine’s Day’ is now a thing thanks to the TV show ‘Parks And Recreation’ but I don’t want to reserve this honour for just the women in my life but the male friendships I have too, because they are bloody fantastic ones.

Yes, I will choose to spend today acknowledging the great loves that are in my life. I will also choose to acknowledge that the great loves in my life don’t have to just be the opposite sex. I can and will celebrate the love I have with my dearest friends like Jenna, Effie and Bel, my oldest friends like Asha, Leon, Caitlyn and Pippa, the friends I don’t see all the time but crazy support me like Ronnie, Yvie, and Lyndsey, my new friends since moving to London, my colleagues, my cousins, my aunties, my nephew, my niece, the close relationship I have with my Mother. I can just celebrate love in general because I am truly surrounded by it, I just need to recognize it when it is staring me in the face.

I guess that song is true Kweens: when you’re open to it, love really is all around.

Carmela

x

Introducing Carmela Contarino, the #PowerKween behind ‘So The Fairy Tales Lied…’ 👸🏻♥️✨

Carmela is an Aussie in London with wanderlust. A TV/Radio rebel. Fierce feminist. Loud laugh-er. Emotional eat-er. Pop culture cat. Red wine wooer and karaoke kween. She hopes that her experiences are just like yours, funny, warm, loud, raw and that maybe you can figure out this thing called ‘life’ together. #YasssKween 🙌🏼

Things people say to single thirty-something year olds.

Things people say to single thirty-something year olds.

“What do you mean you can’t afford it? It’s not like you’ve got 3 kids to feed at home?”– No, I don’t. Thank you Capitan Obvious. But that doesn’t mean things aren’t expensive for me too. I’m responsible for my rent, my bills, my groceries (which don’t come at a ‘discount rate’ because I’m single) and I don’t have the luxury of sharing those costs with someone else.

“I don’t know how you travel so much, don’t you want to buy a house?”– To quote the little Mexican girl in Old El Paso ad, “Why don’t we have both?” It doesn’t have to be one, or the other. And even if I wasn’t traveling so much, I’m sure all my money would be going on smashed-avo-on-toast right?

“You’re soooo lucky, you have all this free time to yourself, you get to do whatever you want.”- Yes, I do. That’s my choice. You had that option too and you chose a different lifestyle. Accept it. The grass isn’t always greener.

“I wish I had your life. I miss having one-night stands.”- Ha! I spend most weekends at home. I hardly ever go out. I haven’t been to a club since Ja Rule was a thing. I’ve had sex once this year.

“Let me go on your Tinder and choose a guy for you.”- Oh, what a fun ‘game’ for you. Go ahead.

“Do you think you’re just too fussy? Loosen up a bit and date someone!”- Forgive me for not throwing myself in front of every bachelor. If choosing to be single over shacking-up with ‘Basic Barry’ (because I don’t fear being alone) is wrong, sue me.

“So, why don’t you have a boyfriend?” Followed by “Oh my god, don’t get a boyfriend, they’re so annoying.”- Stop asking single people ‘why’ they don’t have a boyfriend. 98% of the single-population don’t know why and the other 2%, well… be prepared for a 5-hour conversation about dating apps, how dating is harder these days, how no one dates anymore etc. Also, there’s no need to play-down your relationship in front of your single friends. You’ll find most of your single friends are happy that you’re in a relationship- even if they’re not in one. Seriously.

“So, don’t you want kids?” Followed by “Honestly, don’t do it, kids are the worst, mine is being such a little shit today.”- You don’t have to talk your single friends into having kids. You also don’t have to tell them about the bad stuff in order to make them feel better about not having kids. Single people aren’t getting around all ‘single’ because they don’t want to reproduce. For some, that might be the case, but majority of singletons just haven’t found someone they want to start a family with yet. And some are struggling to get to the 3rd date stage, let alone the baby-making stage. OR maybe, just maybe they’re not ready yet and have other things they want to get out of the way first. Like, numerous Sunday bottomless brunches that involve smashed-avo-on-toast.

“Can we go on a girls night? I just wanna get drunk and do random stuff like you.”- I’m in bed by 7pm most nights. Is that random enough for you?

“Are you one of those weird feminist types? When will you people stop complaining?”- You first.

“Are you a lesbian?”- Lol! I wish. But since your sexuality isn’t a choice, let’s just settle for the fact that it’s not as simple as switching teams and Bob’s your uncle, your single days are over. Thanks anyway Detective Dickhead.

So to conclude, try some of these instead…

“Wanna just have a night at home instead? I can’t afford to go out and you probably can’t as well?”

“Where are you off to next?”

“I’m free this weekend, let’s drink all the wine!”

“Fuck, how shit is Tinder? And how many dic pics are you gettin’ on the reg? Not cool man!”

“Hey, congratulations on surviving any single-person stereotypes today!”

“Screw the haters, you do you boo!”

“You’re amazing and your life is amazing just the way it is.”

“Slay girl, slay all day!!”

Ok, ok. I think you get my point. 😉

Big love,

Carmela

x

Introducing Carmela Contarino, the #PowerKween behind ‘So The Fairy Tales Lied…’ 👸🏻♥️✨

Carmela is an Aussie in London with wanderlust. A TV/Radio rebel. Fierce feminist. Loud laugh-er. Emotional eat-er. Pop culture cat. Red wine wooer and karaoke kween. She hopes that her experiences are just like yours, funny, warm, loud, raw and that maybe you can figure out this thing called ‘life’ together. #YasssKween 🙌🏼

10 times the movie ‘Bridesmaids’ made it ok to not know what you’re doing in your thirties.

10 times the movie ‘Bridesmaids’ made it ok to not know what you’re doing in your thirties.

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10. “Oooh Helen knows the owner.”

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How a woman in her thirties can easily be intimated by the ‘other’ best friend.

9. “You’re more beautiful than Cinderella, you smell like pine needles, and you have a face like sunshine.”

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How a woman in her thirties can go waaaay OTT when praising another woman (especially in nightclub toilets!).

8. “I took nine.”

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How a woman in her thirties will do ANYTHING for free shit.

7. “In fact, Helen I’m hungry, and I wish I had a snack.”

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How a woman in her thirties can refuse to admit she’s wrong, even when she’s really really wrong!

6. “I’m glad he’s single because I’m going to climb that like a tree.”

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How a woman in her thirties can be a bit of a sex pest.

5. “It’s just… it’s the first time I’ve ever seen you look ugly… and that makes me kind of happy.”

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How a woman in her thirties can shamefully rejoice in another woman’s misery.

4. “Help me I’m poor.”

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How a woman in her thirties can be broke! ALL. THE. TIME.

3. “You’re a little cunt!”

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How a woman in her thirties can lose her shit (and her job) over a teenager.

2. “We would like to invite you to no longer live with us.”

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How a woman in her thirties can easily not have a stable living situation (and therefore result in meeting some very colourful characters).

1. “This is so awkward. I really want you to leave but I don’t know how to stay it without sounding like a dick.”

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How a woman in her thirties can still pick men that are terribly wrong for her. Lol!

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But no judgement here ladies. Now, cue Wilson Phillips and let’s dance!

Introducing Carmela Contarino, the #PowerKween behind ‘So The Fairy Tales Lied…’ 👸🏻♥️✨

Carmela is an Aussie in London with wanderlust. A TV/Radio rebel. Fierce feminist. Loud laugh-er. Emotional eat-er. Pop culture cat. Red wine wooer and karaoke kween. She hopes that her experiences are just like yours, funny, warm, loud, raw and that maybe you can figure out this thing called ‘life’ together. #YasssKween 🙌🏼