birthday, Home, Humour, Lifestyle

A decade of adulthood.

Ten years ago today I turned 18. I threw my first ever house party but, because I was a nerd, not a rebel, I didn’t plan it on a weekend where my family were away, so my parents, two brothers and my dog were unofficially held hostage in my mum and dad’s bedroom, banned from making a public appearance, except to clear away some leftover chicken drumsticks and to help fix my bed frame, which had mysteriously broken.

It was cocktail themed. Everyone had to come dressed as a cocktail and bring a lot of spirits. The craziest things that happened were we crowd-surfed in my lounge, the aforementioned broken bed was propped up with bricks for the next three years, and apparently two people had sex in my dog’s basket, but the dog never confirmed that. My entrance into adulthood was official.

Today I am 28 and last night I left a work party before 10pm because, ten years on, I’ve discovered I don’t really like parties. At least not when they’re on weekdays and I’ve had to organise them and they don’t include fancy dress.

I’m at this conflicting time in my life, where I still look like a teenager and feel like an imposter in adult places, like conference centres and the M1, but in many ways I have definitely, absolutely aged. Matured, like a cheese, but not an old cheese, not stilton or the ones that come wrapped in paper, like they might fall apart from old age if you don’t hold them together, and not a young cheese, a Babybel, a cheese string, that would be even more ridiculous than this analogy. Somewhere in between. But where exactly is that?

Brie? Double Gloucester? … Laughing Cow?

At 28 years old there is still so much I don’t know; when to use ‘who’ and ‘whom,’ why you have to rinse rice, what the collective noun is for a group of rhinos (just joking, it’s obviously a ‘crash’.) But just because school stopped a decade ago – along with my legwarmers obsession and ability to keep down peach schnapps – doesn’t mean I’ve stopped learning.

I’ve learned loads, actually.

I’ve learned it doesn’t become easier to grate things with age. Cheese will always be slippery and run out within five minutes. Both lemons and limes will become more elusive and you will end up grating your own skin into a citrus meringue pie for the work bake off. Carrots will fuck you over every time.

I’ve learned that if you forget to have dinner before you go out on your 21st birthday you will be sick on yourself, your shoes and someone else’s shoes, and the worst possible solution is to pour a pint of water over yourself to disguise it. I’ve also learned that your best friends are the ones who have the photo of you soaked in water and vomit as their desktop background for the next five years.

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I’ve learned I’m not yet responsible enough to own a herb garden, nor am I capable of not spilling hot drinks either down myself or on important documents. And by important documents I mean my favourite postcard of a highland cow that has my exact morning hair, and my ticket stub from Celine Dion; I’m not yet adult enough to hold onto anything that is actually important. I also don’t know whether I should say ‘an herb garden’ or ‘a herb garden.’ One makes the inside of my skin feel funny but I guess if grammar were easy we’d all be spending a lot less time learning about commas in school and a lot more time learning about mortgages, and tax returns, and why you should always eat dinner before going clubbing.

After a decade of driving I still can’t parallel park when people (or squirrels) are watching and filling up the petrol tank makes me more anxious than disease. I iron my clothes about once a year and when I do I use my hair straighteners.

My idea of rebellion has not improved. The most daring act I commit on a regular basis is that even though the back of my hair conditioner says keep in for five minutes I get bored after 30 seconds and wash it out anyway. And sometimes I still eat dry pasta.

Alongside all those particularly life-defining experiences, some other things have happened in my adult life. I got a degree (but I have no bloody clue where the certificate is). I’ve discovered a taste for red wine. I’ve changed what I want to do with my life over 5000 times. I’ve written lots, laughed lots, cried lots. I’ve lost approximately seven pairs of headphones. I’ve developed IBS. I’ve gone from being able to run a bath to being able to run 8 miles and I’m still going. I’ve fallen in love with the same person twice and in my tenth year of adulthood I’m going to marry him. One of the main reasons I’m spending the rest of my life with him is because he’s really good at inventing games and activities at parties – he started the crowd-surfing at my 18th whilst dressed as a pink lady.

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I have zero clue what my next ten years of adulthood are going to be like. I have so many dreams.

I’d like to get paid to write. For real.

I’d like to adopt a staffie and call it Lego. Or adopt two staffies and call them ‘Fizzy’ and ‘Laces.’

I like to think I will be able to pull off mom jeans.

I’d like to have a baby without completely destroying my vagina and call it Lyra whether or not it’s a boy or a girl.

I’d like to become more confident about using spices in cooking.

I’d like a cupboard where all the mugs are different. No matching sets. Lots of personalities.

Mostly though, I want to spend the next 10 years making more mistakes. Being unafraid of failure. Improvising. Laughing. Because the biggest thing I’ve learned is that life’s too short for anything else. Oh, that, and to never ever wear a waist belt out in public again.

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Home, Humour, Lifestyle, London, realism

Coming Clean.

I have something to confess to you all.

There is a dress at the bottom of my washing basket that has been there for one year. It’s hand wash only and in twelve months I haven’t found the motivation, inspiration or remotest sense of interest to sort it out.

I hate hand-washing clothes for a number of reasons. It’s time consuming. It’s faffy. I have to go upstairs to use the good sink. It’s boring. But it’s absolutely no excuse, is it? I should be ashamed. On a shame scale I’d say it’s probably worse than forgetting about a satsuma at the bottom of the fruit bowl and only discovering it one month later after it’s grown its own ecosystem, but it’s not as bad as, say, leaving your child in the supermarket and going home to watch Gogglebox?

Either way though, I refuse to be ashamed, because, let’s face it, this entire blog centres around confessions and smashing filters to smithereens and if I really was ashamed of myself, I’d probably be doing something about it, instead of pointedly ignoring said item of clothing and writing about it instead.

I’m taking it as a sign that today is my one-year anniversary of not giving a shit. In the age of clean, I’m embracing the obscene (and rhyming, apparently.) Because the thing is, I know, deep down, I am just the kind of person that cares more about having a choice of cereals in the morning than a choice of presentable clothes.

It isn’t even a time thing. I take a lot of time making cool packed lunches in multi-coloured Tupperware. I spend time straightening my hair so I don’t look like an (albeit anaemic) Aslan. I spend time writing, sitting on my hands so I don’t bite my nails, thinking about the future, thinking about puns, and – I’m self-conscious enough to feel like I have to defend myself here – washing everything else. Because I’m still a clean person. I wash all my other clothes – very regularly. My towels. My face. My hair. (Sadly, even though my loathing for hair washing rivals my loathing for complicated laundry items, I can’t get away with leaving my head at the bottom of the washing basket for a year.)

And the dress isn’t soiled or anything. I don’t think I even sweated that much that evening. Come to think of it, I probably didn’t need to wash it. I probably could have just sprayed it with Febreze and hung it back up. And my laundry basket is this kind of plasticky stand-alone Ikea one, so I don’t think it’s prone to germs or infestations. Basically I don’t think I’m endangering myself or anyone I live with by leaving it in there, getting it out every time I do a normal wash, and putting it back in.

It’s just one of those can’t be bothered adult things that I’ve let get the better of me. Like descaling the kettle. And getting a proper job.

Maybe I’m a late developer. I mean, let’s face it, I still haven’t got boobs. Perhaps when I hit 30 I’ll finally learn how to do it all. How to shave my legs without maiming myself, how to stop all my woolly clothes from going bobbly, how to just hand wash a damn dress. Or maybe, maybe, I’m not responsible enough to do washing. Perhaps I can skip that bit of adult life out. I tried to wash my denim jacket earlier and forgot I’d left a crème egg in the top pocket. It’s now fucked. Truly fucked. And the worst part is, I’d bought the egg as a present for someone. It wasn’t even for me. No part of the situation is fair.

It seems ironic, given London’s illegal levels of pollution, that we seem to be living in a clean age. Instagram grids are flawless, fridges are jam-packed, no, not even with jam, but with spinach and spirulina and self-love (mine is actually full of cheese strings left over from my noughties play). Everyone is living up to this idea of perfection that’s probably inspired partly by Scandinavia and their damn perfect interior décor, partly by Reese Witherspoon, and partly by that person you went to school with on Facebook who you don’t really like, or know anything about anymore, but who posts photos of her baby in immaculate bibs (why does it never dribble)?

But it’s not sustainable, is it? Just like fossil fuels, this mining of Youtube and Instagram and Pinterest for lifestyle inspiration and the perfect bath (if I took a photograph of my bath and put it on Instagram I’d probably get reported for being triggering), means at some point if we haven’t already, we’re all going to end up having a breakdown. Perhaps we all need to take a step back and start leaving more things at the bottom of the laundry bin.

I’m not writing all this in reaction to the clean scene, because honestly, actively ignoring that dress at the bottom of my laundry basket isn’t an act of protest. But it does fit nicely with the theme. I’ve given up chasing perfection and trying to be something I’m not. I spent pretty much all my teenage years trying to escape my own body and be someone else. It resulted in a bad fringe, two months spent trying to be a ballet dancer, and a lot of self-loathing.

I’m happy with who I am now but I don’t take myself seriously enough to start trying to paint an image of perfection online. I barely know how Instagram works, although I did recently discover when posting a podcast, that if you use the hashtag #adultfilm a lot of porn stars start following you so that’s exciting. It’s actually quite hard being an adult and managing to do lots of different things. We don’t get wet break time. We don’t get rewards for doing unpleasant things like tax or epilating. We have to be responsible for our own tax. Not nearly enough of our clothes have pockets in.

So happy anniversary to me. Cheers to being messy. To celebrate, I might do a hand wash tonight, because now I’ve put the dress out into the world I feel like I really ought to do something about it.

Well. At least before I turn 30.

 

Graduates, Home, Humour, Lifestyle

10 ways to avoid being an adult (without getting into trouble obvs).


 

I never really wanted to be a grown-up. Sure, at times I fancied a career as a wildlife vet, or an acrobat or a dream role as everyone’s favourite wild, red-haired and extremely capable paramedic in Casualty, but that was a different kind of adult fantasy in my head. A lifestyle involving fame and fortune or the occasional animal autopsy, as opposed to a lifestyle of being 26, permanently hungry and still struggling to find the money to buy tampons every month.

The other day I mentioned to my youngest brother (who is 21, the bastard) that I was turning 27 in September and he physically gagged. His body reacted so violently against my ageing process that he had to get a drink of water. And it occurred to me that I am getting old. That those tiny wrinkles around my eyes aren’t pillow creases, nope; that council tax is going to be with me for life; that it’s only going to be harder to have regular bowel movements; that I’m so tired on the train right now I just offered a lady a seat for her child and realised she was in fact just holding the handle of a sports direct bag; that I do in fact have my first bunion. 

And it got me inspired. If I’m going to suck it up and be an adult for the rest of my life then I’m god damn going to make it as fun and young and reckless as possible because otherwise, hell, it’s more dull than the Kardashians and people who hate the word feminism. 

Now I’m not talking about sex, drugs and rock and roll, because I have IBS, I’m already paranoid enough and I have no taste in music. Also I don’t want to go to prison. I’m talking about a happy, spontaneous, care-free life, giving the middle finger to being cool, and living my best toddler existence.

Now, I’m no expert, but an old lady did point at my outfit in the street the other day and said to her friend, “I used to look like that when I was a small child” so I must be doing something right. 

So here we go, ready for the weekend, 10 ways to avoid adulthood (without getting into trouble). 

Um… do you even need to ask?

1 Getting wet. (Not that kind of wet.) I’m talking not giving a shit about rain and getting soaked and laughing and warming up over hot chocolate. I’m talking about running into the sea in your underwear and not giving a damn if the paparazzi are taking photos. Hell, spill your drink down yourself and buy a bib. Live while you’re young.  

2 Straws. God damn – all it takes is a straw and it’s like I’m at an indoor play area drinking my first orange Calipso drink all over again trying to find the confidence to go back in the ball pall with the kid who is definitely over age. Don’t worry – I’m still being a responsible eco-friendly child-woman so these are paper straws, or re-usable, not anything that’s going to clog up a turtle’s oeseophagus. 

3 Jelly. Make some jelly. Stick it in the fridge. Slurp it down your gullet. Make as much noise as you can. Invite everyone to the party. 

4 Patterns. Find an outfit and fuck it up. I’m talking stripey tights with flowery dresses, dotty wellies with fur coats. It’s basically like being high but with more patchwork and less peril.

5 Sleep. I spend approximately 75% of my working day trying to find an appropriate time to suggest playing sleeping lions with my work colleagues. There’s something about sleep – of any kind – that makes everything okay. Especially when you have excellent pyjamas and two giant toy sharks.

6 Packed lunches. Anything that contains a food item that dips in another food item, that peels easily, that has a joke on the inside of the wrapper, that makes other kids so jealous they’re sick. 

7 Tucking a vest into tights underneath your dress. I know it sounds weird, but it makes me feel warm, secure and a bit like I’m in a baby grow. 

8 Novelty sunglasses. ‘Nuff said.

9 A freezer full of ice lollies. Ten points to Gryffindor for mini milks. 

10 Screaming until you get what you want. We don’t do this enough in our twenties. Slam a door, tug on your testicles, whatever it takes. Don’t stop until you’re famous. 

Happy weekend, team. If you do get into trouble, tell me all about it, I love a bedtime story. 
 
 

Graduates, Home, Humour, Lifestyle

What I think about doing every day but never do.

Just gonna come out and say it, I am really enjoying being twenty-something right now.

I know, shut the front door.

I love the freedom. The friendships. Pure nostalgia combined with anticipation of the future. Being on the brink of real adulthood whilst still thinking a lot about roller skates. I am so grateful to be at an age where I can spend a whole day with friends in Brighton and an hour on the 2p machines without feeling bad about it. Today I went to a farm and stroked a horse and felt full to the brim with joy (on the other hand the horse couldn’t give a shit). 

I don’t want to jinx it but this is happening more and more at the moment, like I’ve finally got over the hurdle of feeling all the fear, unable to relax in case a big cloud of doom starts rolling in, and come through on the other side where I can just be content with how things are.

The little things have got my back. A great packed lunch, sunshine, clean bedding, sports day in the garden, bike rides, Pimms. It’s taken some work, all this soul-searching, but I’m proud of myself for digging deep into what makes me happiest to just enjoy being in the moment. Don’t get me wrong, I still panic over sore boobs. It’s just I’ve learned not to drive myself into darkness on Google’s symptom checkers and just take painkillers like a normal person. I still cry sometimes when my skin is really bad even after being on the pill for two months, and wonder whether the risk of blood clots is worth it. But sometimes crying about your first world problems is healthy and how lucky that we can.

So because I feel like I’m managing to manoeuvre the day to day reality of being twenty-five with hair the same colour as a croissant, I want to talk about the BIG THINGS for a change. The things that at some point we’ve all gotta deal with because we can’t live in amusement arcades, however much fun that would be. I’m not bringing these up like a kid throwing shit at a party, more in an ironic sense, that there are aspects of adulthood on the horizon for all of us and well, LOL at that.

If you’re me, when you’re 25, you’re at an age where you overthink a lot about your past, present and future but don’t necessarily do anything about it. While the topic of adulthood and responsibility is on everyone’s lips these days, I’m still at the stage in life when I haven’t yet got my priorities straight so I’d still hand on heart sacrifice any certainty in my future for a slice of carrot cake when “in the moment”.

So I thought it would be just lovely to document the things I hear, think about, see (or just acknowledge exist) every day but have yet to actually kick my head and heart into gear and do. 

Too many people I know are being grown-ups and buying houses whereas I still feel bubbly with fulfilment when I identify a ripe avocado. The house thing is a weird one for me because I just don’t feel that urge yet but wonder perhaps whether I should?

Thing is though I have no savings and the closest thing to inheritance my grandparents have given me was a bag of walnuts. True story. My grandad thought it would be funny if I stuck them down my tights and pretended I have varicose veins. I’m glad I inherited a less warped sense of humour.

A mortgage is pretty far outside the realms of possibility today even if I did want to buy a place. It’s more likely I’d meet Penelope Cruz on the way into work tomorrow or wake up with an ability to speak to owls. Even so, instead of thinking practically about savings, and either making the decision to put everything I usually spend on strawberries a week into an ISA, or just do the complete opposite, like jet off somewhere or open up a micro pig farm, I’ve been distracted. I’ve had a bit of glass in my thumb for a week and I’m enjoying trying to get that out at the moment. I make a fair few cups of tea every day. I think a lot about pugs.  

Travelling has been on my mind. There are so many places I want to see and I’m not quite sure how to get there. Broomstick? I need to get New York before long – I’ve somehow still never made it. Thinking about it it’s probably because I spend less time booking flights and more time thinking about my favourite flavoured gel pen at school. So I’m making a pact with myself to put money aside each month now I’m finally out my overdraft so that I can do some weekend breaks to Europe, eat more croissants than normal, and fix that bug. 

Every day at work I think a lot about quitting sugar and not raiding the biscuit tin. But then 3pm happens (and by 3pm I mean from 10.30am onwards) and suddenly I’m three custard creams down. THIS HAS TO STOP. I don’t want to be that girl that thinks about hobnobs more than she thinks about global warming. This week I’m setting myself the healthy snack challenge and sticking to it. Time to fall in love with nuts.

Was just sick in my mouth a little bit.

After watching Cowspiracy I keep trying to be vegetarian and failing. It’s all well and good giving yourself a pat on the back after successfully eating a carrot, or Cheerios, but I forget about all the other things, like non-vegetarian Percy Pigs. And Nandos. Writing this down means I’m going to try harder to think responsibly about what I’m putting in my body and how to protect this planet. The next aim is to cut down on dairy. I rarely eat meat because courgettes are my bae but chocolate is a different story. But. I bloody love cows and my nightmare hormones mean I can one hundred percent relate to sore udders. So I should know better.

Today I talked myself out of going for a run because I thought it was a pretty decent workout hanging bed sheets on the washing line. In my life, algebra is more included in my regular routine than regular exercise. 

Literally can’t remember when I last did some algebra. 

It is so easy to think about being active and so much harder to actually go to a pilates class. I do really want to be that person who swims twice a week, jogs to work and doesn’t get tired getting a duvet into its cover, but instead I’m on the sofa feeling the backs of my arms and wondering why they are a bit bumpy. 

There is so much more out there.

I want to learn a new language, or at least remember all the Spanish I once knew. I want to read all the classics before I die. I want to start singing again, learn to do the splits, do stand-up comedy, be able to meditate, get over my addiction to lip balm. I want to do my own show.

These things make me feel excited and inspired to be building myself up to something bigger. Rather than doomed to fail or too afraid to look. Because I have all the little things as my foundation stones. I’m rehearsing a lot at the moment and I’m actually writing a play. WHAT. So I might not have booked flights to Antarctica yet but some dreams are underway. I feel pretty certain that I will never not get excited about cereal. Or the discount aisle. Or crop tops. It’s in my soul. But I’m ready to fight for some of the bigger things in life. Day by day. Step by step. Nut by nut.

What about you?

Love X 

Graduates, Home, Humour, Lifestyle

23 signs you’re having a mid-twenties crisis

There are few things I love more than writing about being a twenty-something. Those things are basically Harry Potter, peppermint tea, theatre, puppies and free croissants by the way. 

So because it’s Sunday, and I need to take a breather from binge-watching The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and crying over how much I love Tina Fey, I’ve decided to go old school and write a list post. 

If you wanna do this thing properly, this read is best accompanied with a carton of Ribena, preferably bought from a vending machine at your local swimming pool, and a packet of Pom bears.

23 signs you’re having a mid-twenties crisis

crisis

1 A lot of today has been spent beating yourself up that some people have run a marathon and your idea of productivity was simply using dry shampoo. 

2 Your weekly shop involves making a list of adult-friendly ingredients, such as cashew butter, courgettes, coconut oil and rye bread, and leaving the shop with nothing but a lost sense of identity and a reduced croissant.

3 Your friends talk about houses and engagements and promotions and credit ratings like real adults and all you can think about  is how long it’s been since you last ate a pot noodle. 

4 You tried to straighten your hair with Netflix.

5 It’s tricky to explain but you definitely look better with a face mask on. 

6 You know how angry Voldemort gets when he discovers his Horcruxes are gone? You get that furious about very small things you used to take for granted – like perfume adverts in magazines (how can we POSSIBLY tell what they smell like?) and the holes in crumpets.

7 The other day you spent at least 15 minutes googling Ariana Grande’s Wikipedia page thinking how unfair it is that some people are so extraordinarily good at impressions and you’re just good at buttering toast. 

8 The biggest sense of achievement this week was colouring your skin in with black nail varnish so no one noticed you ripped your tights.

9 Sometimes you feel like you have a gaping hole in your heart for reasons that are beyond your control, like the fact that no one uses a milkman anymore and supermarkets have stopped selling those giant boxes of broken biscuits.

10 You hate yourself for it but you’re addicted to Buzzfeed lifestyle quizzes. Especially the ones that guess your age by your favourite Disney movie, or your pubic hair. You feel a combination of elated and barren when it tells you you’re a warm-hearted 17 year old.

11 You embark on a search of self-discovery and read a book of star signs. You lose heart when your birth date describes you as a ‘semi-shaded patio’ with ‘veiled eyelids.’ You consider asking your parents to change your birthday. 

12 You have mixed feelings about babies – you envy their flexibility, fear their control over your womb, and want to kick them out of their prams just to have a lie down. You may experiment with these maternal feelings by buying a strawberry plant. 

13 You start re-reading books from your childhood and wonder if it’s too late to be friends with Biff, Kipper and Chip. 

14 At your most vulnerable times you could be persuaded a dog is the answer to life’s troubles, but after some thought decide it’s better to wait and save up for a moose. 

15 “GOD I’m 25 – isn’t it about time I stopped having periods?”

16 You’re finally ready to buy your first picnic hamper but plan to fill it only with Wotsits. 

17 The idea of doing a Masters is weighing on your mind but only if you can study astronomy, or houmous.

18 You get deja vu all the time but for things that have never been a part of your life, like dinosaurs or common sense.

19 Sometimes you wonder if you’re a robot because you get absolutely nothing from mindfulness colouring books.

20 Pigeons piss you off on a daily basis: “JUST BECAUSE YOU DON’T HAVE ANY BILLS TO PAY.”

21 Approximately 80% of your day is spent thinking about what to eat next. The other 20% is wondering if fast typing counts as cardio. 

22 A disproportionate amount of your time is spent asking questions too big for this universe. Basically why are there no jokes on ice lolly sticks anymore? 

23 You’re suddenly really protective over your teeth. This manifests itself in anxiety dreams about your teeth falling out and investigating buying shares in toothpaste. 

ALL MY LOVE. X 

Home, Humour, Lifestyle, London, Mental Health

Oops, I’ve gone off alcohol.

Once upon a time (a very, very brief period of time) I had a lifestyle that could possibly be interpreted as “cool”… that is of course by people who are pretty open-minded. Not cool cool – that day won’t come until I can walk into Urban Outfitters without feeling so out of place I might as well be pondering fringed trousers dressed as a tampon.

But “cool” by own comparative life standards – cooler than when I thought I could pull off fake white fur, started regularly performing McFly songs at karaoke, and once offered a mildly threatening man in Brixton my popcorn chicken. 

This hip little way of life came around just after I finished university, was settled in a pretty flexible and sociable line of work (freelance theatre – not pole dancing) and ready to rebel against all things adult, by drinking on school nights, being generally fearless, and always saying yes – except to drugs, because this girl’s got enough paranoia and hyperactivity to go around already.

These days I often wonder how staying up all night and forgetting to eat breakfast before work were ever part of my agenda. Now I get my kicks from clean tea towels and candles any trace of my former self seems impossibly far away (literally just finished yelling at some pigeons for eating our grass seed). 

What happened to the girl who stayed out until morning chasing her dreams on the other side of Jagermeister and 3am cheeseburgers, hoping a stranger’s tongue would lead to marriage and trying not to get her hair caught in anyone’s nose stud on the dance floor?

You see, recently times have changed. Since I’ve turned 25 I’m staying in a lot more. These days if I don’t I get my eight hours sleep I start to forget my own name. The thought of a cheeseburger makes me want to be a bit sick in my mouth. And I’m just gonna come out and say it… I am well and truly over alcohol.

I know, I know, calm a girl down. 

All this premature ageing might be because in the last six months I moved in with my boyfriend (gross) and I’m a walking cliche. What they tell you is true, though. You don’t have to shave your legs anymore and you can use their torso as a hot water bottle so it’s a win win situ. 

So despite being all EWW relationships and EWW sharing laundry it’s actually been quite nice and I shouldn’t care. Except I’ve discovered that when you’re twenty-something and living in the big smoke and you tell your friends you’ve gone off the idea of getting drunk at the weekend you might as well be telling people you’ve gone off the idea of brushing your teeth. 

“Lime and soda please” invites a look of appalled concern, followed by disbelief and questions such as “When did YOU start riding the boring train?” or “Are you pregnant?” or “You were more fun on minimum wage.”

It’s much easier to tell people you’re on antibiotics than anti-alcohol, despite the fact that the reasons behind my sudden distaste are pretty universal. 

I’m talking about the fact that once you turn 25 you discover you’re living in a sick and twisted world where you feel like a corpse after three small beers. My hangovers, or as I like to call them, living death, have become so bad I start to get anxiety mid-swig just thinking about how terrible I’m going to feel the next day. I also make very rash decisions to try and make the nights out worth it, like getting my face painted, or trying to DJ. 

While playing Celine Dion full blast, intravenous orange juice, and overdosing on paracetamol before bed time used to mean I could make it through a full day of being a real life human being after a night out on the town, now I simply don’t know if I will live to 26. 

But the worst thing about all this, and the number one reason I’ve decided simply not to put myself through it anymore, is that not only does each individual cell in my body feel like it has undergone some kind of apocalypse, but now my mind has a total breakdown too. Approximately twelve hours after I wanna dance with somebody comes on (no YOU know where to party) I am positively overflowing with the worst possible cocktail of all the guilt, despair and anxiety that exists in the galaxy, shaken not stirred, and it has officially put me off happy hour. 

I definitely did something awful last night…if only I could remember what it is… You have NO money, Emma, why did you think it was a good idea to buy a round of chicken nuggets for your “new friends”?… At least you weren’t sick on your new shoes…HANG ON. Everyone definitely hates me now. Who did I text? Did I tell someone my biggest fear involving baggy vaginas? Where am I really going in life though? Why did I tell my mum I hated her perm when I was 13? None of this would have happened if I’d not misbehaved at Parents Evening. You know that road trip you’re going on in two months eight days. Yep. Highly likely you’re gonna die. Have we talked about cancer yet? Because whilst your sore throat COULD signal you thought you could sing last night it could also be something pretty fatal. Is this how you want to spend your last day on earth? 

You get the picture. 

Where once alcohol provided me with a lot of laughter and (that time in 2011) the self-belief to do a crab in the middle of the dance floor unfortunately now the mere thought of feeling that blue the next day has finally become enough for me to call it a day.

Where next then?

It’s a problematic one socially I do love a cold beer and I’m not interested in a summer without Pimms. So I’m not going all the way tee-total. I’m in a complicated relationship with my own willpower and a pint at a pub quiz always eases me down the road to anagram success. 

I’ve decided just to avoid sugary drinks and getting drunk because they hate me. Simple as. The last time I had four too many ciders – the catalyst for my new found sobriety – I cried the next day because my shower was too hot and then went to TK Maxx for some fresh air and spent approximately 45 minutes looking for the perfect dog basket to curl up and die in. 

Enough is enough.

What I’ve discovered is that when you decide to ditch alcohol you actually learn a lot about yourself. These days, without all the morning-after anxiety I have some pretty fun times. For example the other weekend I turned myself into a Powerpuff girl online and discovered I have self-esteem problems. Personal growth, much?

powerpuff
See what I mean?

I also discovered that when I have more money left over at the end of the month I am most likely to spend it in the reduced section of Waitrose or what I like to call “a bender”. 

“Cool” comes in many forms aged 25. Including the freezer aisle. 

Let’s see how far this takes me. I’m excited. No more metallic taste and wine headaches and questionable Uber drivers and week-long laryngitis because someone thinks they can sing Avici up the octave. I’m SO ready for a new chilled out me – whose Sundays can still revolve around Celine Dion and comfort food but without fear as a side dish. 

My wild side has to be indestructible. It’s just simply transcended to different scenarios, like finding the perfect spin cycle for fluffy towels. And if my IBS symptoms are anything to go by one of those cheeseburgers is definitely still somewhere in my digestive system. That’s cool enough for me. 

See you on the other side. X 

Home, Humour, Lifestyle

What it is to be twenty-something today.

This post began in the corner of the library I used to spend every rainy Saturday in as a pre-teen, hiding in a beanbag for hours, buried in Noughts and Crosses, or the gospel truth that was Jacqueline Wilson. I tell ya what, times have changed. Not only does my library now have a lovely lime green decor – presumably because the council are insane – but it’s now home to what seems like one thousand pensioners trying to work out how to create a Gmail account on one of the old computers.

I’m somewhat relieved and encouraged to see the library is open at all but it is definitely not the place to get lost in a book anymore – or write a post on ’13 ways peppermint tea has revolutionised my life’. So that’s today’s life plan over. Peppermint tea is yet to reach the New Forest, alongside tasteful colour schemes and phone signal. 

Perhaps it’s because the library is situated next to Clarks shoe store – if I so much as think of how much I miss the little kids’ feet measurer I start crying from nostalgia – but being back home has made me realise just how far away my life is now from where I came from. I’m not an 11-year old book worm anymore. I’m 25-years old and without a growing shoe size to effectively measure my progression in life I’m just a little bit lost.

But I’m trying to find myself. 

Aside from thinking about chocolate, my number one pastime in life is trying to make sense of my life and where I’m going – overthinking everything from people to pasta shapes to pension plans. But every time I stop daydreaming about Hogwarts and start looking at the “real world” more often than not I get a little sad. Because from where I’m standing it ain’t that pretty. 

So I really (really really wanna zig-a-zig ah) want to scribble lots of feelings down about what it’s like to be 25-years old today, in 2016. Whilst I’m definitely not trying to speak for every twenty-something, I do feel like we’re all in it together, except for Taylor Swift maybe, but even she can’t escape a smear test. It’s important to me that I get to chat about this stuff because more often than not everyone seems to be speaking over me. They’re talking about savings accounts and student loans and career plans and first time buyer schemes and the “future of my generation.”

Really? Is that what my life is going to turn out to be?

I’m trying very hard to listen, to pay attention, to act concerned, but I’m extremely unfocussed on planning out the rest of my life because I recently watched this video of a bear jumping into a paddling pool and my future doesn’t seem to matter anymore if it doesn’t include my own pet bear. 

That’s what it’s like being 25, a faux grown-up. Deeply confusing because no-one wants to give a flying fuck about ISAs but we care an awful lot about sloths that look like pain au chocolats. 

There is a part of me that is worried every day about things it feels I have very little control over. Disability benefits have been cut again. Donald Trump said what? Will there be any trees left in the Amazon, say, by the time I pay off my student loan? Really, women still aren’t paid as much as men? Why are people so afraid of the word ‘feminism’? Military dolphins are a thing. Harry Styles has just been cast in a film. Tampon tax, tampon tax, tampon tax. Celine Dion is grieving. How much hair has to come out when you brush it before it’s officially alopecia? What does an abnormal smear result mean and does it get any worse being a girl? 

We’re not in Kansas anymore… 

Alongside what feels like about 90% of all girls born in 1990 my name is Emma. The rest us are probably called either Lucy, Hannah, Elizabeth or Jessica and the fact that none of our parents decided to branch out when deciding on names means that we all need to fight that little bit harder to be heard. 

That’s the number one lesson you learn as a twenty-something these days: you’ve got to work damn hard to make it. Also – and this is where the real pain lies if you’re a 90s kid – everything you dream of doing Mary-Kate and Ashley already did. (Twice. Because there’s two of them.)

This battle to “make it” or “be something” is problematic because whilst we’re always being told how lucky we are that we have the choice to be anything we want to be, this can be overwhelming and destructive, leaving us confused, unmotivated, wracked with guilt, or completely off-balance. 

Which is why one day we can wake up feeling devastated because we hate the government and other times we cry over a stringy avocado. It’s also dangerous because feeling like you’re on the wrong track leads to irresponsible decisions such as buying kale, thinking you can pull off leather or falling in a heap on the floor of your parents’ house and berating them for not taking your interest in acrobatics seriously as a child because at least that could have taken you places.

When I’m not running home to reminisce I live in Bromley with my boyfriend Ed, two friends and Ed’s small colony of ants that live on the bedside table. Living on the outskirts of London is lovely because you get the best of both worlds: a healthy balance of countryside and an emergency Primark. This means when you wake up feeling surprisingly blue because it will take you another 72 years of work to pay off your student loan you have the choice of fresh air OR cheap slipper socks as an instant cure. 

This world of instant cures, coffee, photographs…instant everything must be why we’re so impatient to get everywhere and fast. Being 25 is demanding a future for right now but getting lost in the questions reality brings. What if my future turns against me or doesn’t include pasta? What is everyone else doing? Should I have picked Chemistry for A Level instead? What if I don’t actually like almond milk? How can we stop people eating all the cows? Do I really want to bring kids into a world where sperm wales are dying because there is too much plastic in the ocean or no NHS? Then again baby Converses are a game-changer… 

You see the shit we’re dealing with? 

I miss being 11 years-old where my biggest concern was getting Chupa Chups out the vending machine with a flexi-ruler or Leo falling off the raft.

So while we race on down the road to success – whether that’s getting right stuck into adulthood or avoiding it at all costs – either way we end up having breakdowns trying to choose a cereal in the supermarket because the little decisions get left behind in the wake of reality and are so utterly BAFFLING. 

There is too much choice. 

Weetabix or Coco Pops? Employed or self-employed? Gym or Netflix? Work or travel? Money or creativity? Rent or buy?

It’s this sense of endless possibility and simultaneous futility that forms the gist of what can become a stomach plummeting, butterflying perpetuating, mind numbing journey to adulthood – purely because we live and dream everywhere and nowhere at the same time. 

So it’s time for endurance. For retaliation. For strength in numbers. For perspective. 

We’re at risk of forgetting that we grew up in the 90s. Simply owning a furby or trying not to get hit by a diablo flying through the playground has got to be worse than arts cuts? Right? Don’t you remember when Paul left S Club? Utter turmoil. 

We got this. 

It’s time to take a deep breath, watch a video of a baby elephant playing with a ribbon, and move forward. From now on I refuse to sit back and let life pass me by even if this means I act and do the wrong thing – like believing in gluten free crumpets. I’m clumsy enough not to survive on this planet for years and years. If Voldemort doesn’t get me, something will. So I want to make time count. A lot less time worrying, deciding, comparing, overthinking and a lot more time doing, seeing, loving and laughing

Bring on the rest of 25. I don’t want to feel afraid of my future anymore (except for breast scans). I don’t want to feel angry that the world is being defined for me – I want to be happy with me, my life and have my voice heard. 

While I’m making demands I would also enjoy better availability at the creme egg cafe, more roles for women, Harry Potter to be real, almond milk to be cheaper, Japan to stop slaughtering marine life and leggings that aren’t see-through. If that’s not too much to ask. 

Tell me what twenty-something’s like for you. I wanna chat. X