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.

 

friends, Home, Humour, Lifestyle

Long-distance friendships and coming home.

A tortoise right now, in all its hibernating glory, is probably still aware deep in its cosy coma that there is a tonne of Christmas hype going on right now. There are more fairy lights than there are school children, cinnamon is the smell of the day, and fake snow is lining the streets of London everywhere you look (except Islington because the road is flooded).

It’s impossible to deny that joy and laughter and mincemeat are everywhere and deep inside my stomach are butterflies, and anticipation, and excitement. But Christmas isn’t the reason why.

It’s because not just one, but two, of my best friends in the entire world are COMING HOME.

When you grow up binge-watching FRIENDS you are fooled into believing you will start living a life full of giant coffee cups and dream apartments and best friends who live next door. I’ve written about this reality check before, HERE, when it dawned on me aged 25 that life is less about skiving work to drink coffee with your mates and more about having no money and getting your hair caught in a toaster. In that blog I mentioned that I have friends who live abroad, who I don’t get to see very often, but who feel like they’re right here with me all the time anyway.

Now I’m sorry if this blog is totes emosh. It’s the first day of my period and as a consequence my hormones are seriously limiting my ability to behave and feel like a strong, independent woman. Instead I’m thinking a lot about baby penguins, trying to cuddle my stapler, and I’m one stifled sob away from asking a stranger to stroke me to sleep.

I’ve had a bit of a tough month or two recently. Anxiety has crept back into my life because losing someone close has tipped the rationale scale, upped the dread, filtered in the sadness all over again. Grief is also super tricky to navigate a) because it feels so unfair and b) because real life is still a thing and c) my appetite is broken and I’ve temporarily gone off croissants. But every cloud has a silver lining, they say, and if this cloud can even possibly glimmer it’s because I’ve discovered the people who matter most.

Two of which are my best friends, who may or may not read this because I won’t ram it down their throats when they’re trying to drink as much decent tea as possible again before leaving the country.

I feel very lucky to have a circle of friends who truly care. And so much of getting through everything has been down to my friends propping me up. My friends at work, who took me for tea on the day it all happened, or sent me pictures of baby seals on email. My best friends IN the country, who sent me flowers and cards and messages to brighten my day.

And my best friends, who live miles and miles and miles away, but still found the time to talk it through. The only reason I’m not saying your names is because, unlike me, you guys both have a sense of privacy online. But you know who you are. And you are everything.

Long-distance friendships might not be as demanding as with a relationship, or your family, or even your dog (mine is super needy on Skype) but they aren’t simple. There are time zones and social lives and all the more important people who need attention to consider. But there are also houses abroad where you can stay – hello holiday. And just because someone lives abroad doesn’t mean the fun has to end.

Girls nights in are replaced with comparing old bras on skype, girls nights out are replaced with drunk Facetime. It’s still possible to watch Orange is the New Black in sync, or get ready together. One of my favourite things about my friend living in Australia is the simple comfort that they have already experienced Monday and got through it.

About six weeks ago my friend who lives in France messaged me to say she’d bought me a present but I’d have to wait for a long time because she ordered it in French and didn’t realise it was coming from China. Six weeks later, my present arrived, and on opening it we discovered it was one of those epic mermaid tail blankets. The ones you can fit your entire body in while you’re watching Pretty Woman.

Unfortunately, and this is the reason she’s one of my favourite human beings in the world, she ordered it for a baby. It’s the size of probably one of my longest socks, and I could maybe wear it as a knitted fishtail tie if I wanted to. Nothing in the last six weeks has made me laugh so hard, and as she apologised for not being around in person to give me a hug, it clicked.

Friends don’t have to be in the same place as you to matter the most. You don’t have to see them in person to know they care. You don’t have to hang out every weekend to have the most fun. They can always make you laugh the most. I treasure my long-distance friendships, not only because they bring me treats home, but because they are worth so much. Time is precious, lives are short, and these people count.

So I’m excited for Christmas for the food, and the carols, and family walks in the countryside, but most of all I’m excited to hug my girls. To eat cake, and drink tea, and be a cliche. To laugh until we cry, complain about our clothes and hair and faces, doubt ourselves and love ourselves, stay up all night and get high on ice cream.

Wishing all of you a very Happy Christmas – with lots of hugs with the people you love most, and immense food babies too.

fitness, Health, Home, Humour, Lifestyle

11 signs you’re ready to hibernate (when October betrays you)

This year, summer and I did not get on.

Intense thigh chafeing, daily sweating between my boobs, and burning all the freckles off my shoulders that one afternoon it hit 34 degrees. Not to mention chronic hay fever, Brexit (although the timing of that can’t necessarily be helped), humidity hair and a particularly alarming allergic reaction to a cooler fan.

I have never been more ready for autumn.

Winter pyjamas, candles, Halloween hysteria, fresh clean air, and giant scarves to hide from the world in; it’s always been my favourite. And I’m not the only one – when pumpkin spice latte starts trending on Twitter you know you’re living in a country that embraces seasonal change, and finally the season has arrived that we are actually good at – wet weather, pre-empting Christmas, jumping in crunchy leaves, making wellies look hot, and, of course, smoothies in knitwear.

However, amongst all the winter romance, the spices, the warmth of a fire, and the build-up to the end of the year, there’s one not-so-sexy autumn phenomenon that always finds us in the end. Sneaking through layers of protective knitwear, antibacterial gel, and bottles of immune-boosting syrups that cost more than your dream pug, there is nothing we do better than wallowing in the seasonal cold and flu bug.

It’s Saturday night. I’ve been horizontal for most of today, and if I shut my eyes and breathe through my ears, I think I can feel progress. I’ve stopped shivering, stopped sweating, and haven’t sneezed in six hours. Minus the fact I’ve started freaking myself out about being home alone on a Saturday night and there might be a clown in my garden, I feel better. I am so rubbish at being ill. Not only do I convince myself it’s something more serious, but mostly lie on the sofa crying and punishing myself for not being productive. So I thought I’d at least try to make spending my weekend under a duvet only eating jelly worthwhile.

Catching a demonic cold is hands down the worst thing about October except X Factor. So this is a list for everyone, like me, who’s caught the fucker and who’s ready to give up on reality and bed down for the winter.

1 It’s been a gradual realisation over the last three days but you’re pretty sure you’d trade in your boyfriend for a permanently hot water bottle.

2 You’re drinking so much lemon and honey it’s highly likely your wee is 90% Lemsip.

3 “Feed a cold, starve a fever.” Two packets of Jaffa Cakes and a curry later and you can add nausea and undisguisable food baby to your list of ongoing symptoms.

4 Your head hurts too much to catch up on Bake Off and you wish Mel and Sue would just come over and batter you with a rolling pin to put you out of your misery.

5 You think about sue-ing whoever’s responsible for all the oranges you ate in September which clearly had no effect in protecting your immune system whatsoever.

6 “SORRY FOR BEING WEAK” was the last email you sent to your bosses before signing off work and going home to die.

7 Nothing you wear is appropriate. All your clothes are either suffocating or hypothermic, so you decide your best option is creating an entire pyjama range out of those heat-sensor tights from M&S.

8 Your neck feels a bit stiff from propping yourself up on pillows in an attempt to breathe through your nose and you worry how long you should leave it before concluding it’s meningitis and calling it a day.

9 Everyone who is healthy is evil, including fictional characters on television, and the dog next door.

10 If there’s a GCSE in sneezing, you get an A*. Hi-five to you.

11 Your husky voice and throaty cough sounds almost sexy so you try to sing “sticky, sticky shoes” like Phoebe from FRIENDS but choke on the second “sticky” and go back to mourning your vocal chords.

GET WELL SOON, WORLD.

Graduates, Home, Humour, Lifestyle, London, Mental Health, Theatre

What I’ve learned about money, self-worth and happiness when you’re chasing a dream.

In the same way I’m open about my boobs because they’re small I’m open about my bank balance because it’s smaller. 

I’ve been wanting to write a post on money for a little while now. It tops the list of things most people don’t like talking about (except maybe dandruff?) and people are always so much happier when things are out in the open, right? 

(By the way – I think I might be getting cystitis.)

More specifically I’ve wanted to write about the old money situ when you work in the arts – also known as “where bank balances go to die.” In the least boring way possible though because (just in case you thought it might be) this isn’t the Financial Times. This is for everyone else who imagines “earning a stable income” as finally being able to shop in All Saints without worrying that all the leather tassels are judging you.  

When you tell someone that you’re embarking on a career in theatre you’re not usually short of warnings that it’s going to be really hard (or in the words of my grandparents – “oh no, what a shame, that’s the opposite of medicine.”) What I’ve learned in my four and a bit years out of university and knee-deep into the world of theatre is that if you can’t see the funny side of that time a pot noodle was out of your price range, it is just really sad. 

The only people who get it are people doing the same thing. So hold onto them tight. Like little lobsters with big dreams. 

There have been real ups and real downs for me and admittedly at the lowest points I’ve doubted whether chasing some far-off dream is even crazier than the time I tried to flirt with a man in German when I can’t speak German. It took stepping away from everything to realise it but ultimately theatre is a part of me and I can’t not do it. I cant be happy any other way. There’s no room for compromise. So how to make it work?

Since starting from scratch two years ago, to gain some much-needed perspective, I’ve changed my attitude towards everything. Goals, relationships, finances, avocado, you name it. I’m less stressed, angry, anxious and frustrated than I was at the worst of times and more optimistic and imaginative. Now I find paying my bills on time hilarious and thrilling as opposed to tragic.

Which is why I’m writing about this now, and not a year ago. I’m convinced a good sense of humour is the only way to make sense of everything but it’s taken some time to arrive here. 

blogdream1
Can I see my future from here?

Everyone has different ways of dealing with money. What we all have in common is shared passion and immense dedication. So this is a high-five to everyone out there trying to make a living from doing what you love – wondering if it should really be as hard as this. And another high-five to everyone who took the sensible route and avoided a humanities degree and lives comfortably in a house with a dog and a high-tech potato masher. You wise owls. 

So – what have I learned?

When you’re self-employed, every day is like a game of Monopoly. But the banker is biased and likes to give 90% of all opportunities to white middle-class men. The real life equivalent of ending up in jail is finding yourself trapped in Pret a Manger drawing up a list of the lengths you’d go to for a salmon sandwich.

But also every day is mufti day and you can wear converses to work – so swings and roundabouts?

The funny thing about theatre is this culture of privilege coming head to head with a very niche culture of being (or just feeling) really poor. You’re meeting people from all sorts of different backgrounds but the funny thing about artists, and to an extent Londoners, is that everyone’s making a living out of pretending so you never know what is real or not. We live in a city full of people complaining about having no money whilst drinking expensive gin at the top of skyscrapers. It’s very confusing and makes it harder to see the parameters, the sign posts of where you’re going and how you’re getting there. 

You must be careful not to get too annoyed at the people who talk of being poor when you know for a fact that their parents bought them a flat in Covent Garden to be “closer to all the opportunities.” Let them do their thing, you do yours. See, poverty is fashionable in the arts – it’s cool to eat cereal for dinner or to dress like you found your clothes in a bin in Lewisham, because it gives you, and your art, integrity. And it will sound better in your autobiography than that time you struggled to park your jet outside the Royal Court. 

Theatre ain’t the place for authenticity. We’re all living in a world of delusion. We might as well join the party. 

The best part of working in the arts is that creativity binds you to other people more than anything else – we’re all in it together. Two summers ago I was working twelve hour days, seven days a week, and still struggled to pay my rent. But so was everyone else. Once we spent an entire week researching for a pub quiz because we needed to win to…well, buy things. We won. In this city, anything is impossible, you just have to think outside the box and have really good general knowledge.

There will always be a low point. If you’re me, there will be several. My time of real crisis – even worse than the time I had to choose whether it was more important to buy tampons or lunch – was when someone told me I’d never get hired as a secret agent because my overdraft shows great irresponsibility. It hurt – not only because my back-up plan if I fail as a writer is to be a spy – but also because I don’t see myself as irresponsible. I’ve never missed a month’s rent. I’ve always watered my cactus. When I was earning £150 a week I never bailed on my friends because of money ever. It’s just very hard to not go into your overdraft when you live in zone two and get paid under minimum wage. Surely a spy should know that? 

More often than not I’ve worked for no money. I worked my way through university because my student loan didn’t cover my rent and interned at every other opportunity – I was hungry, excited, energised, driven. Until I wasn’t. It’s really difficult to find the balance between being determined enough to carry on but also taking time away to consider whether you’re doing things in the best way. But I’ve learned the hardest times are the most useful times because they might just point you in a different direction, a better direction. 

It’s okay to learn how to survive on -£50 a week, to work every day and every night to make it, to live off peanut butter and raw carrots. Providing you are happy, healthy, and have a sense of self-worth. For a long time I convinced myself that working non-stop and earning no money meant that all that grind, dedication, full-blown awareness of what it takes, was the reason I was going to make it. It was self-punishment in a way, for not taking an easy route, and frolicking in the struggle in the hope of the best possible outcome.

Actually what happened though is in the end I fell into a big, messy, anxious, sleepless, hungry puddle and was no use to anyone. It wasn’t the lack of sleep that got me. It wasn’t (in theory) the lack of cash. It was a feeling that I wasn’t worth anything. That my journey wasn’t leading anywhere. That – actually – I should be getting paid enough to live comfortably – after all this time. But by this point I’d lost a fair bit of rationale, probably because you shouldn’t eat too much peanut butter – we all know that – and instead of thinking logically I just left everything and started over. 

It’s taken two years to build myself back up – to have the confidence to work out what I actually want to do in this crazy world, to map out what makes me fulfilled creatively but also to learn that I need some sense of routine and stability to keep me sane. I’ve learned to set my own boundaries now. I know what I need, what I want, what I’m worth. Despite now having a full-time, salaried job in theatre, I’m not yet financially comfortable, because I’m still bailing myself out from my freelance days and also what even is comfortable, except, of course, not being afraid of All Saints?

I have no real savings. If I’ve resisted the urge to buy multiple croissants, one month every now and then there will be a little holiday fund happening. Sometimes people will make you feel guilty about not having a rainy day insurance policy – right now I’m focussing on more important things like just how great it feels to type the word ‘peppermint.’ Whilst I could be persuaded to see a marker of success as being able to afford coconut water – or a car – it’s not top of the list. First I want to stage my play. Nowadays most of my expendable income either goes on nicer toilet roll and shampoo that doesn’t bring me up in a rash. If I’m feeling particularly flush I’ll treat myself to some posh antihistamines. 

There will never not be financial pressure when you’re choosing to make a living from something that only the lucky ones make any decent money from. Living with Ed has changed things – he earns a lot more than me, wants to travel the world with me, and he’s witnessed what it’s like when I fall apart. He’s my support system in the best possible way but our dreams don’t always line up. We want to do a trip to Indonesia next year and so right now I’m juggling in my head how to save for flights that ideally I need to buy tomorrow and how not to die of a tropical disease before I’m famous.

At some point – if I really want to write my own material full-time – I might have to go freelance again. And that’s a scary prospect. Even if it is tax-free. But I’m happy. These days – for the first time in a really long time I’m looking after myself. And it’s paying off. I’d also take sneaking cans of G&T into the stalls over posh cocktails in skyscrapers any day. I’ve learned that to be successful you have to give your all and that’s fine by me. So long as it gives you something back, enough to replenish you. The day it doesn’t – that’s when I’m becoming a spy. Just watch me. 

Graduates, Home, Humour, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

A birthday special

Sometimes life goes so fast I just want to lie down in the middle of Patisserie Valerie and have the staff smother me in that cake with all the profiteroles until I feel like I’ve got a better grip on all my senses. You get me?

My little blog is one whole year old. I’m expecting Hagrid to come crashing through my door any minute with a cake. 

Firstly I can’t explain well enough just how much I love spilling my heart and fears and puzzles and dignity on the internet so thank you so so much for sticking with me/reading/sharing/just making the commitment. Tying in nicely with the birthday week I have a brand new, positively gorgeous laptop. It feels so good to type on something that isn’t a fire hazard with more viruses than a sexual health clinic. 

The last year for me was the most shambolic, topsy turvy, all over the place twelve months since the year I tried to learn how to tap dance and the best thing about experiencing alllll the chaos has definitely been oversharing it online. 

Actually, one year on, I’m more baffled by life as a twenty-something than ever before, but I’ve never been happier about it. I’m learning to love the dilemmas. Realising you live in a world where vegan soap exists, planes disappear into thin air, Hogwarts letters are lost, and contouring is now a thing on your face, not just Ordnance Survey maps, means you stop hyperventilating at everything and realise life is a) pretty funny b) just fine. 

In the last year I’ve discovered real life is a bit like Chemistry GCSE. It’s confusing and you might get burned but we’re all going through it together just with quinoa instead of goggles. Blog-wise I’ve learned that everyone also secretly loves a bit of catastrophe and TMI, because bonding. It still comes as a surprise to me but the most popular posts I’ve written are the ones about periods, sore boobs, anxiety faves and hormones on holiday. Apparently the world (aka my Facebook) likes all the gore that comes with being a girl with skewed hormones and no filter. And boy do I love that. 

Because I’m on the subject of birthdays I started reminiscing about some of my birthday faves, nightmares, hilarities from my last twenty five years on this planet. (Because I’ve literally got nothing better to do while I wait for Hagrid, okay?) After all it was the prospect of turning 25 that inspired me to start writing down all the tragicomedy of being a twenty-something. 

Over a decade ago (FML), on my fourteenth birthday, I was on holiday in Italy with my family. I was feeling fly because I had a sweet little suntan ready for school, pretty rad braids obvs and had made friends with a strange German girl who I was hoping to take home with me. 

Then I walked out into the middle of the road with my mum and my littlest brother and us two siblings got hit by a motorbike. Turns out this dude had just got out of a coma after hitting a lorry. What a muggle. 

The first thing I remember is him offering me a cigarette (yup) and the second thing I remember is the Italian medic equivalent of Josh Hartnett arriving on a moped, whipping off his fluorescent helmet to reveal a bandana, and taking me to hospital. Apparently I told my dad I was in love and that’s how he knew I wasn’t going to die. 

Later, this paramedic found me in the hospital and sang happy birthday to me and it went from being the worst birthday ever to the best birthday any (pretty minging even when they haven’t just been run over) teenager could have wished for. 

I still class him as my first serious boyfriend.

‘Cause birthdays are at risk of being traumatic at any age, even when you’re not face to face with tarmac, right? The birthday bumps at school were positively punitive. Then again so’s turning 21, forgetting to eat dinner, being sick on someone’s shoes in a club and pouring a pint of water down yourself “as a disguise.”

There are highs and lows even when you’re not turning a quarter of a century old. 

And especially when you end up in Benidorm.

Ironically despite milking turning 25 for writing material  for months and months I didn’t actually end up celebrating it. Instead I went to a wedding, ate two hog roasts and experimented with multiple ways to keep a stick-on bra stuck on. 

Which I think is pretty civilised. I’ve come a long way. 

Seriously though, more like “falls-off-after-one-round-of-macarena-bra.”

So 24dilemmas is one year older. Hagrid’s not here yet, for those of you who were wondering.

I feel like a new mother except I’m not lactating. I really hope I’ve got my hair cut by the time it’s two. I keep putting it off and it’s been like 10 months and my split ends are so bad now I look like I’ve touched a live wire. 

You know what, though, I’m pretty excited for what’s to come. When I’m not biting my nails or finding croissant crumbs in my scarf I’m dreaming up ideas of what to do next. So thanks for reading and please don’t stop because it’s important I look witty and not on the verge of a breakdown.

ALL the love and au revoir xxxxx 

Home, Humour, Lifestyle

F.R.I.E.N.D.S and my friends.

Anyone who’s ever spent more than six minutes with me in person will know I love to chat F.R.I.E.N.D.S. My box set is one of my most prized possessions and has got me out of many a funk so much so I consider it to be of higher value than my local medical centre and my daily dose of Vitamin C. I’m not ashamed to admit I’ve spent a disproportionate amount of my life either avidly searching for ways my own life can replicate it, or, in my darkest hours, lying under the duvet simply waiting for that Central Perk dream to become my reality.

There comes a time though in your adult life, when you realise that you no longer watch F.R.I.E.N.D.S as a stranger but as one of them – a real life twenty-something lost in the city, clinging onto wine coffee cups and the sofa in an attempt to find balance in a world that quite often seems to, well, sometimes hate you. In the last year this realisation has hit me hard. Harder even than the time I walked into a lamp post in shock after seeing Alan Rickman IRL. And it’s at this time, when your life goes from dreaming of F.R.I.E.N.D.S.,to living a sort of dystopian version of it, with more rain, worse hair, and not nearly as satisfying a narrative, that you remember how valuable your friends are.

I feel incredibly lucky that I’m part of a generation of adults that had to deal with Tamagotchis. Experiencing trauma and making big life-decisions from a young age means we can now handle anything. Furthermore I know that when the going gets tough, every single one of my friends is capable of locking a Furby in an airing cupboard to shut it the fuck up and get on with life. My friends are hardcore. And if one of us starts freaking the hell out about where we’re going or who we’re seeing or who might have accidentally seen those photos from that time we went to Benidorm we are all more than willing to stuff them in a cupboard until they can make sense of the world once again.

So this is a blog to celebrate my friends. Who I love more than F.R.I.E.N.D.S. Who can turn my day around in a split-second. Who provide me with more support than my best bra, who make my sides ache from laughter way more than my sides ache when I try to plank for more than 1.5 seconds and who dazzle me not only because they are seriously hot stuff but also with their intelligence, generosity, kindness, fun-lovingness, capacity to deal with me in general and, most importantly, just how badly they all react to alcohol.

One of my closest friends is a real-life superhero. And the only other person in my life who can rival my obsession with croissants. Every single one of my friends makes me want to be a better person and live a better life but over the last year this particular friend has inspired me beyond comparison (all the way to other planets…) You are a sunbeam.

Often I pinch myself at how lucky and grateful I am to have them in my life. Like the time I made them all dress up as 90s kids for my birthday and took them to the back-room of a pub in a council estate in London Bridge by mistake and they didn’t care because they were too busy smuggling alcohol inside my boyfriend’s giant neon mallet. It’s as bad as it sounds. If I could remember more I would tell you. When my friends get drunk and significantly damage things in my bedroom I find I actually prefer the irreversibly tarnished remains. My wardrobe is unfathomably prettier with that vomit stain and every day I miss my bed that had to be propped up with bricks for two years that little bit more.

This is the hollow end of the mallet, for reference: mallet

But there’s one very big way in which my life is the total opposite of F.R.I.E.N.D.S. and I’m still coming to terms with it. My friends are not my every day. Lots of them are dotted all over the place, learning, teaching, changing the world, living their dreams, falling in love, living their lives. I want to be selfish and have them all in one place but I can’t because realistically I freak out at the pressure of feeding people when I’m hosting and would fall back on hot dogs and gin as a staple and they would not survive.

In the last year two of my closest friends have moved abroad and I feel like I’m missing limbs. I pick up the phone to ring them and I can’t and that is hard, dudes. These are people I’ve spent my most emotional and outrageous years with and now they’re far away. Who else will feed me spoonfuls of Nutella while we watch Moulin Rouge or sit in bed and watch back-to-back episodes of Orange is the New Black all summer to get through long-distance. You both make me so proud and I am very happy the rest of the world gets to experience you brightening up their day.

In the next month I will move out of my flat where I currently live with one of best friends a) because we can’t live here anymore and b) we are entering new stages in our relationships with human boys. We’ve been friends since we were 13 and thought boys were worse than beer, seafood and the smoking carriage. Who even are we? I’m going to miss her so much. Somehow we have to decide who gets the Harry Potter box set – the second best box set in my life. AH life. This new step will end what has been the most incredible six years of living with some of my favourite people since I’ve moved to London. No one other than my mother should have to deal with my hypochondria so I thank you all from the bottom of my heart (currently in working order) for putting up with me. Now it’s Ed’s turn. HAHA.

My life and my friends’ lives have changed so much in the last few years, in ways I just didn’t see coming when I was still at school. Turns out you can’t just shove your tax return (/all important decisions) in the airing cupboard. Who knew? And this is just the beginning. Things will go on changing. But I’m sharing this right now to say I love you and thank you for making my life so bright.

Thank you…(guess who) For being my thought bin. For teaching me how to pluck my eyebrows. For forgetting those times that time I was sick on you. And for keeping the photo of it as your screensaver all those years so I always keep it real. For teaching me how to do eye-shadow. For going along with it when I lied about my first kiss. For telling me to put water on a croissant before it goes in the oven so it comes out perfect. For reading my blogs and still being my friend (that’s everyone). For telling me to stop losing at life and start winning. For getting me through rubbish anxiety times. For letting me stay at your flat when I was allergic to mine. For never making me wear heels on a night out. For feeding me when I was poor. For introducing me to Korean Music Show Wedding. For talking to me about anything and everything. For laughing and crying with me through the years and making my days. And most importantly, for not avoiding me in public when I chose to wear white fur and pink cord. And leg warmers.

THE END.

Home, Humour, Lifestyle, London

Monday On The Tube With Emma

Oyster2

Hello everybody. HAPPY MONDAY. Said no one ever.

I started writing this blog last night. So I have issues with Sundays. Sundays are Food. Sleep. Daydreams. Films. Hangovers. Laundry. Duvets. Friends. List writing. Recipe planning. Family. Dog walks. Avoiding tourists. The smallest amount of tidying you can do without being a disgrace. Sunshine. Rain. Wellies. Books. Candles. Chocolate. Rest. Peace.

But after six to eight hours of R&R and TLC there comes an inevitable point in the day when Monday starts glowing in the distance. Not like a romantic, sunset glow, or a pregnant glow, or a South of France glow, or a glow worm. More like a pressing, heated fury, like when you leave a hot water bottle on your stomach for too long, or burn a hole in your carpet with your iron.

And Monday stays. It glowers. And Sunday becomes less Rest and Peace and more Rest in Peace. And with every deep breath, sip of tea or roast potato there’s a slow build-up of tension within at the prospect of starting all over again.

At this point I think it’s important that I mention that I really like my job. There is a snack table. 

Nevertheless, I find the Sunday blues are impossible to chase away. It all of a sudden seems very easy to want to bury myself under my duvet and read all of the books in the entire world forever instead. I don’t want to be a grown-up. I don’t want to take off my slipper socks for anyone or anything. I think I will miss my favourite mug while I am at work. I want very much to hide in my wardrobe and see if my toys will come alive. 

And I blame the commute.

Like basically everyone I know, I’m always slightly annoyed when I wake up and I’m not Emma Stone. And Monday morning does nothing to console me. Those blues are on every face, every street corner, every steaming cup of coffee, every trampled Metro, squashed commuter, broken escalator, delayed service, lost Oyster card, forgotten keys, ambitious Tupperware, lonely journey, missed alarm, forgotten weekend…

A combination of a new routine and lack of sleep makes me start to re-evaluate myself and my life on my way into work. As I try not to get my head stuck under someone else’s armpit I think about what the people around me would say about my life. Who I really am, at the weekend, away from my desk, not here, trying to survive getting elbowed in the eyeballs on the Victoria line. What they would think about my pyjamas (not matching). Or the contents of my cupboard (basically just tea and Marmite). What I’m reading. What’s on my iPod. What I wash first in the shower. What I have for breakfast. Which deodorant I use. How my sock drawer looks. How cold my feet get at night.

I travel to work in some kind of trance, examining myself from above like a particularly exhausted and slightly scrambled looking bird, wondering what I’m actually doing here. Basically Mondays are when I get really deep. I’m thinking about my contact lenses feeling a bit dry, what everyone on this train would say if I got tampons out and started a game of dominos on the floor, how grateful I am that no one knows what music I’m listening to (Celine Dion), bed, bed, bed, polar bears, lunch time, germs, whether I drink the right amount of water, who on this train is the best cook, why if I put my left arm into my cardigan first there’s no part of me that can succeed in getting the rest on, how I’ve never run for a train and got stuck in the doors but quite frequently get stuck in the ticket barriers, how a photo of me with a pig got more likes than my last blog, what they don’t tell you about turning 25…

By the time I get off at my stop I feel like I’ve been put in a blender. Sunday seems impossibly far away, a distant, cosy blur in the face of another week. My real life. My mind is in overdrive as I slip back into my routine. Today I realised I yawn in exactly the same point on the escalator every single day. And for some vague reason that comforted me. Like taking a breath and shaking the weekend off and getting ready.

My favourite part of my journey into work is the walk to the theatre at the other end. It’s fresh, it’s sweet, it’s friendly, and with the exception of a sugar-free bakery that has every potential to dive-bomb my soul into the pits of despair, it’s happy. It’s the kind of road where you might see an avocado squashed on the pavement and I find that uniquely satisfying. By the time I get into work I don’t even care that the commute has made me look like I’ve been dragged through the desert on a broken camel, with so much concealer under my eyes I look like I’m trying to papier-mâché myself a new face, and no wonder I’m never in rush-hour crush. I like the hum of a city and an office finally waking up and coming to the same realisation. That it’s not so bad after all. And this is why caffeine was invented. And I have work to do. And I’m the closest to the snack table. I got this.

Wishing you a gorgeous week x