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.

 

Home, Humour, Lifestyle, Mental Health, realism

How I’m not afraid of my birthday (but still scared of watches)

twenties

I’m turning 26 next week and I still can’t wear a watch. I’m aware it sounds crazier than giving up sugar but it’s been over a decade and I’m yet to reconcile myself with the idea of having a clock attached to my body.  

At some point in my childhood I must have been okay about watches – I don’t remember wearing one but I do remember desperately wanting a Baby G for my birthday. You know what, thinking about it I’m not sure I ever got one. I’m gonna have to pick that up with my parents when I see them because it’s suddenly occurred to me that could be the reason I’ve spent most of my twenties feeling lost and confused. 

Or why I still have a lot of unrealistic expectations looking through the Argos catalogue.

Nevertheless, by the time I reached my teens the wrist was a no-go zone. Somewhere between dangling from a tree as a kid and noticing just how prominent the veins are when you cling onto things tight, to starting cumulative frequency aged fourteen and realising that no matter how many times you look at a clock in one day, time won’t pass any faster, things got irrational. 

It’s tricky to explain to someone who can wear a watch without their throat feeling tight just how nauseating the idea of time ticking against your pulse is. And obviously it’s even trickier to rationalise when you live in a time where watches don’t actually tick. But it’s as much a part of me as my croissant addiction and it’s here to stay.

On a related note, I’ve been trying to find a way back into my blog, because alongside work and croissants and writing a play and going on trips and not just to Tesco, I’ve been short on time. But it suddenly occurred to me that a year ago I was looking at turning a year older with a very different attitude. My dread levels were comparable to discovering dragons are the first task in the Triwizard tournament – or just whenever anyone takes out an acoustic guitar at a party. 

This year feels different though. If someone takes a guitar out at my birthday this weekend I’ll probably just attack them and resume normal service. We have thirteen guitars in our house (it’s a house of musicians by the way – not a museum) so if I’m not careful it’s fairly likely I’ll spend the rest of my twenties in prison. 

Somewhere along the line – whether it’s being in a full-time work for a year, in a theatre that I love, moving in with Eduardo (“I’m just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to buy me tampons”), being more creative or simply not wearing as many crop tops – I think I might have grown up.

Something has changed that means the prospect of turning 26 next week is not only not giving me a nervous breakdown, but actually getting me excited. I’m not talking Bake Off excited – because that would be ridiculous – but just positive vibes and real motivation for making it a year to remember. 

25 has been a weird year. Despite being more settled than the year before, I’ve still felt in limbo a lot – like I’m waiting for real life to begin, like I’m looking at myself from above wondering how that same person walking to work like an adult is the one who sometimes feels disproportionately sad about Mary-Kate and Ashley growing up to be really un-smiley. 

Breast scans and abnormal smear results have sent my health anxiety through the roof on many an occasion which has been about as helpful as algebra. I invested in some private therapy in the hope of discovering a worry-free existence and – despite one month having to sacrifice haircuts and vitamins to pay for it – it worked but it also meant a lot of delving into who I am, what I want and what I need, which has been kind of exhausting.

(I’d like to just add quickly – although I’ll be dedicating a whole blog to it at some point soon – that paying someone to help me get my head straight was the best decision I made this year and I recommend it with all my heart. Fight the stigma and look after yourselves please.) 

I haven’t run away from anything this year. I performed something I’ve written for the first time since age ten when I wrote a pop song called ‘Making love anytime/anywhere’ and sang it to my Dad without realising what it meant. Brexit and chronic hayfever happened. Christmas feels well and truly adult now, even if I’m still slightly scared of the sound of crackers. 

But I guess what got me thinking about the whole watch thing is that for the first time in a long time I feel okay about time passing. Clocks ticking. Seconds vanishing. By all means I’m still reasonably concerned that my frown line takes a lot of forehead stretching before it disappears in the morning. Mostly though – with the exception of doctors’ appointments which are still a minor to moderate distraction – I’ve stopped being so scared of the future. Butterflies are no longer part of my daily routine. I’ve stopped freaking out about change, or lack of sleep, or travelling. The prospect of tomorrow, next week, next month doesn’t scare me as much as not doing anything at all and not being happy with myself. 

So next year – well next year looks good.

I’m not fixed. I still can’t wear a watch; veins in compromising positions will always be an issue. But I’m making my 26th year on this planet the first I get my act together and give blood. Getting through life without wearing a watch is one thing, but I’m not letting a silly fear stop me from saving a life. 

Plenty of being 26 will be the same as it is now – except the part where I try and learn to pole vault in time to get to Tokyo in 2020. I want the little things to stay exactly the same. The people who keep my world spinning, adventures in the countryside, pun contests, a strong Tupperware game. I still have some work to do on not thinking about fatal illnesses too much. I’d also like to consume more cereal generally, my boobs to stop hurting all the time, to not cry the next time I try and do Park Run, to avoid getting my cactus caught in my hair a second time, and to win more 2ps at the arcade. 

This will be a birthday of not thinking about age and time and growing up. It will be a birthday of celebrating the now, with my favourite people, in Grease-fancy dress and threatening anyone who picks up that guitar. 

See you on the other side. X 

fitness, Health, Home, Humour, Lifestyle

20 thoughts we all secretly have in yoga class.

We’ve started yoga at work. It’s at half past six every Tuesday. There are approximately ten of us and I have the least cool yoga mat. It’s at the top of a building in Angel which could bear similarities to the Sky Tower classes except you have to climb approximately six flights of stairs to get there so everyone is too exhausted to take selfies. 

Yoga is officially the best thing that’s happened to me since they invented giant crumpets. Even so, there are some major struggles because it turns out in a class that’s dedicated to being zen there are like one million very un-zen moments. Similar to giant crumpets seeming like a good idea at the time, until you remember they contain enough gluten to RUIN YOU and wear out three hot water bottles before it’s over. 

I’m putting myself out on a limb here (because yoga is a part of me now) and assuming praying that I’m not the only one who thinks these thoughts alone on my mat when I’m supposed to be perfecting child’s pose.

20 thoughts we all secretly have in yoga class. 

1 You don’t mean to sing your own praises but you are seriously good at breathing through your mouth. Maybe there’s a league we could all join?

2 Whilst you do love sitting cross-legged on the floor it does feel a slight waste not to be singing All Things Bright and Beautiful at the same time. 

3 What shall you have for dinner… perhaps something clean, like sushi, or bleach?

4 Alternatively if you order ahead perhaps the burger could be in your mouth within ten minutes of leaving this class. 

5 Fuck. Forgot to shave your armpits. Game over.

6 Whilst you love the idea of cactus pose you can’t help but be reminded of that time in Year Eleven PE where your cool rating was directly proportionate to whose thighs were wider than their handspan and TBH you’re still extremely traumatised. 

7 You love planking. You haven’t been this relaxed since you tried to wax your bikini line at home for the first time, left it on for too long and glued your underwear to your skin for two days. 

Just me?

8 You have a gut feeling that owning a dog might be a tad more therapeutic than pretending to be a downward facing one, six floors up, whilst all the blood rushes to your head and what feels like the tendons in the back of your knees turn inside out. 

9 Why has no one farted yet? Something very un-zen about trying to perfect sphinx pose when you’re so painfully conscious of your own digestive system. 

10 What did you do to deserve being this inflexible? Was it that time you stole a cola cube from Woolworths? Of course that had to come back and bite you in the ass. 

11 Babe you are owning child’s pose right now. Maybe you should move to LA and start a Youtube channel.  

12 Why are everyone’s leggings so much cooler than yours? You haven’t been this jealous of other people’s clothes since the jungle trousers phase of 1999. 

13 You are totally gonna name your first child Yoga. 

14 Not usually one to solve all of life’s problems but the world would be a much better place if we all had a bit of intravenous lavender oil. Just saying. 

15 You know what the best thing in life would be? Yoga that makes you tanned at the same time. Why is that not a thing?

16 Those people who do this for a living…why don’t they have any loose hair strands getting caught in their mouth? 

17 Not sure whether it’s fashionable to have VPL in sports leggings but either way you should become its ambassador.

18 Remember that time you really, really wanted a Baby G or Baby B watch from Argos and had to wait until Christmas? That was a positively minuscule problem in comparison to how much you want to be able to shove your foot into your upper thigh and perfect tree pose by next week. 

19 There’s some kind of sick injustice in the world when everyone else has managed to find their namaste with one leg up against the wall and you’re still trying to work out which one of your legs is left and which one is right. 

20 “Please don’t make me leave my mat. It’s so safe and warm here.”

Namastay cool babeeeeees. X 

Current Affairs, Health, Home, Humour, Lifestyle, Politics

Sneeze if you want to go faster: on hay fever and Brexit.

I’m doing something daring right now. I’m writing about a first-world problem in the wake of the result of the EU referendum.

Actually I’m doing two daring things. I’m also drinking peppermint tea when it’s just that little bit too hot.

First things first, this ain’t because my priorities are skewed (I hate burning my tongue). Nor is it because I don’t care or don’t understand that our country would be better off it were being ruled by Voldemort right now. I feel as nauseous and full of angst and fear and anger and disappointment as everyone else I know.

If anything it’s the opposite. After Friday’s result we have a fight ahead of us. We. The young who want a brighter future. We who can’t watch the world we know implode in front of our eyes and do nothing.

I have faith in us of course. The Spice Girls splitting up was just the warm-up. We got this. We must be strong. United. Positive. Level-headed. Persistent. Vocal. Committed. It’s time to talk. Write. Petition. March. We must not give up. 

Which is great and everything but I can’t stop sneezing. 

You see – alongside the fact that our country is fractured, croissants are going up in price, David Attenborough is sad, the racists won and everyone in the world thinks Brits are a joke, there is another pretty enormous dilemma in my life right now that is not only bringing me down but significantly limiting my ability to delve into peaceful protest as an effective human being. 

And by bringing me down I obviously mean hurtling me into a dark existence of emotional eating choc ices. But you knew that.

I’m talking ‘bout you, hay fever. Seriously. You’re one eye infection away from being more damaging than Brexit.

It’s testament to how deeply panicked I felt at the thought of Britain leaving the EU that I was even able to leave the house and vote because, to be honest, in the last three months, besides dragging myself to work and occasionally venturing out to see if chocolate oranges are on sale, I’m barely exaggerating when I say I’ve spent about 90% of my free time in May and June sat down on the floor rocking from side to side trying not to claw my nose off my face and die. Trying to recall a time when I didn’t wake up feeling like I needed to bathe in vic vapour rub for eternity or just simply live under water. 

When did British summer time stop being about Pimms and strawberry splits and freckles and sunburnt scalps because all hats are made for heads that are smaller than mine and instead turn out to be this seasonal nightmare where noses literally die from the inside just because flowers exist? Forget sun blindness – now it’s pollen-infested corneas and breathing through what feels like a plant stem for a throat. 

To think I had it tough when I was nine and the kids at school laughed at me because I got sun cream in my eyebrows and up until that point no one thought I had any eyebrows and they called me grandma for six months. Now I no longer have an affinity with bees and we’re out of the EU – is this really adulthood?

Hay fever is so far under my skin it’s affecting both my professional and personal life way too much. I’m genuinely concerned people at work think of me as ‘the nose-blower’ or ‘even her elbows are allergic.’ I can’t taste food anymore because my sense of smell and taste buds buggered off to somewhere pollen free a long time ago – probably the Antarctic, or the kebab shop. You know what, those senses have probably got EU citizenship by now. 

My relationship is suffering. As much as one might think smothering my pillow in albas oil every night is arousing, while a boyfriend who chooses an allergy-free partner might get lucky mid-week, mine has albas-induced tears rolling down his cheeks and spends most evenings trying to locate his libido amongst all the nasal spray and phlegm. 

You can imagine all this can get pretty depressing. To put it into context it’s pretty difficult to vocalise your total despair at this country’s political system when you can’t get through a sentence without sneezing or clearing your throat. My voice is lower than the pound right now. My sinuses as effective as Jeremy Corbyn.

As a distraction from my decrepit body I came up with a list of things I enjoy more than hay fever, because positivity. Stand out items are quinoa, humidity hair, and reaching the end of my overdraft. So you get a sense of scale – the fur trade only just beats it. 

While everyone else has been successfully breathing this week I also came up with a list of things I could have treated myself to if I wasn’t currently spending my life savings on prescription anti-histamines. Up to and including flights to Madrid (that was before Friday’s result – it’ll be too close to call now), things on Asos that haven’t come from me filtering ‘lowest prices first’ and like five pet lobsters. 

I have tried everything. Bowls of echinacea. Eye drops. Pills. Creams. Strange herbal balms. Prayer. Meditation. Applying for a lung transplant. At one point I considered moving to Europe but I guess that’s out the window.

What I’ve discovered amongst all this is if you well and truly get hay fever (if you think you have it you don’t so that’s nice for you high-5) there is sweet fuck all you can do. In political terms it’s as hopeless and as soul-destroying as the prospect of Jeremy Hunt running for Prime Minister. 

A week ago after a particularly traumatising experience mistaking perfume for Beconase I resigned myself to the last remaining option: hang fairy lights in my room, start buying presents, make a Christmas playlist and lie on my bed waiting for winter to arrive. 

But now I can’t. BECAUSE OF YOU, BREXIT. 

Now I have to act instead. There are way too many truths to post on social media and parades to join and flights to book before we can’t afford them. We can’t just sit back and wait until the sweet cocoon of winter enfolds us in its pollen-free wings. We can’t recline and self-medicate Piriton whilst watching David Cameron trot off in October leaving us to that mop-haired buffoon who – I’ll be honest – scares me more than Azkaban. 

So where does that leave me?

Well. I’d give up anti-histamines to be a part of the EU. That’s what it comes down to. And that realisation is enough to make me breathe a little easier and see a little clearer.

Armed with my comrades in arms – Airwaves gum, Kleenex and that 48% – I’m ready to fight back. Who’s with me? 

PS. Does anyone know if Nigel Farage gets hay fever? Just digging out any last sense of justice in the world. Thanks and love. X

Home, Humour, Lifestyle

What I’m thinking about when the football’s on.

I tell you what, football should be on more often. My levels of productivity have increased so much ever since the boys switched on the television in the lounge this afternoon and I became allergic to man chants. I’ve made several photo board decorations for my room, mapped out a holiday and watched the grass grow.

Ed’s put a bet on for me because romance is not yet dead. Apparently if Crystal Palace win I get £225 and it’s amazing how once getting out your overdraft is within reach you experience a significant boost in your passion for sport. However, being keen on getting my hands on some dosh and actually sitting down to watch a match are obviously two very different things. 

So whilst they are settled on the sofa with bottles of beer testosterone I’m thinking about pretty much all the other things in life. Like…

No matter how hard it tries, yoghurt will never masquerade as a real dessert.

Do we think anyone has named their child Kale yet?

How many times do you have to stir marshmallows around a mug of hot chocolate before it counts as cardio?

The holes in crumpets are extremely perverse.

Isn’t it funny how Ed went to Dubai with work last week and I went to Co-op.

Supposing, just supposing, I win the bet…STOP IT, YOU RECKLESS SHE-WITCH.

Goodness me, cystitis is SO shit. 

I need to start eating more grown-up food. No more pre-teen diet of Babybels and Frubes. Time for some edamame beans. 

Can there be a summer version of peppermint tea?

Think it’s time I got a dog.

Do you think my boobs are cursed?

I wonder what Penelope Cruz is doing right now…

You get the gist. It’s a miracle I’ve managed to get round to writing this post – I’ve been distinctly dreadful at writing recently because I keep getting distracted with adulting. Things like growing my own strawberry plant, checking my moles and inviting all my friends over to play rounders, pulling a muscle in my chest and waking up the next day convinced I’m having a heart attack. 

So today, win or no win, I’m grateful for football, for kickstarting my creativity again. Even if it’s meant I’ve sat at a table, with a bowl full of stuffed dates from Dubai, eaten about twelve – in what I’m presuming is my own instinctive if slightly skewed interpretation of being a lad – and now think I may never digest again.

Happy Saturday y’all – much 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