Monthly Archives: April 2013

Tough Girl

Over the past few weeks I’ve been feeling a little uncomfortable. A little unhappy about my default presence in the world. Its something about the number of exclamation marks I feel the need to use in messages to friends to let them know I’m excited or happy about our plans. The need I have to end all sentences with emoticons, (particularly the obscenely sunny ūüôā ¬†) to ensure people know that whatever I have written is to be taken in a light-hearted way. Something about the need I have to encase myself in bright colours, floral motifs, swishy scarves and lacy tights. About my insistence at breaking into song when people accidentally use quotes from lyrics in conversation. After another run-in with an angry customer on Saturday afternoon left me crying out the back of the pub on one of the barman’s shoulders whilst telling my other colleagues to ‘stop looking at me’, I kind of feel the time has come to TOUGHEN THE FUCK UP.

I’ve never been the hardest of souls. I squeal over pictures of small, fluffy things on the internet. I slept with a stuffed toy well past the time it was legal for me to sleep with another human being. My reaction, at 6 or 7, to the discovery of where veal comes from, was to run to the bathroom and throw up (my younger brother’s corresponding response to the discovery of where lamb comes from was, ‘but they only kill the bad ones’). My father, like many parents, spent years telling me which movies were not appropriate. However, unlike other parents, Dad still does it and I still listen – I plan to see ‘No Country for Old Men’ when I’m an actual grown up, which, by calculations, will be around 68 years of age. I cry in Qantas ads (and, I don’t mean I’ve been crying at Qantas ads whilst I’ve been overseas – I mean, I have, but that’s kind of understandable – I mean, I cried over Qantas ads at home. When I did call Australia home). I’ve also, to my shame, used these seemingly endless tears to my advantage, bursting into sobs once on the train when I couldn’t find my ticket and the ticket inspector letting me off the hook from a fairly massive fine (yes, that’s right, ladies and gents, I personally am the reason that contemporary feminism’s progress has halted and stereotypes of hysterical, incapable women in need of protection and care from the complex, overwhelming modern world live on). And, in my defence, I was genuinely worried about the fine, so it wasn’t like the tears weren’t full of real emotion. Furthermore, I never once asked to be let off! The ticket inspector came up with the solution on his own. Irritatingly, because of this need for real, live, spontaneous emotion, I still find it nearly impossible to cry on demand in plays (yeah, yeah, I know, drama teachers, crying on demand actually means very little about your skill as an actor, but, COME ON, the only acting skills the general public seem to be impressed by are crying on cue and the ability to recite great swathes of text at the appropriate time. Actually. Now that I think about it, they may be the only skills that actors possess. That, and not walking into the furniture, of course).¬†

Most of the time I like that I’m such a soft-hearted person. I like that I feel things. I probably over-identify with Madame Bovary‘s desire for passion¬†more than is strictly good for me. People criticise me for being anxious or over-reacting or taking things out of proportion, but the only reason I do all those things is because I care. I do genuinely care about other people and I don’t like it when they’re upset, angry or disappointed. This can, of course, be frustrating in customer service, sometimes, when the aims or policy of a business are in direct opposition to what might make someone happy. And, of course, the flip-side of feeling bad things too deeply is that I also get to feel good things too deeply as well. It might get annoying for outsiders, but being so excited you want to dance down the street, or so happy that you’re squealing is a pretty lovely experience. It may be a wild rollercoaster ride of emotions sometimes and there are many that would call it unhealthy (though not yet requiring medication), but I still feel the highs usually balance out the lows. And I’m neutral enough in between times to not wind up exhausting myself or the people around me.

But, after Saturday afternoon, I really began to feel the desire to be a tough girl. Bursting into tears at work doesn’t make me feel good about myself. It certainly doesn’t feel like something a ¬†responsible grown-up would do. And, much as I have, occasionally, used the hysterical crying woman thing to my advantage (see above story of the train tickets), I certainly do not want to be dismissed or ‘handled’, patronised or accommodated in a place of work (as a side note, I feel it is unfair to describe women as ’emotional’. Yes, some of us have a tendency to cry when things get tough, but men have a tendency to get angry, yell and/or punch each other when things get tough, and who got to decide that being sad was an emotion but anger wasn’t? That’s, like, the stupidest distinction ever).

Anyway, I need pointers on how to be a tough person, because the more I try to stop myself crying the more it seems I want to cry. Trying to explain myself is also an impossible task if I’m on the verge of tears, with each word becoming more waver-y and the longer I take to compose myself in between words, the worse it seems to get: ‘Well… all….. I…… want…… to……. say……… is…………WAAAHHHHHHH.’

I wonder if there is a tough girl program I could put myself through? Presumably the first step would be to convince myself I am not at all interested by fluffy things on the internet. I’d probably have to start eating meat again, and perhaps go and join a hunting team just to really get it out of my system. Perhaps I could just get people to stand in front of me and cry for hours on end until the desire to comfort or joining has ¬†been completely dulled.

There’s also the question of what kind of tough girl to be. There’s bad-ass tough girl, as typified by¬†Lara Croft in Tomb Raider. Or, there’s depressed-no-emotions-tough-girl, as demonstrated by Gwyneth Paltrow in The Royal Tenanbaums. There’s stiff upper-lip British tough girl, or the Queen, as portrayed by Helen Mirren in The Queen. And then there’s plain ol’ ice queen tough girl, like… Nicole Kidman in anything where she’s just had botox.

So many tough girls, so little time. I’m cutting it short because my computer’s about to die and I want to publish this.

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Things That Make You a Grown-Up, Part Two

1. Not crying at work. Not crying in bureaucratic buildings. Not crying in the post office when they tell you they no longer sell single envelopes.

2. Knowing when it is appropriate and necessary to cut someone out of your life entirely. And not being afraid to do so.

3. Understanding the different, complex social situations that require ‘Hide from News Feed’, ‘Block’ or ‘Unfriend’ on Facebook and using them appropriately.

4. Understanding what you should and should not put on the internet for all time.

5. Not eating chocolate for breakfast. Also applies to all other inappropriate breakfast foods: cheesecake, wasabi peas, cookie dough, Diet Coke etc.

6. Using lip balm when your lips are dry. Not licking them.

7. Having wardrobe and cupboard space appropriate to the amount of clothing you own. Doing one of two things when amount of clothing severely exceeds amount of wardrobe space: a) Culling clothing b) Purchasing more wardrobe and cupboard space. Not continuing to push clothing into drawers and/or wardrobe until said storage space breaks.

8. Buying a half-pint for your final drink of the night and not another pint.

9. Being willing and able to share desserts.

10. Wishing only to raise children in the era you yourself were a child in, as they were better, easier, more innocent, more fun-filled, healthier, insert-platitude-here… (Really, the ’80s were just halcyon days).

11. Owning bags that are not plastic bags.

12. Having a ‘skin-care regime’.

 

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Things That Make You A Grown-Up

1. The ability to buy new household goods that match. Like, cutlery.

2. Buying expensive things that you intend to keep in the same place for a long time. Like furniture.

3. Mortgages.

4. A salaried job.

5. Having any of the following (and being able to refer to them as ‘my….’): a hair-stylist, a colourist, a masseuse, a plumber, a dentist.

6. Health insurance

7. The ability not to be interested in social media.

8. Babies.

9. Superannuation

10. Having someone else to cook a meal for.

11. The ability to know what to do when something breaks. And who will fix it for you.

12. The ability to fight bureaucracy.

13. The knowledge of when fighting bureaucracy is futile.

14. Attending friends’ 30th b’day parties. Only attending 18th b’day parties of people you are related to.

15. Buying useless things for your house that ‘look nice’ and not feeling stupid about calling it your house or feeling guilty about buying strictly decorative things that would be a nightmare to move, because you have no short-term plans to move.

16. Taking 2-week holidays instead of 3 month ones.

17. Staying in hotels or B&B’s or rented apartments instead of hostels.

18. Buying chocolate and not eating it all in one go

19. Making different meals every night (instead of cooking a large pot of lentils and snacking on it at intervals for the rest of the week)

20. Buying expensive clothes and/or shoes because they ‘will last’ or ‘are high-quality’.

21. Worrying about mattresses and pillows.

22. Doing stretches to warm-up before, and cool-down after, exercise.

23.Not knowing, or understanding, the latest pop, or fashion, sensation.

24. Not owning or buying things with cartoon characters on them.

25. Knowing that eating now will ruin your appetite for dinner. Therefore, not eating now.

26. Knowing that sacrifices must be made. Being ok with making those sacrifices.

27. Doing your own taxes (without crying). Or hiring someone else to do them

28. Choosing a bank. Choosing a bank not based on which of their cartoon characters are the most loveable.

29. Going on weekend trips to the country.

30. Buying your own subscription to things.

Just to be clear: I have, and am, none of these things.

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Sun Worshipper

I don’t know if the news has reached you yet, guys, all the way over there in Australia, but the sun is finally out over here in dreary ol’ England. ‘Spring has sprung, the grass is riz…’ etc. We’re shaking out the moths from our summer dresses and blowing the dust off our thongs/flip-flops and getting sunburnt and just generally making spectacles of ourselves.

Today (well, yesterday, now that I’m getting round to typing this up) I managed to spend approximately 3 hours and 46 minutes, 38 seconds in the sun. Give or take a moment or two. But, really, who’s counting. In fact, I’m currently composing this blog post with a purple texta on the back of a script whilst sitting on a park bench in front of a pond in Clapham Common because the thought of going home and typing it up on my computer in my stuffy apartment is so horrifying that my body is shutting down and entering panic mode at the merest mention of the possibility of going inside (its ok, body, we’re not going anywhere).

Sun

Sun

Those who knew me back home will know I haven’t always been the most enthusiastic embracer of the sun. During summer I was as likely to react to a sunny day with, ‘What? Another sunny day? Do I really have to go frolic outside and make the most of it AGAIN? I did that yesterday! Why can’t I make the most of a miserable, cold cloudy day with a mug of hot chocolate, blanket, sofa and a good book for once?’ I moaned about my inability to think, or do anything useful once the thermostat hit 30 degrees, citing the highly questionable Equatorial Paradox theory¬†¬†as my proof of my inability to do anything useful. Oh how I longed to live in a place where the sun didn’t burn 15 hours a day and melt my brain into mush and fry all my creative instincts and where I could sit indoors composing this generation’s ‘War and Peace’ without some sunburnt person dressed in offensively little clothing interrupting and, as they shake the sand and dried up pieces of salt water out of their hair and all over me, exclaim, “WOULD YOU LOOK AT THAT SUN? WHY ARE YOU INDOORS? WHY DON’T YOU GO OUTSIDE AND MAKE THE MOST OF IT?” (hey, newsflash, Australians, its pretty much always sunny where you live and if that hole in the ozone keeps getting bigger and climate change keeps chuggin’ on the way that it has been – and has anyone seen any signs that it won’t? – its probably only going to get sunnier and hotter. Therefore, it is probably possible to let a few – A FEW – sunny days go by now and then without having to MAKE THE MOST OF THEM and you’ll still all, collectively, be ok. I doubt you will be on your death bed thinking, ‘Oh, gosh darn, if only I hadn’t stayed indoors on that particularly sunny 17th of April. I’m sure there would have been a delightfully entertaining frisbee game or hopscotch match I could’ve partaken in if I had only had the wherewithal to step outside and MAKE THE MOST OF IT.’ The way some of you panic at the sight of a person indoors on a sunny day, one would assume you expected the sun to be about to take a long journey to the furthest reaches of the known universe, perhaps only to return in a millenia or two).

However, now that I live in England, I have realised that a crappy climate and being stuck indoors all the time doesn’t naturally lend itself to creative pursuits. It does, however, naturally lend itself to moping, TV-watching, chocolate eating and near-constant refreshing of your Twitter and Facebook pages in the desperate hope that through the internet you might somehow claw back some joy, happiness and zest for life by viewing gamboling kittens and amusing celebrity fashion faux pas.

Hidden Sun

Hidden Sun

Consequently, over the past two and a half years, I have become a sun-worshipper. I create Twitter playlists in praise of the sun. I check the BBC’s hourly weather forecasts obsessively for any changes. I think that Majorca holiday ads on the telly are speaking directly and exclusively to me. I dream about sunburn (I LONG to put my skin cells in trauma). When its not sunny, I buy summer dresses to make me feel better and to make it seem like summer is just around the corner. When the sun is out, goddamn it, if I don’t go outside with the best of them and MAKE THE MOST OF IT AS IF MY LIFE DEPENDED ON IT. I am agressive in my making the most of it. I power-walk to the park. I push people out of the way in my desperation to get the sunniest park-bench. I am proactive. I waste no minutes. When the sun comes through my window and wakes me up at 6am, its all I can do to stop myself running outside in my PJ’s to MAKE THE MOST OF IT before it all goes away again.

Cold Winter Sun

Cold Winter Sun

I made the mistake of staying indoors on Tuesday (which was deliciously, delightfully, obscenely sunny), because I had work to do. I kept saying to myself, ‘I’ll go outside as soon as I am done.’ And as I worked, I kept looking at Facebook and Twitter, reading everyone else’s updates about their current summery, sun-friendly activities. I’d do a bit of work and then I’d get distracted for half an hour by Twitter and then I’d do some work and then get distracted for half an hour by Facebook and before I knew it, it was 4pm and I had to go to rehearsal and I hadn’t been outside for the entire day and nor could I argue that on any level, I had ‘MADE THE MOST OF IT.’ I ended the day so angry at everyone, but most specifically at myself and Mark Zuckerburg – who I was convinced had created Facebook all those years ago with the SOLE PURPOSE of distracting me from the first beautifully sunny day of 2013.

AUSTRALIAN SUN

AUSTRALIAN SUN

Today (yesterday) when the sun came out, I approached it differently. I got dressed in record time. I took the small amount of work I had to do (learn 3 pages of lines) to the park. I sat on a bench and I took out my script… and then I put it back in my bag and I stared at the sun on the ripples of the pond instead. I watched the geese float one way and then float back the other. I watched dogs come and drink from the pond and I watched other dogs jump into the pond and then get out again. I watched kids make out with other kids on benches nearby. I watched cyclists slowly circle the pond. I watched children feed the ducks. I watched one mother set up her son in his pram, facing the pond, and then throw the bread in front of him so that the ducks would come up and eat it where he could see it (on a side note, when did feeding the ducks become a child spectator sport? Just give the damn bread to the damn child, woman, and let him feed the damn birds). I sat, in the sun, and did absolutely bloody nothing for hours. And I was in no way bored. I was in no way anxious or unhappy as I often am when I’m on the computer. I didn’t feel like there were hundreds of things I had to do and I wasn’t getting any of them done. I had one thing to do – learn some lines – and I would get to that. Eventually. Once I had made the most of the sun.

An hour or so later, I finally took out my script and set about learning the lines. It was the end of my play that is going on in Brighton, and its been worrying me a little bit. Things weren’t quite working. I’d tried to re-write it a few times, but none of the re-writes had worked either. But, then, there in the sun, I suddenly knew what was wrong. I fixed everything in a matter of minutes, and half an hour later, I had the lines down. I put the script back in my bag and went back to staring at the life circling the pond. A topless man carrying a beer can yelled over his shoulder. 10 minutes later, a fish jumped out of the water. The ripples changed shape and intensity. The shadows of the trees grew longer on the grass. And that’s about it. I didn’t need anything else. I didn’t need any distractions. I didn’t bring a book; I didn’t bring a magazine; I tried to listen to my iPod but it ran out of battery 2/3 of the way through a song, so instead I just sat on the bench and enjoyed the sun.

And it was glorious and wonderful and the whole day made me feel much more productive and healthy than the past 4 months I’ve spent inside, in front of my computer, getting distracted by Les Mean Girls tumblrs¬†and satirical covers of Gangnam Style.

So. In conclusion. The indoors sux. The equatorial paradox theory is crap. Sunshine is inspiring and invigorating. Make the most of it, Australia, because not everyone in the world is as lucky as you.

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The Food Rules

Obviously I’ve been a bit slack with the ol’ blog recently. Its not my fault really, things have been very busy and overwhelming the past little while. I’ve spent pretty much every spare moment of my past weekend sleeping. Also, I just haven’t been able to think of much to write about recently. Its not that I haven’t been doing anything (obviously I have), but… well, none of it seemed ¬†interesting enough to put in a blog post. Making things even more difficult, my short-term memory seems to be completely shot (I blame the alcohol), meaning that remembering what I did two days ago to write it down in a blog post was a bit a task.

Anyway. This post doesn’t seem like its that important or worthy either, but I also feel like I should just write something. Before I completely give up on the blog entirely.

So. I’ve spent many years eating very oddly and even if, these days, I pretty much eat like a normal person (though perhaps a little bit more than I should), I still have a few hang-ups about food. These translate into the ‘food rules’, which are certain rules I have to eat by, otherwise I don’t feel happy/satisfied by the food I’ve eaten. In fact, if I don’t get to eat by these rules I can end up feeling quite anxious and/or upset. I’ve actually gone to the extent of explaining these rules to people I’m eating with, just so they don’t feel insulted or upset by my odd behaviour. Some of them are totally inocuos, others are a bit weirder.

1. You must eat everything on your plate. You don’t throw food away. I know a lot of people feel this way because of parents, low-income, ‘there-are-starving-children-in-Africa’ etc, but for me, its such a regret, such an upsetting thing (and such an uncommon experience), that I can still remember particular times in my life when I have had to leave food on my plate, because I will actually throw up if I eat anymore, and I’ve gone on to regret it for years afterwards. For example, the end of my three-course Christmas meal in Budapest, at a restaurant by the Blue Danube, 2005. Oh, the regret over those final bites of cottage cheese balls in their berry coulis and sour cream.

2. Things on your plate must be eaten in order of worst to best. This is a hang-up from childhood. Dad and us kids had many battles over food, until he discovered stir-fries. Chris and I loved them. And they were pretty healthy, having, as they did, a mix of meat and veg and carbohydrates. Dad would always put 3 or 4 veg into the meals and he would cut us a deal: we could choose one vegetable not to eat, but we had to eat the rest. So, inevitably Chris and I would eat all the other veg first, to get it out of the way, and then move on to the parts of the meal we liked. I still do this now: eating my veg in order of the one I like least to the one I like the most, then moving on to the protein and finally the sauce-y rice or pasta or whatever carbohydrate I have left (because that is obviously the best bit). This is even though I very much like pretty much all veg very much now and have no problem eating it. Interestingly though, I do think this way of eating helps me to achieve rule no. 1. See, if you’re eating the things you don’t like that much first, and leaving the things you really want to eat until the end, you have an incentive to finish everything. I can remember an old friend of mine who used to drive me mental with his eating habits. He would, always, ALWAYS, leave a tiny bite of food on his plate at the end of the meal and claim he was ‘too full’ to completely finish it off, whereas I would have licked my plate clean. It made me feel like quite the heifer, especially considering he was a guy and I was a girl. But, then I realised that he ate his meal in the opposite way to me: things he liked best first. Meaning he had no incentive to finish everything on his plate. Especially if it was a just a shrivelled up bit of some vegetable that he didn’t particularly like anyway.

 

3. ¬†We don’t share food. If we go to a restaurant and you suggest we order two plates and ‘share’, you will see a look of horror pass over my face, which will quickly be followed by me reminding you that I am a vegetarian and therefore, if you want any meat, this whole sharing situation isn’t going to work. Its my saving grace, because, really, even if I ate meat I wouldn’t want to share with you. This is because I have very strong feelings about the food I want to eat. I have all sorts of reasons for choosing one meal over another and once I’ve made that decision, I stick to it. I don’t understand other people’s indecision or ‘hedge-betting’ with food. You choose something and then you stick to it. If that means that when the two meals come out, one of us is disappointed, well, that is just life. And if that means I’m the one disappointed, well, then, that’s fine (incidentally, I don’t remember many times I have been disappointed, mainly because I have so many strong, well-thought out reasons for choosing one thing over another). You may have a taste (a TASTE) of my food and I of yours, if you insist, but this is mainly to establish who has won the competition of who made the right food decision. Or, if no winner can be determined, then the taste merely serves to prove to yourself that you made the right decision. Get it?

5. I don’t share food. ‘But, wait, Jenny, you just explained this one, remember?’ No, no. This is a whole different situation. If I, for example, buy a bag of crisps, or a bag of popcorn, or a bag of lollies or a bag of carrots or a bag of anything that is small and could potentially be shared, well… you’ve got it… I don’t share. See, the thing is, that I bought that bag of food because I wanted all the food in it. I calculated that I was hungry enough for all of the small items contained within that bag. I didn’t buy it because I was only hungry enough for ¬†half of the tiny items contained within that bag. Of course, that doesn’t mean that on a picnic I will bring all my own food and refuse to share with you. As long as I know, in advance, that sharing is in my future, I can prepare accordingly. Usually in the form of giant bags of little things, or buying far too many bags of little things. Just to ensure that I get as much as I want and that there is plenty for everyone else as well. ¬†This does cut both ways, however. If I say to someone with a bag of crisps, ‘Oh, that looks good,’ it is not a hint that I want you to offer me some of your food. No, no, I would never be so presumptuous to suggest you give me some of your food, even in a roundabout way. I am merely honestly commenting on the fact that your food looks good. I am jealous of your food bounty, but that does not mean that I feel I should be given any of it. I am a socialist when it comes to government policy, but when it comes to the sharing of food on an individual basis, its everyone for themselves.

5. If I’m going to order dessert, I like to see it ahead of time. I therefore prefer ordering desserts in cafes or cake shops, where I can see the size of the portions, the colour of the cakes, the textures, the decorations etc. so that I can make an informed decision. I spent so many years avoiding cake entirely that dessert is, these days, a huge deal for me. A good 10 years of telling myself I was never allowed to eat cake, deserves, I feel, another 10 years AT LEAST of revelling in the wonderfulness of cake. In treating it with respect, savouring it with tiny bites and greeting each new slice with joy, delight and happiness. Ok, yes, its just cake to you, but to me, it is CAKE, WONDER OF THE UNIVERSE. One day I hope to join the ranks of the rest of you normal people and come to regard cake as slightly lower down the excitement level (from a 15 on a scale of 10, to say a 6), but until that day, you must put up with me dragging you around cafe after cafe, inspecting all of their desserts before eventually deciding on the place with the best and most generous servings. Also, related to the past two points: I won’t share a dessert with you. Because this will make me sad. A sadness that has no cure until the next slice of cake is bought, which can only happen on the next day (one and a half slices of cake on one day tends to make me anxious and/or upset, despite its wonderfulness). If you’re not hungry enough for a full serving then just buy one and eat half of it. Because I can guarantee you I will finish my whole portion (except, of course, in exceptional circumstances: see Budapest, Christmas 2005).

5. Cheesecake is the best cake. If a place doesn’t have cheesecake then its not worth staying there. That’s not to say I will always have cheesecake, but it does mean that I would always like to have the opportunity of choosing cheesecake. In fact, that would be a good way of living life: always having the opportunity for cheesecake.

Everyone should, at all times, have the opportunity for cheesecake. Does that kind of make me sound worryingly like Marie Antoinette? Found at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/cheesecake

Everyone should, at all times, have the opportunity for cheesecake. Does that make me sound worryingly like Marie Antoinette? Found at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/cheesecake

6. When I buy fresh bread (the kind you get from a bakery, not the kind pre-sliced and in a plastic bag), I have to eat the ends of the bread that day. There is nothing better than fresh bread crusts. But they’re only nice on the day the bread is baked. After that they’re awful. But on that first day, they’re beautiful.

7. Two carrots a day is enough for anyone. This rule came about after I turned myself orange one time from eating too many carrots and too much pumpkin over the course of a couple of months. People thought I had jaundice.

8. Onion is, actually, the devil’s food. A hang-up from childhood, I still feel nauseous whenever ¬†crunching into a giant piece of onion. I will tear apart a meal, looking for any onion before eating, giving no regard to social graces or how long it takes me to get all the onion out or if my meal gets cold during the process. I am able to eat onion now if its chopped up fairly small and cooked until its incredibly soft and mixed up in a curry or pasta sauce (so you can’t actually determine the individual taste or texture of said onion), but that is pretty much the only situation I will allow onion to pass my lips. I also have an aversion to the following onion-like things: leeks and chives. None of these things are put into my cooking. They are omitted from all recipes, no matter how vital the cooking book says they are (or, in cases of things like potato & leek soup and caramelised onion, where they are a crucial part of the ingredients list, these recipes are never made). I do, however, adore garlic, which some people find odd, but I do not at all. Because garlic is amazing and onion is, as we have already established, the devil’s food. I mean, the damn things make you cry. Surely that is a sign that you shouldn’t be eating it. Food should only bring joy!

There are many other less important rules that go towards my decision-making when it comes to food, but that’ll do for the moment. April blog post: complete!

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Good, Better, Best

I’ve been slightly obsessed with negative things recently and I do apologise. I mean, I do use this blog as a kind of therapy substitute (much cheaper, of course, but slightly less privacy), so I do tend to write a lot about the things that are worrying me. Plus, the things that are worrying me are generally more amusing than the things that are making me happy (not always, of course, and there is a line). But, there has been too many people who have started conversations with me recently with, ‘So, you’re unhappy?’ Or, ‘So, what’s wrong?’ Or, you know, people at work sitting me down and asking me if ‘anything has happened’ which would be making me look so tired/miserable/sick.

Of course the weather is not helping. And I know I have been moaning about the weather almost incessantly (I’m becoming more and more British, clearly), but you don’t understand what its like to have seen the sun for two days out of 39. And for it to be snowing in April. Well, maybe you do, but I’m assuming you don’t. You just barely make it emotionally through the months to March and then you think, ‘its all going to be ok from here on in’ and you adjust your thinking accordingly and then SUDDENLY the weather gets worse than it was in winter. And suddenly you don’t know how to deal with it anymore, BECAUSE IT WAS MEANT TO BE SPRING BY NOW.

But, I really should stop complaining, because it is sunny outside now and it *might* continue to be so. In fact, we might get temperatures in the double digits tomorrow. Which means it is time to focus on the positive! Herewith, a list of the things that I am happy about in life right now:

GOOD

1. Today, it is sunny.

2. Cocktails in a cellar decorated with owls.

3. Watching the tube as it first comes round the bend and out of the tunnel – lights illuminating the tracks ahead of it.

4. Piles of gorgeous summer dresses bought from charity shops with my Irish friend.

5. Going to Brighton and eating Thai food.

6. Banoffee Pie.

7. Red floral sheets and red curtains.

8. Hot Power Yoga (really).

BETTER

1. Pretending to be a KGB agent hunting down a CIA boss in the streets of night-time Brighton. Having other people also participate.

2. Finishing my hand-knitted scarf. Even if its dimensions are a little out of whack. ESPECIALLY because its dimensions are a little out of whack.

3. The upper storeys of the Alexandria Hotel in Clapham Common (which I can’t find a picture of, so you are just going to have to take my word for. Or come visit me).

4. Hot water bottle at night.

5. Seeing theatre in empty warehouses. Even though its freezing. Even though I may have caught a cold.

6. Having Saturday off.

BEST

1. Swimming at the pool at 3pm during the school holidays. No school swimming lessons. No adults doing laps. One entire lane to myself.

2. Helping a Danish lady try and locate her lost wallet. After an hour, we hadn’t found it, but she still hugged me tightly afterwards.

3. Erin sent me a book called, ‘You are Good at Things’. I don’t even need to read it, I can just look at the cover.

4.Planning trips to Morocco.

5. Listening to a softly-spoken Glaswegian woman complain about her London-based son who is refusing to move home to Scotland because its always sunny in the big city. Listening to her planning to arrive at Heathrow wearing sunglasses and sunscreen.

6. A golden retriever seated next to me in Caffe Nero, waiting for its owner.

A whole 20 happy things. I’ll work on it some more this afternoon.

 

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All the Things I Need to Know I Learned from ’90s Teen Movies

So, I went to a 90’s teen movie marathon on Saturday night (which, incidentally, is not something I have really done since being a teen in the 90’s). And, I was reminded of many life lessons that I learnt through teen movies. Some of them are true, some are not so true, but I thought I would share them with you anyway:

1. It is possible to be ‘just whelmed’ in Europe. (Source: 10 Things I Hate About You)

2. It does not say ‘RSVP’ on the Statue of Liberty. (Source: Clueless)

3. If you eat a muffin by cutting it up with a knife and fork, it burns more calories. (Source: Clueless)

4. Hamlet didn’t say ‘To Thine Own Self Be True’ – that Polonius guy did. (Source: Clueless)

5. Velma from Scooby-Doo was a hip, hip lady and did not receive enough credit. (Source: Can’t Hardly Wait)

6. There is definitely a difference between like and love (and if you had a Prada backpack, you’d know that too). (Source: 10 Things I Hate About You)

7. There are plenty of women and trollies in the sea. (Source: Can’t Hardly Wait)

8. If you can’t feel your legs – you have no legs. (Source: Can’t Hardly Wait)

9. Email is for geeks and pedophiles. (Source: Cruel Intentions)

10. Kissing is NOT what happens at your prom and it isn’t what keeps doctors up to their elbows in placenta all day long. (Source: 10 Things I Hate About You)

11. You don’t buy black lingerie unless you want someone to see it. (Source: 10 Things I Hate About You)

12. Hemingway was an abusive, alcoholic misoygnist, who wasted half his life hanging around Picasso, trying to nail his leftovers. (Source: Ten Things I Hate About You)

13. Don’t ever let anyone ever make you feel like you don’t deserve what you want. (Source: Ten Things I Hate About You)

14. Just ’cause you’re beautiful doesn’t mean you can treat people like they don’t matter. (Source: Ten Things I Hate About You)

15. In this society, being male and an asshole makes you worthy of our time. (Source: Ten Things I Hate About You)

16. You should just forget CNN. It’s, like, way too serious. And boring. (Source: She’s All That)

17. Girls with glasses and/or baggy clothes and/or dyed red hair are in NO WAY ATTRACTIVE (Source: Clueless, Can’t Hardly Wait, She’s All That). However, if you are lucky, you too will find someone willing to be your stylist for their own cunning reasons and will remove glasses and/or baggy clothes and/or red hair dye and you too can become beautiful and/or the most popular girl in school (Source: Clueless, She’s All That).

18. At the start of a movie, don’t ever break up with someone because you’re going to college. This can only end with you begging your ex to take you back at around the 55 minute mark (Source: Can’t Hardly Wait, She’s All That, Bring it On)

19. Just because she’s a cheerleader doesn’t mean she can’t have a heart of gold (Source: Bring it On), be a badass (Source: Bring it On) or a vampire slayer (Source: Buffy the Vampire Slayer).

20. Offering your virginity to your celebrity crush might not be the best idea (Source: Empire Records), but if you don’t at least talk to them, you’ll probably regret it for the rest of your life and/or become an Angel Stripper being who gets thrown up on by middle-aged men (Source: Can’t Hardly Wait)

21. Shaving your head is very liberating, even if your friends and/or significant other may not recognise it at the time (Source: Empire Records, Clueless)

22. If you went to an American high school in the ’90s, chances are you went to school with any or all of the following: Kirsten Dunst, Donald Faison, Brecklin Meyer, Seth Green, Sean Patrick Thomas, Julia Stiles.

23. Parents are weird. Just… always. Weird. In many different ways. (Source: All teen movies. Ever.)

24. Straight girls dancing together are hot (Source: Can’t Hardly Wait). Straight girls making out together are even hotter (Source: Cruel Intentions… oh, ok, every movie ever. Not just teen movies).

25. Straight men being made to look gay, however, are just funny. (Source: Can’t Hardly Wait)

26. Teachers are weird. Just… always. Weird. In many different ways. (Source: All teen movies. Ever.)

27. If you want something badly enough (a career, a boy, a girl…) and you work hard and you are a good person, you will always get it in the end (Source: All teen movies ever)

27. If you want something badly enough (a career, a boy, a girl…) and you work hard but you are a BAD person, you will inevitably be foiled in your quest. Usually in a highly embarrassing and public way (Source: All teen movies ever)

Oh, the 90s…

I’m sure there’s more. That will do for now. It was an amazing night and I had a great deal of fun. I didn’t have so much fun at work the next day on 3 hours sleep, but, hey, sacrifices must be made when you are reliving your adolescence.

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