Tag Archives: love

Sightseeing My City: Hint Hunt and London Appreciation

15 Sep

I love to travel (as you can probably tell) and for this reason I often let it blind side me and forget the scores of opportunities for the weird and the wonderful that London has to offer. Every now and then something comes along and I suddenly appreciate that this city has so much more and I need to take the time to wonder at it while I’m here. I think we are all guilty of it, and having had a tourist here for the summer with me, it has made me more appreciative of being a tourist in my own city, and made me realise what I tae for granted when I go about my daily routine.

So when the lovely people at Joe’s Blog network asked me to take part in a Hint Hunt last week, courtesy of LV insurance, I jumped at the chance, particularly as it was something I had never heard of before. But of course I rushed off to Google it once I had accepted, didn’t I?

Capture

Actually, no. I was so busy that I let it slide, until the day of the event when Erica, sitting across me in the office asked “Do you think I need flat shoes?”

What for? I wondered.

OH LORD. It suddenly dawned on me it might be a treasure hunt, around the suddenly quite cold and autumnal city, packed full of tourists on the busy pavements in the evening. I was tired and yawny, and suddenly the prospect of cancelling was all the more likely.

I’m so glad I went, people. I don’t want to give too much away as it will ruin the mystery that keeps it so exciting, but the Hint Hunt is a physical location behind Euston station. Your small group (mine were Erica, Haydn and Natalie) get ushered into a teeny tiny office room, and you get locked in. Think Crystal Maze, but minus the crystal and the maze. You have to solve a heap of clues as a team (you can’t be a lone ranger, as you definitely wouldn’t get out in time) so it’s really team building, and a great way to get to know people. This post has a lack of photos as of course you can’t take photos in there, but believe me (as an antisocial person) this isn’t one of those awkward making small talk type venues. It’s so good that we have booked it at work for a team building event in October, and I’m pretty excited! I got to meet some lovely people in the flesh rather than screen to screen blogger interaction, and that was quite possibly the fastest hour of my life, searching for clues and watching the time tick down!

Have you ever done something out of the ordinary in your city? I would love to hear an alternative tourist guide!

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The Universal Language

15 Feb

Unless you had your head buried in the sand you will know that yesterday was Valentine’s Day (or as the boys in my office call it, Singles Awareness Day). You couldn’t move for flowers and cards in the shops, and there were some really sweet gestures seen across the capital. Dinners, dates, even text messages to just make that person that they were thinking of feel special. It kinda gives you the fuzzies, doesn’t it?

Some days make me think that the world has truly gone mad and yesterday did feature highly as of them when an infographic was circulated round the office from a guy who had designed it to propose to his girlfriend. It talked about the idea of meeting a soulmate and that statistics of finding someone and settling down, and the qualities he loved about her.
Read here…

Aaaaah, said a few. But most people thought it was cheesy, and the world of social media going a bit mad. Whatever would have happened if she had said no? The idea of asking someone such a big question must be nerve wracking at the best of times, let alone having an audience of the whole world with the heads swiveled to watch you and see how this one pans out. I personally think that although a bit mental, it was a really sweet gesture and the sort of thing that must have been very personal to her. And by the way, she said yes.

They say romance is dead and chivalry is long gone, and down in London underground you see a microcosm of society that often makes you feel like this is the truth. People are horribly rude to each other and men shove you out-of-the-way to get on the packed train while women roll their enormous suitcases over your feet without care, but then you see the good side of humanity. Yesterday I practically had a five-minute cuddle with a perfect stranger who jumped on the tube right at the last-minute and was pressed up against me for the duration of the journey. It made me think of how people on the tube never make eye contact let alone smile, and how uncomfortable people would be if someone in a bear suit got on and started dishing out free hugs. It kept me amused for the whole journey, while my face was pressed into someone’s unwashed hair.

Last night there was a really old man sitting in a seat on the train, and you couldn’t see his face because he had such a big bunch of roses placed on his lap. Whoever was getting those would have a smile on their face, and it made me think that actually, despite the fact that it is designed to boost business (in Japan there is a tradition where women give men chocolates on Valentine’s Day. This was started by one of the big confectionary companies there, and caught on) it is a nice reminder to tell those you love that you love them. Even if you do it every other day of the year, sometimes we forget to say what we really think.

My sister and I always get each other a Valentine’s card. I can’t remember how long ago this started, but we have done it year in year out to make the other one feel good. Last year when she was living in San Diego I made sure I sent her one, and this year we exchanged them as normal. I always write it with my right hand so she ‘doesnt know’ who it’s from. It makes the whole thing more fun.

Some facts about Valentine’s Day, and love:

The Italian city of Verona, where Romeo and Juliet was set, gets over 1000 love letters to Juliet a year. it just goes to show that we still believe in love, however jaded some people might have become.

see the full infographic at visual.ly

Nothing is known about the saint who gives the day its name other than he was buried north of Rome on this date.

The oldest surviving love poem to date was written in clay around 3500 BC.

Happy Wednesday 🙂

I Saw The Signs…

9 Feb

Something really weird happened to me yesterday. I woke up, and it was like a fog had lifted. Suddenly I could see how rich my life was again, how lucky I was and how much I had to look forward to. And it hasn’t gone away. The snow might have hampered my travels a little, making it harder for me to get to and from work and making my nose a little colder as I waited at the platform, but generally, life is OK.

As I was standing on the escalator on my way up to the over ground at Waterloo, the strangest thing happened. A man, in the fast lane (the side of the escalator that the non lazy people use) came hammering up and hit my bag as he went to pass. He turned, looked a bit confused and said “HI Laura!” I obviously looked a little confused, and he muttered “got the wrong person” and carried on going. I didn’t have a clue who he was or have the time to tell him before he dashed off that actually he probably didn’t have the wrong person, as it was unlikely he would have got my name right in any case. This is really odd for me as I have a remarkable memory for faces. I might not be so good at the names, but if I see you once I won’t forget in a hurry. I didn’t even have that awkward thing where you know that you know a face but you can’t place it; I swear I have never seen him before in my life. But he knew me. Not in a way where it was like he had seen me before, but he actually greeted me by name, and I find this pretty disconcerting!

Then, when I got to the train station at home I decided to get a taxi. It was like 28 Days Later; there were no cars, people or noise at the station. There had been a car crash somewhere, and as the station is that little bit out-of-town, nothing was getting in or out. It was bitterly cold and I waited for a taxi for half an hour with a load of grumpy men. When it got to my turn I turned, smiled and asked if anyone was going my way, as the wait was pretty long. One guy was, and we shared a cab back to pretty much the same place. The strange thing was, I recognised him and we got chatting. He gave me his card and I might end up doing some freelance work for him. When we emailed, I said it was strange that I thought I knew him, and he said I probably didn’t know him, but he knew me, but wouldn’t tell me where from.

I am starting to think I am the star of my very own Truman Show and I don’t like it!

I have peppered this post with some quotes that I find pretty inspirational, things that people have sent me or said to me through my life that have helped me when I needed it.

When you are struggling, when life feels like its too hard and when you can’t see the wood for the trees, use them. A frank conversation last night resulted in me saying that I finally thought that all the things that were broken last year were fixing, and the wise voice returned “no, there was nothing broken. You are just focussing your attentions on the good things now” which is a good point. As Ace of Base once said “I saw the signs, and they opened up my eyes, I saw the signs”.

Ace of Base WILL be my playlist for the rest of the week!

I am now on Pinterest too, which is pretty cool. I love how you can visualise everything so easily, and get inspiration from people all across the world. Fi who I sit next to at work has ordered all the ingredients to make soap, and we are going to have a bash at our own little crafty world. Exciting!

 Follow Me on Pinterest

My Guilty Pleasure

20 Dec

My dear friend Jules is an advocate of Guilty Pleasures, and so I thought I would share another of mine. You may have read about my slight love for Milli Vanilli (if you don’t know, please YouTube them. Their shoulder pads will simply change your life).

So in the spirit of slightly embarrassing guilty pleasures I decided to share one of mine. I have been harbouring this secret for a good decade, and although I was aware of my guilty pleasure, my nearest and dearest were yet to realise.

Macauley Culkin. I love the little dude. Sure., I know he is 31 so only six years older than me, and was dating Mila Kunis (God damn her, she gets all the good ones!) but I love him when he was six. Not in a paedophile in a playground way people, like a wanting to grab him by his chubby little cheeks and give him a hug. Whenever he is on the TV I can’t help but “aaaaaaw!” because he is simply adorable. Why did he have to grow up?!

I’ve always loved him. One of my favourite childhood films is Uncle Buck (I also love John Candy and always will) but the best one is My Girl. I sob with all my heart when Thomas J gets stung by wasps and dies after going back to rescue Veda’s mood ring, and I think it will always affect me in the same way. Tears roll down my cheeks and my sister looks at me and says “Why are you crying AGAIN? You knew it would happen!”

I know, I knew it would happen. I could have chosen not to watch the film, opting for Cars instead (less of a tear jerker). But I love to watch his cute little face hidden behind those Harry Potter glasses.

Macauley Culkin (aged 6 – 12) I will always love you. And I don’t care who knows!

On the ninth day of Christmas my true love gave to me:

Nine Ladies Dancing! This ‘award’ has to go to one of the most motivational ladies I know, the one and only Megan. She is a fantastic chica, and I love nothing more than to stalk her on Pinterest and read her spirited messages (yeah Megan, I’ve been doing that!).

My eight maids a milking blogger was: Miss Vix.

Seven Swans a Swimming: Sam at That Place in My Head.

Six Geese a Layin: Live, Nerd, Die, Repeat

My five gold rings was: Dazzle Rebel.

My four calling birds favourite was: Go Guilty Pleasures.

My three french hens fav was: The Byronic Man

My two turtle doves were: Brooke and McKenzie

My partridge in a pear tree was: The Redneck Princess

The nine ladies dancing post I think you should check out is: You’re The One That I Want and is, in essence, a massive rant on girls waiting for Prince Charming.

5 more sleeps till the fat man with the sack visits! Are you excited?

Reach for the Moon – Even if You Miss You Land Among the Stars.

14 Nov

I read a post that Jules wrote this week that said thank you to the people she was grateful for and it inspired me to do the same. There is something to be said about giving thanks to the people who make you and shape you, and although I give you some information on who made me me on ‘The Cast’ page, I sometimes need to take the time to talk about the people I need to give thanks to.

I think sometimes about how time flies and how I suddenly find myself at twenty five, still not having a clue what I’m doing, but ageing all the same. And as my life dances by like it’s on fast forward, so do the lives of the people around me which often causes me concern. As I reach thirty my grandparents will be reaching eighty, and the thought flits through my mind more and more regularly that they aren’t as robust as they used to be, and they won’t live forever. But this post isn’t supposed to be miserable or maudlin, but more to celebrate one of the most influential people in my life, and give me a chance to say thank you to someone that is quite possibly not aware of the impact he has had on my life.

“Grandparents make the world…a little softer, a little kinder, a little warmer.” Unknown

As a little girl, my paternal grandfather used to rub me up the wrong way all the time.  To a volatile teenager he was the most irritating person I knew, commenting on whether I had put on weight, or why I didn’t have a boyfriend, or just generally being full of glee as he wound me up. I was pretty tightly coiled, and one little thing could send me off in a huff. I remember one Christmas him making some comment designed to annoy and me flouncing off in a huff, slamming the lounge room door. The problem was that I have never been the most elegant, and I got the long string of my cardigan caught in the door, so ruined my dramatic exit somewhat by having to open said door, extract cardi and slouch off to my room.

“If wrinkles must be written upon our brow, let them not be written upon the heart; the spirit should never grow old.”James Garfield

But as I grow, I find him more and more fascinating and he has become one of the strongest male figures in my life. My Daddy is there on a day to day basis to impart his wisdom and even just listen if I need someone level headed, but I often find myself thinking about the advice my grandfather would give me should I ask him.

My grandfather is the cleverest person I know. He designed his own website at the ripe old age of seventy-ish (something that most twenty somethings would have an issue with) and when my sister had an issue with her maths he made her an excel spread sheet that would calculate all the problems for her, making her life a lot easier. He is fluent in a few languages and recently taught himself Portuguese to GCSE, just because he wanted to. His capacity to learn astounds me and he always has a twinkle in his eye when he tells a story (mainly because he doesn’t let the truth get in the way of a good tale, although we have now figured out his ‘tell’: he rubs his hands together when lying). He has traced both his and my grandmother’s family trees back for generations, and he is the best cook that I know. If it wasn’t for his staunch belief in me and my ability I may not have pursued half of my dreams; he has always given me self-confidence and the ability to be able to reach for the stars. He would do anything for his four granddaughters, and he truly is one of the most interesting people I know.

(My Granddad, a man who gave me my love of cooking and wine, (see above :)) and also my mental eyebrows)

So Granddad, it might not be your birthday, or a special day, but I want to say thank you for everything you have encouraged me to be.

“Do it flower, I think you’re super” My Granddad.

Here Little Fishy….

12 Oct

Last week I came across a great blog (please do your homework, I reposted it but if not read here) about being twenty something and single, and the realisation that it may be something to do with us rather than the men available. Too picky? Not sure.

This weekend, fuelled with a few bottles of wine and a good old moan, my single friend and I decided to sign up to a dating website. After all, the TV aerial is broken so we couldn’t watch anything, and we thought it might prove to be amusing. And it has been interesting to say the least.

And I’ve decided to tell you all about it. Its good fun, a little bit like going on ASOS on payday. Man shopping! ‘Nope, nope, hell no, looks like he has a girlfriend…. in the boot of his car, nope, hello!  hmmm, nope.’

Firstly, thanks to Karen there is a fantastic metric for screening men, so if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. I’ve used hers. I have adjusted slightly to fit my requirements (she’s from Canada so I had to research some of her references), but it’s something every single girl should print off and put on the fridge. I mean we ALL could do with remembering that a Santa Claus beard is a total deal breaker.

The Screening Process (courtesy of Karen)

Requirements for Potential Prospects

1. A pulse:  Regular breathing= 5 points, Comatose= 3 points, Dead= 0 points, Heavy breathing= Disqualified

2. A personality:  Engaging= 5 points, Boring as a sack of wet bricks= 2 points, Doorknob= 0 points, Weird= -3 points, Douche= Disqualified

3. Hygiene:  Clean= 5 points,  Unclean= 0 points, Funky odours= Disqualified.

4. Toilet trained: Independent of personal potty tasks= 5 points, Significant knowledge on how to flush a toilet= 5 points, Avid player of pee games such as `Ready, Aim, Fire`and Àll pee, no see’= 0 points.

5.  Sense of humor: Russell Brand (Mr Katy Perry)= 5 points, Michael MacIntyre= 4 points, Steve Carell (from The Office)= 3 points, Mr. Bean (from your childhood)= 1 point, Charlie Sheen (from rehab)= 0 points, Jim Carrey (excommunicated from the leprechaun community)= Disqualified

6. Dress Code: Nice Clothes= 5 points, Clean clothes= 5 points, Hobo Chic= 3 points, Hawaiian Shirts= 1 point, Rapper Wannabe= 0 points, Falling pants= Disqualified.

7.  Personal Habits: Cooking= 5 points, Cleaning up after oneself= 4 points, Adequate knowledge of using a phone to order a pizza or to call 911= 3 points, Drinking straight out of a milk carton= 2 points, Avid believer in leaving the toilet seat up= 0 points

8. Crisis Management: Able to handle a crisis= 5 points, Unable to handle a crisis= 0 points, This girl is crazy= disqualified.

9. Beards: Joseph Gordon-Levitt (sexy stubble, 1o Things I Hate About You)= 5 points, Jake Gyllenhaal (groomed beard)= 4 points, Brad Pitt (unkempt hobo beard)= 3 points, Jesus (biblical beard)= 2 points, Santa Claus (unacceptable)= 0 points

10. Attraction: I’m attracted to you= 5 points, I’m not attracted to you= 0 points, You are Ryan Reynolds= Directly pass GO, collect your million points and win the game. In fact, you don’t even need to go to GO. Its fine love.

Fine Print: Need a minimum of a million points to qualify. A long interview process consisting of awkward dates ensues if you pass the screening.

So back to my story. I know a lot of people who have had success on dating sites, and see it like a bar full of single people. This is not the case. Single or not, men go on dating sites. But let’s pretend that it is like going out on a night out and being in an environment where everyone is upfront and single. (if you want to read a hilarious blog about internet dating and douchebag men, head on over to Brooke and McKenzie, my new favourites and my inspiration to tell this story).

We signed up. We filled in all the sections, half-heartedly I might add, with me listing my likes as “Wine. Cheese. Wine and cheese.” (this one’s for you Jules!!) and each added a photo, going off to get more wine. In the time we did so, the inboxes filled up with emails. If you are looking for a boost to your self-esteem, sign up to a free dating website; it’s like a shot of wheatgrass on a hangover. We couldn’t go to the toilet for fear that the email inbox would increase to over five pages and we would lose a James Marsden look-alike in the midst of all the shite. On one occasion it happened and my friend looked at me, scared and said “I don’t think I can cope!” More wine.

But don’t expect it to be plain sailing from the inbox ego boost. We quickly established a quick fire get rid of the crazies metric (which should also be stuck to the fridge). If we had gone with our initial thought that we would politely respond to each email we would have been sacrificing our life to the computer.

1)      If someone writes you an email titled “hay” it goes straight to the bin. There is nothing wrong with a) spelling hey correctly if that is the route you will go down,  or b) and preferably, putting something more exciting.

2)      “How heavy is a polar bear?” I fell for this the first time. Guy 1 got a reply. “Enough to break the ice!” Lord. Add it to the metric, if you see this joke, bin the email.

3)      “Fit”. “Gorgeous”. “Sexy” If any or all of these three words come through, accompanied by NOTHING ELSE! they get binned. How are you supposed to start a meaningful conversation from that?

4)      If the email is from a person with no head, only their t-shirt pulled up to reveal a rippling torso, they go in the bin. As we all know, I am a massive fan of a buff body, but I am also not the type of girl who would post a headless photo of myself in my bra. It’s not what one does! (Note. This has been the hardest of the metric points. If I see a six-pack that I would break my finger poking, it is something hard to walk away from. I have overcome this by flicking to my Ryan Reynolds screen saver. Thank God for Ryan!)

5)      As with #1, if someone spells ‘gorgeous’ ‘gawjus’, a little piece of me dies. It’s like when you sneeze and someone says bless you and you say thank you. Apparently this is bad, and if you don’t clap, you are the key suspect in a fairy’s demise. Or something.

6) If they ask me why I haven’t got a boyfriend. There is no easy answer. Because I moved out of living in a house in the country with my ex because I wanted to murder him for not picking up his pants? Because I attract men who are married, engaged, total douchebags or all of the above? Because the guy who was the closest thing I have had recently to a boyfriend is a thirty something workaholic? Because I am insane? Not sure any of these are socially acceptable.

That’s the do not pass go rationale. After that, it’s an entire minefield, but collectively we anticipate that 95% of emails didn’t get a reply. I got the guilt about this for a time but as my friend pointed out, if you respond to someone who looks like a serial killer and/or can’t spell, you are only encouraging them.  I don’t think that is admissible in court, but OK.

Some snippets of conversation:

“In all his photos his friends are smiling and he has vampire eyes!” Delete.

“I think he might be responsible for the death of his Gran” Delete.

“He looks like Eminem.” “Do you like Eminem?” “No I think he looks like a chavvy oik” Delete.

“You only like him because he is mixed race and you like that. He said ‘gawjus!” Half-hearted delete.

It’s now nearly a week on, and what have I learnt? (It’s like writing a science experiment!) I have learnt that Karen is right. I am picky. I get bored easily and annoyed quickly. If someone doesn’t ask me a question, I don’t reply. After all, I’m not trying to force a conversation with someone I don’t know.

There are a great deal of nutters in the world. I refuse to repeat a great deal of the content provided, as my mother often reads this, but some of the tamer ones:

  • Pitbull advised me to “grab somebody sexy and tell them hey, so hey” aaah! You will never get anywhere near grabbing me.
  • “Send me a picture of your feet!” I loved this. No “hi”, no warm up, just a podiatry request.
  • “Hey gawjus, I fink you are the girl I am supposed to marry. I read your profile and I fink I love you. Let’s meet up.” From one dodgy photo and a few lines of text? Surprised you can read….. This one actually added a point to the metric.
  • “If a man in a big red suit comes and puts you in a sack, don’t worry, I asked for you for Christmas”. Vomit. If a fat old man tries to put me in a sack he will be administered with a sharp kick in the general groin region and an ear bending so terrible that he will regret ever attempting to grant Christmas wishes.

But on the upside, I have learnt a lot about myself. All that matters to me is that someone gets that I am always dry, regularly sarcastic and often a little bit odd in my humour, and have the correct personality to be the same. During this scientific experiment I have :

  • Awkwardly seen someone who I shared a drunken snog with on a night out at Christmas.
  • Noticed that a once good friend of mine was now single and contacted him to offer a chat if needed (who says Facebook keeps us in touch?!) PURELY PLATONICALLY.
  • Given my number to two people. This yes, makes me picky. But bonus to the people who made it to this round!

And thus are my findings. In conclusion (they always round it up with a conclusion, don’t they?!) I feel there is nothing wrong with being picky (my granddad would TOTALLY agree. He hates all our boyfriends, deeming they are not good enough for his princesses). It might mean you end up dead being eaten by alsatians before someone sends an ambulance, but I think I would rather that than be romantically attached to a man who has a foot fetish, takes his advice from a rapper who looks like he had a stroke, and cannot spell. I’ll keep you posted if anymore classic, must-be-shared emails come through. Until then I will remain reporting from the field. Over and out!

If you haven’t already please subscribe and follow me on Facebook and Twitter (@Lillyheart999) for insightful tidbits of wisdom. Help me push up the numbers people!!

Life Lessons I Learnt From a Four Year Old

5 Oct

I spend a great deal of time with my favourite under eighteen in the world, little Miss Lilly. She is four years old and the oldest daughter of my very close friend LouLou, and she is my favourite little lady in the whole wide world. I love her because she is clever and chatty, and comes out with some of the best one liners I have ever heard.

We use her as a man tester. When I lived with ex-boyfriend, Lou bought babygirl round (being a great deal smaller at the time) and she took a shine to him, trying to sit on his lap and give him kisses. She had a bit of a runny nose, but he was appalled and it was later decreed that she should be used to vet all potential suitors early on, to establish their worth. After all, if you don’t like my Lil, you are not right for me.

And I have come to learn that the world is a different place through the eyes of a four year old, and maybe there are some lessons to be learnt here.

1) Say what you see. Don’t try to over complicate it.
When reading a bedtime story the other night, Lilly was pretty well behaved until we got to the letter N, where she got tired and began to act up. I swear she is fit for a career in the West End when she is older. “N is for……” said Lou “say what’s round her neck”.
Lilly looked at her, unimpressed. “bracelet” she said.
Well she wasn’t far wrong. It went on like this, some answers stranger than the others. “O is for…..” said Lou, pointing to the picture of the octopus. Fairly easy, there aren’t many O’s. Until we realised Lilly wasn’t playing.
“Spiderman.”

2) There is always a need for matching socks.
My sister is really bad at matching socks. She just doesn’t care. Lilly came round when she was at our flat one Sunday, and Danielle and Lil chatted for about five minutes before my sister left. Over a month later, in the car on the way to my house she said “are we going to Laura? Is that girl with the different socks going to be there?” Oh the shame.

3) Friendship is very important.
Lilly is particularly fond of her dad’s friend, Lofty. She follows him around adoringly, asking “You are my best friend though, aren’t you Lofty? Aren’t you? AREN’T YOU LOFTY???” The poor man, in his thirties, is slightly perplexed why a four year old princess wants to be his best friend. But agrees nonetheless. He will be beholden to this for life.

4) Take a hold of love, wherever it comes from.
After a particularly bad day at work, I get to Lou’s house. She opens the door. All is fairly quiet until this little whirling dervish of curls and blondness comes hammering through the door and hits my shins. “OhhiLaurailoveyou” she says into my knees. And my day considerably improves. Regardless of her then demanding that I carry her everywhere until bedtime.

5) Picnics can be as imaginative as you require.
One cold day in the supposed British summer, we decided to have a picnic with the girls. Of course it monsooned outside, so we lay the blanket in the lounge and devoured our picnic from there. When discussing the eve before what we would have in our sandwiches, I ventured “how about cheese and pickle Lillypad?” she replied, authoritatively “Yes. And chocolate spread.” She didn’t seem to understand why I felt cheese, pickle AND chocolate spread might be a little odd.  “And crispies.”

Do the children in your life crack you up? Have they come out with any great one liners?

Fancy Dress for the Love of Choppy

3 Oct

Fancy dress. You either love it or hate it, don’t you? But whether you fall into the former or the latter, the chances are that at one point in your life you will love someone enough to don the outfit and go out for the night looking like a prat. I’m the sort of person that always forgets to sort anything out, and ends up with a half hearted fancy dress outfit. But you cant be committed with Chop around, so this year I was determined to put in the effort….

I love my friend Choppy enough to do this. A few years ago the theme was cowboys and Indians, and this year the theme was uniforms. So in true all aboard the birthday bus tradition, we donned out outfits and hit the town. I had intended to go as an airhostess, and had duly gone and purchased the outfit. Obviously the cheapest place was Ann Summers, so hilariously the very short dress came with a pair of pants that said ‘shagging crew’. Totally necessary. It also came with a hat too small for my head, so in true idiot fashion I spent the night before we went out (once the boys had gone home from our takeaway night, obviously) dancing round the house in my pjs singing “robin hood robin hood riding through the glen” while galloping on my pretend noble steed, to my housemate who found the whole thing hilarious and agreed that there was no need for a hat so small and no I did not have a freakishly large head.

The next day my other housemate came home with her nurses outfit, and we concluded that she looked better in red, I looked better in white (angelic) and we should swap. So Emmie and I went as nurses, complete with stethoscopes which I gather isn’t totally correct, and Mel went as an airhostess. She declined to wear the rather attractive pants though.

What is it about girls in fancy dress that turns men into jabbering wrecks? We went to the pub of doom (please do go back and read my post dedicated to this glorious place, it’s worth it) where some man pointed to my boobs and informed them they were boobs (well done!! Quelle surprise!) and we all felt suitably uncomfortable. I had a few texts from male friends at our expense “you and Emma are dressed as what? I wish I was in the area tonight. I hope no one asks you for medical advice. God help them!” and “are you guys still dressed up? We are definitely coming. Stay dressed up. ARE THERE PHOTOS?”

(Chop, Me, Mel and Emma)

The town centre was far more amusing. My dear friend Choppy had gone as a police officer and she had a plastic truncheon to complete the look. The more she had to drink, the more she (and we) found it more amusing as she beat passers-by. When you hit someone with it, it squeaked. The problem was you had to hit said person fairly hard to produce a noise, so I’m sure there were a ton of people waking up on Sunday with unexplainable bruises all over them. Luckily it was mainly men she was attacking and they all seemed quite game. My right bum cheek is particularly sore where she caught me by surprise a fair few times.

My favourite exchange with drunk man was when we had got to the sweaty club of choice, complete with cheese smell and a man came over to me and asked if I was a medical professional. “No” I replied “I don’t think medical professionals are actually allowed to go out dressed up in their uniforms. I think it’s inappropriate.” “Oh” he said “can you try my heartbeat anyway?” absolutely not. Someone pass me the tequila and get me out of here!

We all went home pretty early, putting the birthday girl to bed with water and a duvet, and woke up the next morning to pour over the photos. Which were basically a whole load of terrible shots with the odd image of a load of people who we had never met before. Standard.

I went home, showered and got back into bed for a few hours, waking up to hear my housemate calling from the door “look who I found in the garden!” and two seconds later being bundled by a friend or ours. A hazy half asleep memory from that morning was recalled, he had phoned and asked what we were doing that day, I had replied with a sleepy “having a picnic”…. Three hours later and they were on our doorstep. Nothing like a surprise visit, or as he put it, a ‘struggle snuggle’.

So twelve months will go by and we will remember with fondness that time we dressed up uniforms, and embrace it again next year for Charlotte’s birthday, because we love her. If she doesn’t talk us into Halloween or Santa’s at Christmas that is…..

Men are from Earth. Women are from Earth. Deal with it.

20 Sep

I have been thinking a lot recently about the nuances between girls and boys and the part that one has to play in the other. Whether you are male or female, married or single, or in the starting throes of a relationship where all you can do is talk about that person and really annoy your nearest and dearest, you will have felt the confusion of the opposite sex at some point in your life.

I have no propensity to talk about the weirdness of the male species from their point of view. I am one of two girls, my cousins are girls (making me girl three) and my boy cousins are teenagers and therefore a whole other sub species of males. They don’t wash, they show their love for us by punching us and whipping us with tennis balls in socks and talking to them is like having a deep and meaningful with either Beavis or Butthead.

I can however, talk about girls, and the delicate intricacies of our personalities. We all fall into buckets, you see. And I could try to describe all of them, but there’s no point, as Sharideth Smith has done a far better job than I ever could at the Glossary of Girls

She Peaked in High School

You know who I mean.  She’s in her mid to late 20′s and still campaigning for prom queen.  she may never be more than she is and her life plan is to be Mrs. dr. somebody.  The height of her success will be chairing the women’s axillary at the country club.  that’s the super prom queen win.

The upside to this one is that she is not a gold digger.  She will tend to be simple and loyal.

Miss Insecurity

This is the beautiful girl who has no sense of self-worth.  She puts herself down, refuses to take a compliment and asks questions like “why do you like me?”  She needs constant reassurance and may have trust issues.  However, there is hope for this one.  If you see moments of fierceness poking through the fear clouds, she may be able to learn to stiffen her spine and become “a keeper”.

The Cling-on

This girl is so needy she can’t function without you.  That’s an ego stroke on the front end but exhausting shortly there after.  She has to know where you are and be able to get in touch with you at all times.  Blowing up your cell phone during your guy’s night is just the beginning.  At first she will seem normal but she will quickly dump all her friends and activities to be attached to you 24/7.  And oh yes, she will expect the same from you.

Upside to this one?  Just like Miss Insecurity, she may be able to learn to chill out and gain some confidence.

The Princess

She is the Sears Tower of high maintenance.  It’s her way, all day, everyday.  according to Dr. Phil, and I quote, “She’s not a wife, she’s a job.”  You’ll spend your whole life catering to her.  She is the epicenter of self-absorption.  If she gets annoyed, and she will, a lot, you’d better be ready with the jewelry.  She would never pick up a newspaper but has an encyclopedic knowledge of teeth whiteners.

Positives?  I can’t think of one.  Unless you’re into vapid and spending all your money.

Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong

This one can be sneaky.  She will lure you in by making you believe she’s fun and outgoing.  Next thing you know, you’re insecure and a shell of your former self.  She will criticize everything you do in a way that makes you think she’s right.  She wields a passive-aggressive sword with all the finesse of Picasso.  You are cleanly sliced in two before you ever see the blow.  Being right all the time and making you understand how right she is, is her drug of choice.

Positives?  Her respect can be earned.  You just have to pick your battles.  Man up and learn to say no.

Itsneverenough Girl

Nothing you do, provide, accomplish will ever be enough for this one.  Reaching the bar will never happen because she will always raise it.  It’s highly likely that when she’s in a good mood, she’s the life of the party.  But when the party’s over, she’s going to give you the laundry list of everything you did wrong that she’s been tallying all night long.  She is always on the verge of fury, will emasculate you and use sex as a weapon.  No matter what you do, it will never be enough and she may even tell you so directly.

The only hope for this one is a personality transplant or Prozac.

The Runner

This girl is not for the faint of heart.  chances are good that she has some legitimate trust issues that have been more inflicted upon her than acquired.  Once you start to get too close, she bolts.  But she’s strong and probably very caring and intelligent.  She’s just afraid and will put you through the wringer before granting you even the smallest trace of faith.  However, she is very likely worth it.

The Keeper

This girl doesn’t need you but just prefers to have you along.  She’s comfortable around your friends and family.  unless of course, you friends are schmucks or your family is a cesspool of dysfunction.  She knows who she is and likes herself.  she loves being with you but is also happy having her own friends and independence.  This is a girl who, if you dropped dead, would survive because she’s that strong.  She likes her life but would rather have you in it.  she’s your equal.  She challenges you and makes you want to be a better man.  You’ll be waiting to see what she says next.

It’s funny because, of course, its true. I think most of us see a little of ourselves in one or other of these categories.

But this is not the point of my post. My point is, why do people say one thing and totally mean another? My friends have been through the ringer a little bit recently with men saying one thing and meaning another. One man asked a friend to take the day off so they could spend some time together and then cancelled at 4pm. Pretty much once her working day was done anyway. Another has been messed around by a guy who keeps saying he wants to see her and cancelling, and then has decided actually he doesn’t want to see her at all. And girls do it too. Don’t say you are interested in someone, let them buy you dinner and then not reply to an invitation for days. And don’t use “something came up”.

I think the whole point that I am trying to make is that when your mum told you as a child that honesty was the best policy, she was right. The truth may hurt, but it’s a damn sight better than giving someone the benefit of the doubt and then finding that they didn’t mean what you were putting your faith in in the first place. And I think that whether you are male or female, when you meet the right person they will say what they mean and mean what they say. And they will take you for who you are. They wont listen to people talking about who you used to be and they will go with the flow. Because when its right it will be easy. So hold your head high!

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Sanitary Insanity

7 Sep

I know that sometimes I get the devil in me and feel like causing a bit of mischief, but I think that’s fair enough and we all do it at some time or other. And when you are in one of those moods there is nothing better than sending your respective other out to buy you female products.

I first experienced this with first-boyfriend, when hanging out with my sister. He called to let me know he was going to the supermarket (innnnnnnteresting) and to see if there was anything I needed picking up. A chocolate orange? No, forgot, diabetic. Must be more careful. So I threw it out there to my sister, who responded “I need some tammehmehmeh” trailing off into a mumble. “Tampax”, she mouthed at me. Why are you mouthing?! He cannot see you. So I got back on the phone with instructions “tampax please. Green box, flowers on”. Why do they put flowers and other happy things on the box of sanitary products? It’s like they are acknowledging that if anyone comes within three feet of you you are trained to kill, and perhaps not in your most amused of moods, and then they are parading kittens and puppies and flowers in your vicinity. Not cool.

Anyway, the response was, to say the least, not amused. He whinged that not only was he not happy with picking them up for me, picking them up for my sister was all the more embarrassing. Build a bridge, get over it!

When living with ex-boyfriend, I had a similar problem. The weather was horrible and I felt like someone was trying to pull my internal organs out through my belly button (yeah.. let’s go with belly button). The cats were throwing themselves at the fridge through hunger and we also needed feeding. Short straw was drawn (“but my tuuuuuummmmmmmy hurts. But my baaaaaacccckkk hurts. But it’s raaaaaaaaining. But I WANT A BATH!) and he headed off with strict instructions of procuring me some tampax. “Do you desperately need them? Can you not wait till you can go? Can you not look like you are going to cry please? Okfinei’llgetthem!!”

But the funniest thing by far is being in the female aisle when a man is on a mission. You see them coming, like lambs to the slaughter, meandering hopelessly down the aisle, looking like they may be carrying a bomb. They stop and you wonder whether you will be on the news tomorrow as a victim of a supermarket terrorist attack, and then they gingerly reach for a box. Oh phew! They’ve just been sent out by the missus.

There are three types of male sanitary shopper; the on-the-phone, the smash and grab, and the hoverer. On the phone cannot purchase anything without approval and you can hear the girlfriend on the other end of the line “left, left, left, up a shelf. Does it say tampax? Then its tampax. Pink box? Sorted.” The smash and grab loiters in front of the products for what seems like an age, and then a hand shoots out and in one swift move grabs something and puts it in the basket, and makes off at speed. And the hoverer, like smash and grab, will loiter forever and then leave, defeated.

So come on guys, if your other half asks you to nip to the shop for girly bits, there’s no point in putting up a fight. Experience would tell me that she will normally win, so you might as well smile sweetly and earn a few brownie points. After all, if you bump into someone you know in the lady aisle, what do you think they think you are going to do with them? Exactly.