Tag Archives: humor

Lost in Translation

19 Mar

Going past the obvious physical things, there are some massive differences between boys and girls, a point that has become glaringly obvious since I moved in with one. Things like emptying the bins, “I didn’t notice they were full!” and hoovering “I like my feet black!” were expected, but there are some things that we see from totally different stand points.

Take last night for example.

Last night, I finally dragged my sorry ass to the gym, and not only did I do the most high intensity zumba class, which turned out not to be zumba but an eclectic blend of salsa, reggaeton and bowka, I also did 15 minutes on the stepper as I was there a bit early.

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I was really proud of myself, despite the fact that I had to consume a banana and half a bag of sweets on the way home due to slightly low blood sugar (ill learn the balance eventually of insulin, working out and food intake) but I was pleased all the same.

I trekked home, getting weird looks from fellow tube passengers (I have something to admit, five minutes after exercise has finished, I go puce and remain that way for a good hour. It’s my thang) and my boyfriend had done something really sweet. Something he thought I would really appreciate. He had got me a “well done for going to the gym treat”.

Just to add some background to this, I have given cheese up for lent. It’s my biggest vice, and I love ever cheese imaginable. I don’t drink a lot and wanted to test my willpower for the lent period, so cheese it was. And Lord, it’s been the hardest thing. But so far I have been cheese free since Pancake Day, and I have a month to go. A month of pure hell. Especially as I gave up cheese for January too, in a bid to make my tummy look less like cottage cheese.

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So my treat was……… a cheese board! I was a little taken aback. Why would it be a good idea to reward me with the same amount of calories I had just leaked in sweat, half way through a massive test of my willpower? And why does anyone need a reward for their first gym session? Well done for not being lazy for the first time in your life! I didn’t get the logic. He didn’t get my logic.

When I asked my girl housemate what she thought, her response was “I did have to bite my tongue when he got home with it”.

I totally appreciated the sentiment of the reward, I just thought it a weird one. Diamonds would have done just fine.

Have you ever been in a situation where you have done something / someone else has done something for you that has been totally misinterpreted?

People Are The Biggest Problem Faced

27 Jan

Customer service. Its something that we love and hate in equal measure, and flip on a hairpin at the slightest notice. If done well, someone going above and beyond their job role to help you out and deal with your grievances quickly can brighten your mood and give you renewed belief in humanity.

Done wrong, and it’s a right nightmare.

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We have a local supermarket that is much cheaper than the others, and for this reason, they do things a little differently. At the till point, you are sped through like you are part of a competitive trolley dash, and the staff are rude to the point of you actually inconveniencing their lives.

The funniest was the other day when I was in there buying a few bits, and the guy on the till, who sported a “duty manager” badge, spent the whole time distractedly talking on the phone. He was so distracted that once he had put my items through, he forgot to ask me to pay, and started ringing in all the groceries from the man behind. I can be charitable, but there is no way I’m paying for a complete stranger’s weekly shop.

Grumpy Cat customer

Wouldn’t it be great if you could get customer service for your life? Some of the most difficult things that we experience in life are often made better on the advice of others, os wouldn’t it be great if you had a dedicated line you could call up to put you back on the straight and narrow, and help you stay motivated / achieve your dreams?

Just imagine. Your New Year’s resolution is to cut out something, and make your diet far healthier. You know what you should be doing in theory, but wouldn’t it be perfect if you could jump on Skype and talk through with someone to give you hints and tips that you hadn’t thought of? Or maybe your dream is to travel the world. If you could drop an email to someone with your hopes and dreams, and them come back to you with realistic ways to achieve your goals, wouldn’t your life be so much easier?

Just a thought.

What would you get life customer service help with?

Walking in A Winter Wonderland

5 Dec

I love Christmas. I used to say I didn’t, but I was a teenager and didn’t like anything. Now I love when October comes and the air starts to crisp up  in anticipation, waiting for the onset of the cold snap and the prospect of all the festive fun to come.

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This year, Christmas feels to me to be tinged with a bitter sweetness, the first year I will wake in the morning and not see my Grandfather, dressed in his brushed cotton shirt with a cable knit jumper over. The first year I won’t hear the air peppered with swears when he realises he has cooked the goose upside down in the pan for the fourth year on the bounce, and the first year I won’t see the glee in his face as he shakes the presents and throws the wrapping paper over his shoulder.

Nonetheless, Christmas is exciting. My goddaughters are 6 and 2 respectively and still believe in the magic of the season (and so do I for that matter) so we will try to seek out father Christmas in the days before the main event, and make mince pies just in case he hasn’t had his fill by the time he gets to their house.

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And it’s a time for new traditions. This year, the boy and I exchanged advent calendars and Christmas jumpers on the first, when we also listened to Michael Buble (I love him and I don’t care who knows) and made the first round of mince pies. He was very thoughtful, so rather than getting chocolate in my calendar I got a Yankee Candle one (spot the diabetic). Most people forget so I was very touched!

Last night I came home and my housemate was making gifts; windfall chutney in cute little glass jars, and so I wrapped all the gifts I had bought and drank cups of tea with her. as soon as the tree comes we will adorn it with little toadstools and gingerbread lights to make it the pretties (and also fairly gargantuan for the size of our flat) tree in all the land.

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terrifying

I’ve bought some silly napkins that look like Father Christmas’s suit when you tuck them in to your collar, and my family will be made to wear reindeer antlers or other silly headgear at the table.

It’s a time for being with the ones you love and celebrating the fact that there is a day when you can throw away the rest of the world and all congregate.

And I think that’s the magic of Christmas.

What are your traditions and rituals of the season?

“At First Cock Crow, The Ghosts Must Go, Back To Their Quiet Graves Below”

30 Oct

I have a confession.

Until this weekend, I had never carved a pumpkin. NEVER.

My Mum doesn’t believe in Halloween as a holiday, professing that it’s an American tradition (a theory that I disproved in a previous Halloween post) and deemed trick or treating as begging, so we weren’t allowed to go.

It didn’t bother me all that much, given that as a child, the 31st October was always pretty cold and rainy, so going out knocking on doors dressed as a cat didn’t have the thrill factor to me.

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my beautifully melty pumpkin creations

But over the past few years, Halloween has become a fun event. So this year, the boy and I dragged massive pumpkins home from the shops, and set about carving them.

The competition was fierce, and it was a messy duel. Bits of pumpkin goo adorned the walls of my flat, and brief tirades of swearing happened sporadically as one of us cut too far into the pumpkin, or alternatively, too far into one of our fingers.

The results were fantastic, and the pumpkins sat on my window sill, flickering eerily all weekend, until the heat from the candles turned them from scary idols to wizened old vegetables. Time for the bin.

We had so much fun, that this is now our new Halloween tradition. And I’m looking forward to a party in a cocktail bar tomorrow night – fancy dress and spookily themed cocktails. Watch this space!

Whats your favourite Halloween tradition?

A Warm Smile Is The Universal Language of Kindness

18 Oct

Yesterday was one of those days. You know the ones, when you step in a puddle on your way to the Tube, get barged about and arrive at the office looking like you’ve done a few rounds with a hurricane in a boxing ring.

The day got worse and worse, and a one point I sat in the loo and thought longingly to the cosiness of the bed I had left that morning, pillows all shaped just so and duvet wrapped round my like a cosy cuddle. Its days like this that your brain only deals in days beginning with an ‘S’, where you can wake up slow and ignore the fact that the weather outside means that the chances are high that you may have to start a collaborative ark building project with the other inhabitants of your flat block, submitting any ‘good wood’ for the cause.

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Anyway, this post isn’t about bad things. OH NO ITS NOT.

Something truly lovely happened to me yesterday, and I wanted to tell you all about it as it touched me.

I got an email.

It began:

“First, let me apologize for bothering you on your email but since you are the only person I know (that I don’t really know but I do read your blog) who lives in London I could really use your expertise.

My family, husband, two teens( boy 15, girl 13) and myself are planning a trip to London”


It went on to ask me where I thought good to go in the city, what to bring and where to see, and it really brightened my day. Not only that its not just my Granddad reading these days, but that someone thought of me when they needed some help. Paying it forward. It’s the right thing to do.

I guess the moral of this story is to help people. Altruistic acts are what makes the world go round, and what makes people think the world is still a nice place. That one email, however innocent, made my day all the better, so thank you so much Leslie, from Florida, whoever you are :)

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I’m in the process of pulling together all the fun things to do in the city, but for the time being I’ll share my favourite resource here; a great little secret if you are ever coming to London. I love it because even as someone who has lived in the city over 2 years, I feel like I have barely scratched the surface.

I Know A Little Place in London has a weekly update of pop ups and features across the city, and their Facebook page shares the most compelling images. It even inspired me to go to an outdoor Lido (which was essentially just Kensington Lake)in the summer, and that’s saying something!

Do something to make someone else smile every day. Its just nice, isn’t it?

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What has someone else done recently that made you smile?

I know I have been a little quiet of late, but I am slightly addicted to Instagram so if you fancy a visual representation of what I SHOULD be blogging about, give me a follow (on the right).

xxx

Don’t Talk To Strangers! Unless You Happen To Live With Them

17 Oct

In the last ten years since I have dwelled with people other than my family, I have gathered a heap of stories and experiences, like a magpie with shiny coins. I’ve made some great friends, lost some good ones and learnt a lot about patience, virtue and picking wet towels up off the floor.

Living with boys definitely gave me some insight into the ways of the opposite sex. One house share that I lived in had a perpetual problem with dirty dishes and it was a constant power struggle of me cleaning the kitchen, going out, coming back and lots of dirty dishes being back on the site. Ex-boyfriend used to leave everything he owned on the floor, and one boy used to use a tea-cup, pour it out in the sink and then (without washing it, just in case this isn’t clear) PUT IT BACK IN THE CUPBOARD. His argument was that no one should take offence, give that it was his cup. Shudder.

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On the flip side, living with girls ain’t exactly a walk in the park at times either. Hair (fake or real, take your pick) in the plug hole causing the shower to fill up like a bath, using sharp kitchen knives to open tins (“we don’t have a can opener, I looked!” “it’s in the dishwasher……”) and taking clean washing out and putting it on the floor in the laundry room, so its gets all dirty again.

So male or female, living with other people is hard. And I’m no angel. In the past decade I have realised that there are definitely things you can do to minimise the awkwardness of living in a house share with a bunch of nut jobs…. Namely moving in with a friend of 25 years.

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But when that friends circumstances changed I found myself in the position of having to find a new, STRANGER, to live in the flat I have come to see as a hidey hole from the rest of the world. It seems I fear change (and I know you are all having visions of Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory – I’m not that bad).

There were tears (“but I don’t WANT to live with anyone!!”) there were calculations (“but I can’t afford NOT to live with anyone!”) and there were viewings. Or as I like to call them, interviews.

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I put a chatty ad on a local room wanted site, stating that I wanted someone who was likely to not go all Single White Female on my ass, but at the same time not likely to be sitting in their room all night playing SimCity (or whatever the kids are playing these days) and speaking in only grunts. I thought this would weed the nutjobs from the normals and hoped that if you were too young to get the SWF reference, you may not apply.

Didn’t quite work. The first god knows how many viewings that I did I ensured the boy was present as I am an appalling judge of character. With hindsight, this was an utterly pointless endeavour, as his opinion, in all cases, was “seems alright.”

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I was desperate. I didn’t want to live with a crazy person or someone who might murder me in my sleep. I didn’t think that was too much to ask for, but the chances of me living with someone who wasn’t a serial killer were lessening.

And then I got an email from a girl. She is a student (didn’t want a student) she is a young person (didn’t want a young person) and she is a girl (wanted a boy). Despite this, she is super fun, likes all the same things as me, and doesn’t talk about young things that I don’t understand. She has rescued me from spiders, and drinks tea in the same quantities.

The moral of this story?

A stranger is just a friend you haven’t met yet (harrumph).

Have you got any funny / horrible housemate stories?

“Children See The Magic Because They Look For It”

16 Oct

Magic comes to those who make it, and I strongly believe in the sorcery of believing everything as a child. Children have an alarming clarity at times, and the ability to be able to see the world from a different point of view; a stance so far unaffected by politics and sadness and life events that willshape their future and colour their perception.

When I was a kid, my parents and grandparents revelled in the theatre of the Tooth Fairy and Father Christmas, with mince pies bitten and carrots carefully nibbled when we came bouncing through on Christmas morning. My dad still wildly claims that one year he REALLY DID hear Santa on the roof (although that was the year he got drunk and also claimed he had been abducted by aliens when we found him asleep round the toilet the following morning), and I believed in the tooth fairy for far longer than I should thanks to a timer switch in my Gran’s house and a set of grandparents with vivid imaginations.

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And I do the same for my Goddaughters. You won’t catch me debating the truth in the elves or if Rudolph’s nose really shines; if you can’t believe in the magic of children and the awe of the way they see everything then your world will be a smaller place. Every year I write them a letter from Father Christmas in response to their Christmas lists, alluding to being good and nice to Mummy, and ‘find’ it on the doorstep on my way in. Lilly loves to announce to everyone she knows that Father Christmas answers her, and that she absolutely has to be good to be in with a chance of getting “a dolly what poos” for Christmas this year. The mind boggles.

I love to lie on the grass in the summer with my little dumplings and play the cloud game – seeing if we can spot the different layers of clouds shaping dragons and princesses, cars and trains, for the wind to blow and the picture to change again. I play this all the time and often get laughed at for being dreamy and whimsical, but when I have two chubby little hands in mine, fingers entwined and a captive audience, I just know I can see a princess in a castle waiting for her prince, or a dog with a bone looking for the sun. And I love to hear the excitement in their voices when it comes to counting down to the visit from the big man himself; will he eat the mince pie? Will he not be too full after eating all the other mince pies from the other children? What if Rudolph is too tired to fly?

As JM Barrie once said, “On these magic shores children at play are for ever beaching their coracles. We too have been there; we can still hear the sound of the surf, though we shall land no more.”

As much as I moan about mince pies in the shops in August and people carolling way too early, I’m super excited about their little faces when the tree is decorated and the Christmas pjs are out :)

What do you love most about the season?

I’ve written about magic and children before, if you enjoyed this you might enjoy these posts:

Mary: The Truth about the Toothfairy

Those Who Don’t Believe In Magic Will Never Find It

Tell Me Sweet Little Lies

Cupcakes – Nailed It!

11 Jul

Birthdays are my favourite time. Not my birthday, but the birthdays of my friends and family; the people I love. I find so much pleasure picking out a gift that sums up my relationship with that person or something thoughtful that will show them I pay attention and put some thinking into picking. I even think I prefer it to my own birthday.

EAT ALL THE CAKE!!

EAT ALL THE CAKE!!

I also love cake. As a child my Mum made cakes and decorated them beautifully, and I have always wanted her to start her own business. Over the years I have had clowns, Little Mermaids, four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie (this is a personal favourite as she made the pie lid stand up to see the birds inside) and all sorts of fantastic Christmas cakes.

It’s given me the bug. I’m pretty good at whipping up savoury treats, but desserts have always caused me problems. Little Tinker won’t let me make pancakes on Pancake Day as they come out like door stops while hers are thin and papery, and I was kindly asked not to choose Home Ec as a subject to GCSE after an incident that involved slightly too much baking soda and a cake explosion, taking out the other kids who were sharing the oven.

There are rare times when I pull a blinder, but it’s taken me a few years and time to realise that it is an exact science, and not like savoury food where I can throw stuff together and it come out right.

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My Great Grandmother used to bake the most perfect chocolate cake; it was moist and delicious, with a layer of apricot jam and then set chocolate on the top. Everyone loved it and it didn’t last five minutes when it got home, wrapped in the old fashioned baking parchment that she used to parcel her sweet treats up in. the whole fun of getting the cake and the build up to it was part of it; opening the parchment and finding the delicious cake inside, that we had been dreaming of since we polished off the final crumbs of the last one.

I love baking birthday cakes for people. I’ve posted previously on my successes, but glossed over the times that I have had cake meltdowns in the kitchen, covered in cake mix and having incinerated a batch of cake dough to the inside of the oven. It’s often hard to do, but I love the way it makes you feel when someone has made you a cake. My Mum created the memories for us every year, never making us share a cake (we are 6 days apart) and I love to recreate that for other people

This weekend marks my best friend’s 27th birthday; the day that she is back to the same age as me and no longer refers to me as the older one. She had exactly 2 months each year to do this, so I smile graciously about being the oldest and take the jokes on wrinkles and Zimmer frames.

So I decided I wanted to make those cupcakes that look like ice-cream cones (damn you, Pinterest!) I thought that it might be difficult, but after the Cookie Monsters and Kit Kat cake successes I gave it a try as I’m starting to become a bit of a one trick pony.

The result was pretty horrendous. The cakes were a doddle; replace the cupcake cases with those free standing cones, but the topping was a bit of a nightmare. Let’s get to the truth… I cried. It was the freezer that started the sneaky cake hate spiral; a pizza box got jammed as I was trying to open the drawer, squeezing the frosting out of the piping bag and into my freezer, and then breaking the drawer. I sat on the floor, fish slice in one hand and sobbed about how my cakes were going to look like one of those ‘nailed it’ Pinterest memes. You know the sign of a good boy when they look at you, look at the cake mess you are standing in and declare “it’s not what it looks like anyway is it chicken? It’s all about how it tastes”.

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So anyway, back to the cake Armageddon. Cakeageddon. I scraped the runny frosting off the cupcakes, the walls and my kitchen floor and after getting really stressed with the boy when he suggested eggs WHAT DO YOU KNOW ABOUT FROSTING?! WHEN DID YOU LAST MAKE CUPCAKES?! I decided to a) say sorry and b) sleep on it.

The results were fruitful. I woke up with a renewed plan and decided to reread the recipe which I had skim read about three months previous.

Turns out it did need eggs. The frosting is made with a meringue mix to start, and then the buttercream is gradually worked in to prevent the meringue peaks from collapsing and give it a thick and creamy texture.

VOILA! They taste pretty good too.

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If you want the recipe then click here, they also have a great buttercream recipe that is dead easy!

Have you ever had any kitchen meltdowns? We won’t talk about the time I set fire to my Mums favourite cookery book when cooking pasta on the gas stove.

MUST BUY ALL THE THINGS!

9 Jul

Living in a shared house in the centre of London, I had forgotten how much fun it was to kit a house out when you moved. I resided in a small room that was pre furnished on the ground floor, and pretty much the only thing I could influence was the colour of the throw on the bed, which on the whole, is a pretty depressing state of affairs to a colour magpie like me.

So since I moved a few months back, I have had a renewed urge to buy cute little mugs and duvet covers that match the pillows and everything that falls in-between. And it’s been so fun. My old favourites like Etsy have been called on on a regular basis as I peruse the pages of vases made of old light bulbs and personalised tea towels with the excitement that is normally reserved for booking a holiday, and I have to physically stop myself from reaching for my card to buy a whole heap of unnecessary items.

ImageIt was going so well, until I discovered a new site and everything went wrong.

Not on the High Street is the cutest and most fun site I have found in a long time, and it is pretty much singlehandedly responsible for the fun stuff that now lives with me, in my giant hoard of colourful fabrics and moustached accessories.

My absolute favourites are the wall decals. We have a particularly fussy landlord who won’t let us do anything anywhere, which makes me incredibly sad. White walls and wood floors feel sterile to me – its photos and paintings that give a living space life and make it feel like home, rather than a space you are renting. Having a home where I can kick back and chill is key to me, and putting my stamp on it is part of this process.

So when I discovered this awesome wall sticker or a dandelion and birds, it was the simple solution. Stick it on, peel it off later, no one is any the wiser. And it’s turned our drab, white walls into something quite magical. A home. A place where my best friend and I can continue to build on the memory bank we have been depositing in for the last 25 years.

My favourite purchases are:

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 Moustache Mug – £25 each | Dandelion Decal – £60 | Owl Cushion – £17

Where are your favourite stores for home shopping?

Age Is But A Number

16 May

Today marks the 27th anniversary of the day I was born, a day my mother’s life became considerably more awesome. As a child I was a complete primadonna, scared of getting muddy, refusing to eat most foods and reluctant to admit that my baby sister was something that was staying around. As a 27 year old im scared of getting muddy, sure, but I will eat anything within a mile radius and am reluctant to let my little sister leave when we spend any time together. What a difference over a quarter of a century makes!

The fact that I am now 27 is a bit of an issue for me; my brain has a power struggle with things that I think I should be doing and things that I am actually doing, causing minor meltdowns when I think that I have missed something off the list. As an over achiever, I long for the days when I was at school and papers got marked, exams got scored and you knew you were bang in line with your peers. Thanks Facebook.

For example, when having a chat with my mother over the weekend I casually asked her how old she was when she met my Dad. 22. How old she was when she married him. 24 and how old she was when she had me. 26.

I then dramatically declared myself “behind the curve” and announced that I would be a spinster surrounded by cats, growing old in a hoarders house surrounded by old cardboard boxes and things that I had formed emotional relationships with for no reason other than attachment, like bin bags. Sure, I may have been watching too many of those compulsive hoarder shows, but the fear was still there. I ate a whole lot of cheese (I might be old now and my cheese choices have matured from orange square cheese to goats cheese, but cheese is still my comfort food of choice) and went back to my lovely urban flat, minus children and significant other half  to cook and clean (makes me feel calm, don’t judge) until I proudly announced that “I liked it when my flat smelt of swimming pools” and I wasn’t even joking.

My housemate (God love her) then proceeded to read me an article about things that would make me feel old, and they did. So it worked.

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The main killer that took me from ‘strangely happy about the fact that I am turning 27’ to ‘wait while I go slash my wrists with my OAP bus pass” was the fact that Luke Perry, the first TV star who I was in love with in 90210, is 45. Goddamit, 45??!!!! The Backstreet Boys are also rocking their 40s, and according to this article, not too well given the hair plugs and protruding beer bellies.

If you fancy getting hit with the full list, here you go.

The moral of this story is that after a brief chat with myself where I pondered my existence, I realised that I don’t actually want to be 17 again. I had bad hair, hadn’t mastered the art of contact lenses and ……….. TEQUILA.

I rest my case.

What makes you suddenly realise you’re a grown up?

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