Tag Archives: personal

Don’t Look Back, The Past Has Nothing To Say

24 Jul

Life is a funny thing. When we are living in the moment we feel our emotions with full force; when we are unhappy we can never see that there will be light at the end of the tunnel, when we are in love we can’t picture life without that euphoria, and when we are happy we can’t imagine any other way. We believe wholeheartedly in our youth, and the spot in which we stand right then and there.

But isn’t it amazing that when we have the power of time on our hands that we look at things in a different light? I spent some time reading some very old posts if mine this week, with the view to work out how my writing has improved and how I can strive for more, and I felt myself wanting to turn back to hold my younger self’s hand and tell her everything would feel better soon.

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Maybe it’s the invincibility of youth. Maybe it’s the nativity of younger years. But maybe we can learn from how we felt and how we reacted, and pull it forward to make ourselves better people.

I have had so many emotions running through my veins; the fear and adrenalin of striking out – ending a relationship, moving to a new city, leaving a job. Vie felt devastating sadness of ending relationships that I thought would last forever, both romantically and platonically (and more recently felt a shadow of that sadness when I read through posts from during those times) and I’ve seen extreme joy – the birth of my god-daughters and the pleasure of watching them grown into tiny people and experiencing their unwavering love. I’ve felt the winds of change and the waves of destiny; stepping off a plane in a country I’ve never been in and being aware of the opportunity in front of me and the chances I might have, and all of these things have shaped the person I’ve become.

Now I’m a bit more serene, yet a heap more confident in myself. I don’t care so much about what the world thinks about me, but am more confident in my belief in myself and being comfortable in my own skin. And I’ve learnt that however forceful the feeling s, however intensely you feel it, it will dissipate. It won’t vanish, but you will come to get used to it, and it will feel like an old friend. Comfortable and consistent. I miss my Granddad each day and although it creeps up on me sometimes and I feel it as keenly as the day he died, mostly it hugs me and holds my hand and I smile wistfully.

How has your life and experiences changed you as a person?

On Saying Yes and Opening Doors

2 Jun

A few years ago I watched the film “Yes Man” with Jim Carey, and a succession of bad things happened. When my friends asked me why on earth I had done things, all I could justify them with was “well, I was being more of a yes person. Rather than hiring a movie and watching it in my joggers, while eating ice-cream at speed” I thought this was fair enough. They thought me insane (April, this finger is pointing directly at you) and I soon learnt from my behaviour like a cow running at an electric fence, and resolved to go back to my comfy old NO (or as my super confident god-daughter might say, N – O spells NO!!)

But then I moved to New York for a month (“New Yoiik!” As the locals call it) alone, and decided that to enjoy my time here, I must say yes to all the things.

This weekend was a fine example of when saying yes turns out totally awesomely.

On Friday night, I said yes to drinks with my new work team. I don’t normally go out for Friday night drinks anymore, and the reasons are threefold. 1) Had got to the point where every night was drinking after work night, and I was fat and flumpy. 2) I saw no point in going for a few after work and then going home, and also saw no point in going to the pub for a tap water. 3) I liked my pjs more than I like my workmates (and I really like my workmates).

But I was being polite, and so I went out for drinks. And had a lovely time. And then, a fantastic guy who hails from San Francisco and whom I had known the grand sum of 10 minutes, invited me to a charity fundraiser.

Sounded fun. I took a cab across town with a stranger whose surname I didn’t even know, and mixed with all his friends. I bought tickets to a raffle for a Nicks game. I drank beer and danced. I had fun. I then shared a cab home with one of the friends, and split the bill with her. Perfect.

The next morning I woke up slightly worse for wear, and congratulated myself for stepping out of my comfort zone and doing something. So I did it again.

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Well, not really. If you read this blog often you will know of my great bloggy friendship with Jules (her amazing blog is here). You may not know that Jules lives in New Jersey (fuggedaboutit!) which isn’t far from Manhattan. At all. But people think me strange when I say “I’m meeting my friend. Well I’ve never met her, but she’s nice!”

So she came to town and we went for wine and champagne, followed by seafood, plus cocktails. We sat in the sun, we laughed and we talked, and although we had never met before it felt like old friends were catching up.

It was awesome.

So in summary, my sermon today ends with step out of your comfort zone, do things people think you are crazy for and enjoy yourself!

Have you ever met another blogger? I was really sad to miss Sam in London, was on my way to New York!

Road Trippin

25 Jan

So I’ve been gone a while. And even when I was present for a bit, I kind of wasn’t, if you know what I mean. The kid in the corner with the vacant look and the wandering soul. That’s been me for a while.

Losing my grandfather was by far the hardest thing I have ever had to go through, but I feel like he would be so cross should he think that we were all moping around, mourning his life and chasing his shadow. So its time to pull my socks up, put clothes on other than pjs or joggers, and remember that there is a big world that hasn’t gone anywhere, and is waiting for me to explore it.

I suddenly realised that I have been hibernating and licking my wounds last week when my friend commented that we had to make some plans that involved leaving the house. It was true, and it dawned on me that I have been hiding from the world for far too long.

Behind the scenes, I have got back to living life with intention, a concept introduced to me last year that changed my outlook and caused me to think differently about the way I live my life.

So I have some things planned.

1) Road tripping round California.images

In 22 days (and counting) I leave for the other side of the world with the boy. We are, of course, headed for the place I love the most, San Diego, to visit my family. BUT, we have some fun plans. We intend to take a car and drive up the Route 101 to San Francisco, stopping all the way at fun little eateries and cool viewing points. We will spend a couple of days being tourists in San Fran (Return to Alcatraz and cycling the Golden Gate Bridge are on the list) and then take the south road inland down to Yosemite. I’m truly excited to be visiting such a natural wonder, and hoping that it will trip my mind more into thinking about what we are lucky to experience in this life, rather than the things that bring us down and try us.

2) Bergen, Norway.5767474-scenery-of-bryggen-in-bergen-norway

2 firsts for me. Norway has always seemed a little magical, so for a weekend in the end of March is dedicated to a trip to the gateway to the fjords, and a boat trip around them. It’s also the first time I will be using Air BnB (heard good things and bad) so I’ll keep you posted.

What do you have planned for 2014?

Dream a Little Dream

21 Oct

As the fingers of darkness wind around the houses and eyes become heavy and tired, I am normally not sleeping. I can be found staring at the ceiling or gazing at the stars, wondering what everyone else under the blanket of darkness is dreaming, and who else is seeing the same sky as me. I’m a bad sleeper, yet I am happy to lay I the silence and listen to the breeze whispering its hushes so the rest of the world falls asleep. When I do I never remember my dreams, more a catatonic state of things I thought about during my repose.

Recently I’ve been dreaming. And it’s not very pleasant.

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I keep having the same recurring dream, and waking trying to catch my breath. Fear grips me and my heart is a moth fluttering against a lightbulb; pounding over and over again as it tries to right itself.

It’s not even particularly scary, but it rips me back into consciousness time and time again. I’m in Cornwall (don’t ask why, I don’t have a clue!) and I’m with a girl I don’t recognise. Interestingly, my sister informs me that your brain doesn’t have the capacity to see new faces, so I must have seen the face before, maybe in passing – on the tube or in an airport. She is someone my mind has taken a still of.

I stand in her garden, which is the garden of a house I used to live in, and I am crying. My hands are cupped, and when I unfurl my fingers all my teeth are there. There is no blood; they are clean and pearly, but they are no longer where they should be. All that’s left is gums. And I can’t get back from Cornwall. The dream culminates with me holding my teeth and worrying that my Mum will wonder where I am (she doesn’t even live in London), and then I wake up trying to catch my breath and furiously chasing my tongue across my teeth to check they are all still present and correct.

I’ve mentioned it to a few people, and they all say it means I’m going to come into money. I Googled a dream finder and it said I was conscious of a secret I was keeping. I liked the sound of that; it evoked memories of being read The Secret Garden as a child, of an old key and a secret that I was never to tell. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it) I don’t have a secret I am keeping. That I know of.

You can take negatives and positives out of everything, and teeth falling out seems to have different suggestions in different cultures. Some say a dream about teeth falling out symbolises a fear of becoming older, or a life change or compromise that might become costly, whereas some see teeth dreams as positive, and indicative of a want to explore feelings of loss, or a need to nurture yourself and those closely around you.

I don’t believe that a dream can have the same meaning for everyone. The human mind is such a complex and intelligent system that there is no way a theme in a dream can mean the same thing in different people, regardless of age, sex, location and upbringing. It’s simply not feasible.

But I do agree that a dream is the subconscious trying to tell you something. I am a firm believer in ‘funny feelings’ and as I have got older I have learnt to trust them, like faithful old friends turning up to whisper quietly and influence which path I take.

My kindred spirit in South Africa also posted about unusual dreams today, have a read.

Tell me about your dreams.

The Art of Blogging, and Other Pretentious Phrases

19 Oct

Recently my team at work has evolved, and with it we have started a blog. It’s a team effort, with input from different personalities and different subjects to get people involved. Its been really fun.

So this week we decided to offer a new feature, On The Flip Side, where we ask bloggers to guest post on tips they would give to people starting out (if you want to read our first post with the amazing Lauren at Aspiring Kennedy, then click here) Its opened my eyes to a lot of things, and got me thinking about what I would tell people.

When I started this blog, over 3 years ago, I was so reluctant to tell people about it. I had the courage (sounds ridiculous, but to all those who have ever started a blog you’ll know what I mean) to press publish, and my Mum read it diligently every day. That was about it. I put the effort in, thought of things to write and used it as a creative outlet, not even thinking that other people might read it.

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Fast forward three years and I’m pretty proud. I’ve never quite achieved that elusive Freshly Pressed, but I have some fantastic amounts of people visiting, subscribing and commenting every day. And every time someone elses comments hit me, I’m thankful. Thankful for the fact that someone is taking the time out to read what I have to say.

Sure, I’ve had negative press, but if someone is bothered enough to talk about you, whether in a complimentary or negative way, they are taking time. So you cant be that bad.

My best advice would be to stick with it. Nothing made me happier than the day something weird happened, and my blog got featured on the front page of StumbleUpon. I woke to stats saying I had achieved 3,200 hits (WHAAAAAT? At 9am?) that day so far, and it snowballed from there. All because a few people hit ‘like’ on a social sharing site. But if you aren’t regularly posting content, then people forget and don’t visit as often. People stop engaging with you and slowly you begin to feel like the kid that didn’t get invited to the birthday party.  Just dont give up!

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And don’t follow the crowd! I am never going to be a What I Wore blogger. Mainly because 90% of what I wear is pjs. Some days at work all I can dream of is rushing through my front door and being reunited with my yoga pants. JUST IN CASE I want to do yoga. Or alternative, veg out in my baggies.

My blog is my passion. Sometimes I fall out of love with it, like a tempered child, and sometimes the words pop out of my fingertips and into the keyboard like someone left the gate open to a field of stampeding animals; I cant slow the process and I cant control the flow, but that’s OK. The words have a habit of forming in pools that sound right, and it keeps my brain working.

What do you love most about blogging, and what advice you would give for someone ready to dip their toe?

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

A Word To The Wise: To Bloggers, PR’s and SEO’s

17 Sep

I have something I want to get off my chest. It’s something that has been bothering me for a while, and I’ve got to the point where I am sick of people being so rude, and want to weigh in with my opinion.

Bloggers and PRs //SEOs.

As my loyal readers know, I have been blogging since I got with the times and ditched my lovely Paperchase notebook. My blog has evolved over the years from a place that my Mum catches up on what I am doing in the big city to a place where I have made friends scattered across the world, get recognition for what I do and get some great opportunities in the process.

And yes, I get a lot of requests from PRs and SEO agencies. And yes, I work for a big global, digital agency myself. So I can see it from both points of view, but being in either camp absolutely does not negate the need to be rude.

I read a lot of blog posts from bloggers who are bitching and whinging about PRs and SEOs, and I read one today about an email she had received from a PR, and it really made me see red.

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As a blogger, I get 2 types of emails. The first is a generic email, often addressed to Mr Tinkler (ta guys, I know I look a bit scary sans makeup but MR?! and also, NOT MY NAME) and is generally asking me to write about their casino // men’s pants range // caravan holiday, or even worse, post some generic content. None of these people have taken 5 minutes reading my blog to understand a) my passions and interests b) my readership and what they are interested in reading (clue, the answer is not how to tie knots) and c) don’t even know my name.

But I always stay friendly. As far as I am concerned, the blogs are extensions of me, and therefore I shouldn’t be rude. These sorts of emails receive a polite response stating how I am not interested and if they wouldn’t mind removing me from their database I would appreciate it, thank you, have a nice day.

Then there are the other kind. The PR people (or even SEO people, however much some bloggers think they eat evil for breakfast, the majority are sticking to cornflakes like the rest of the world).  These people have taken the time to either read this blog, or my beauty blog, and are contacting me to see if they can send me something to review, often for free. I don’t have a problem with this. If it is beneficial for me, for example if it is something I might be interested in trying, or I might get paid, then I will see what they have to say. If they do send me something and I have agreed with them I will write about it, then I stick to the professional attitude of maintaining my word, and write about it. I tell the truth (this isn’t a dictatorship) but I do what I said I would do, in the time frame I promised. Because that way I stay true to the professional respect I have come to command, and don’t unnecessarily upset anyone.

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I’m not ashamed to work for a digital agency, in fact, I am proud. My job is working with people like me, and on the whole, bloggers are happy to discuss and work together on something that benefits them and me. Sure, I work with an SEO team within the agency, but I also work with PR too. Some bloggers seem to have a bee in their bonnet about the amount newspapers get paid to write articles, but a word to the wise – you might get high traffic but the chances are that you aren’t commanding the same levels of readership as the Daily Mail, and for that reason you won’t be getting paid the same either. .

I love bloggers. we are a community of (on the whole) polite and respectful individuals who are professional and act with dignity. And there are some that just give the rest of us a bad name. My advice would be to always think about the person on the receiving end of your email; would you like to receive or read something so nasty? I like to treat people how I wish to be treated, and my opinion is that people who hide behind the faceless anonymity of an email are pathetic.

So to the people who send nasty emails and have delusions of grandeur, I have just one question for you.

What would your Mother say?

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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