Tag Archives: family

The Crazy Bear

18 Aug

I know I haven’t posted in a while and I am afraid the only deplorable defence I have to offer, is that I have been incredibly busy recently.

Its rare that I have a social life that matches the intensity of work, but currently, my life is divided between working my butt off five days a week, and using the weekend to see my favourite people ūüôā Oh yeah and sleeping, I do a lot of sleeping as well.

If you work in an office with me (god help you) or happen to be friends with me (equal sympathy for those poor souls) then I will have been driving you all crazy with my excitement at the visit to the Crazy Bear in Beaconsfield, which  is truly one of the most unique and opulent restaurants/hotels I have ever visited.

Happy 30th Adam!

Happy 30th Adam!

My uncle was turning 30 and has a certain taste and flair for experiencing life’s events with style, so he invited the now countryside located branch of his family down to London with the rest to celebrate.

The weekend before the meal, my nan and I were walking around Queensgate agonising over what on earth we would wear. Doing our homework, I checked out the Crazy Bear website to get a feel for the place, and my immediate impression was that I would fit about as well in that setting as a Skittle in a bag of Malteasers.

My uncle and friends in the Moroccan waiting room

My uncle and friends in the Moroccan waiting room

Initially, nan and I had shrieked with laughter at the mirrored ceilings in the hotel rooms (kinky), at the ¬£200 caviar on the menu as an appetiser and the clay pigeon shooting, whilst at the same time awing over the general prettiness and luxury of the place (I make us sound like the Beverly Hill Billies, but we’re not I promise).

The Crazy Bear is certainly luxurious

The Crazy Bear is certainly luxurious

However, faced with the prospect of arriving and being turned away at the door, we suddenly became motivated to do some shopping.

I settled on an Oasis dress (literally the most expensive dress I have ever bought myself, I love designer but my bank account only accommodates the more homely and down to earth of dress sense).

Pleased with the general appearance of the dress on me as I’ll ever be when standing next to my stunning and modelesque like cousins, I found a bag that matched thanks to the suggestion of Jenna, and was feeling much more prepared.

Sunday morning and I was standing in front of my mirror giving myself the last look over, making sure I hadn’t tucked my dress into my knickers or left bread or tinfoil in my hair again (yeah you laugh but it does happen) and surveying my appearance with a sense of acceptance and general satisfaction, I got in the car to pick my grandparents up.

We had only been on the road for less than half an hour before the usual Steph Bristow calamity took place. At the time it seemed fine that I had selected a wrap dress with a button securing the top half. However in hindsight, I should have taken into account the normal disaster variables that tend to surround any choices I make, however small they may be. The button securing the top half of my dress had broken, leaving me incredibly exposed. I’m insecure about my appearance at the best of times, but the idea of essentially continuously flashing 25 dinner guests, giving them a prime view of my bra, I think is a lot for any girl to handle. Particularly when half of them are family members and the other half complete and utter strangers.

Cursing a great deal in my head, and desperately trying to fool myself with the illusion that the button on my dress was still functioning, I tried everything I could to pull it together and keep it that way. But without that button, essentially it was like going out in only a skirt. However, let no one say that I am not inventive in a crisis, taking out my earrings I pinned my dress back together and after a few attempts managed to get them to hold. Moving anything other than minimally and with incredible caution was going to be dodgy…but I decided at that point in the car that it was best to address that issue later for my own sanity.

I may not have looked the part but I enjoyed the Crazy Bear all the same

I may not have looked the part but I enjoyed the Crazy Bear all the same

So we arrived, and despite the dress debacle I was still fairly excited to be there. The entrance was strangely hidden adding to the allure, mystery and exclusivity of the place. Stepping in it was like a different world, a handsome man in a suit was playing a piano, the marble floors, chandeliers and lush purple curtains elicited thrills from the snob that apparently lies inside me.

Even the bathrooms are an experience! Its mega dark and mirrored in there!

Even the bathrooms are an experience! Its mega dark and mirrored in there!

My nan and mother however had more pressing issues than just admiring the surroundings, mainly, where were the facilities. Pointed in the direction of a staircase that would have looked at home in a grand ballroom, the three of us made our way down the twisting stairs only to find ourselves met with a dead end and four mirrored walls. Thinking we were obviously in the wrong place we checked and no, apparently somewhere down the staircase were the bathrooms. Reaching our hands out against the mirrors, my nan began to feel her way to the bathroom, finding a mirror that gave way we charged into the dimly lit (and I mean it was bloody dark in there) bathroom (also covered ceiling, floor to walls in bloody mirrors) that was when nan charged straight into a man and began shrieking. In the end I found a mirrored door hidden behind a purple curtain that turned out to be the ladies ( so obvious really) and after we found the actual cubicles (again covered in mirrors) we had a great time experimenting with the falling water from the ceiling, that ran into ornamental bowls.

The Staircase

The Staircase

Laughing ourselves stupid, we joined the rest of the party and then made our way past more luxurious surroundings to the ‘library’ themed room, where our private party would be eating. It was lovely, we had our own private waiter, and the meal was marred only by the fact that I had to keep getting up to re-adjust/re-fix my dress every time I lent forward to reach my wine glass. Despite the fact that my body movements were limited from the neck down, I still managed to enjoy myself.

I have to admit that even though I have visited some luxurious hotels, restaurants, countries and places in my time, I can still occasionally feel fairly uncomfortable in expensive settings.

I think its because I always feel as if someone is going to find me lacking some required quality, tell me I’m not good enough and kick me out. I’m definitely the original ‘she must have climbed under the fence to get in’ girl.

The library was a beautiful setting

The library was a beautiful setting

But I did enjoy myself, seeing my family is always fun and the Crazy Bear is both a beautiful hotel and restaurant. I would recommend going just for the experience, it is a wondrous place ūüôā I have included the website here in case anyone does fancy doing something a bit different and would like to go. As long as you are sensible, the menu and drink aren’t too expensive either.

If you do go though, take a fashion tip from the wise…don’t wear a wrap dress you’ll only regret it…and if you do, make sure you have your sowing kit handy!

http://www.crazybeargroup.co.uk/beaconsfield/

A lavender themed dessert

A lavender themed dessert

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Diary of the disaster prone

11 May

Since my return to blogging, a few people including my lovely friend Megs have asked me to create a blog on the daily crazy incidents I often experience.¬†Well to be completely honest, my life is so utterly ludicrous at times that I could spend 24 hours a day writing and still¬†wouldn’t¬†have enough time to record it all.

So¬†I’ve¬†come up with a compromise, just this once I am going to reveal some of my more embarrassing disasters. Reveal the whole truth, not just the Steph Bristow edited version that most of my friends and family enjoy.

For the record, I don‚Äôt set out to get myself into trouble (or fall head first into calamity as my friends say) but if it‚Äôs going to happen, then you can be assured it will happen to me. Personally¬†I’ve¬†always just been of the opinion that when the dear Lord was handing out luck, I was at the back of the queue (probably facing the wrong way).

I am the unfortunate product of clumsiness, awkwardness, curiosity and good intentions.

Some of these events you may already know, some you won’t. Either way you’re reading an excerpt from what would be the diary of the disaster prone, and here are some of my less than shining moments.

Pro driver ¬†¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† Well any disaster diary would have to start with this event, as it was probably the most dangerous of all my ‚Äėincidents‚Äô. Most people know this story so the shortened version goes like this‚Ķon a visit in the car to a friends house, foolishly I took a bit of a wrong turn on a slip road and found myself hurtling down the wrong side of a dual carriageway. Luckily I managed to find a section of pedestrian pathway not fenced off and crashed my car onto the narrow walkway, avoiding a head on collision. I made mistake number two putting my hazard lights on alongside my headlights which quickly left my car battery dead, I was later reported to the police who were total sweethearts, stopped traffic and jump started my car. They even came back a second time when my car battery went flat again five minutes further up the road. Embarrassing? God yes, but also potentially fatal.

Cocktail carnage ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†To celebrate Kelly‚Äôs graduation and new job, my friends and I selected a restaurant that¬†wouldn’t¬†usually make it on our radar for a bit of variety, the food was… different, the service¬†wasn’t¬†fantastic but we were still pleased with our choice. Kelly and I went to the bar for some cocktails, encouraging the barman to show us his skills. Going all Tom Cruise on us he was shimmying and chucking shakers in the air, it was all very impressive, I was ready to start fantasising I was Elisabeth Shue and unfortunately that was when he proceeded to chuck the drinks over both of us. Suffice to say that my fantasy was over; we both spent the evening smelling like winos and went home soggy.

Morrisons mishap ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†This incident is a testament to why you should always look where you‚Äôre going. I was doing a bit of after work food shopping, as usual attempting to nonchalantly do ten things at once. I was texting Kelly, pushing the trolley and fiddling with my Ipod, then before I knew it I had walked slap bang into a toilet roll display. There was a kind of toilet roll avalanche, they all scattered across the shop floor and I was desperately trying to pick them all up.¬†I’m¬†not going to lie, I was tempted to just jump onto my trolley and roll around the corner; I wish I had when the shop assistant arrived. 23 years old and scolded by a shop assistant‚ĶI am the child people need to attach to buggy reigns.

Hungry hungry hippo ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†Back in the depressing days of unemployment I spent my time jumping through hoops on the whims of mean employers and attending interviews. One in particular was a complete nightmare, no¬†I’m¬†not talking about the interview where I was asked to put food colouring in my eyes, this was worse. My train was delayed pulling in to Kings Cross and I was in such a rush I¬†didn’t¬†have a chance to grab something to eat, I just raced straight to my interview. It was all going ok and then halfway through the interview my tummy must have caught on to the fact that I was hungry and started rumbling really loudly. Well I just wanted to die, as it was so noticeable and continuous. In the end I just had to be straight with my interviewer and¬†interrupted¬†them mid question saying ‚Äė¬†I’m¬†ever so sorry, but¬†I’m¬†starving as you can probably hear.‚Äô

Buried alive                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Some of you may know that for six months I did a stint as a sales assistant at Next. I enjoyed some of it but ohhh those were mainly hellish days, the Christmas rush, the literally insane shoppers and bi polar managers…it was a learning experience! The shifts I dreaded the most were spent in the stockroom, a massive warehouse where I was expected to climb up cartoon like tall ladders to reach rails of clothing. Christmas Eve and full on clothing chaos was in progress, managers were screaming for stock, one girl was standing in the corner in tears, and I was up a ladder sweating it whilst three girls below hassled me for stock. I panicked and picked up one item too many making my fingers buckle and leaving the girls below buried in the latest range of fashion. The girls were fine about it once they untangled themselves, but I took some major stick for that incident.

Lean on me ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†Unlike the flamingo I am unable to stand on one leg and look blas√© about it, although it‚Äôs a skill I now wish I had mastered. It‚Äôs your average scene;¬†I’m¬†in town hunting for a pair of work shoes and make the mistake of leaning on the shoe display for balance whilst trying on a pair. Well Jack and Jill have nothing on me, I almost took a fall and the rack and shoes‚Ķthey came tumbling after.

Wrong place, right time                                                                                                                                                                                                                The first disaster I can honestly say had nothing to do with me, but is still fairly hilarious. A group of us decided to brave Go Ape and we had our friend, the ever famous BG book it for us. I agreed to drive us all up there (I know, my friends are courageous souls being in a car with me) and surprisingly we arrived without incident. So we went to check in and start getting the gear on and found out that we had booked the Thetford Go Ape, which would have been great but we were standing in Sherwood Forest. Two places in the opposite direction and no free time slots in Sherwood. Still it was a brilliant day and the long walk around Sherwood was amazing, sadly gorgeous men in tights were absent.

Cool runnings ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†Sometimes I question my younger brother¬†Aaron’s¬†intelligence, but never more than the day he left the front door wide open allowing both our dogs to escape. With only my pyjamas on, I hot footed it out the door in pursuit; I¬†didn’t¬†even have shoes on (that bloody hurt as well)¬†I managed to grab Remy before he got to the field round the back of our house, but Koda is harder to catch and had jumped down a ditch into a field of startled cows. Trying to crawl down a ditch in your pyjamas avoiding a herd of cows is no easy feat. When I finally did get Koda back with the help of reinforcements, I walked through my estate shamefaced and feeling very much exposed.

The devil wears other people‚Äôs coats ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†¬†Once at an interview I was invited to leave my coat in a cloakroom whilst being interviewed, the actual interview went ok but I was in no hurry to stick around once it was over, I swiftly grabbed my coat and was on my way. Half way down the staircase the receptionist was chasing me calling me back, (no unfortunately not a instant ‘you’re hired’) I had taken my interviewers coat! The worst part was their coat looked nothing like mine, as I returned to collect my actual coat the receptionist gave my interviewer a look that clearly indicated she thought I was a moron, the interviewer must have agreed because I was not called back. ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†

BG and Kelly at Sherwood

BG and Kelly at Sherwood                                                                                                                                                                                                       

Men only please ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†¬†I was on my way down to Birmingham International for Crufts and went to change at Birmingham New Street. I had been holding myself for two hours and was desperate to use the facilities. Unable to wait any longer, I rustled through my purse praying I would have change to use the toilet (completely insane that they charge to use the bathroom but that‚Äôs a rant for another day). A rarity for me I actually found some coins and went through the barrier. I¬†didn’t¬†really notice it until I tried to exit the cubicle but there were urinals on the wall, and I thought to myself ‚Äėthat‚Äôs bloody strange.‚Äô ¬†Then a group of guys walked in and I retreated back into my cubicle shrieking crap over and over in my head, I tried to wait until there was no one around but I¬†didn’t¬†have the time before my next train, so in the end I just braved it and walked straight out to meet the gaze of at least ten very hostile confused men, some of whom had their trousers down. I stood there for a few secs frozen with embarrassment and said the first thing that came into my head which unfortunately was ‚Äė¬†I’m¬†a transvestite‚Äô and walked out.

Dog snatcher                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 My friends know that I am a bit animal crazy, in fact the last holiday we went on together they spent a great deal of time restraining me from feeding and stroking the stray cats and dogs around the hotel complex. This was a joint mother and daughter disaster (nice that my mother and I have something in common).  Mum and I were driving back from town and we saw a dog wandering down the street by itself, we pulled over and after a cursory glance around put the dog in the back of our car intending to take it to the vets. Then an angry man breathing heavily and running up to our car asked us what the hell we were doing stealing his dog. In our defence, the dog was miles away from its owner! How were we to know? It was worse than the time we tried to rescue the swan and herd it out of the road using coats. (We have strange mother daughter bonding time).

Baby blues ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†¬†When my step mother was pregnant with my baby sister I accompanied her to quite a few doctors‚Äô appointments and classes (my dad despite having four children still claims he¬†doesn’t¬†like kids and never really got¬†involved¬†in that kind of stuff). One appointment I was waiting for Lisa to come out and was sitting in the waiting room reading a magazine, when the receptionist asked me what time my appointment was. Shaking my head I smiled and replied that I was waiting, she looked sympathetically at me and said ‚Äėyou don‚Äôt need to be shy love we get a lot of young single mothers here.‚Äô ¬†Kill me now.

Fuel for thought                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Another car related incident. I still consider myself new to driving, but a month or so after passing my test I was still struggling to remember which side of the car my fuel cap was on. One particular time I spent a good twenty minutes reversing and positioning the car as close to the pump as possible, much to the amusement of the surrounding people. When I finally did get out of the car I discovered the cap was on the other side…cue laughter. Not learning from that incident that you should pay attention when at the gas station, the following month I went up to the till and tried to pay another person’s bill, until the person in question timidly asserted that actually they were pump number 3.

A day at the spa¬†¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†My mum got a great plug in foot spa one year for Christmas and after a long day at work I felt I needed a bit of TLC, so dragging it out of the box I poured in the water and bubble bath, got it going and then went to put on a face pack. By the time I got back it was far too late, water and bubble bath were everywhere, my bedroom carpet was soaked and foamy, but smelt pleasantly of mangos (the bubble bath). We were all a bit worried the floorboards beneath the carpet would go bad, and for days the carpet was really damp. However I can still stand on my bedroom floor without falling through the ceiling, so my mum really didn’t have to shriek like a banshee for over half an hour.

Private property ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†Occasionally I tend to fancy myself a bit of an explorer, and when I moved up to the countryside with my mum and brother I use to go off looking for adventures. It‚Äôs also no secret that I occasionally tend to revert to a childlike state, and one day after a revert back to childhood I did some exploring down a place called the wash. It‚Äôs a big open field with lots of little side tracks and mini forests, great for a wonder round. So¬†I’m¬†walking down a bit¬†I’ve¬†never been before, and I see this pretty bridge with flowers and a gate over a separating water ditch. I go over and start looking around and there‚Äôs a little wishing well and seat. I began walking a little bit further and find myself face to face with a guy staring at me out of his patio door windows. Yes‚ĶI had trespassed into someone‚Äôs extensive garden (damn rich people) and they were not best pleased. It took me some time to explain that I was not trying to break in and rob them; I merely mistook his garden as part of the wash. He just looked at me suspiciously and said he had never had this problem before. A few weeks later, I walked past the bridge again and saw a freshly hung sign with large letters stating ‚Äėprivate property.‚Äô My handiwork. ūüôā

Keep it down please ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†¬†I have been trying to be a¬†very¬†good girl recently and¬†make¬†it the gym as often as my work load allows. Apart from the obvious health benefits, it is great for a bit of¬†de-stressing and I often come home¬†feeling¬†shattered but a bit healthier. My gym has tiny television screens attached to most of the machines and whilst¬†everyone¬†else is being sensible¬†and¬†watching the news at 6pm whilst working out, I’m¬†watching¬†The Simpsons.¬†Forgetting¬†where I was one day, I watching The Simpsons on the treadmill and I burst out laughing really loudly (I love The Simpsons, still has me laughing) startling the guy next to me into almost falling over.

So these are just some of the moments that spring to mind.¬†I’ve¬†left out a lot I guess as this post is long enough already, but believe me there have been plenty of others, like the time I left dinner in the oven forgot about it and the kitchen filled with noxious smelling smoke. Or the time I spoke to that stranger on the train and he began following me through the station. And then there was the time I took three faulty phones back to the Carphone Warehouse in three consecutive days, almost driving the sales guy over the edge.

This post shows that I can be a bit of a disaster and although I know this puts people off me and means I spend a great deal of time apologising, as well as has me occasionally wishing I was a bit more normal and put together like my girlfriends…my life is always interesting.

I have unusual experiences, I can always laugh about these incidents later and I stay true to the kind of person I am.

If my life has taught me anything so far, it’s that there are some of us who don’t always get it right, but have the knack of enjoying getting it wrong.

I suppose I’m that person ūüôā

Classic comedy is here to stay! Rock and Chips: my new love

20 Jul

Despite the fact that I’m only twenty-two, I think I was born in the wrong time period, because I am all about the old adages, the classics and even in some of my attitudes I can be pretty old-fashioned. When I was a child, my brother and I use to visit my dad at his flat on the weekends, and one of my fondest memories was being allowed to stay up late and watch television. Dad hated television and films aimed at kids, so instead we watched films like Ben Hur, Gone with the Wind and classic television series like Star Trek, Open all Hours, Last of the Summer Wine and my personal favourite, Only Fools and Horses.

One of my best buys in a long time! ūüôā

Watching the antics of Del boy and Rodney, who like me had a less than conventional childhood, never failed to put a smile on my face, I grew up with all the episodes and specials marking every Christmas, and by the time I had reached my teenage years I had seen every episode, and could recite them by heart. Although I started watching the series from childhood, it was only until I started growing up that I began to really understand the more subtle adult comedy, and recurring themes and story lines that featured in some of the episodes, and began to appreciate just how brilliant and talented the writers and cast members were. So imagine how thrilled I was when I found out that John Sullivan had released Rock and Chips, the prequel exploring the origins of the series that set the whole world on fire!

So although I shouldn’t have…I treated myself! Yes I ordered the series box set (unfortunately¬†its a very small series, only three¬†episodes,¬†since¬†poor John Sullivan died before he was able to finish) and got a pretty good deal from Play.com only ¬£11 and free delivery, win!

So for those of you that don’t know, Rock and Chips is set in the early 1960’s in Peckham, and follows the lives of the Trotter family, in particular Joan Trotter, and how she met Freddie Robdal, the man who would eventually father her youngest son Rodney. It also explores the life of Del Boy and other recurring characters such as Denzil, Boycie, Trigger and Slater, for fans like me it answers a lot of questions, but even if you have no knowledge of the original series, its worth watching. Kellie Bright and Nicholas Lyndhurst are creative actors who bring their own style of comedy to the roles, and if you’re a fan of the Inbetweeners James Buckley, then you’ll enjoy his characterization of cheeky cockney chappie Del Boy.¬†It also provides an insight into the 1960’s culture, how people were¬†still¬†recovering from the war, the NHS and government reforms and how they effected the working class, feminism, as well as the mods and rockers youth movement. Entertainment, forbidden love and history! What more could you ask for?

Its actually quite a sweet love story ūüôā That I’ve completely gone head over heels for!

So if your open-minded and want to see something different, an Only Fools and Horses fan, or just fancy a good bit of British comedy, take my advice and watch Rock and Chips. You wont regret it!

Taking the plunge

12 Dec

A fresh start for a fresh year

For a while now I have been struggling to find a way to gain a job that is even half way related to my degree, and failing dramatically. I’ve applied for opportunity after opportunity but turns out they weren’t my opportunities just other people’s. A paranoid part of me (at least I really hope it’s just paranoia and insecurity) kept thinking it was me, taking the rejections personally.

I’m perhaps misguided in thinking it, but I really do feel that I have all the essential ingredients for a good CV, lots of work experience in my field, good references and a large portfolio as well as lots of volunteering under my belt. But still nothing…locked in this cycle of depression, a part-time retail job, volunteering and fruitless job searches I’ve made a life changing decision and decided to take the plunge.

A new year means a new start, so in 2012 I will be turning my life upside down and moving to our glittering capital, London here I come! The career aspect is not just the driving force behind this move, I see everyone I know moving on and having lives, getting jobs, moving out, challenging themselves and making a little world of their own.

 Seeing everyone else having the courage to take on new challenges has given me the strength to start my own.

Moving to London will be hard, finding a job in London will most likely be harder. I’ll have no friends and its been over eleven years since I’ve lived there. It will be a risk for so many reasons, and I can’t deny that I am plagued by doubts. What if I don’t find a job? What if it all goes really wrong? What if I fail? Will I make friends? Am I up to the challenge?

My destination ūüôā

Honest answer I don’t know…but I’ll never let fear stop me doing anything. If it’s a disaster then at least I’ll be able to say I tried and won’t regret not taking the chance. So 2012, new year, new start, new life hopefully a new job. I’m officially taking the plunge and moving to London in February.

I’ve watched my friends live out their own adventures, now its time for one of my own, all my friends have had the strength to be brave and make changes, inspiring me to make my own. The good news is I’ll be able to write more blog posts about life in the big city and all its strange quirks and undiscovered wonders!

Wish me luck!

How to survive Christmas with your family

6 Dec

The saying ‘you can choose your friends but you can’t choose your family’ comes to mind with this topic, its certainly true. If your anything like me then your family will probably drive you insane over the Christmas holidays, its not their fault, you love them, they love you, but for some reason at Christmas you feel them getting on your nerves. Mainly its because for a few days you’ll be in and out of¬†each-others¬†pockets (sometimes just a day on¬†top¬†of¬†each other¬†is enough to send you up the wall) old family¬†feuds¬†come up, someone makes a tasteless joke, a¬†family¬†member has¬†contributed¬†too little to the day while another is taking over and becoming too controlling. It really can be a minefield, and by the end of the day you don’t feel blissfully content and relaxed sharing a holiday with your loved ones, but stressed out, tired and experiencing a longing for silence and time shut away from all human beings.

However it doesn’t have to be that way, I’ve found a few simple ways to ensure a nice easy going Christmas where no on ends up wanting to strangle eachother over the dinner table. (Which very nearly was the case one year with me and my brother Aaron)

1. BE REALISTIC 

No ones Christmas is ever going to be perfect, its never going to be like the Christmas adverts on the television with a¬†huge¬†crackling fire, perfectly behaved children and a warm golden glow in the air. Life isn’t like that and Christmas never is, allow for a few things to go wrong. Kids will be over excited, possibly annoying, loud and won’t always listen to your instructions. But its Christmas so lighten up and take them aside without a fuss and explain calmly that you expect them to behave. Adults will become ‘merry’ when the drinks are flowing, they may make a¬†tasteless¬†comment or joke that may even come across wrong, without a malicious intent. Allow for it and take the attention away by making a joke of your own. Just be realistic and don’t let the microscopic negative¬†occurrences¬†effect¬†the overall day, people aren’t perfect so its highly unlikely that any family event will ¬†be.

2. FAIL TO PREPARE AND PREPARE TO FAIL

Good¬†preparation¬†is not only the key for success with anything, but also the key for relaxation over Christmas. If your prepared with the food in, house tidied and everything ready to go, you’ll be a lot calmer and happier, your relatives will be receptive to your positive mood and things will run a lot smoother with everyone nice and content when interacting with¬†each other. Have an idea of how you want the day to go, for example when people will turn up, when you’ll all sit down to dinner and open presents and what you’ll do afterwards. Let people know your plans for the day in advance and then there can be no¬†confusion. Also be prepared to deviate a little from that plan, someone will turn up late, some of the food won’t cook in time. Its going to happen, why fight it? Just go with the flow, life very rarely goes exactly to plan.

3. LET ME ENTERTAIN YOU

Make¬†sure¬†you have¬†something for¬†everyone, you don’t want the kids¬†running¬†around the¬†kitchen¬†whilst your cooking dinner. Have games for them to play to¬†keep¬†them out of your hair, or a favourite DVD at the ready for them to watch. We all know that adults are kids at heart so make sure you have entertainment for them as well, a family game is the perfect way to make even the grumpiest of Scrooges get involved and takes attention away from any underlying tension, it also keeps¬†potential¬†‘takeover’ family members as guests.

4. MUSICAL MAGIC

I’m not suggesting a sing along or anything to that affect, but music turned on softly in the¬†background¬†really does¬†make all¬†the difference. It¬†enhances¬†the mood, and makes the lull in conversation at the end of the day a lot less¬†awkward. It doesn’t¬†necessarily¬†have to be¬†Christmas¬†music, but some¬†background¬†noise¬†throughout¬†the day will make¬†transitions from dinner to evening¬†smoother. Its a good way to get guests talking as well in any¬†awkward¬†silences¬†by asking ¬†them what track they¬†would¬†like to put on¬†next.

5. ACTUALLY ENJOY YOUR FAMILY

Remember to show an interest in your family, it sounds an odd thing to suggest but we all get so caught up in our own lives that we forget to take notice of others. Ask how your family are, what have they been up to, what their plans are for the future, and just enjoy being with them. They may drive you crazy, but they are family so learn to appreciate their quirks, overlook their negatives and over accentuate their positives (it takes a lifetime of practise trust me) be patient and allow for the odd mishap in the holiday, enjoy who they are and remember all the good they bring to your life.

This may be the dream...but reality can be just as good

What the recession has meant for me

28 Nov

A lot of blog posts, news, and human interest stories prominently feature the recession and how it has affected lives, I thought that for this post I would get a bit more personal¬†and explain what effect the recession has had on me. Give a face, as it were, to the current economic crisis. I’m going to be brutally honest, which is hard but will also be a form of therapy I guess so here goes.

I was at university when the banking crisis began, and even then when it didn’t affect¬†me directly I noticed the effects of it on people around me, my mum and her partner started fighting more and talking less, my mum’s and her partners¬†working hours increased and the house stayed cold over winter, as heating was a luxury we could no longer afford.

As the years have gone on and I left university, the effects have gotten worse.

The fact that I can’t find a job, even with a degree and a lot of media work experience behind me isn’t even one of the worst consequences for me of the recession, the main one is that I have nowhere to¬†live. Currently I live out of a suitcase between my nan’s, my mum’s¬†and occasionally my dads. Because I haven’t got enough money to pay rent and because none of my parents can afford to have me live with them full-time. Let me tell you…when you live out of a suitcase…even the simplest¬†things become harder. I never know where I’m going to be from one week to the next and so it becomes hard to make plans, it puts pressure on me mentally and I never really relax. And it’s never¬†nice to be a burden passing from one family member to the next.¬†Some of the good parts are that my handbag always contains the essentials, toothbrush, underwear, body spray and makeup, and I’m always ready to go at a moments notice. I’ve learnt to travel light these past months and that’s something good that’s come from this. (Theres always a bright side!)

The other being that I find myself frustrated almost all the time, frustrated that I can’t afford a car when friends and other people can because they are lucky enough to have parents that can help them out, or have found¬†full-time jobs. Frustration that I can’t afford a phone that works, which will help me do the job that I want to do. Frustration that I have to help pay for food and buy essentials for my mum and brother, when I can barely afford to keep myself. Frustrated that I come back from work to find no food in the cupboard and have to dash out to nearest garage to buy something for everyone, because otherwise…they won’t eat.

Fear and depression become big parts of everyday life, fear that you won’t make it through…that things seem to be getting worse…that they’ll never get better and depression, that everyday is filled with the monotony of just survivng…not living.

Of course the people around me have suffered even more and its hard to watch. My mum is having to sell the house she loves and downsize because she can’t afford to live there anymore, even with her and her partner working full-time. The recession has also allowed employers to take advantage, like my mums, who have damaged her spine by refusing to provide proper working equipment and acted unscrupulously in treatment towards all employees refusing them lunch breaks and not paying for extra hours worked. This of course has had¬†the knock on effect of her becoming addicted to¬†Codeine (a type of strong¬†pain medication) because of her back¬†and other problems, which are probably better left unsaid. However she must continue to endure terrible treatment by employers¬†because there is no other choice.

These are the consequences of the recession for me, its hard to believe that a bunch of men overseas who have nothing to do with me, not caring about moral hazard in banking created this course of events in my life. But not just my life, there are thousands of other people out there just like me and my family, who are struggling to survive each day.

This wasn’t really meant to be a depressing post, its more about just being honest, not putting a brave face on things and¬†admitting “yes things are bad.” It’s also about illuminating how¬†if this is how things are for me, then there are people out there who are even worse off. People who need help but are not getting it, people who need hope, but are not getting it.¬†

I guess my point was that a lot of my posts have been about my struggle to find employment during a recession, and seeing that a lot of articles and news stories out there all focus on the employment consequences of the recession, I wanted to bring things back to earth a bit, and remind people that unemployment is just one way that people are suffering. 

I often wonder whether¬†the US government¬†and financial¬†institutions had any notion of just how terrible the outcome would be of¬†their careless lack of regard for regulation of the finance sector and mortgage lending.¬†I’m dissapointed that even though this is a disaster of their¬†making, they refuse to apologise or take any selfless action to rectify the mistakes they made.

It’s a sad truth that as usual, it is the working and lower¬†middle classes which can’t afford the consequences,¬†who always end up paying the price for the gambles and carelessness of the wealthy.

For us as a society to develop further, this is one of the first things that needs to be changed.

Its me or the dog?

1 Aug

Today I saw something that made me go all warm and fuzzy inside, for those of you who know me well you’ll know that this is not exactly a challenge (warm and fuzzy being my natural state) but what I saw just summed up real selflessness. (In my humble opinion)

I was in town, doing the usual chores and I walked past a homeless woman with a¬†raggedy yet very cute and sweet natured dog. She was sitting unassumingly and with an air of pride cuddling her little friend, I carried on walking but felt that little tugging at my¬†conscience, so I popped into the shops and bought some dog chews and a few bits and went and came back that way hoping she hadn’t moved on.

I found a polite, ¬†charming and intelligent woman who through no fault of her own had ended up on the street. We started chatting about our mutual love of dogs and from there found we had quite a few mutual interests. I cautiously asked her if she had approached any of the women’s shelters in the area, and then she spoke the words that made me go all gushy.

“They did offer me a place…but they don’t take ¬†dogs, I would have to get rid of him. I’m never doing that, I’d rather be out here than without him,we stay together.”

She would rather be out there sleeping rough and hungry when the only option is to leave her dog to fend for himself. That is devotion, loyalty and¬†uncompromising¬†friendship, I know some of you out there, probably not as sentimental as me, would say she made the wrong choice and that her dog is costing her a better standard of life. However I just can’t help but admire how far her love goes for her canine companion.

I have two dogs that I am¬†completely¬†crazy about, and I have to wonder that if faced with the same choice…what would I do? (Lets hope I never have to find out!)

So to all my friends out there who adore their pets the way I do mine…I’m curious and have to ask the question, how much do your pets mean to you, how much do you love your pets, is it you…or your pets?

Me and my Koda

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