Tag Archives: Friends

Apparently…I have abs!?

30 Oct

Apologies for this very long overdue post, as usual I have my often tried and tested pathetic excuse at the ready…I have been very very busy.

In all fairness I have genuinely been very busy. I hold down a full time job that isn’t exactly a nine to five deal, I have a post as the company social and charity officer with my lovely Lou supporting fundraising and social events, and I’ve been planning a charity auction and Christmas party for like one hundred and fifty people.

On top of this I also try to enjoy a bit of a life as well on the sly, this involves visiting my family and hanging out with my friends, making my annual trips to the cinema, doing my midnight walks and going shopping. (Hardly a chore but hey it still all requires time).

Spend a week with me and it’s easy to see why amongst the hectic pace of my life, there is a pile of books in the corner of my room that are waiting to be alphabetised and placed on my overflowing bookshelf. Why the candle that kind of exploded still hasn’t quite been dealt with yet, why I still haven’t found the mysterious absent partner to my favourite sock, and why despite knowing that the wiper blades and the electrics in my car have been causing some genuine concern to both me and other motorists, I still haven’t had them fixed.

Look at my to do lists at both work and home, and they are populated with tasks that range from the ludicrous and small, to the large and random. For example, at the moment my list at home has tasks ranging from ‘move that spider in the corner to outside’ (it’s more likely to be plural now…I have a dodgy feeling it may have nested or something…) to visit ‘Tresco Abbey Island’ and ‘bleed radiator.’

I often joke with my boss (who luckily seems to share my cavalier attitude towards life) that we currently function in a state of barely organised chaos, we both laugh…I am deadly serious. 🙂

Mind you, this week I finally got one thing off my to do list that has been on there for over three months, ‘get back in to the gym and attend bootcamp with Becca.’

I wouldn’t ever say that the sporty streak runs through my veins. My cousin is a silver medallist European champion gymnast, with more medals and titles under her belt than letters in her name. My dad is an ex body builder/copper who has a professional home gym in his renovated garage, and my brother despite his twenty a day fag habit, is still fairly fit from his manual job and football training.

I have never been, and in all honesty am never likely to be a fitness fanatic. At school the ever famous BG and I were notorious, and would take it in turns to come up with inventive excuses as to why we had to be excused from P.E. that week. (They slowly became more and more outlandish).

Since then however I’ve grown up a bit. By the time A- levels went by and university came along, I began flirting with fitness.

My flirtation with fitness has been an on and off love affair from the beginning. When I first joined the gym I was so self-conscious I could have died. The girls treated it like an opportunity to model spandex based sportswear, and there was not a chance in hell I was ever going down that route. My faded baggy t-shirts and paint splattered jogging bottoms certainly made me stick out like a sore thumb, but they were staying.

At one point I was down the gym three to four times a week and I was fairly pleased with myself. I would never look like the girls I use to aspire to, but I was lifting weights I hadn’t been able to and I was working out harder and longer than I ever could before, and because the gym was wearing me out physically, my usual bouts of insomnia were less frequent.

Anyway, life happened, unemployment happened, crappy part time jobs and volunteering happened, no money happened, living between houses out of a suitcase and a bunch of other stuff happened in between.

By the time I had sorted out a proper job and some life stability, I had completely lost touch with the gym, and my level of fitness had decreased to the point where even I couldn’t even recognise it, as for the insomnia, it was worse than ever.

I started going walking for an hour every day after work but it still wasn’t enough to de-stress, feel fitter and control the insomnia.

Later on in the year Becca joined Taylor Rose and had enrolled in what sounded like some sort of military fitness conscription, and knowing that I wanted to get a bit fitter, encouraged me to join her. Now those of you who know me, will get that I always have a to do list a mile long and I barely manage to keep on top of it, which is why ‘get back into the gym’ had never really materialised even after months of trying.

Still, Becca kept gently (I use that term loosely people, very loosely :)) encouraging me to come along to bootcamp and so finally after a month of reminders every day, I decided it was quite literally now or never. (I am actually very grateful that she did, so cheers mate).

At the time, making the commitment to attend seemed so far away and as a ‘here and now’ kind of girl, it never really occurred to me that eventually it would be Wednesday, and I would have to attend.

I spent most of the day terrified; surely classes like this weren’t made for people like me? Just the word bootcamp sounded so intimidating. I had visions of a how Steph Bristow visit to bootcamp would most likely go…a man dressed in khaki yelling directly in my face ‘drop and give me twenty’ whilst I got on the floor, handed over my purse and put my hands over my head crying silently. It didn’t help that when I casually commented to my mum where I was off to that evening, she replied ‘are you sure?’

Would I actually be able to even participate in this class? At least when I worked out in the past I set my own pace (even if that jerk rowing next to me always did make it a competition).

However as I continually seem to find in life, what I imagine is rarely reality.  (An example would be when I imagined electric blue eye shadow looked good, the reality was somewhat different).

So Wednesday evening…

Becca and I arrived at the gym and after my third attempt to make it through the pod, (something everyone else seems to manage first time by the way) we made our way upstairs and I was introduced to the regulars.

It was surprising yet reassuring, that although some of the girls looked scary fit, there were others there similar to me as well as Michele and Massey, all of us instantly recognisable by that mix of terror and anticipation on our faces as to what was in store that evening.

Christian (who runs the bootcamp alongside Andy) had promised that he would go easy on me, the newcomer to this world of fitness, and after seeing him push the others I have to say he kept his word!

The truth is that I found the class challenging on every level. We did circuits of various cardio and weight exercises and although I found the weights just about manageable, by the time we were on the second round of the circuit, the cardio exercises had transformed me into something which I imagined closely resembled a highly unattractive human lobster.

At one point I leant over to a woman on the mat next to me, who reassuringly looked equally out of breath and said ‘I think I may throw up.’

Still Christian persevered with encouragement and enthusiasm for getting exercise out of me, which can only be described as admiral considering the hundreds of PE teachers who have tried and failed miserably. He ensured that I made it through the class with the knowledge that at least I had managed to do an amount of every exercise on the circuit.

I walked out feeling exhausted, clutching on to the banisters along with Massey as our legs went to pieces wobbling down the stairs. But I also felt a small sense of pride and achievement, that I had conquered my fears and taken my first step back into a world which I would usually avoid like the plague.

On the drive home, I sat in the car with a strange aching sensation in my stomach, which provided a distant reminder of my past excursions to the gym long ago, telling me I had worked hard. Becca said to me that tomorrow I would experience muscles aching I didn’t even know I had, identifying what apparently appeared to be my aching abs (I had abs…who knew?) I expected she would be right.

It won’t be easy, but I’ve agreed to go every Wednesday from now on, and considering Becca works with me…there really is no escaping it! 🙂

For anyone out there like me who has always flitted in and out of fitness I encourage you to get back into it again, and if you want details on the particular bootcamp that I attended let me know, no sergeant majors screaming at you in this one I promise!

If I, a self-confessed fitness phobic can do it then you certainly can, it’s a great deal of fun, there’s a real sense of community and you always leave feeling unusually exhausted and energised at the same time.

I fully expect to be crippled tomorrow, and have to beg my colleagues to roll my chair around the office like some demented fairground ride so I can move about, but hey…we all have to start somewhere right?


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’t set out to get myself into trouble (or fall head first into calamity as my friends say) but if it’s 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 ‘incidents’. Most people know this story so the shortened version goes like this…on 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’s 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’re 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…I 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 ‘ I’m ever so sorry, but I’m starving as you can probably hear.’

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 blasé about it, although it’s a skill I now wish I had mastered. It’s 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…they 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’s 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’s 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 ‘that’s bloody strange.’  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 ‘ I’m a transvestite’ 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’ 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 ‘you don’t need to be shy love we get a lot of young single mothers here.’  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’s 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’s 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’s 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…I had trespassed into someone’s 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 ‘private property.’ My handiwork. 🙂

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 🙂

By the time I’m 24….the quarter life crisis continues!

10 Apr

Just over 1 year ago I did a blog post about turning the dreaded 22, that scary time in life when you begin creeping into your middle twenties.

When drinking all night and being up the next day for work is not only impossible but a death sentence, when all nighters mean a heavy movie and pizza session instead of Redbull and out till dawn, and your taste in music is now considered retro by your younger siblings. (Hey Steps is cool whatever generation you come from?!)

To placate the brewing ‘quarter life crisis’ I decided to do a list on my blog of ten things I wanted to achieve by the time I turned 23, and to see how far I could get in a year…well a hell of a lot happened in that year and my blog was sadly neglected, then a few days ago I hit 23 and my friends took me on a wonderful surprise night out. It was then that my good friend Beth reminded me that I promised to do a recap blog post and I hadn’t delivered the goods.

Since I quit blogging quite a few people have approached me and said they missed my posts, which was really sweet and flattering…so for Beth, the bloggers and because I am just generally a complete mental case getting myself into the most random trouble and impossible situations, the blog is back up, I’m back in town, and the perfect place to start seems to be the birthday recap post.

Me on my birthday (I'm the girl by the way lol)

Me on my birthday (I’m the girl by the way lol)

(You seriously don’t know how close you came to not even reading this; do you know how many attempts it took me to remember my password? I almost chucked my computer out the window!)

So how much of my list did I manage to accomplish?

1. Pass my driving test

You can check number one right off the list! I passed my driving test first time last September and got my own car in October (my credit card never knew what hit it!) Yes, the self-confessed driving disaster on the roads, terrifying isn’t it! I still stolidly maintain that it was a fluke, or my examiner was a lesbian and passed me in the hope of sexual favours or something.

It certainly hasn’t been all driving along with the window open bopping along to ‘Uptown Girl’ at volume, in true Steph Bristow fashion I’m not happy until I get myself into some form of trouble, and driving has been no different.

I was driving to a friend’s flat following my SatNav and made a tiny error in judgement, which unfortunately led to me driving down the wrong side of a dual carriageway into oncoming traffic, luckily for me I’m a quick thinker (I mean you’d have to be if you’ve been in as many disasters as I have) and I targeted my car to a small patch of pavement, narrowly avoiding a head on collision. However putting my hazard lights and headlights on at the same time was a bit of a mistake on my part and so my battery went flat. I was then reported to the police (try talking yourself out of that one) and luckily for me they were very nice about it, jump started my car, stopped traffic and turned me the right way round. The real low point of the evening was when they passed me on the other side of the road after getting my car going, only to see it break down again and then have to stop traffic a second time to jump start my car. How am I still alive? Good question…I’ll get back to you on that one.

2. Be in employment, working towards a career

Another one I can tick off my list, last July I was offered a job as a copywriter for a marketing agency, they were a lovely bunch of people but the job wasn’t quite right for me for various reasons, then just as depression started to creep back my old favourite adage kicked in (when it rains it pours for those who don’t know) and I was offered another job at a solicitors. I now work in marketing and business development. I’ve got to say my job keeps me very busy, but I’m lucky because my job has also given me the opportunity to meet some truly hilarious and fantastic people who make every day fun.

Who would have thought that the year of hell working part-time at Next, and attending crazy job interviews asking me to put food colouring in my eyes would lead to this? I certainly couldn’t have predicted it!

3. Visit a Karaoke bar and sing Ne-Yo’s ‘Never knew I needed’

Regrettably this is something I haven’t managed, I’m way too chicken to go to a karaoke bar by myself and I still remain unable to get friends to go with me. Still I have done a lot of singing in the shower, and in one unusual occasion I did burst into song as I walked through a car park, attracting quite a few wary stares from passers-by…does that count?

4. Have another amazing holiday with my friends

Another tick for me! This May I am going to Crete with my very lovely friends and my god I’m looking forward to it! I don’t know about you but the weather in the UK is a total drag and I’m way overdue to seek warmer climates. We even managed to drag reluctant traveller Tom on holiday with us this year, it will be the first time he has left the UK, so if you hear screaming echoing on the wind towards the end of May don’t worry, that will be Tom saying goodbye to England for a week.

5. Have my own house/flat/space

I would give my right arm or any other body appendage you care to claim for this to be true, however in case you hadn’t heard the recession, combined with insane mortgage deposit requirements and greedy landlords capitalising on generation rent, makes for life in the parental home. I figure if I’m still living with my mother by the time I’m 40 I’ll have a problem…mainly because I’ll either be dead from shame or she will have killed me.

6. Visit in the UK

I have and haven’t achieved number 6…while I have visited some places in the UK, I haven’t visited the places I listed last year. I am a bit gutted I never did make it to Tresco Abbey Gardens (maybe next year) but my faithful girlfriends have promised that the Harry Potter Studio is on the cards for this year, so it’s not all doom and gloom.

7. Learn to swim

Ok so I have to be incredibly honest here and own up to the fact that if you do chuck me into a lake/the sea/a deep puddle I will drown. I never did learn to swim, I really hoped that this would be the one point I would manage to achieve but no such luck, however I still do dream of the day when I can at least float in the water in a direction of my choosing.

8. Be Dora the explorer

Another tick on the quarter life crisis check-list, this year  I’ve done a lot of exploring off the beaten track (got into a bit of trouble for some exploring, I mistook someone’s back garden for a kind of small forest/nature/pond thing and was caught throwing coins into their private well, they were not happy) I’ve been to random festivals, visited free art exhibitions and seen street theatre,  just call me Dora please.

9. Shop till I drop

Well we all knew this was going to be the one point I definitely achieved didn’t we, in fact I’ve probably overdone this aim. I went to the Bullring twice and to Westfield’s, as well as popped down to Bond Street when cheap train tickets were going. The fact that a Primark has just opened where I live also probably contributes to why I spend a great deal of my life shopping. Still a girl has to keep the economy going right?

10. Spend some time

I don’t know how well I’ve achieved this point but I’ve certainly done my best to try to spend time with friends and family. I suppose I could always do more, but I like to think I’ve made the effort, and that I will continue to maintain relationships with the important people in my life long into the future.

So there we are, first blog post of 2013 (yes I know I am a blogging disgrace) and 6 out of 10 isn’t bad on the quarter life crisis check list! So guys for those of you who have been reading my blog and have been patient through the months of neglect thank you, hopefully I will have more for you soon. 🙂

A stranger is probably a cool person you’ve not met yet…or a crazed lunatic…whichever

22 Aug

People who know me and have been out with me in public (the list of people doing that is getting smaller and smaller…) will know that I have an uncanny habit of talking to strangers. Before you get the complete wrong idea, I would like to make it clear that I don’t just go up to people passing me in the street, and start holding a long conversation (despite what my friends may say.) I’m talking about people in the queue at the checkout and serving on tills, people on buses and trains, at the bank, and in the cinema…and most recently in my case, the New Look changing room. I’m a big believer in communication, and in general being friendly to everyone, stranger or friend alike.

When I was younger, I was always told ‘never talk to strangers’ its one of the cardinal rules you learn as a child, and I find myself now saying the exact same thing to my seven-year old brother and three-year old sister, but the truth is I don’t practise what I preach, and with the exception of vulnerable little children aside, I think you should talk to strangers. Because the truth is you never know who you might meet, what you might learn from them, and even if that casual conversation, will later become a close and rewarding friendship. I think that sometimes we are all made a little paranoid and afraid of the world and the people in it, and its true there are a lot of things, places and people we should be careful of, it’s certainly correct to say that not everyone is as open, friendly and harmless as they appear to be. But at the same time, this shouldn’t stop us from sharing a joke in a coffee shop, or casually chatting away to someone you bump into in the street, we should be open to talking to new people, and not closing ourselves off because we don’t know them, and are unlikely to meet again.

Not all strangers are like these lunatics!

Some of the most interesting conversations I’ve ever had have been with strangers, for example, when I finished work (I was at Next at the time) whilst waiting for a bus, an older woman asked me where to wait for the 33, after that we got chatting, first about cooking, and then about her sons recent divorce, and his difficult ex-wife. I know that some people find it easier to open up to a stranger who knows nothing about them, and therefore has no preconceptions about whatever they might say, and she was one of those people.

As I said at the start of this post, I recently had a lovely conversation with a girl in the New Look changing room, I was shopping for a dress for my granddad’s funeral (all my clothes are inappropriately bright) and I went out of my cubicle to check my appearance in the less flattering (and infinitely more terrifying) big mirror, and at that moment another girl did exactly the same. So I was twirling, making sure that the dress was flattering enough to be worn in public, and we caught each others eye. I laughed and she laughed, I asked for an opinion and it went from there, she was dress shopping for a party, in which a guy she was crazy about was also attending, and she was hoping to make an impression on. We spent forty minutes chatting about guys, and I ended up helping her pick the perfect dress to catch Mr cute guy’s attention, and so what was always going to be a depressing shopping outing for me, was transformed into something quite different and enjoyable by a stranger.

Mexico was a beautiful place, I’d love to go back and explore more of it and get to know more of the people who live there

Of course this isn’t always the case, I have also had people approach me that didn’t seem quite the full ticket, or seemed interested in more than just a casual conversation, but this hasn’t put me off striking up random discussions and chats. With all the people who fill the world, it seems silly to stick to contact with the few people we already know. There are so many people which live interesting lives different from our own, and another way of exploring the world, is to explore all the different people who are a part of it, and the way they exist. When I visited Mexico, I struck up a friendship with a waiter, when I went to dine alone one evening in the hotel restaurant,whose name also began with ‘Steph,’ he showed me pictures of his family and where he lived. By talking to him, I got to see part of Mexico that was beyond the hotel, I also got to know the entertainment staff, a staff member called Adrian taught me how to dance, and introduced me to authentic Mexican music. Had I kept to myself, I would have missed out on some fun and fascinating experiences.

Adrian and my younger brother Josh

So I encourage you all, get out there and if you see an opportunity don’t let it pass you by, talk to a stranger! You never know what you might discover, and the friend you might meet.

‘And in that short bus ride…I was the spinster lady with thirty cats and a dodgy perm’

12 Jun

Couples. When your single and going to parties, events or any social activity, being surrounded by loving couples can be an unpleasant reminder of your own single status. I have come to find it as my own personal hell on earth scenario, as most of my girlfriends begin to pair off. Don’t get me wrong, I get on well with all my girlfriends partners and think the world of them, but at the same time being the one in a large group of twos, makes me ever so slightly uneasy.

Ironically, I enjoy being single. I don’t have to compromise, I do whatever I want and consider no partner in my plans or decisions. I’m not tied to anyone , I can flirt with the random cute guy or laugh at the funny guys jokes, without feeling guilt or recrimination. A bit selfish maybe, but I enjoy not having to fit another person and all their needs, problems and considerations into my life. (God knows I have enough of my own to deal with!)

Although of course I miss out on sharing the joy and the fun of having a partner, instead I receive that from a close group of friends, so rarely do I ever feel bereft of anything. However there is nothing like being trapped in an enclosed space with a group of very vocally happy, sickeningly loved up couples, to accentuate your singleness, and instantly all the positive aspects of being single are forgotten. That junk email you got from Match.com and E-Harmony that you laughed at earlier, now seems the only chance you have of not ending up a spinster, adopting forty cats, giving them baby names and leaving them money in your will.

My new role model?

I had an experience recently that made me start considering names for the day when inevitably, I would adopt thirty cats and buy a large pushchair for them….

Getting the bus into town (yes still haven’t passed my driving test, major pain in the butt) to meet up for a coffee and chat with my trusty rant companion Kayla, I found myself not for the first time in the aforementioned hellish scenario!

I didn’t notice it at first, but when I reached into my bag rummaging for my Ipod, I looked up finding in the virtually empty bus a couple one row ahead, enjoying a very aggressive make out session. Raising my eyebrows but willing to overlook this public display of affection, which would have been more at home in a motel room, I shifted in my seat to change view, encountering a couple opposite me nuzzling eachothers necks. Uncomfortable….

Another few stops whizzed by and some school kids got on, I experienced a sense of relief at the alleviation of the awkward feeling that my presence on this bus was interrupting some sort of double date, I relaxed until they began sitting on eachothers laps tickling eachother loudly. Silently I cursed my luck at getting on the only bus in the UK doubling as some sort of love shack, I looked to my phone for distraction only to find Facebook littered with ‘me and my man’ statuses.

Suddenly, at the ripe old age of twenty two I found myself feeling like a bitter old age spinster with a dodgy perm (my hair doesn’t do well in the damp) sitting on a bus watching ‘the young people.’

Irritation rising, I tried to avert my eyes to more PG scenery, my temper only increasing when the poor innocent old man who smelt of talcum powder chose to sit next to me rather than occupy the other dozen empty seats on the bus from hell. I guess he was thinking strength in numbers, so me and my new friend endured the rest of the journey in companionable silence. Thinking that my bus journey was hardly going to put me in a good mood for a nice catch up with a friend, I wondered how good a quality of company I was going to be. But stepping out, walking past people going about their business, couples, singles, kids, my ‘the whole sodding world is coupled up’ paranoia faded. The saying ‘when your single all you see is happy couples’ had nothing on this experience! Yet when I think about it whether on the bus or not at all, the positive aspects of being single remain, it was just paranoia, and there’s no point me having a boyfriend for having a boyfriends sake, I simply haven’t met the person meant to be mine yet. Until then I am open to it happening, yet happy to go on as I am.

Dating someone you know is all wrong for you, because you don’t want to be alone is a poor substitute. As I saw on my friend Jordan’s Facebook page the other day ‘why settle for just ok?’  (I thought it made a lot of sense)

Theres a line of a song I just love ‘inside is not a heart but a kaleidoscope ‘ it reminds me that there are a lot of colours to life, and love is only one of them that has the ability to make you happy. For some of us, it just takes longer to find the right colour, and in the meantime we have a lot of other colours to explore. 

So if your having a day like mine, where you look around and all you see is what you haven’t got, remember how happy you were five minutes ago before you saw it, and all the other things you have going for you!

As for me…personally I can’t wait for the day when I can drive and afford a car, because I don’t ever think I will be a fan of public transport, and just in case things don’t work out for me…well lets just say its lucky I already like cats.

Things I wish I had realised in my teens

1 Jan

Recently there seems to be a new craze for bloggers everywhere, which is writing a letter to their younger selves about things they wish they could change and wish they had done ect. Despite the whole dwelling on past regrets element of the project, which somewhat puts me off slightly (as I think dwelling on past mistakes is a pointless endeavour) I actually think its has the potential to be a fairly hilarious idea (maybe that’s just specific to me, since my teen years were kind of agonizingly embarrassing in a funny way)

So since it’s the new year and everyone is reflecting on 2011 and how to make 2012 even better, I thought I would take a trip down memory lane and make a list (I don’t do letters, my teen self would never have read them)of some of the concepts I wished I had grasped in my teen years.

1. Wearing a very baggy scruffy mens sized Reebok jumper over every pair of trousers because your self conscious, is not going to hide you or help with body confidence issues, in fact it’s going to draw attention and gain you some horrible nicknames when walking home from school from some very mean older boys. Dress like a girl and how you want!

2. Don’t spend hours every night practising how to make a Scoubidou key chain so you can plait plastic strips together with the other girls at lunch, so you don’t look dumbfounded as they do it effortlessly and your left with bunch of knotted plastic, you’d be much better off focusing your efforts on maths revision. It’s a total fad.

Years on from then and I still can't make one now to save my life

3. Instead of being a goody-goody all the time, rebel and get told off, enjoy the time in your life allotted for being reckless instead of worrying about being perfect and the future consequences of misbehaviour.

4. Thick black eyeliner only on the bottom lids that looks like its been drawn on with a crayon….? No…just…no…foundation to cover up the constant blushing red-faced look? That would have been better.

5. Tell the boy you are crushing on that you like him! What could be the harm he can only say no!

6. Double maths on a Tuesday with Mr Thomas is not as you dramatically put it ‘hell on earth’ in fact he isn’t trying to torture and humiliate you, but help you avoid using a calculator for the rest of your adult life.

7. Don’t shop for your summer ball dress the day before summer ball….the end result will not be a pretty one.

8. Get rid of that drastically long fringe, no one can see your eyes! You look shifty!

9. Moving house and having your mum’s boyfriend moving in will not be the end of the world.

10. Spend more time with your family and appreciate them more, your time with them is finite

11. Buy yourself a decent pair of earplugs while you have the money, as Aaron is going to develop a taste for playing drum and bass all hours of the day and night at top volume and you’ll be close to deafness by twenty-one.

12.What seems like the end of the world now, is only a passing thing, it’s never the end of the world, things carry on…there’s always going to be a tomorrow.

13. Speak out and enjoy drama classes more, your classmates are not going to be horrible and laugh at you.

14. Don’t keep worrying about what other people think about you and how to please them.

15. Do not trust Bethan Gray with your poetry note-book, she will write ‘I love Mr Norris’ all over it and she will ink ‘Edna Mole’ all over your arms if you don’t start wearing sleeves. (Sorry Beth had to put it 🙂 )

16. It really doesn’t matter who gets to be Baby Spice , Claire from Steps or Rachel from S Club 7 in the playground, soon everyone’s going to want to be Rihanna

These are just a few of the funny little things I wish I had realised when I was a teenager. No doubt that when I make it to forty I’ll be making a list of things I wish I had realised when I was twenty-one, but that’s the beauty of life it’s always easier with hindsight!

Five random bits of strangeness from 2011

31 Dec

So everyone is getting all reflective about the highs and lows of 2011, I have to say that I’m not in the best frame of mind to talk about 2011 and what its meant to me, don’t get me wrong I’ve had good things happen to me and have had some highlights, but there’s also been quite a lot of negativity in my life as well. So best not to talk about that right now, I’m going to give you my five strange random things that made me raise my eyebrow or question general societies sanity this 2011, but at the same time made this year another unforgettable one.

1. Giant yellow banana riding the tube.

On an English uni trip down to see the National Libraries new exhibit, me and the girls decided to do a bit of a speed tour around some London hotspots and caught the tube, tube hopping we encountered a guy dressed in a giant banana suit riding the tube as if he was completely normal. This sums up life for me really, amongst a bunch of faceless people, there’s always one giant yellow banana of a person that catches your attention and makes all others fade into the background.

2. Lapdancing and then a lamp through the car window

After moving into the flat me and Rachel thought we had got rid of crazy neighbours, no, we just exchanged one lunatic for a whole bunch of others. After an evening out I came back was drawing curtains and caught my neighbour opposite me down below doing some sort of strange interpretive lap dance for her partner. Maybe he insulted her technique because that same evening at 1am the whole of our flat block was woken up by their domestic in the middle of the street, he got in his car and tried to drive away, she took a lamp and put it through his windscreen. All of Hever Hall was standing on their balconies watching….who needs a TV and Eastenders with neighbours like that?

3. ‘My Abs hurt’

So I joined a gym at the beginning of my third year at university as I do like a good de-stress workout (I’m in a far more mellow mood if I’m physically exhausted) Megan joined as well and we started doing work out and spa sessions together. Our gym offered lots of classes as well as an ‘abs on the hour’ session designed to work those stomach muscles. After a bit of cajoling I decided to give it a go if Megan was and despite the red face, I didn’t feel too bad. Until the next day, where I spent the rest of the week walking round clutching my stomach in agony, and for the first time ever using the expression ‘my abs hurt.’ I didn’t even know they could!

4. Woohoo I’m not dead!

Over May time I was meant to be revising and whilst that was going on, the world was also meant to end. At the time specified by the prophet of doom I did mute my music, put down my revision, looked out a window and waited to see whether it was worth continuing copying out my English notes. There was pretty much silence and I thought to myself ‘oh dear…maybe it is the rapture.’ Then  a minute after the specified time had come and gone I heard a guy shout out from somewhere ‘Woohoo I’m not dead!’ You just can’t fight that enthusiasm for life.

5. I love Christie

I was walking around doing a bit of shopping, grabbing a coffee, and just doing the usual in my own little world. A little while into my shopping a guy walked past me with two giant pieces of white card covering his front and back which said ‘I love Christie’ whoever that Christie is, she’s a lucky girl! Shame about the very large curly moustache he had drawn on his face, I felt it detracted somewhat from the romance.

So these are the five random things that I thought made the year 2011 just that little bit more randomly amusing and strange. This is hardly a list of important occurrences, but sometimes I think it’s the strange little things that happen in life that help to make it just a bit more complete, lets face it without them each year would be that little bit less bright! So perhaps when you’re reflecting over your personal journey for 2011, you should also have a reflection on the random ridiculousness that your sure to have encountered, and how it added to the year.

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