Tag Archives: thoughts

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. 🙂

The First Day

23 Oct

I am what you would call a born worrier, I will literally worry about everything, what you wouldn’t even waste time thinking on, I’ve already lost sleep over, tormented myself with, and driven myself to the brink of insanity for. My mind just doesn’t shut off, even when I’m asleep my mind carries on whirring away, I’m the Ipod without the off switch. I’ve had a lot of sleepless nights in the past over various events in my life, but nothing keeps me awake more and sends me into a spiral of panic, than the horrific ‘first day.’

I am not ashamed to admit that I hate ‘first days’ and unfortunately in life everyone must experience their fair share of  them. From my first day at a new school, to work experience, university, or even the first night out with a group of new people, I will worry. This might surprise those who know me, because I will happily walk into a room of strangers and strike up a conversation, I laugh the loudest and the last thing people accuse me of is being shy. But its the fear of the unknown that makes me worry, and not just me, I’d like to think that everyone feels at least a little bit sick with nerves when confronted with a ‘first day.’

Sad to leave such nice people

As some of you may know I left a job recently, I loved my colleagues and the atmosphere of the office, but the role wasn’t quite right for me, I was offered another job out of the blue by a different company that had interviewed me months before, and I agonised over whether to take it or not, I was plagued with doubts. ‘What if my new colleagues are not as nice, and we don’t get on?’ ‘What if I don’t feel right within this company?’ ‘What if I make a huge mistake and regret leaving my current job? If this new role isn’t right either?’ After days of driving myself crazy, I decided to take a risk and jump into the unknown, I accepted the new opportunity that had presented itself. However even after I had handed in my resignation it still didn’t seem real that I was leaving. It wasn’t till my last day that reality sunk in, after a nice drink at the pub, and a sad goodbye I drove away with a lovely card my colleagues had given me, and rising nerves at the prospect of starting all over again somewhere new.

My lovely leaving card

The night before I didn’t sleep, getting up in the morning I felt like a wreck and knew without even confronting a mirror that I looked one as well. In my head I had been going over and over every scenario, every terrible possibility that could happen on my first day. Arriving over an hour early, I used the time unproductively hyping myself up in the car, until finally it got to the time when I had no choice but to swallow my nerves and walk into the office. Of course as usual, things are rarely as bad as you imagine them to be.  (Is it our nature to occasionally fear new things? So that if the worse does occur we are prepared to handle it? Perhaps its just my nature.) After a friendly greeting, I was given a tour around the building, which with over three floors is bigger than I’m use to, and after making a mental note of where the free coffee and hot chocolate machine resided, I was led to my desk.

As I mentioned before, I have had to go through a lot of ‘first days’ at various companies because of work experience and part-time jobs ect, and I have had good experiences and downright awful ones. Sitting down at my new desk, cautiously peeking at my new co-workers, I tried to work out what category this day was going to fall into. I watched and felt my stomach drop, they all looked so put together, they all seemed to know exactly what they were doing, and they all seemed really close. How on earth was someone like me meant to infiltrate this tight-knit community of people? With a lot of them being related to each other!? Telling myself to give it a chance before I cast judgement, I listened to the IT guy as he explained how my computer worked, and then laughed inwardly as it malfunctioned within minutes of me using it, leaving him muttering  ‘I just don’t understand it!’ (Looks like another piece of technology bites the dust, nothing matches up to the tech curse that surrounds me, keep all your phones at a five-mile radius, my friends will tell you that) However, an hour and forty minutes later Craig (the IT guy) had it under control and I had made a friend.

By the time the clock hit five I had absorbed a hell of a lot of information, and was totally daunted by how much more I would have to fit into my head, if my first day taught me anything, it’s that I have plenty to learn. Still everyone was friendly and supportive towards me, and I felt a sense of great relief that I had survived, and made it to the end of the day without being asked to leave and never return.

This time my fear of the unknown had been unfounded, although I can’t deny that four days in to my new job, I still feel a bit nervous going into work.

Fear is part of all our lives, we learn from it and most of the time it keeps us safe, but it can also be counter productive when it stops us from doing things, going places or trying out new paths in life. I experienced fear when leaving my old role and starting a new one, but I didn’t let that fear stop me from trying out this position in an unfamiliar field. I am that strange walking contradiction, half insecurity and half confidence, rarely does my mind, heart and body align in perfect unity on a decision or choice. Which was certainly the case this time, whether it was the right or wrong choice is still yet to be decided.

Still a friend gave me a fantastic pep talk that really helped me, and so for anyone else suffering with a case of the jitters, that’s preventing them from taking the plunge on a decision, or trying something new, I will leave you with this….

‘I have no regrets. Every choice I have made has put me on a new path. Sometimes that path hasn’t been easy but I’ve always learned something, and for that, I cannot possibly regret.’

King of the road

7 Sep

As you may know from my previous blog post ‘In the pink’ I recently (by divine intervention no doubt) passed my driving test first time, which was a wonderful and very unexpected surprise. I thought I would be drawing my old age pension before I could afford to buy and insure a car, but I have been working very hard recently to add to my car fund, which I have been saving into since I was eighteen! After some shopping around, hilarious (and in the dealership owners case) terrifying test drives, and major research into reliable first car models,insurance bands, as well as some quite fierce bartering …I finally bought a car of my very own. (Milestone moment!)

Buying a car is a pretty overwhelming experience. I felt totally bombarded by some of the car salesmen, particularly when they opened the bonnet and started pointing out different internal features (responsible and necessary for sure, but what do I look like…a mechanic? That’s how I gained two minors in my test before I had even left the test centre!) Still luckily for me my grandfather is an ex-mechanic, so I enlisted his help sharpish!

I’m a non conformist in most aspects of my life, and my first car choice was no different, in the end I went for the Suzuki Ignis 1.3 2005 plate. Compact, reliable, nice square hatchback making reversing easy, and the real miracle…cheap to insure! After all the horror stories I’ve heard from friends and family about insurance worth three times more than the car, I was pleasantly surprised when mine came to a reasonable £711 fully comprehensive, considering I’ve only just passed my test, and haven’t reached the magic age of twenty five (apparently everything is cheaper when you turn twenty five?) I thought it was a very decent price!

Every girl should have her day in Meerkovo!

Making insurance fun, and spending your money on insurance bearable!

Of course it was still hard for me to hand over my hard earned money for something as intangible as insurance, I resent the fact that I’m spending so much on something that I hopefully wont ever need! Still thousands of drivers have had to hand over larger sums than me to insure their car, so I can hardly complain! And I got my insurance from Compare the market! So I got a free toy meerkat, and an amusing few days tracking his progress and playing some games in Meerkovo!

Not a conventional choice for a first car, but I like it 🙂

Driving my new car has also been a real learning curve! I’ve never driven anything but a Vauxhall Corsa with my patient driving instructor beside me, driving a strange car by myself for the first time was terrifying, not helped by my brother, who was thrilled he’d gained another taxi driver to add to his list,and had me dropping him in town on the day I picked my car up, mysteriously figuring out how to tune the stereo to the drum and base station in under five minutes, blasting it so that I was still hearing ringing noises the next day.

My new car!

People use to say to me ‘you learn to drive after you pass your test’ multiple times, and they were completely right! I’ve been driving to work for a week now, and there’s been plenty of things occurring on the roads that weren’t in the highway code handbook, or lessons! I’ve had a few scary moments, a lot of stalling…but I’m finally getting to grips with my car, and no longer having the security of someone next to me. (Well…I’m alive and my cars undamaged, which is a start)

So yes everyone I am on the roads! God help you all! If you do happen to pass me (you’ll be overtaking me no doubt) or come across me pulling a tricky manoeuvre…be patient! Be kind! And remember what it was like when you first started driving. It will be a long time before I’m king of the road!

I find the square back makes reversing easier, and I could use all the help I can get!

Drama Queen

13 Aug

I found myself inspired recently to clear out a very over stuffed cupboard the other day, due to the fact that there was a bit of an avalanche, and I was almost concussed by a falling box, still whilst almost being knocked unconscious I rediscovered some of my old theatre programmes from various shows. I studied drama for four years at GCSE and A Level, I even considered studying drama at university, but more sensible heads prevailed. (I’m really not that fantastic an actress!) Even though I don’t study drama any more, it certainly doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy it! And so I have tried to keep up my attendance at the theatre. The last show I went to see was with the lovely Kelly last August, we made the trip to London to go see Love Never Dies (my second time seeing it! I love the Phantom!)

A few of my theatre programmes, I really must have a look for the rest…I just don’t want to be knocked unconscious again!

Anyway here they are, my collection of theatre programmes, I should really get to the theatre more! As you can see, most of them are musicals, but I also love non musical theatre, I’ve seen ‘The  Woman in Black’ ‘Equus’ and ‘His Dark Materials’ ‘A Dolls House’, Three sisters’ by Stanislavsky (all in Russian by the way…requires concentration) and even the unusual ‘Waiting for Godot.’

I’ve been very lucky to have the opportunity to go see so many great productions!

I’ve always loved how the theatre is a creative way of sharing ideas, thoughts, a story. And how it can take you to places you never thought you would go, cliché I know, but in the theatre you are an active participant in the production, the actors use you (the audience) to bounce off of, create an atmosphere, or sometimes in the case of productions not using the Stanislavsky’s four walls technique, verbalise and physicalize participation. Each show is unique, because an actor will never be able to give that exact same performance again. So in essence your seeing something new, unique and fresh! However many times you go see a production, you will be viewing something special, something one off that was shared directly with you. As I once wrote in a theatre studies essay so very many years ago…’theatre is something special shared between a group of strangers, bringing them together for a short amount of time.’

So I suppose this is me, sharing something I love with you all, and hoping to impart some of the enjoyment and love theatre has given me! I also encourage you to share something you love with me! Send or post me a link, or write about something you care about and ask me to read it! Everyone should be open minded to new things, loves, and experiences, that’s how we grow as people, and what keeps life interesting.

Myself and Kelly with our tickets! 🙂

Stand up: I don’t want to be a bystander

28 Jul

I know everyone has practically done the subject of bullying to death, blogged about it, reported on it, written songs about it, we even have an anti bullying month! But there’s a good reason for it, and I’m sad to say that despite every tool we have available to counter act bullying, I’ve seen first hand recently that it’s still not enough.

The other day I was walking around town enjoying a day off, and the fact that I had just passed my driving test, desperately trying to locate some sun tan lotion to smother myself in, so I don’t toast in the current heat wave sweeping across Britain. Luckily for me, Boots is having a massive sale on sun tan lotion, so when I next go out into the daylight, there will be a factor 50 barrier between my pale skin and the suns death rays. I decided to take a break in my favourite (expensive) hangout Costa’s, and was enjoying a frapaccino, chatting away to cute Costa barista guy, when I noticed the table next to me full of school kids, (they’re out in force now its the holidays) laughing and making a few childish comments at another girl passing their table. I’m ashamed to say that I ignored it, did nothing, and carried on chatting away, after all ‘they were just kids mucking around’ I thought to myself ‘that’s what kids do.’ So I left Costa’s (can’t spend all my days hanging around coffee shops unfortunately) and later saw a few of the same kids walking behind the girl from the coffee shop, to the outside eye they were just laughing noisily in a big group, it was only because I had been in the coffee shop earlier, that I knew they were laughing at her, then one of them tripped her. I know as well as anyone that kids can be physical in their playfulness sometimes, but this was bullying, and I know bullying, because for two very small unpleasant periods in my life…I was bullied.

I decided I wasn’t having this, I walked over to the group and told them in no uncertain terms to bugger off, I’m pretty small for my age so I got a mouthful until they could tell I wasn’t screwing around, they left muttering and still pretty mouthy, but at least they left, and they didn’t leave smiling. I don’t tend to get involved in the altercations of strangers, because it can only exacerbate the situation, but I remembered when I use to walk home from school and boys (who didn’t even know me and weren’t in my year) on bikes would ride around me, screaming obscenities and pulling my hair, I remembered how everyone else who was walking by at the time did nothing, could see I was upset and outnumbered, and just let it happen, I had never felt so alone in my entire life. It didn’t go on long, on the third occasion when they got close enough to grab my hair, I lost my temper, pushed them off their bikes and gave them a mouthful. It never happened again.

So I asked her if she was ok, she was slightly tearful and more embarrassed I think than anything, I asked all the right questions, has she told her parents, a teacher? How long had it been going on? She was reluctant to tell me anything, but we chatted a little, and instead of telling her to do all the typical things we are supposed to tell someone in that situation, I told her the one thing I wish I had realised a lot sooner. That you don’t have to take it, that you don’t deserve it, and the minute you make that decision that this won’t be happening to you again and fight back, is the minute bullying ends. I ended up giving her my email address in case she ever wanted to talk some more or needed help, and I said goodbye to a sweet, shy young girl, who obviously had damaged self-confidence.

With all the celebrity anti bullying campaigns, bullying awareness and anti bullying procedures schools have in place, it’s almost unthinkable that it still continues. That with all the support and help and information in place, kids are still hanging themselves, suffering in silence, and accepting this treatment. So why do people bully? I’ve never understood it myself, I’ve never bought into the whole ‘I had a bad childhood, that’s why I bullied’ crap. My childhood wasn’t ideal, but I didn’t go around tormenting other children and neither did my brother Aaron. Why are some children victims? Well…there is no valid reason why anyone should be a bully, or a victim. I was lucky, my bullying experience was short-lived and didn’t leave a mark on me, I had lots of friends and was well liked by most of my year, but I have a cousin who was bullied for years, and with every anti bullying procedure her school had, nothing was achieved except her having to move schools to escape her tormentors. My youngest brother at only seven, has also experienced bullying, its worrying to think my bright bubbly three-year old sister, who will soon be going off to school might become some cowards next victim. I looked at that girl from the coffee shop and saw myself, my cousin, my youngest brother and my sister.

Tell someone, fight back, take action. No one deserves bullying or should accept it

Will we ever beat bullying? I’d love to say yes more than anything, but probably not, some people just seem to have an endless facility for unnecessary cruelty, these are the people who make the world a worse place to live in. We may not be able to able to stop all of these people, but we can counter act by doing good things, by making an effort to go out of our way to help and support others, even strangers. A kind word, a smile, the smallest thing can make a difference. Without wanting to sound preachy, I don’t want to accept the world the way that it is, where a nice girl can’t enjoy the best years of her life, because her peers have chosen to torture her for no reason.

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! 🙂

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 🙂 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!

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