Thursday 30 September 2010

Eat, Pray, Love

I joked with a work colleague today that going to see the new Julia Roberts film - Eat, Pray, Love - would be like watching my own life and all I needed to do was go to Bali to fix it.

The things we say in jest.

This is not a chick flick.  This is not a film for women.  This is very definitely a film for broken hearted people who have lost their way.  I cried from start to finish, every moment of sadness, every moment of anguish, every moment of regret resonated within my very core and lifted the I'm fine facade away from the gaping hole of loneliness and despair.

It is not easy getting over a divorce.  It's true what they say, your wedding day will stay with you for the rest of your life.  It is not easy putting your life back together when it gets ripped apart in the post divorce relationshhip.  Trust is a difficult thing to build and fear is a very easy emotion to let in and oh so very hard to let it out again.

The film talks about balance.  About finding the things in your life that balance you, the family of friends you create around you, the places you visit, the experiences you have and the choices you make that ultimately shape the life before you.  Do you risk everything on an unknown or do you instead drape yourself in misery and unhappiness just so you never have to feel alone?

I want to find the balance in my life.  But how do I get my Italy, my India and my Bali?  Where is my medicine man to show me the way?  I know there is alot of healing to be done and they say that old Father Time is the one to do it but I want to feel now, I want to wake up tomorrow with joy in my heart and I want to smile with my liver (watch the film).

Wednesday 29 September 2010

Chip Butty - the revival

A few weeks ago I posted a chips and gravy comment that started a 'discussion' on FB about the merits of chips and said gravy - some opted for mayo, some for curry sauce and some were firmly on the gravy wagon.  This made me think some more.  I do like to ponder about food and there is something quintessentially British about the chip - none of this fries malarky thank you very much!

I work in Piccadilly.  Not the sort of place you would expect to nip out and get fish n chips for lunch - sushi, an overpriced, under filled sandwich or soup so tasteless that it was probably last weeks dishwater is a given - but chips?  Ah well, panic not reader - there is a chippy down a side street off Piccadilly.  As a loyal follower of the chip, I suggested at work, possibly over enthusiastically, that we have a fish and chip day on the first Friday after payday. 

This was met with the vegetarian correctness of my statement - ok, ok, I said, what about a chip butty day. 

This was met with the 12 yr old (actual age twentyyoungsomething) asking what a chip butty was.


"What's a chip butty?"  I screamed over the desk at him as a red mist fell over my eyes.  I had to take a deep breath.  A chip butty is all about the soft white bread, butter (not marg, an important distinction), hot chips, salt, vinegar and a sauce of your choice if you have to because lets be honest a chip butty doesn't really need it and just tuck in mate.  Oh, he said, a chip roll - they are best in a crispy roll.  A roll!  A roll!

Dear reader, I hope you are with me on this.  The chip butty needs a revival - I urge you to go find the nearest chippy to work and on the first Friday of the month after payday - indulge!  Indulge I say!  Let us begin our 1 blog stand to champion the chip butty and for goodness sake just wallop anyone around the ear if they try to call it anything else.  It is what it is and no mistake.

Sunday 26 September 2010

Celebrity is as celebrity does

A recent trip to Madame Tussauds really put the meaning of the word celebrity into the forefront of my mind.  What makes a celebrity?  Why are they so famous?  What is it about them that makes them so different to you and me?  Not that I don't think you are fabulous - of course you are, you just aren't celebrity material.  Why is that?

Is a celebrity someone who stands out in a crowd?  Are they perhaps people we feel we can scrutinise, disparage, mock and discard at our whim.  That doesn't necessarily make them special people, it almost makes them scapegoats.  And why should a person in a position of authority be famous?  And is there a difference between famous and celebrity?  I don't have the answer, I'm just pondering the questions.  The first room you go into at Tussauds is the A list party room which means the likes of Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie etc etc are stood around waiting for you to have your picture taken with them.  And milling about are the great unwashed - so to speak.  And all the dummies (difficult to tell which at times) are dressed up to the nines and you have your jeans on.  And you have to go pose with a dummy.  In front of lots of people.  Who also want to pose with said dummy.  And the thing is - they want to, there is real electric excitement in the air as people see a celebrity they recognise and rush to be seen with that celebrity.  The interaction is so real, it's almost like they actually think they are standing with the real life person.  Although perhaps there wouldn't be so much of an orderly-ish queue.

At first it was very awkward to pose but you soon loose your inhibitions and join in with the excited squeals of - look look, its him etc etc.  I have to say that the politicians and religious heads of state did loose me somewhat.  Forgive me if I choose not to have my picture taken with Hitler or the Pope - careful to note which is which lol.  I did however stand with Tony Blair because he looks like my Dad (apparently, according to my Mum) and I did stand with Princess Diana, who is my royal (long story, another day) and that was a truly special experience.  There was even a hushed mention of her name as people entered the room, I think that is the sign of true celebrity rather then the latest plastic orange creature that pops out of the TV onto your newspaper.

It was a fun day and some happy photos were taken.  I still think that the measure of celebrity is somewhat off these days and that perhaps different people have different opinions on who makes the grade and who is lacking.  At least they give us something to talk about on cold, wet, dark, windy evenings and we can assure ourselves that we wouldn't like their lack of privacy anyway and isn't better to be surrounded by those we know truly love us.

Wednesday 22 September 2010

Running out of time

When you have a million million things to do it seems that time flies past you quicker than a speeding bullet and there is nothing you can do about it.  All that keeps happening are virtual lists rushing through your mind ticking over and over with all the things you got to do - and this - and that - and the other - and don't forget - you got to do this - and can you just - and you are just incapable of saying NO.

Anyone who knows me knows that I take on too much.  I always feel like I must be doing.  There is so much in life that interests me that I just cannot stick to one thing, I have to look and explore and see what else I can be doing.  Which naturally means that I am  mostly mediocre at many things and not that great at most of em!  But that busy feeling is like a drug, I need to feel under pressure and pushed and driven to achieve otherwise I feel like something is missing in my life.  Surround me with deadlines and I am a stressed out but happy little bunny.  If I am not multi-tasking trying to do at least 6 things at once then I am bored.  An ideal work environment for me is chatting in the office, answering emails, talking on MSN, flicking onto Facebook, watching a tv show and working at the same time.  Alot of people don't see how that can be productive but it really works for me.  I won't start anything until I am within at least a week of the deadline as I just don't feel pushed to do it.

Time can be a tricky little beastie tho - it can slow to a crawl and drag by when you want it to speed up.  It can run out the door when all you need is a little bit more.  Some of it is spent asleep which at times can be thought of as wasteful because who doesn't want those extra 6 hours in their lives?  But at the end of the day it boils down to what you do with your time and if you honestly feel it has been spent in the best possible way then who can argue with that?  But hey, if anyone has the answer - message me!!!  I'll take that extra time because after all... tick tock.

Monday 20 September 2010

White girls can jump

they just can't shoot apparently.  But as I ran my punishment suicide for not winning 21s I realised that it has been 10 years since I last played basketball.  10 years.  That is a shockingly long time to have not done something you love as well as something you used to be pretty good at.

Back when I was a wee small thing, I badgered my mum into having a basketball net put up in the back garden.  I would race home from school and play for at least an hour, shooting, dribbling, lay ups and all the time imaging the bright lights of a real basketball court.  I played with the boys at school, we didn't have a girls basketball team - we were meant to do netball. Booooooooooooooooring!  And eventually I found a local-ish girls team to play in, there weren't many of us but we all loved that game.  I used to record the late night basketball games from America on channel 4 on a Saturday evening/Sunday morning and watch them with avid attention.  I knew who was winning the league, who played for what team and who the up and comers were.  This was back in the day (lol) when Michael Jordon still played for Chicago Bulls and Kobe Bryant was a wee slip of a lad. Times change - I couldn't tell you who plays for who now.

Why did I let go of something that I loved sooooooooo much?  Life steps in and changes you, it grinds past and sweeps you up in its wheels not giving you time to breathe or say hang on a minute - this isn't me!!  I've putting a spoke in that wheel.  I'm saying hey - hold on a minute - this is my life and I'm going to do the things I love thank you very much.  I'm going to start playing basketball again and start running the plays because this is a big part of me that has been buried and pushed down.  They always say you can't keep a good thing down and even though I feel like a newbie back on the court - it won't be long before I'm shooting nothing but net.

Thursday 16 September 2010


...happiness, the greatest gift that I possess.  Or is it. 

Is not the greatest gift I possess being able to make other people happy?  Or does that perhaps come under the same thing.  If I think happy thoughts it will make me happy so if I make other people happy will that make me happy?  And what a completely lame word - happy.  How can that small insignificant word encompass the enormous emotion that goes hand in hand with being.... happy?

Tomorrow, have a go at paying it forward - even if you haven't seen the moderately lame film with Haley Joel Wotsit in it, the concept is simple enough.  Do one nice thing for someone else and watch as they pay that kindness forward.  Our paying forward is to smile.  Go smile at someone.  Obviously don't leer at them wierdly or chase them down the street screaming 'but I just want to smile at ya' because I don't think that will go down very well.  Instead smile at the first person you pass on the street, or at the coffe shop worker, the bus driver, a work colleague whose name you know you should know but can never remember.  It will really make their day.  They may just feel happier about their life, so much so that they might smile at the next person.  And when it comes down to it, there are only six degrees of separation so that smile will be winging its way back round to you before you know it.

Smile because the sun is shining.  Smile because you woke up refreshed.  Smile because a song you love came on the radio.  Smile because you went to the gym.  Smile at that girl wearing that outfit she really really shouldn't have.  And if you really, really, really can't think of any reason to smile at all... smile anyway and embrace your happiness because like the tiny acorn, a mighty oak will grow.

Happiness, Happiness
The greatest gift that I possess.
I thank the gods that I’ve been blessed
With more than my share of happiness.

To me this world is a wonderful place
I’m the luckiest human in the human race
I’ve got no silver and I’ve got no gold
But I’ve got happiness in my soul

Happiness to me is an ocean tide
A sunset fading on a mountain side
A big old heaven full of stars above
When I’m in the arms of the one I love

Happiness, Happiness
The greatest gift that I possess.
I thank the gods that I’ve been blessed
With more than my share of happiness.

Happiness is a field of grain
Turning its face to the falling rain
I see it in the sunshine, breathe it in the air
Happiness, happiness everywhere

A wise old man told me one time
Happiness is a frame of mind
When you get to measuring a man’s success
Don’t count money, count happiness.

Happiness, Happiness
The greatest gift that I possess.
I thank the Lord that I’ve been blessed
With more than my share of happiness.

Tuesday 14 September 2010

Scared of the dark

I am petrified of the dark.  Always have been since I was a little girl.  But I don't really know why - there wasn't any particular event in my life that should have resulted in such a fear and yet I still need a night light.

Why is it that walking through an area at night can be so different to walking through in the daytime.  Light reveals all hidden corners, shows us what exactly is there and is somewhat comforting even when we don't know where we are or who anyone is.  Darkness brings out the shadows, cloaks the known making it unknown, forcing our senses to become super-heightened, making us jump at shadows, the slightest noise, the tiniest motion and god forbid when someone actually walks out of the shadows.

Fear begins to fill your senses, your ears prick at every noise, your eyes dart from place to place and you become convinced that those noises behind you are faint footsteps.  How can you trust anyone under the mantle of darkness?  Who knows what mischief is lurking?  What darkness beats in the hearts of those prowling the streets?  How can they be trusted?  The fairy tales of witches, demons, werewolves and vampires begin to creep out of my imagination - every horror story I ever read, every urban myth and every tiny snippet of horror movie I've ever seen all morph into a massive ball of fear.  Someone is there, they are going to get me and I have to run but I can't run because if I run they will catch me and my breath starts coming quicker and then there it is - the bus stop, the light, the people, the bus.  Safety. 

It is completely irrational.  There is nothing in the darkness.......

Saturday 11 September 2010

P.S. I Love You

I can't help it, I am a total romantic.  Even after bad breakups and a failed marriage, I am still a romantic at heart.  I still think ahh when I see couples strolling hand in hand down the pavement, I still love reading a romantic novel and willing the guy to get the girl.  I love being immersed in the romance story at the cinema and watching that tentative flush of emotion.  I sing along to the love song on the radio and feel happy that someone, somewhere out there is feeling loved.

A classic love story - boy meets girl, girl meets boy, there is wooing and everything is all pink and rosey.  I sometimes think there is not enough wooing in the world.  When was the last time you sent/received flowers?  When was the last time you told someone how much you cared?  When was the last time that you did something for no reason at all but to see the other person smile?  Loving someone can lift you up and can make your whole day shine. 

There are many different types of love in the world.  The love you feel for your friends that means you will do anything and everything you can for them - make them laugh, keep them smiling and be a shoulder for when they need it.  The love you feel for your family who although they drive you wild and send you up the wall at times, you can never get away from the fact that they are blood and they need you in their own peculiar way.  And then there is that love you have for another person.  Despite it all having gone horribly wrong before - I live in hope that romance will once more cross my path and I get to say, once again...p.s. I love you.

Thursday 9 September 2010

Real Food

I have a confession to make.  Today is the first time this week I've had a proper evening meal - actually make that a proper meal fullstop!  And it was delicious, a sausage fusilli bake with peppers and onions and mushrooms and tomatoes.  It tasted fresh and made me feel so much better after a hectic week - why have I not being doing it everyday??

Whenever things get hectic or stressful it seems that food is the first thing to go, the body says its hungry but the mind says just grab anything.  Supermarkets don't help with their enormous range of crap - foods that just don't taste nice but cost us pence to buy and take less time than the decision to buy it to cook.  Compare home-made with shop bought and it's a no brainer.  Everytime I buy convenience food I am so disappointed by the taste and mentally flog myself for doing it again!!

It is so easy to make delicious food and it can be so much fun.  I am currently watching the Great British Bake Off, I am a little behind and currently watching the bread episode but I have to say it is thoroughly enjoyable if not a little bit exasperating.  The contestants are meant to be passionate about baking.  The first technical challenge is to make a Victoria Sponge.  No problem - its either 6,6,6 and 3 or 8,8,8 and 4 depending on how big you want to make it.  But no.  The contestants didn't seem to be aware of this - some of them tried to mix the cake by throwing everything in together!!!  Don't they know that you cream the butter and sugar first and then add the flour and eggs little by little beating well - with a wooden spoon I add.  None of this electric whisking malarky.

Why didn't I know about this competition!!

I consider myself lucky to have had food allergies from early childhood because it meant I didnt have to eat 'rubbish'.  Everything was made from scratch and has instilled within me the concept that it isn't any more hassle to make your own sauces, pies, cakes etc then it is to go and buy them.  It's just the hustle and bustle of modern day life that makes you second guess yourself and think actually I don't have time to do this.  Well I have had enough - good food is good food for a reason so no more excuses.  Watch this space and hopefully not the expanding waistline lol!

Tuesday 7 September 2010

Grasshopper vs The World

Last night I went to see Scott Pilgrim vs The World.  And I loved it.  I wish my happiness could be decided by fighting seven evil exes.  I already have the kick-ass martial arts skills so just point me at the evilness and let the fight begin!  Take that pile of homework!  Kerpow looming deadlines!  Hi-ya evil diet saboteur!  And it's K-O, Grashopper wins and kerching - pile of shiny coins.  I wish, I wish life could be like that.

Why do we take on so many things?  It is almost like we feel driven to fill every minute of every day with something - whether it is reading a book, watching a film, listening to music, studying for a degree in our so called 'spare-time', going to the gym, hanging out with friends, cooking, talking to the parentals, facebooking - there just never seems to be enough hours in the day.  And when something else comes along you say yes, when you are supposed to say no!!!!!!!!  And then it becomes clear that an extra 24 hours in your day is nowhere near enough - you need an additional 36.  Oh, and don't forget about sleep - you need that... apparently.

So where does all this extra stress leave us?  Personally?  My hair is falling out.  And I think I had a minature panic attack at work today.  The rest of the world?  We are a time poor society with little thought to the emotional well being of ourselves or those around us.  Everything is needed yesterday, the now is so last year and we are constantly looking for what's next.  In these little eddies of panic - what is the best thing to do?

Sunday 5 September 2010

Going Home

Sometimes you need a hug from your Mum - nothing else will do the job. 

No matter how old you are or how long it has been since you last went home, the moment you walk in the door you just know that everything is going to be alright.  Everything has that comforting sense of being exactly where it was the last time you were there, your room is all made up for you and everything smells of mum.  All the bad things that are going on in your life stop at the door - she will make you a cup of tea, offer you some home made flapjack and soothe your soul.

There are so many good things about being home; you can rant and rave about anyone and anything - mum will always take your side.  The diet doesnt exist  because she'll tell you you need to look after yourself and are you sure you are eating enough and then she will cook your favourite foods and encourage you to have seconds.  Where else do you wake up in the morning to the smell of scones cooking?  Where the dog is so pleased to see you, licking your toes and jumping up to give you kisses and you can have anything you want for breakfast.

Talking through your problems with your mum makes everything seem doable, all mountains can be overcome and all demons wrestled with.  For those of you who don't have your mum anymore, I hope you can confide in someone in the same way - perhaps another family member or a dear friend who will wipe away the tears and tell you everything is going to be alright.

Thursday 2 September 2010

The Last Biscuit

I had the very great pleasure of listening to Sir Terry Pratchett, or TP to his hardcore fans, last night at the midnight signing of his latest book.  It does not really matter what the book is called or indeed is about - it is TP.  You know it will a paradocial look on some aspect of society that will make you lol and say ah yes but of course.  The man was frank and to the point in the interview, no dilly dallying and as such he came across as a man who had  lived his life and was comfortable with his position in it.  Yes his mental health is indeed a tradegy and I shall be one among the masses who will miss him when he is gone, but what a wealth of literature he has left behind for us.  TP fan or not, I challenge you to read Nation and not shed a tear.

It seems that I am a very lucky girl.  I have been invited to New York!!  Yes my friends, the big apple.  I am so excited I can hardly breathe!!  I have never been state side and cannot wait to see what the colonials have been up.  I have always wanted to go to the big U S of A but always thought in the back of my head that America might annoy me too much.  This is the perfect opportunity to sample a slice of the American life and find out for sure.  After all I can't do a coast to coast motorbike ride if the yocals annoy me too much!!

So what about the last biscuit?  As all women, and more men then they care to admit, I have been on a diet for much of my adult life.  It has only been in the last year or so that I have finally been able to get a handle on being healthy and not become as round as a ruben.  This is a journey that I think will be well travelled for some time to come but it is one that I look to with fresh eyes and excitment for what lies ahead. Tonight I joined the local gym, this action has been repeated many times over however I really feel that now is the time to grab that crazy thing called life and live it.  Acheive my goals.  Reach my potential.  And have a lot of fun along the way.  Here's to the last biscuit - tomorrow is another day.