Do you see the funny side?

It’s funny how we like the sun

we moan all month until it comes,

but we hate the stuff it brings,

like crawling creatures and things with wings

 

It’s funny how we care for animals

(of course only the few that are mammals)

we scream at the spiders and the snakes

they’re all animals though, does this make us the fakes?

 

It’s funny how we scream our love

We think this emotion fits like a glove

When things don’t go right we shout out “Hate”

But QUICK!! Take it back before it’s too late

 

It’s funny how I preach to you;

“Change your ways and see the things you do”

Surely I am just the same.

Are we really all to blame?

 

This silly rhyme I give to you

Is not to teach lessons or undo

I’m sure you don’t really mind

I just wanted you to see the funny side…

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The Floral Dress That Changed My Life

THIS IS MY ENTRY FOR ELLE 2012 ESSAY COMPETITION; enjoy 🙂

As a woman living in Essex it’s hard to fight stereotypes, especially when out at the weekend. When it comes to style and how we present ourselves certain television shows have made us Essex girls out to be something most of us really aren’t.  I have two confessions to make; 1. I have never actually owned a pair of white stilettoes and 2. I’m never going to be a dress size 6. I am actually a little bit proud of both these things and I have to admit I don’t really plan on changing them. As a result of my lack of desire to resist a slice of pizza and my love for summer I have found that I’m a little bit in love with floral dresses.

Living in England it’s just not a viable decision to wait until it’s sunny to wear a dress because if you blink you just might miss your opportunity. When I was younger I used to refuse to wear dresses, I would see people like Zooey Deschanel and images of Audrey Hepburn in their modest length skirts and girly poses and want to be just like them, I would long to find the confidence to show off my not so amazing legs and kill my feet in some ridiculously high heels. Unfortunately for me my confidence never really came, until last October.

Due to the unlikely combination of me having a fair bit of money at the same time as England experiences a heat-wave I decided to treat myself to some new clothes. An impulse buy led me to becoming the proud owner of a purple floral skater dress. At just above knee length with a perfect scooped neck line I fought my inhibitions and braved the heat-wave that was upon us. For years I had been so self-conscious and aware of all my body hang-ups I just couldn’t bring myself to wear anything other than jeans, now I wear dresses of all design and colour and I really do thank that one impulse buy.

My floral dress, which is still hanging up in my wardrobe ready to be warn at any given moment, is now joined by many others, from full length skirts to patterned tunic dresses and everything in between. It’s come to the point where I’ve now got a reputation within my friends as the one who will be wearing a dress. I’m no longer asked on the weekend what I’ll be wearing because the answer will inevitably be, “that new dress I bought last week”, I have people asking if they can borrow clothes off me and asking me for fashion advice. Although I still look at people like Zooey Deschanel and wish I could be as confident as them I enjoy, and revel in the fact, that people look at me the same way.

I think the reason I enjoy my floral dress more than any other piece of clothing I own is because when I was younger my mum would always call me the ‘girly’ sister. My older sister, who was actually interested in the football, not just for the players and preferred to go skateboarding rather than shopping, was always considered the ‘tom boy’ and so in comparison, with my pink feather boa and sparkling ballet shoes, I was always the feminine one. As a 10year old trying to out shine my sister, a feat which was made impossible if we were nothing alike, I refused to admit that I was never going to be ‘boyish’ but now I enjoy this fact. I like being known by friends as the one who dresses ‘prettily’ and has confidence and I like to be seen by strangers in my dress and letting them think that nothing will faze me, because although things do they don’t need to know that. I like to think that it was that floral dress which allowed me to realise this

 

A Picture and Its Story

One day we’re going to live in a big house together

Surrounded by nothing but perfect weather.

A dream to be lived and not just thought

A love we will keep hold of once it is caught.

You will protect me from my fears

Because our love will be stronger than it appears.

Our house is more than just that, it is our home.

Somewhere for us together, not just alone

It won’t be filled with gifts and wealth

Instead it’s filled with memories and health

As the summer sky beats down for us to enjoy

We will play like a child romance between girl and boy

Top 10 Tips To Survive An English Summer

English summers tend to leave a lot to be desired for, so here are 10 tips to help ease the pain of not going holiday.

1.       Rain does not stop you going out – invest in an anorak 

If there is anything I have learnt from living in England it’s ‘even if it’s raining you can still go out’ because let’s be honest if you just stayed in every time it rained you would probably be spending most of your summer inside.  I love the zoo so why not go there when it’s raining, with most of it being inside you’re really only going to get wet when walking from one place to another, so just remember to bring your umbrella with you and all will be fine.

2.       Prepare yourself for a real tan!

Everyone loves a bit of fake tan but why not try and get real tan. Of course there is the obvious chance that it will rain all summer but you never know your luck may be in and think how much you will regret it if you have just topped up on the fake stuff when you could have had the real deal. Picture the scene now, you look outside your window and realise it’s not raining and so you think it’s the perfect opportunity to go in to town. Once in town you see a Boots and want to go in to buy some more fake tan. STOP. Look up, it’s sunny, find a nice bit of grass with your friends, roll up your trousers and get a real tan, you will thank me for this.

3.       Visit a real English seaside

Don’t get me wrong, I love all these exotic holidays with white beaches and scorching sun but what’s wrong with Walton-on-the- Naze or Clacton. When I was younger I used to go every year to the beach, get my fresh doughnuts and sit by the, admittedly stony, beach. Yes I know, it’s not as desirable as the Mediterranean but we should appreciate what we’ve got. Every year people moan about how expensive their holiday was abroad and then go back next year just to pay even more money and  spend a week or two with the same people even though they know they’re just going to get annoyed halfway through the holiday but can’t go anywhere. I suggest you save your money, go to a nearby beach and find comfort in the fact that if it all goes wrong you’re just a short drive away from home.

Expect traffic

It’s a well-known fact that on the day you plan to go out so will everyone else in the country, you have to expect this. And if you are going on the M25 you will probably get over taken by a snail, that’s life.  I suggest a good book and an iPod. Sorted. Unfortunately traffic is unavoidable fact of English life, ‘it’s not the destination that matters, it’s the journey’ and trust me if you’re going to be travelling around England on a hot day you will definitely have a long journey to enjoy!

5.       Hot Chelle Rae

A pop/rock band from America who seem to be becoming ever increasingly popular. The band, who consists of; Ryan, Ian, Jamie and Nash, are possibly the most aesthetically pleasing band around. Seriously.  With ridiculously catchy songs like ‘Tonight Tonight’ and ‘I Like It Like That’, you will find it hard to resist on a hot summers day. Having played with Taylor Swift and gained international fans it’s a wonder I don’t hear them on the radio, I have to hand it to us English we normally have a brilliant taste for music so how did we miss them? On top of all that they themselves even say they like Queen and The Beatles… I think I might just be falling in love with them!  Not only are they my favourite band at the moment but they’re also one of my top tips for 2012.

6.       Visit an English Heritage site

It occurred to me a couple of weeks ago that Audley End house, named in ‘The Sun’ as one of the ‘7 wonders of Essex’ is only a 10minute walk away from my house, and yet I have never been there before. For £13 you can visit the stately house and grand gardens for a whole day, why not bring a picnic and the dogs and enjoy every minute of it, going out doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. I know it’s not quite Disneyland but the likeliness is that you’re probably not too far away from and English Heritage site so why not open your mind to something a different.

7.       Invest in a camera

England is pretty, so why not capture it. That’s something I think is always forgotten about England, it’s full of such different cultures and historic land but most people are far too busy trying to figure out where the nearest Primark is. Don’t.

I live in Saffron Walden, which admittedly is probably one of the most boring towns in East Anglia and the highlight of the social calendar was the Maze Festival, genuinely a festival celebrating mazes. Its small events like these that make your town so special, why not capture your everyday life and create a Flickr account, someone will be interested!

8.       Don’t spend your whole summer worrying about a diet

Every year I say ‘I’m going to lose weight and get a nice pair of shorts’ and it definitely does not happen, and of course I am still going to attempt to master the skill of weight lose but if it’s mid-August and you’ve starved yourself all summer and still not happy, just have a pizza! No one is going to hate you for it and you probably deserve it. As mentioned in number.3 I love a freshly cooked doughnut at the beach, however they don’t like my waistline but that is definitely not going to stop me, don’t let a beach-body diet ruin your summer.

9.       Pimm’s!

I live by the rule that it is always Pimm’s O’clock, forever! Nothing beats a nice, fresh glass of Pimm’s with all the fruit in it. I am aware that not everyone will like Pimm’s so for you my advice would be chose a summer drink, not just boring larger but a proper summer drink, like Strawberry and Lime Kopperberg, and enjoy it ALL summer, you will appreciate it when September brings nothing but rain.

10.   Leave your laptop at home

Even I am guilty of this one, spending the whole summer on my laptop, inside, by myself. Don’t do it, enjoy the sun.  Trust me when I say this, your computer will be waiting for you when you get back home, it would not have eloped to an exotic country with your iPhone, so stop panicking. You can go out without spending all day on twitter, I am sure you 34 followers will understand!

Dear Alex…

 

Dear Alex,

You should go out in the sun!

Let me explain to you, you live in England. Very rarely is it sunny, in fact many joke we only have one or two days of summer a year. Unfortunately, this joke is just a little bit too true! There are many reasons you should go out in the sun, for example:

a)      You look like a snowman! That pale complexion is not fooling anyone, trying to convince people you look like an ‘English Rose’ is convincing no-one. You need a tan!

b)      I’m sure somewhere along the line you’ll get a vitamin D deficiency, the sunlight does you good, get used to being out there!

c)       You really can’t apply fake tan. I don’t care if it’s moisturiser with a tanning element, you’re so pale it just sticks to you. No matter how careful you are applying it, you will still look like you deserve to be in fruit bowl!

d)      You moan ALL the time at work that you’re not going to get to see the sun. When you do get home all you do is sit inside, either go outside or stop moaning!

Let me give you some advice my beautiful amigo, you spend all your money on summer dresses. A whole wardrobe full of them you have and do you wear them out? No, you sit in your living room swishing the bottom around like a child who has been forced to play inside because she refused to do as she was told.

You’re constantly giving out advice, so perhaps you should take some this time… Enjoy the summer, if a heat-wave and a day-off happen to coincide take it for what it is and go somewhere nice, get a tan and have fun!

Much love

A very pale, boring you!

Aside

Life Like You Want!

On Saturday 7th July 2012 the Olympic torch will be making its way through my town. My little, unknown market town! It’ll be going straight past the bottom of my street so I can see it with my own eyes. Ever since I was little I wanted to be involved in the Olympics, in some way or another, and it definitely wasn’t going to be as an athlete and so this I was excited about, this was my way of getting involved in the Olympics. I have also always wanted to go to Italy, eat pizza in Naples, take a ride on a gondola in Venice and visit the Trevi fountain in Rome. I planned on marrying an Italian man who would cook me traditional pasta dishes and teach me romantic sayings in his native language until the early morning. We would live a life of culture, travelling across Europe whenever we wanted and having friends in every city.

Obviously I am aware that the Italian scenario is unlikely to happen, and if it ever did I still have years to fulfil it, but I have to admit I was still a little heartbroken when I found out that I was going to Rome the same week the Olympic torch was coming to my town. I wait 19 years for something exciting to happen and I go away for one week and miss it! I have no reason to be annoyed though, I will be in Rome, one of the greatest cities in the world, whilst the Olympic torch will be on television, looking exactly the same as if I had seen it in real life for a whole 10seconds. Yet I am still disappointed, but why?

I am one of those annoying try-hard people. Not in the sense that I try hard to get noticed or to be successful, if fortunes shines itself upon me then ‘yay for me!’, but what I mean is I try hard to get the most out of things, and the widest meaning of ‘things’ is life! I try to get the most out of life, and I really don’t think this is a bad attitude to take. We’re on this planet for a short amount of time, why not try to do everything we can? Why not relax in a French café and get drunk in an L.A nightclub? Why not learn to surf in Hawaii and teach maths in China? Why not write stories in a book and share them with the internet? I genuinely can’t understand why people would want to waste their lives in a boring town doing the same thing every day, but then again it’s their lives and they can do with it as they so please. The reason we can’t do all the things mentioned and more is because there just isn’t time, well not, at least, for us mere humans like you or I. Of course if you’re Paris Hilton, you have millions of dollars to your name and MTV are willing to do a documentary about whatever you do then there probably is enough time for you to do everything you want, but unfortunately most of us have to work, pay rent, pay off student loans and build up a life before we can do something as selfish as enjoy ourselves.

 

 

 

Of course you can say it’s just coincidence, and that it most definitely is, but it’s the coincidences in life which can either hold us back or propel us forward. In 2010 I went to Lesotho, hands down the greatest experience of my life, but because of that experience I missed out on the opportunity to go to New York 9 months later because I had spent all my savings on Lesotho. Obviously as a girl growing up in little old Essex in the 90s I watched Saved by the Bell, Clueless and Sabrina the Teenage Witch non-stop, much to my mum’s annoyance, and therefore could dream of no better place to go other than America. Admittedly I wasn’t quite that naïve and I was aware that America probably wasn’t as great as I had been lead on to believe but once again I had missed out on something I was looking forward to just because of how my cards had been dealt. Do I regret going to Lesotho? No, because that was an experience I’ll never forget. New York will be waiting for me one day I am sure.

I think that’s why I am annoyed at the prospect of missing the Olympic torch, not because I will have actually missed it but because that’s ANOTHER thing I will have missed in life. It’s not so much the specifics that upset me but more the realisation that some things in life just can’t be done. I have worked hard all year juggling university with work and sacrificing my social life so I really do think I deserve a holiday but the price has been paid and that was to miss my childhood dream of being involved in the Olympics (in some way or another, definitely not as an Athlete).  So this is what I plan on doing, continue as I had been before. I must have been doing something right all these years, I have done some amazing stuff and been to some amazing places and even met some amazing people so why would I want to stop that?  The one thing I suggest, stop feeling guilty about the things you didn’t do or dwelling on the opportunities you have missed out on. Who knows, while I have been writing this I could have missed out on an experience of a lifetime? So remember to relax in Paris and dance in L.A but do it with a smile, there’s no point in dwelling on what could have been instead try to change it to ‘what may be’.

Flirting Like A Gherkin

I’m never going to be one of these people who can walk up to someone and start talking to them. Be them female or male, for platonic reasons or otherwise, it’s just never going to happen. I can sit in the pub with my friends and happily spot someone good looking, comment upon this matter, maybe have a quick stare and leave it at that. I will go home and make myself believe that it’s fine that I didn’t go up and speak to him because in reality what would that have achieved?  Social embarrassment for me and a good laugh for everyone else in my local, I’m sure.  However I seem to have managed to be friends with the only people in the world who can spot someone they like, play the whole “Oh he won’t like me” act and then go up and get his number!?!?!

WHAT IS THIS!?!?! Did I miss the lesson when Miss Watts taught us how to trap a man?

It’s not just that they can build up the confidence to physically get up and say hi, but then get a whole conversation going. About proper stuff. Proper, interesting, funny stuff! I am almost positive that if I went up to a guy and said ‘hi’ I would quickly do a little Inbetweener’s dance, show him my Honey Monster impression and quickly run away in the opposite direction. What can you talk to someone about if you have only just met him, have no mutual friends and might not even be from the same town. I have thought about it again and again and again and come to the conclusion that there is nothing you can talk about. That’s it! The final answer, no more to it. Oh, but there is!

Last Friday I went to the pub for the first time in ages, hoping it would end up with me extremely drunk and staggering home, which it did. Even then after consuming plenty of “Sex on the Beach”, wine and cider I just couldn’t build up the courage to talk to anyone who I thought to be quite good looking, even getting paranoid over someone looking at me. (What if he recognises me from somewhere and I don’t know him, what if I did something stupid in front of him once and he is laughing at me!!!??!!! Hide!) Eventually my friend says she has seen someone good looking and does the whole “oh he won’t like me” act as mentioned earlier, and asks me to get his number for her. Now even this I can’t do, I mean what if he thinks the number is for me, takes one look at me and laughs and I then have to spend the next few minutes explaining how it wasn’t for me and actually for my friend and thus digging myself into an even deeper hole. This would not be good and so I handed the task over to my other friend who ran over without hesitation.

I don’t know if it was the fact that he had actually given her his number, or if it was the fact the he looked ridiculously similar to Ryan Gosling (AKA Mr Gorgeous Drawers himself) but somehow she managed to talk to him.  Creating a whole 10 minute conversation about cars and shops, trivial stuff that would not even jump into my head.  They then parted company early in the night to see if they could get anyone else. I think I was so amazed by what had just happened in front of my very own eyes that if my mate had managed to get anyone else’s number my mind would have literally blown!

Anyway needless to say I staggered home with a distinct lack of numbers in my phone, as usual, and one guy thinking I had slapped him on the arse (which I can assure you I didn’t) and even then when he turned round giving me a jokey smile and a wink all I could bring myself to do was violently shake my head and deny all charges of arse touching.

A little bit of dutch courage still not helping with the nerves!

My neighbours, my dream house

My neighbours, my dream house

I pass this house everyday when walking my dog, I love it! One day I will live here.

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Can I still be ‘A Little Princess’?

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When I was 6 my favourite film was “A Little Princess”, a film adaptation of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s classic read, a film which follows a young Sara Crewe as she is taken to a New York boarding school, while her father is sent off to war. I remember being completely transfixed by this little girl who, seemingly effortlessly, managed to gain admirers, nay friends, with the simplest of ease. She was a girl who could not just imagine in her head a story, but convey to the rest of her class and peers a whole other world. In just the space of a few months Sara’s world was not just turned upside down, but completely shattered. For those of you who have not seen this film (and you really must!) Sara Crewe finds out that her father was killed in the war and all of his assets have been ceased by the British Government, leaving young Sara penniless and without a home. Even while facing the possibilities of being chucked out into the streets and forced to beg for survival Sara does not lose faith in her belief that every girl deserved to be a princess.  

From an early age I was adamant that I would end up with morals just like Sara Crewe’s, an ambition which started off well. As I entered primary school and came face-to-face with the daunting task of making friends I was determined to gain followers much like Sara Crewe did.  Of course anyone who has ever visited the real world, and I really do try to go as little as possible, will understand that this isn’t really how life works. Perhaps in the early 20th Century one could obtain all the friends in the world by merely smiling, being polite and telling the most incredibly imaginative stories, but in the late 90s in a small town in Essex, England this didn’t work too well. Unfortunately no matter how friendly and funny I was, and I really like to think I was, it just wouldn’t work. All these people could see was my chubby little face, brown curly hair and lack of any fashion direction. (Yes, even at about 7 fashion was important to these kids)

Although my efforts fell flat on their face and I consequently spent the next 10 years of my life smiling at the people that had so quickly denied me entrance to their friendship group I learnt a lot from life at the bottom of the social heap.  

I genuinely think that had I been accepted all those years ago I would not be sitting here writing this. It was probably around the age of social rejection that I turned to writing, releasing the stories which were supposed to be for the children in my class on to paper. I soon got a sense of fashion, gained more friends and realised that although it is important to be polite and social, popularity is not a necessity nor is it now a desire of mine.  I have witnessed peoples fall from grace, best friends airing each other’s dirty laundry and physical fights about what someone said about another and realised that perhaps it is not friendship that makes you popular, but an ability to manipulate.

Even now I stand by my early belief that Sara Crewe knew a thing or two about making friends, albeit in a different life it still worked.  One cannot merely stride into a room, tell a joke and gain admirers unless you are super-skinny, super-pretty and super-fashionable (sorry girls, but apparently that still matters), however by showing your true personality to the right people you can gain friends for life, something which a lot forget about.

 

Have we lost all sense of reality?

 In a world where we are told to strive for success and push ourselves further, are we just being set up for a fall by ‘the-big-guys-in-suits’? As statistics take over the world and we all become obsessed with what the figures say I wonder if we are  forgetting who we are.

Has our obsession with money gone too far? Perhaps we really are trying too hard to ‘achieve the unachievable’, resulting in us forgetting the important things in life. I was always told ‘Be nice to the little people on your way up because you’ll meet them again on your way down’ but as the gap between ‘the little people’ and ‘the top’ gets bigger I can’t see the two ever meeting again.  If one was to fall from the top floor how long would it take before someone caught you, surely you wouldn’t have to travel all the way to the ground floor!

With shows such as ‘The Apprentice’ on television it’s no wonder people want to earn heaps of money in the easiest way possible. As far as television viewers are concerned you can earn yourself a cool £100,000 by simply selling a few flowers for more than you bought them and convincing a very rich man that nothing was your fault. In reality, of course, this is not the case, you have to work hard, make friends and ultimately be willing to lose everything for that one promotion.

Even in the day and age we live in I fear we have lost all sense of direction.  Surely a generation which is so obsessed with reality shows couldn’t have lost all grip on the real world. Of course, in actuality, these ‘reality’ shows represent nothing more than a dream land we all wish to escape to, people who can get anything they want with a simple smile and celebrities bigger than their fake boobs. And for what? For us to get annoyed when their faces pop-up on the front cover of our favourite gossip magazines, claim we’re getting annoyed with these ‘undeserving’ celebrities and then tune in next week to see who kissed who.

I’m not saying we should not aim for the stars, and I’m definitely not saying we should refrain from watching all reality TV shows, lord knows I am a HUGE Made in Chelsea fan, but surely there is a way in which we can get what we want and still appreciate the finer points in life like a good friendship over rivalry. Can we really stop being a number without becoming one of ‘the-big-guys-in-suits’?