5 times sassy pink emoji girl gets it spot on

So in the same week that Gwyneth Paltrow told us all to get our vaginas steamed (what even?) I’ve just been casually realising that pink iPhone emoji girl represents life pretty accurately. I can’t imagine Gwyn feels the same.

So just for fun and because I’m in a particularly weird mood, here are 5 times she just gets it so right:

1) This is Tuesday pink emoji girl. The worst day of the week because it just means nothing. You’re not halfway through, you’re not nearing the end, you aren’t on Monday when it’s fine to constantly moan. Tuesdays are hard and I generally would rather they just didn’t

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2) Forgetting to put the rubbish out, forgetting to buy conditioner, forgetting why you just walked into the kitchen. Remembering you should have put the rubbish out, remembering half way through a hairwash you have no conditioner, remembering you were checking you had milk when already back upstairs and tomorrow will be cereal roulette. This is also me when I realise I’ve gone 600 calories over target on My Fitness Pal. Chocolate fingers happen.

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3) Getting ready in the morning in a bit of a rush and doing shower, outfit, make-up and hair in about 20 minutes and looking actually really nice and strutting to the tube station like Beyonce. Also checking yourself in the office toilet mirror 4 hours later and only looking 15% dishevelled. Internal high five. SASS.

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4) Taking credit for something or just being right when someone tried to say you were wrong. As if. Oh all that clean washing and the clean bathroom and amazing dinner and really productive day at work and really nice new boots? YEP ALL ME THANKS. Bow down.

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5) OMG. It’s Sunday night again. Already. Pass the Pringles.

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The only way is moisture

So this winter my skin has been horrendous. It’s been dry, cracking, peeling and even bleeding around my lips and on my hands. It’s been painful to say the least and I look a bit like a horror film character. I’ve never experienced problems this extreme before, but there’s a first time for everything I guess. I work with doctors, as I have mentioned countless times, so I know that the medical term for really inflamed, sore lips and mouth is cheilitis. FUN FACT FOR EVERYONE.

Anyway, cheilitis is horrid and it took me over 2 weeks to find a combination that helped get rid. I looked like I had two great big cold sores on either side of my mouth for most of this time, which was really nice. My savior came in the form of the Lush Sugar Scrub and Blistex Raspberry Lemonade Blast lip balm. I bought about four lip balms before I returned to the trusty raspberry one, and none were as good or tasted half as divine.

I’ve been recommended the Lush lip scrub so many times and just ignorantly continued to not buy it. Well, more fool me, because it is amazing. The bubblegum in particular smells and tastes like heaven. I don’t think I’ve ever had smoother, lipstick-ready lips in my life. You do need to be on the ball with lip balm when using it though, or things can get a little on the dry side. I’ve started using it everyday as part of my makeup routine and I probably won’t stop even when the weather cheers up. Your Ruby Woo will look a whole lot better after a good exfoliate, so go buy it NOW.

The Blistex lip balm is wonderful for many reasons. The main ones being: It’s cheap, it smells like holidays and strawberry daiquiri and it is really, REALLY good. I first picked it up at the counter in Boots last summer and I have replenished three times (once because it melted in Thailand, not because I eat the stuff). I’ve tried expensive lip balms and balms with beads in and coco butter, but none are as good as this little gem.

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My other skin war zone can be found on my hands, more specifically, my knuckles. I have actually been peeling skin off of them everyday, because there are threads of it hanging off. Sexy. They’ve become the sort of dry where I can’t bear to touch my hands together because they feel so awful. I tried a couple of things to combat this, including an array of hand creams and a deep hand cleanse.

Sadly my favourite product of all for my hands isn’t widely available in the UK. I seriously wish it was because I have never been in love with a hand cream like this before. It’s by Rain Africa, and is made in south Africa. My colleague who has been witnessing my skin stress went there for a conference and picked me up this Biologie shea butter cream from the Cape Town store. It’s repaired my hands in three days. They feel like silk and smell like all things right with the world. You can get it online, and they have US stores, but it’s pricey delivery from what I can see. If you ever find yourself in Cape Town though…. (or if anyone knows how else I can get some message me immediately)

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My other savior, which to be fair has been really good too, is Nivea SOS hand balm. I’ve used this A LOT, as you can see from my disheveled bottle. It’s quite difficult to get out for some reason, which is annoying as I feel I always have some left when I throw it away, but none the less, this stuff gets the job done. it survives hand-washing pretty well too.

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One more thing- My hairdresser told me that to sort out her dry hands, she does a deep heated cleanse. What this entails is using plastic gloves and a hairdryer on a low setting. You slather your hands in cream, put the gloves on (you may need assistance for this) and then warm them up with the hairdryer for a minute. It’s not as labor intensive as it sounds if you have help and it works! I’ve done it twice now and come out the other side silky smooth.

Four products worth your pennies.

Remember when true love blossomed on MSN?

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I had a chat with my friend earlier about how cringey we were in high school when it came to boys. It’s led to me basically thinking back to 2005/6/7 all day, helped along by seeing a young teenage girl on the tube putting concealer on her lips. Who knew that was still a thing? Romance has sort of evolved hasn’t it? I mean, online dating is massive and we use phone apps to meet people.

I remember when the way to get noticed by a boy was to log in and out of MSN while he was online. The next step was to make sure you had a really cool MSN name and listened to really cool music so it showed up on the main screen. Then there was learning how to angle the webcam to take a perfect, grainy selfie of you in your computer chair looking really fit with your poker straight hair. That was great, wasn’t it? “Oh I’ll meet you on MSN tonight at 6:30 yeah?” The height of romance. Of course it was always possible your parents might ruin your only chance of happiness by having a long phone call with auntie Mary meaning the dial-up was out of action for two hours and you’ve missed your instant messaging date and OMG MUM WHY? Love has it’s challenges, that’s for sure.

We have definitely become a lot more frantic from the days of £5 credit and Bebo. REMEMBER BEBO. You would put some sort of cryptic bio up about yourself with a further grainy webcam picture and then select a background that made you stand out from the crowd. It was also nice to head on over to someone’s Myspace page to take a look through their photos and be greeted by some God awful song that you can’t work out how to turn off. I actually quite miss 2006.

These days I have a boyfriend. I have had for four years so lets call it long term. I’m also extremely happy about this and wouldn’t change it for the world. I am out of the dating game, but there are times I wish, purely for the hilarity factor, that I could just delve in for a laugh (sorry Dan, obviously I won’t) because it just seems like a laugh a minute in 2015. Sitting around on Friday nights drinking wine with my housemates and listening to them hysterically giggle over who they have matched with on Tinder makes me slightly jealous that I can’t really join in on the conversation, having never swiped right. Then I see a picture of someone staring into space with a hawk on their shoulder, topless, on a mountain ledge, and remember how lucky I am. Sorting through these people must be a chore, but it’s a really bloody comical chore if you let it be.

At least everything now is instant. I can’t really imagine trying to orchestrate true love with a pay-as-you-go phone. I think everyone from the generation of Facebook, Whatsapp and phone contracts is impatient to the point where waiting four minutes for anything is unacceptable. Having unlimited texts and using Whatsapp also means you can share unlimited information (in all forms of media) with your potential suitor. ‘Just had cornflakes.’ ‘Here is a photo of me naked.’ It’s amazing how much people share on Whatsapp.

Now when I see friends who are having a bit of trouble in the love department, It’s usually some kind of upset about information that would be best left out. Being able to see that someone has read your message and not responded for near on 24 hours is enough to drive you to distraction and throw your phone in a blender. Ten years ago, you would have just assumed they ran out of credit or have just been busy or something. Another classic is extreme Facebook stalking. You see a photo of your love interest with someone really good looking from 2009, then spend ages wondering if you could look more like them, or who they are, or where they are now, or how much they weigh. SO MANY QUESTIONS. Maybe you can find them on Twitter. Can you just Whatsapp and ask about them?  Er no, unless you want to be put down as a psycho stalker with mental issues, but I think we are all now stalkers to some extent anyway, so what does it matter?

When you really think about it though, we stalked on Myspace and on Bebo. We accepted strangers when they added us on MSN and chatted to them. We freaked out to our friends before school that so and so hadn’t messaged back on MSN despite them definitely being online. Maybe it hasn’t evolved much at all. We just have unlimited data, texts and we can give someone the green light simply with a swipe.

The 6 year skin battle

Just so you know, I don’t know loads of really useful stuff about skincare or have cupboards bursting with loads of products. I get face wash in my eyes most mornings and recently had to throw away my favourite flannel because I spilt Ribena on it, so I’m not exactly on the ball with these things. However I have just, after a six year struggle, cracked a skincare routine that works. It’s seriously exciting times for me and my face. I literally keep stroking my cheeks which I should refrain from, especially in public.
So here’s some background: I started getting spots when I was about 14. SHOCK. At first I got the expected teenage flare ups and oily t-zone that you get when you’re in that gross phase and your hair is forever greasy and so on. For about a year or so i coasted a long like this, getting spots, getting rid, realising they’ll always be worse when I get a period and trying out lots of face washes. I also began toying with concealer but usually using one that cost about £1.50 and unsurprisingly just made me look a lumpy satsuma.

I used stuff like Clearasil and Clean and clear but surprise surprise, they did nothing. Many years later a scientist and skin specialist I worked with told me how harsh these products are. They actually always made my skin worse, as did face wipes. Basically, I had spots and it was tough luck. They weren’t shifting.
However at the end of college, after a good year of everything calming down, I got what I can only describe as a lumpy rash under my skin. No big red look-at-me zits or gigantic alien growths, just lots of small pinprick sizes lumps. You could only really see them under light, but they made make up look horrible and my face just looked dull and dry.

This rash-type infliction took hold and lasted around 6 YEARS. Yeah, it wasn’t always bad, a lot of the time barely noticeable. It just never went away. When it was bad it looked awful though, and it knocked my confidence massively.

I have tried everything. I had skin mapping at Dermalogica, facials, microdermabrasion, antibiotics, face masks, not wearing make up, expensive face washes, just doing nothing at all, spending more time outside and in the sun, steams. You name it, I tried it. I was recommended so many brands by colleagues, friends, even doctors and spent a small fortune across a few years.

It wasn’t until about 6 months ago though, that a good friend of mine who has been studying dermatology, told me to try a new routine. I had been using Nivea daily face wash, which is the best budget face wash I have ever and will ever use and I will always stick with it. It’s gentle, doesn’t dry up skin and definitely helps control oil. She told me to carry on using it in the evenings to take off makeup, then give myself half hour and try Elemis Tri-Enzyme resurfacing facial wash. You have to use this morning and night. So I started using it, leaving it on for about 2 minutes, then washing it off with a soft flannel and warm water. 6 months later- breakthrough. Everything looked better. My skin was even a nicer colour, because of the resurfacing

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I used up one bottle and was advised to try something new, so I used Liz Earle, which immediately caused spots, so I had to stop and used just Nivea again. The rashy skin started to creep back in and when I was away in Thailand things got really bad. I immediately re-invested in Elemis and started the routine all over again, exfoliating once a week with Nivea, and now my skin is the best it has ever been. Patience, sticking religiously to a routine and finally finding a wash that works has paid off so much. I usually always stray from routines because I’m lazy, but I will not stray from this.

If you have skin troubles and haven’t tried the Elemis face wash I urge you to do it. It’s pricey but not over the top by any means at £28 a bottle. You can’t use it if you’re exposed to strong sunlight though, so don’t take it on holiday (unless you’re going somewhere cold). The Nivea face wash is about £2.50 on average, depending on where you buy, and the exfoliating wash is really good too. I realise I will have to stray from the Tri-Enzyme resurfacing wash at some point, and give my face a break, but I basically want to marry and start a family with it for what it’s done for my skin.

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5 good things

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My favourite five things from the last week are mostly about food and coffee (obviously). However I am also ridiculously excited by my skin, which sounds weird but I have fought a long seven year battle against it. Elemis has come into my life (the resurfacing face wash to be specific) and it has never ever been so good. I used to cut my fringe just to cover my forehead because my skin was so bad and lumpy looking, so this all quite exciting. Me and my housemate also got gifted a vintage coffee maker to add to the appliances that don’t fit in our kitchen, but for caffeine addicts it’s amazing. SO retro.

The last week also saw me and my boyfriend reach our 4th anniversary. This is actually impressive as I am so annoying at all times and just last night came in at 2:30am high on life and a lot of gin and woke him up to show him my Burger King. So that’s good. Kudos to him. In honour of going out and drinking a shed-load of gin and dancing to Britney- Slave, for a friends birthday, I painted my nails with OPI’s foil varnish and glitter and it’s genuinely amazing. I feel like a walking disco ball. I imagine this is how Rihanna feels all the time.

And lastly, the thing that deserves a really big picture, are THESE bad boys. Beetroot, orange and ginger brownies. SO unbelievably delicious. However I did eat three while they were still warm and felt ill for quite a while after.

Happy bloody Sunday, I am going to the pub now.

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Powercuts and getting old

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I’m writing this on my phone, during a powercut. It’s dark. It’s cold. It’s bleak. It’s also happening in Fulham and Chelsea so there will be well-groomed chihuahuas everywhere wondering why their electric dog beds aren’t switched on. The struggle is real.

Maybe having no power and doing things by candle light makes you more philosophical or something, because I’m starting to think about getting old. The three most positive things that have happened this week are my best friend’s sister having a little baby girl, my other best friend sending me a postcard and photos of her adventures from Asia and me finally having some important medical tests. Raise the roof. Calm this bitch down. WILD.

Alright, so those aren’t three things that scream youth and excitement to most people (although babies are exciting!) but I don’t really care.

I did have a bit of wobble after New Year about turning 25 but then I pulled it together because I will not be old before my time. I still like going out and requesting Britney Spears and buying trays of tequila. I still like spending all my money on travel and then accidentally not having enough for food. I also still like quoting Mean Girls at all situations.

I love going to work and making money and having a flat and being able to have a bad day and say ‘Fuck it, one is going Topshop.’ It’s nice to go away on adventures and weekend breaks and I secretly like doing budgeting (doesn’t always work, mind) and I like food shopping for myself because ALL THE HOUMOUS.

I don’t really get the whole thing of being in your 20s and acting 65 years old. I know some people are homebirds and some people just like staying in and the quiet life which is fine. I like it too (sometimes) but I just don’t want to wake up 20 years from now and think OH MY GOD I WASTED MY YOUTH. MUST GO ON A BENDER AND BOOK A HOLIDAY TO IBIZA.

I’m going to basically take hold of my 25th year and do all manner of fun, travel, dancing, wine drinking, laughing, face mask wearing and shoe buying.

Oh and I’m also going to talk my boyfriend into getting a pet lizard because it’s 2015 and why the hell not.

OH and if you give up on your youth and decide you are old and destined for an armchair when you’re under 50, then you can’t sit with us.

21 ridiculous things people in their 20s have said to me: part 2

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1) I’m not good at anything, I’m just distinctly average at a lot of things.

2) Couldn’t find any cups that didn’t look a bit fungal, so I’ll have my jaeger in a teapot.

3) I’m just sat at work, at my desk, really horny. I don’t even fancy anyone.

4) I can come home at 7am, shower and just go to work with no sleep. I only really fail if I sit down. If I sit down it’s game over.

5) Literally all I’ve ever wanted in life is to meet a man I could duet with on Mel C and Bryan Adams- When you’re gone.

6) The first thing he said after being passed out drunk for 9 hours was ‘where is my gilet?’

7) The only place he would be getting chlamydia from is a koala.

8) I’m not eating anything between now and then and will practice shaking like Beyonce.

9) I’ve got ‘eternal flame’ stuck in my head. Make a note that I want that at my funeral. The Atomic Kitten version.

10) I don’t get paid until the end of the month but I’m coming out. I’ll just put little bottles of gin in my bra.

11) That holiday we went on where we had to take out our own rubbish, weren’t allowed clean sheets and only had one towel. Oh my God.

12) I’m so bored I’m roasting a butternut squash to experiment on.

13) Maybe I am due on my period. It would explain my overwhelming urge to punch everything and my devastation at overcooking the camembert.

14) I want to go on a girls holiday, no boys. I also want to just not speak to anyone for a few days and do some Sudoku. Basically, I’m going away on my own. You can’t come.

15) I’m missing Gordon Ramsay’s Hotel Nightmares because the TV signal is so bad so I might get a golf club and smash it into tiny pieces. Thoughts?

16) I may have accidentally put the thermostat on 30. I woke up in the night choking from heat. Life is hard.

17) Vaginas suck.

18) My dog is running around the house with a lemon and I thought it was fine because it was a tennis ball. It’s definitely a lemon.

19) I’ve really upset my body with yoga. My soul doesn’t even feel less evil or cleansed. It’s bullshit.

20) I had a brain scan and they sent me a picture so I got cards made with the picture on and a speech bubble saying ‘thinking of you’. I’m sending them to everyone I’ve ever met.

21) Star wars was on TV and I thought it was a McDonalds advert. I thought the brown hairy thing was meant to be a life size hash brown.

Do good, be good, feel good

Everyone’s read a million times that you get back from life what you put in. We know we need to eat well, exercise, help people, try our best at things, forgive and forget and have fun. Obviously we need to do much more than that too, and we can’t even do these things listed all the time because life is hard and we’re only human. However it’s only been the last year where I have realised how true this all is and I’m very glad it’s happened.

Three different things have led me to do good and actively be a  good person in the last year. That makes me sound like I wasn’t a good person before, but I like to think I always have been. I also like to think my friends would say the same. One was nice enough to tell me on NYE that she would describe me as ‘quite fun and tall’, so I mean there’s that.

The first thing has been working for a HIV research campaign doing digital marketing and writing for blogs and websites. The overall goal for the project is develop a possible vaccine. It’s a good cause, I meet people who are passionate about it and it’s really nice to feel like work means something. I’ve done lots of other jobs which left me feeling satisfied too, and that were not for a cause like this, but it’s made me realise that if I leave this job, I want to volunteer or just find something to do where I can help others, even if it’s just giving up an hour a week or donating blood regularly.

The second has been making a real effort with friends who I know need a little TLC. I think it’s really important to be a good friend all the time, but when you have multiple friends living all over the place it becomes difficult to be there as much as you might like. I have strong friendships that are kept alive mainly on whatsapp because of distance and just not having the capacity to see each other, and I still love these friends as much as I did when I saw them all the time. Noticing that someone close to you is down or just not themselves is the perfect opportunity to step up and be the best version of you.That sounds horribly preachy, but it’s true. I know I have done this at least twice recently and I’m so glad to do it. I want my friends to know they can rely on me, because I know I will need to rely on them back at some point in the future, just like I have in the past.

The third is my mum being diagnosed with cancer. Something like that happening changes life so much that you feel a bit like you are watching yourself for a while. That’s how I felt anyway. Like I was observing me from some sort of viewing platform, going about my daily business. Thankfully, she’s doing very well and is in good spirits and that in itself makes everything a million times better. I went into autopilot ‘good daughter’ mode at first without even thinking about it, but after reflecting on everything, I know that I’ll make more of an effort forever now.  I know that I can be a good support and I know that I can deal with some seriously difficult crap and still come out feeling good about life.

People do good everyday. I see it in the street, at work, between friends and family. It’s nice to notice these things, especially since people are also doing a lot of bad everyday. Watching the news in 2015 hasn’t exactly been a treat. I always feel like I want to go out and save the world after I’ve made a positive difference to something or someone and I want more people to have this feeling. Maybe everyone already does, but I think we can forget that life is a two way street sometimes. No one truly lives effort-free.

It doesn’t always take working for a charity, running marathons or taking a sabbatical to build schools in developing countries to do good. It doesn’t even have to be about other people. Even watching watching a pretty sunset from my flat makes me feel better about life sometimes, and that doesn’t impact anyone but me.

When life is good, we have to give a little good back.

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3 reasons it’s not Blue Monday

So apparently it’s the most depressing day of the year. Pizza Express have offered me 40% off if I go there tonight. Very.co.uk have informed me they’re having a Blue Monday sale. Thomas Cook have also been in touch, bless them, to tell me about their red hot deals because yep, you guessed it, BLUE MONDAY and everyone needs a holiday because we’re all so sad.

Someone, somewhere has decided it’s the most depressing day of the year because it’s Monday, and it’s January and it’s cold and we’re all a bit skint and so on. Well actually I didn’t feel depressed at all until I realised this day was an actual thing and then I was a bit like ‘oh yeah, today isn’t great, maybe I should go to Pizza Express later and get 40% off.’

Can we all just stop it. It’s not the most depressing day of they year. I’m sure some people out there are having a bloody awful time of it right now, but I’m sure they’re not sticking pins in a Blue Monday voodoo doll and weeping. We humans of the 21st century love to go on about crap like this don’t we?

Well I’m not depressed today and I’m not sitting at my desk holding back tears and wondering how I will go on with life. Here’s three reasons my Monday is not blue (apart from the lovely, sunny, not depressing sky over London right now):

1) This morning on the tube there was a woman dressed in very smart business suit, reading on an iPad and displaying some impeccable Monday morning hair. Also she was holding an enormous plastic sword like it was just a handbag and I actually watched her use it to itch her knee. It was a good time all round, for the amused onlookers and the knee itch.

2) I found five pounds in my bag and used it to buy a seriously delicious vanilla latte which doubled up as a hand-warmer AND some sugary sweets because I just love sugary sweets and everyone deserves a treat.

3) half the working day is done and I haven’t even had to hold my head or hug myself or kick the printer to make it work or even swear about anyone. Monday has been, as they go, pretty alright.

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The best things I’ve overheard on trains this week

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I get on tubes and trains a lot. This week alone I’ve been on 15 tube journeys and three train journeys, which is pretty standard  in the life of a commuter. Most of the time I have headphones in or read so I don’t really take much notice of what’s going on around me, unless it’s one of those days someone rests their coffee on my shoulder and I have to hold on to a strangers arm to fit in the carriage. However this week I temporarily lost my headphones and just haven’t been reading or doing much of anything, apart from listening to some absolutely ridiculous conversations. What even are some people?

1- This actually happened on Monday morning, when no one wanted to listen to anyone speak and there were massive delays, meaning the general mood was ‘murderous angst’ and there were zero smiles.  A man with really long hair and even longer, very thin limbs who resembled a sort of wise tree, was telling a much younger lady, presumably a colleague, about his issues with his mum. REALLY LOUDLY. ‘I actually just gave her tens of thousands of pounds and said to her that she should go to spas and live off of me until she finds a suitable man to fleece. We just laughed about it and she agreed.’ Right. Great. Happy Monday everyone.

2- This one was this morning. An almost empty, sleepy Sunday morning train with a few scattered early risers on board. A very smiley, cheerful man sat down opposite me and answered the phone by saying ‘Morning baby, I’m two stops away. Bring the gravy boat hahahahahaha.’ Haha. No. What even?

3- Friday afternoon, my earphones had been recovered so this was just before I plugged into an episode of Serial (which you should all listen to if you haven’t yet) a really well-dressed, stony-faced blonde lady said to her boyfriend ‘I can just smell the filth on here. We should have driven’ Charming, as I was the only other person remotely near them. I mean, the circle line is surely one of the least offensive of all the London underground lines, no?

4- I just don’t even know what this is about, but also on Friday, as I got off the tube to go to work, an immensely tall man in a suit that made him look like a walking, talking iron, said to his equally tall friend ‘The more I squash them, the more I feel inclined to finish it off early. Just dive in and be done, like you always say.’ Cue business-like laughter and me just raising both eyebrows and deciding it was time to listen to more Taylor Swift.

5- This one was also today, waiting for a train to leave in the pouring rain, a man with a suitcase runs on and says to himself, but sort of to everyone, accompanied with some teeth kissing ‘Not feeling dry and fly, now it all wet.’ Good observation sir, things do get a bit wet in the rain, including your nice orange hat with WHAT? emblazoned on the front. What indeed.

Oh life.