Friends and feelings and stuff 


There are few things in life I find as comforting as good friends. I love the feeling of sitting down with a group of people who I can be completely at ease with, talk to about anything and feel at home around, no matter where we are. It’s perhaps rarer than I probably think to have this luxury and I’m often reminded how lucky I am to have people in my life who make me feel comfortable. 

I don’t want to be made to feel important or special or better than anyone else. I’ll take comfortable all day long.

When I was a teenager I thought that popularity and having a massive circle of people around you would equate to happiness. It didn’t matter how much I really liked them, I just saw safety in numbers. I thought the best way to feel on top of life was to be liked, be in demand and be the envy of others from time to time. All of those thoughts of course were wrong and I’ve long since been put right by life. There’s so much more that matters when it comes to friends than quantity and friends matter for so many reasons. 

I don’t see my best friends all the time, and it doesn’t matter because they accept life for what it is- hectic. That’s been one of the biggest lessons life has thrown at me- it always gets in the way. It’s when it gets in the way with the worst kind of things, the big things, the things that shape us and upset us and change us, that having those people who bring comfort and happiness no matter how many weeks or months it’s been that become so important. 

I’m very happy with my understated, happy and unfussed group of friends. I’m happy with good people, feeling accepted and being supported. I no longer need social media displays of ‘look how great my friends are and how many I have’ and I don’t need reassurance and shows of allegiance. I just need to know that those people who rock up to our meetings in noisy bars, cosy pubs, weird restaurants and living rooms will stay in my life and keep that comfortable, warm feeling of friendship going for many years to come. I think Christmas has made me a bit emotional or something, but here’s to the best of friends and good human beings.

The best way to give yourself a birthday present

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I’ve never been wild about birthdays or the idea of having loads of attention and money spent on me just because I was born- but since I’m not a total scrooge I still partake in birthday fun. I’m lucky that three of my closest friends were born in the week before me, which means every year since we met we’ve had big joint celebrations. Less organisation, more people and a nice reunion every year of all those people you don’t get to see as much as you wish you could.  I actually really hate the idea of planning a birthday event solo because I don’t like social pressure- just let me turn up somewhere and have a good time with people I love (at any time, not just birthdays).

A few years ago, I worked with a guy who claimed that you should celebrate your own birthday by spending the days leading up to it completely alone, doing things you want to do to remind yourself that you’re lucky to be alive. He was a complete free spirit and self-confessed hippy, but I kind loved him and I now try to live up to his wise words (apart from being alone, because I like talking too much). We all get nice things for our birthdays but it’s usually down the generosity of friends and family who plan days or nights out and give you gifts and shower you with unhealthy food and cake. So for the last few years I’ve also done stuff for me, kind of like when you go shopping and do a ‘Dear me, you deserve this, love me’ kind of thing, but it hasn’t involved buying new things.

I’ve done several pretty nice ‘isn’t life amazing’ activities now to celebrate getting older, including spending a few quiet days in a tiny fishing in Croatia, which is also where I first learnt how to take a decent photo. I also spent the build up to my birthday (and the first few hours flying home from) an amazing trip to Sri Lanka where we visited a tsunami museum, spent time with locals talking about life on the ‘sunshine island’ and spent a morning cleaning and feeding turtles at a beach sanctuary. I realise these aren’t exactly small things and I don’t do this kind of stuff every year, but having something that completely refreshes you and makes you feel appreciative really is a nice way to round off another year of life, particularly if it hasn’t been the best.

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This year didn’t involve any tropical shores or sunny mornings strolling through Croatian hills, but I did sign up to a 10k to help me get fitter and raise some cash for cancer research, started pilates again, got some stuff off my chest and spent some overdue time with my parents and sister.

It’s kind of nice to have another layer of birthday to look forward to every year, and maybe for most people treating yourself is the norm, but I guess this is more about experience rather than treats. This year was quite a strange one as I got mostly homeware and a nice box knives for birthday so I felt insanely old and like I should be spending the weekend in wearing slippers and eating cheese (the dream, basically). But I still managed to see all of my friends, get merry on gin and walk around a tapas dance bar with a Myra Hindley documentary on DVD in my bag.

Documentaries and pilates is a good foundation for any birthday, by the way.

Because girlfriends deserve a little thanks from time to time

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As it’s International Women’s Day, and it’s a Tuesday, which is my least favourite day of the week, It’s time for something a bit uplifting. I don’t have the time or the brain power to sit and write a long post on how much I love being female and about feminism and girl power, but I can thank the women in my life.

Friends are people that you choose to spend your time with and having some decent girl friends in life has seen me through a few dodgy times, upsetting times, hungover times, unwell times, times when I just need someone to Whatsapp me a ridiculous meme or send me a YouTube link to some goats screaming to a Taylor Swift song. Thanks for letting me moan at you about my period pains, discuss which kinds of painkillers are the best, lay in bed eating my body weight in pick and mix and letting you tell me that ‘a few drinks will sort you out.’ Thanks for making me feel welcome at work. Oh and thanks for the many times I have borrowed all of your eyeliners, stolen tampons, borrowed a skirt, tried your expensive eye-shadows, eaten your food and raged at you over long and barely understandable Facebook messages.

Thanks for telling me when my make-up looks like a child has done it. Thanks for accepting me waking you up during hungover times to show you a photo of us laying on the floor or riding a mop like a broomstick. Thanks for listening when I tell you to stop and move on. Oh and thanks, so very much, for making an already great life as a female even better.

Keeping friends and staying happy

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I know it’s said by so many people in their twenties every single day and might cause people to roll their eyes, but being an adult IS hard. I mean, there could definitely be less decisions, more freedom and longer annual leave allowances- I don’t think that’s too much to ask. It’s also hard to strike a good balance where you find time to do things that make you happy, if you can remember what those things are, of course.

I still think of really silly, small things as sources of happiness and a lot of them haven’t changed much from when I was younger. Stuff like pizza (you know it’s true), sleeping in, booking holidays, laying in really hot baths, swimming, cheese, melted cheese, baking- the list goes on in that fashion. Apart from it being fairly obvious that food with a high calorie content brings me joy, it also makes me realise how few ‘big’ things I can list.

I have my family, and I have travel which will always be givens and probably the same for loads of you, but the other thing is friends. I love my friends. I feel like  I’ve made good friend choices over the years but as you get older friendships really change. The dynamics of friendships and groups and how much time we have to dedicate to each other changes. Relationships start to play a part, work changes how we spend our time and then there’s the scary factor of people starting to move away. I’d happily round up my friends, go back to my uni town, put them all in a house and camp out there for a while, so I can see everyone and have the kind of buzzing social life I used to have. Maybe just minus the £4 corner shop wine.

I still make time to see my friends at weekends, and the ‘let’s get dinner’ thing has become a massive part of my working week. I would say I manage to get in a couple of after work social sessions a week and they definitely help to break the monotony- but I feel like when you spend a lot of time being ground down by life and feeling tired from work, you need your friends.

You need the boost of a stupid message with a link to something funny. You need the offer of a few drinks on a Friday or a few hours roaming around shops and talking about life. Also, I feel like friends are really important for later in life, so it’s important to put the time in now.

I’m going away with some of mine in a couple of weeks and now it’s looming nearer I literally can’t wait to go. I just want to be with my friends for more than a couple of hours. I want to lounge around with them and eat bad food and stay up late and relax and feel human again. I also want to feel the way I do when I spend a lot of time with people who I’ve chosen as life companions-  cheerful and refreshed.

Good friends will soothe your freaked out mid-twenties mind 

  
This weekend just gone involved a neon takeaway, a lot of wine, getting horribly lost in Essex, an over excited dog, two cats, many wines, catch ups, a service station and delirious laughter at road names. It also involved two people I need in my life more. 

You see your friends as much as you can but adulthood gets in the way. Work gets in the way. Tired gets in the way. So you make less plans, see less people and you’re next available weekend is 6 weeks away. “Let me just check with my secretary. Aren’t we total adult babes with so much going on?!” Everyones secretary is their iPhone calendar right?

Being actually booked out is kinda scary, but it happens to the best of us. Oh and people move. That amazing feeling you have at uni where everyone is in the same town together and you can crawl hungover up the road to a house full of friends and crisps is gone. People start branching out and it becomes road trips, train tickets or even plane journeys to get a good old dose of catch up.

But it’s not all bad. In fact having a weekend with friends you don’t get to see much means you have so much to say you just go all in. I left this weekend in Ipswich catching up with two good friends feeling like I got a lot off my chest. I didn’t confess to anything, tell them big news or let them in on any secrets. We just talked about life and what’s been happening and our worries about the future and what we want to do in the next few years. And like, everyone we know obviously.

There’s few things as comforting in life when you’re mid-twenties than being reassured you’re not behind the game, you don’t have abnormal fears and you aren’t the only person out there going through a rough patch. Oh and that it’s fine you aren’t a self made millionaire with a property portfolio. Good detail.

I might not be in the same circumstances as my friends, we might not be working towards the same goals, but it’s nice to realise you aren’t failing. It’s nice to know not everyone is totally set and has their whole life wrapped up and sorted with a big bow on top and a sprinkling of glitter. 

I mean, thank God. 

Deep down I probably know that most people my age aren’t in a position of total certainty, having achieved all their hopes and dreams as well owning a chocolate lab and a massive house. I also know it’s totally common and normal to feel like you’re behind everyone and missing out on something. I read it pretty much daily scrolling through Twitter and on sites like this one.

It’s a rough ride mentally because you keep coming back to it, so an 18 hour catch up with friends, blurting out all sorts of stories and woes and life lessons, is just what the doctor ordered. 

I for one, know I shouldn’t need reassurance from other people that I’m doing just fine and not having everything totally sorted is perfectly acceptable, but that doesn’t mean I won’t keep seeking it. 

12 ridiculous things people in their twenties have said to me lately

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Because I like to document the fact I only keep company with good people.

1) Going to the Planetarium has put everything in perspective. Everything will just one day dissolve. I felt so inspired I purchased a book.

2) I feel like I can relate to goats more than people at the moment.

3) I drank some water from the work surface the other day because I suddenly panicked about wastage and I was really hungover.

4) For £50, I would drink the dishwasher scum water.

5) I refuse to join real life. I might just live wild and start a photography blog of photos of me hunting and sleeping in hedges.

6) Are the grill and the oven the same? What is the key difference?

7) I just want to find a painting worth millions and cash in. Hard assets bruv.

8) But when the milk leaves the animal what then? What happens? Is there a procedure? A recipe? different between cow and goat?

9) I’ve never wanted anything more than to jump in that sandbox.

10) sometimes at work I stop and I’m like…I know nothing. I don’t know what anyone is talking about. I don’t know what I even really do.

11) I might simultaneously shit myself and throw up and no one cares about it.

12) I just opened my umbrella and a tampon came flying out.

5 reasons I can’t handle ‘going out out’ anymore

 So I’m writing this in the wake of a terrible night out in London while my friend writes a lengthy, formal complaint email, which is a definite sign we are firmly not teens/students/care free youths any more. I don’t think 25 is too old to be going out out, but I feel like it’s becoming more and more evident that clubs need to become a thing of my past. I’m not sure if it’s because I just can’t hack it, my tolerance of other people has become dangerously low in my mid-twenties or if this is just a normal transition. Probably a mixture of the three. Don’t get me wrong though, with the right company, the correct amount of gin and music from the early noughties, I’m as game as anyone.

I just feel lately like a good bar with comfortable chairs, or staying at home with an abundance of wine is my preferable socialising option. An abundance of wine and a nine course meal, to be exact. Anyway, these are my main reasons for wanting to steer clear of clubs and going out out for a while, maybe forever. (never gonna happen though, I’m not THAT boring.)

1) I tolerate drunk people less and less every day.

I used to find it hilarious to watch friends or strangers fall all over the place blind drunk, generally making massive dicks of themselves, but now, I just want them all to get in the sea. I mean it’s totally different if you’re drunk too, because then you are part of the fun and games, but being an observer of such behaviour now just makes me angry. It makes me tired. And it probably makes me hungry if I’m being totally honest.

2) Horrendous door staff.

This has been a theme of my life lately. Encountering bouncers who think they are actually working on an FBI mission rather than a club entrance make me want to sit down and start debating, rather than just pretend to be sober and let them act like a supreme power. This is also due to another kind of lack of tolerance- tolerance for utter dickheads. Security is important, but there’s no need to be an absolute twat about it.

3) I don’t like plans.

So this isn’t specifically about going out out at all, but being an adult is bloody tiring isn’t it!? I much prefer weekends when I don’t have set plans, and things just happen. I also much prefer impromptu nights outs rather than planned, regimented events because the older I get, the worse they always are. Sleep is bae.

4) When I see my friends, I like to be able to hear them

Since working gets in the way of most days and selfishly takes up a lot of time in general, seeing friends is hard. It’s even harder when you factor in responsibilities and adult things people need to find the time to do, along with relationships and families. When I do get the time to see my friends, I now prefer to be able to sit and talk to them and actually catch up, rather than necking tequila and shouting over dance music or squeezing in a quick selfie in a toilet cubicle.

5) Hangovers are HORRIFIC

Life is busy, there’s a lot to do. It’s a bit depressing really, but wasting a whole day laying in bed feeling poisoned and wishing McDonalds was on your lap is just a massive nuisance. They’re also getting worse. So much worse. A few glasses of wine can leave me feeling like someone is putting shelves up inside my skull. I wrote about not being able to hack a hangover a while ago, and since then it’s gotten even more true. Prophylactic paracetamol doesn’t even work these days. HELP ME I AM OLD.

Realising as you grow up that there’s a good reason ‘beautiful’ means something different to everyone

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I found the card in the picture above on the floor in a Subway when I was steaming drunk after my sister’s 21st boat party. I carried it home laughing like a maniac while eating three different kinds of cookie (dessert obvs). That is completely unrelated to what will follow, I just quite like the idea of it and I would 100% have bought it if I saw it in a shop.

Anyway.

The other day on the tube, where I can so often be found, I was listening to these school girls talk about who was the most fancied girl in their year. I felt like grabbing them and being like, ‘babes, seriously, don’t worry about this, because it will ALL change.’ When I think back to what I aspired to when I was 15 I get a horrible image of over-straightened hair, bright orange bronzer and far too tight clothes. I remember being envious of girls who everyone looked up to for being the prettiest and the most popular. In actual fact, it was more of who wore the most makeup and who played up the most in class for some laughs. As ridiculous as it seems now, back then it was serious, and it made a lot of people feel like shit. I definitely wasn’t one of those girls.

As soon as I left sixth form, and got started meeting new people at uni and got a whole new circle of close friends, I started to realise how different everyone sees beauty. I don’t know if it’s because I’m from a small town, or just because the majority of people conform at school, but I found it so amazing. I would look at people when I was 18 and think they looked stupid because they were different. This sounds horrendous as well, but I would never have looked at anyone who wasn’t a size 10 and though they looked good. As soon as I got exposed to a new world full of totally different people from different places, everything changed. I started seeing beautiful as being different and having enough confidence to leave the house without caring what anyone might think. I also began to look at people who were clearly very happy with who they were as beautiful regardless of their size or what their face looked like.

I am so, SO glad that there are millions of people who like different things and see beauty completely differently to others, it makes the world a much more interesting place. It’s also quite comforting to think you can be whoever you want and somewhere, someone in the world thinks your beautiful. I don’t believe there are that many people out there who don’t want to be considered beautiful at least sometimes. It makes you feel good when someone pays you attention and while I’m a lot less bothered about what people think when they cast their eyes on me now, it’s still nice to have someone find you attractive or pay you a compliment. It just is. I mean, not so much weird strangers on the tube who are close enough to lick you, but you get my point.

Beautiful nowadays revolves a lot around how many filters you can apply to it, how inhumanly smooth you can make skin look and how much you can alter yourself to look like what you think people want. Pretty depressing, no? Women aren’t going to stop wearing makeup, botox clinics aren’t going to be out of work and Instagram aint going nowhere, and that’s fine, just as long we don’t forget that these aren’t real interpretations of life. There isn’t one type of beautiful for everyone to aspire to, and thanks to that we live in a world where everyone can be beautiful. Hold tight young girls who feel constantly ugly because you don’t look like the plastics (Mean Girls references are still relevant right?!) because there will come a time when you look back and realise you were perfectly fine as you were.

10 types of friend that every girl needs in their life

1) The levelheaded, ultra-mature, straight talking adult. Good to have around in a crisis, good to WhatsApp when you need to be told the truth and perfect for keeping your feet on the ground. You need someone who will tell you straight that your ex is an absolute rat and you should absolutely put their face on a dartboard and then immediately fully delete them from your life.

2) The straight up animal. For the fun times, the early morning blurry times and the times you just want to forget who you are and what you stand for in the name of a good time.

3) The holiday addict (me). One minute you’re tagging them in a photo comment of an amazing picture of Santorini on Instagram, the next minute you’re boarding a plane, mildly drunk at 10am. Also good for bikini borrowing and denim shorts loans.

4) The funny one. Just because life without lols is not a life worth living, and if you can’t bring them on yourself, you need someone in your life that can. Also a good friend to introduce to new people, because who doesn’t love laughing?

5) The ‘£45 for one pair of knickers is COMPLETELY fine’ friend. For shopping, for ASOS screen grabs, for Vicoria’s Secret binges and for that week before you go away and need to just pop to Primark everyday after work.

6) The high rolling career person. Job advice, inspiration, making you want to do better and good for buying a round when everyone else is completely skint and just really needs a gin. And a hug.

7) The tech friend. SO NECESSARY. I can’t even explain the importance of having someone who knows why the screen of death has appeared and what to do with it.

8) The hair and make up guru. What eyeliner shall I buy? How did you do that to your hair? What eyebrow kit do you use? Can you wax all of my body hair off? Do you wanna come round and make me look as good as you so I can impress people I don’t really like? ETC ETC.

9) The ‘shall we have a night in and order curry’ mate. It’s all fun and games until you have luggage rather than bags under your eyes and you might vom if you so much as hear the word wine. It’s imperitive to have someone to bed-share and lounge with while sleeping through films you’ve been 5446 times and waking up with pizza on your chest.

10) The all-rounder. The really impressive person you can turn to in any situation because they just have their shit together and can be the person you need them to be. They probably clean their makeup brushes weekly and have a hangover game like no one else. You wish you were them. Frequently.

Everyone struggles with life balance sometimes, so let’s give everyone a break

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Some days I climb into bed and feel like I have done a really good job at life. I don’t always know why sometimes, because it happens on days when I have been sluggish, or not finished all my work, but the feeling is still there. It might be something to do with embracing ‘be the best you can be’ as a life motto, but yeah. Some days I’m all like “high five, good job, time for well deserved sleep” and all manner of happy, dancing emoji feelings.

Other days though I am literally like, you massive loser. You can’t keep up with your own life and you’re letting people down.

Grim.

The latter is not a good feeling. At the end of last year I felt that way all the time. It became like a normal feeling to just constantly be annoyed and constantly feel like I’d forgotten a million different things or not been a good friend, or a bad daughter. Endless lists of joyless feelings.

It’s really quite hard to hold together a life. Even a life that seems full of luxury and appears to be a piece of cake, can in reality, be a nightmare for the owner. We do own our lives, they are ours and we have to control them. We have to remember, and work, and finish things, and feed our bodies and remember to get sleep and remember those texts we should have sent and that washing that STILL needs to be done. It’s even harder when the bad times roll in. Stress turns your memory and your concentration to mush and you feel like everything is helpless.

I don’t think there is any shame in any one, of any age, feeling this way. I’m 25 and I don’t have kids, I don’t have endless financial responsibilities right now, I don’t have loads of stress at work, I don’t even have a pet. I still have massive trouble balancing life and getting it right though. I sometimes do think I should get a grip and man up, but then I remember how real the feeling is when it first sets in.

You know when you’re climbing up life mountain and you’re like, I can’t do it, I’m not good at climbing, I am definitely going to fall? Sometimes when I remember things I haven’t done and It gets all ‘shit, nothing can save this day from being a total disaster.’ But sometimes I remember and I’m like, F that, I’m so busy. And there it is. Some days the balance works and some days it doesn’t. Everyone deserves to feel like they’re stuck on life mountain and can’t see the top yet even if you think they have an easy ride and need to shut up. Give people a break.