My Stage is the World

Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practise to deceive

Mean Girls

Mean Girls

Boo you whore!

Women are mean, there’s no doubt about it. You may wonder why men put up with us, but it’s because we’re all the same. Girls seem to revel in bitching and moaning – about, and to, everyone.

I’ve never been much of a bitch, mainly because I like my friends, my boyfriend’s never done anything too awful and I just don’t see the point.

However, everyone needs to vent and let off steam and there’s been many a time when I’ve sympathised and ranted with a bottle of wine and a friend. It makes life easier for your partner because all your emotion has been spent and all men are like mascara – they run at the first sign of emotion. The less they have to hear about it the better – they don’t care about Suzy’s pregnancy, Jane’s wedding or ‘that Mary in accounts’.

I hear women moaning at work, on the train, in the shops… I actually find it quote irritating, especially as everything they’re moaning at is so trivial.

Everyone at work (myself included) has berated their other half for wearing their running trainers out out. I’m glad it’s not just me who loathes this fashion faux pas, but if that’s all they have to worry about, then they should count themselves lucky!

Girls make cutting remarks which aren’t intentionally hurtful, but are in fact upsetting.Half of the time, I swear we don’t realise we’re doing it. Someone admires your dress and says ‘it’s very you’ which could mean it suits you, but also means ‘I wouldn’t wear it in a million years’. It’s meant as a compliment, but in a vindictive way.

Men should probably stop listening to the things we say – we don’t mean it when we aren’t fully supportive of your £400 games console, we just wish we could spend £400 on shoes or baking equipment. We have to put it down so we feel better – it’s just jealousy.

If we’re upset, we snap – we don’t mean to, it’s just our way of saying ‘I’m not cross with you darling, bu I am stressed and a bit sad – please hug me and tell me you love me and I’ll snap out of it.’ We always do.

Boys are easier to deal with – honest, straight and rational. My male friends have been better at supporting me recently than some of my female friends. They’ve sent messages of love, sympathy and compliments.

With girls you never know if they’re being sincere or if they’re smugly congratulating themselves that their life is better than yours.

If your friend asks you if she looks all right, you take in her (too) tight dress, (ridiculous) high heels and (streaky) fake tan and tell her she looks great, when she actually looks like a TOWIE reject. Are you being nice or nasty?

It’s a catch 22. A girl may think setting you up with a drunk guy might cheer you up after having your heartbroken, but it just lowers your opinion of her, especially as you’re still very upset. Helpful comments make things worse because you don’t know if they’re being nice or nasty. Nobody will ever know.

My male friend put it simply. ‘Girls are mental. Men are knobs. It’s just who we are.’

I’m more confused than ever – who will win the Battle of the Sexes?

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Service with a smile

Smiley faceShopping is a girl’s favourite pastime, especially after payday when the size 6 fits you!

Of course the experience is made by the customer service you receive in the shops. Now, I’ve worked in retail and trying to be nice to everyone when you’re having ‘one of those days’ ain’t easy. Except that it is. A smile costs nothing and even more fun is inventing stories and characters to amuse or flatter your customer.

“Oh I love this top – I wore it on my birthday.” you say to a lady buying a hideous gold sequinned vest. Flirting with old men buying jewellery for their wives… and mistresses. Endless fun and I really enjoyed it.

Positivity really does make a difference and people respond and cheer up because of it.

I went shopping on Wednesday – the anaesthetic was wearing off and I felt a bit dizzy – retail therapy seemed a good idea. But who won the customer service awards?

Not Primark.

  • I’m not a huge fan of Primark, but they do quite nice baby clothes and occasionally they’ll surprise you with a total bargain. Aside from looking like a jumble sale and smelling… well, cheap, the staff often leave a lot to be desired. My cashier (I bought some AWESOME wellies – whether they’re waterproof or not is another matter) ignored me completely and didn’t say a single word to me. Her colleague was chattering away nonstop to her customer, but I let her be – perhaps her husband had died and she was struggling to get through the day?
  • As I walked into Specsavers to pick up my new glasses (exciting) I was faced by about eight members of staff, all hastily trying to swallow the chocolates they were eating. They all started forward in their race to service me. A young(ish) boy won and apologised for his chocolatey face. He adjusted my glasses and was very smiley and chatty – it was his first day. No problem there – bad service wouldn’t have put me off! My Karen Millen glasses were £125 but because I have lensemail they were only £45 so even with extra-thin lenses and anti-reflective coating they were a bargainous £85!
  • The boy in HMV looked tired and overcharged me. He apologised profusely and explained that he’d given his dissertation in that morning and hadn’t slept in 3 days. I could easily sympathise with him – giving in my MA dissertation was one of the worst days of my life (until Sean Bean hugged me) and I was sent home from work for looking like a zombie. I told him to go to bed.
  • But the overall winner is Marks and Spencer. I was trying to buy lunch – not easy when it’s a) raining (soggy salad anyone?) and b) you can’t eat wheat. I couldn’t find the free-from range but a nice lady not only showed me the range, but brought me samples of each product. Her colleague then printed off a list of all their gluten-free foods – which includes Percy Pigs HURRAH (but not Smarties as I found out at the hospital) – a list of some FORTY pages! I also got a free carrier bag from a friendly cashier.

So if you work in retail – and even if you don’t – it really does pay to make someone’s experience pleasant.

Go on smile at someone on the tube or ask the grumpy man on the bus a question. I dare you!

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With nothing but my T-shirt on

Running t-shirtSo I’ve signed up to the 10k London race and started training. I get a race T-shirt, plus a special Diamond Jubilee shirt and I also got an email from Nike saying they’ll give me one too as I’m wearing their trainers…

Then yesterday I got a huge parcel from my charity KidsCo… containing two T-shirts!

Now I have to say that the logo on the shirts is pretty awesome and matches all my running gear. This may be because their logo is pink, grey and indigo – naturally I am happy to run in these colours.

My only concern is which T-shirt do I wear for the race? I’m also doing the Royal Parks Half Marathon (for the same charity), so no doubt I’ll get another top to wear for that one.

I’ve also decided to apply for the London Marathon 2013. I’ve always wanted to do it and now is as good a time as any… hopefully I can race for my charity so I may get a place that way which would be good for them and me. Will I get another T-shirt? I hope so!

At this rate I’ll never have to buy another pyjama or running top ever again!

Run today was pretty good as I went before the thundery April showers and did 5k in 25 mins (and had a skin test on the way back).

General fitness has been mostly walking – no chance to go cycling(!) as the weather is threatening to be horrific all weekend – but I am ice-skating on Thursday! It’s been almost two months (tore a ligament in my wrist) but I can’t wait and hopefully will meet a new circle of people to hang out with when I move to London.

I keep bumping into old friends actually – including one in Fez Club last Saturday (more on that to come) and one on the Tube yesterday.

Tonight I’m seeing a few more old friends at a gig at The Fox and Pelican in Grayshott – an awesome band called The Son are playing and I’ve not yet seen them so I’ll review them at some point.

In other news the gluten-free diet is going fairly well… so far I’ve eaten yoghurt, salad and a rice cake. Next up vegetable lasagne with ‘special’ lasagne… Not had coffee for a week either, which could explain why I’m so tired.

The only question left now is WHICH T-shirt do I wear tonight?

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She’s a perfect 10, but she wears a 12

Anorexia thinspo size doesn't matterMichael McIntyre does a sketch where he talks about shopping with his wife and ‘if she’s an 8, we have a lovely day’ otherwise they go home and she cries about it. That’s life. That’s women.

I know how she feels. Having been a size 6-8 (I’m very short) most of my adult life, I used to get distressed if I needed a size 10 and wouldn’t even try on a 12. I’d be a in a foul mood the rest of the day cursing my inability to avoid chocolate. Lovely.

It’s no wonder so many girls have anorexia!

My mum and her friend recently went shopping and her friend was aghast at the fact that she was a size 18, when she’s normally a 12-14.

My friends are all the same… Topshop lost out on a lot of sales when their jeans were all at least 2 sizes smaller than they claimed to be because nobody wanted to buy ‘the wrong size’.

This sort of behaviour makes us all miserable, with no clothes (although probably more money, but that’s not the point). Very few of us would buy the wrong size shoe or bra – we know that they’re always different in every shop.

If the hat fits then wear it

SO – what have I decided to do? Buy whichever size that fits me and then cut the label out! Nobody ever says “Oh I love your dress, what size is it?” The question is always “where did you get it?”

Of course some people do admit it, in a voice full of remorse and guilt “It’s not my normal size – it wouldn’t even go over my knees!” or they exclaim with glee “it’s an 8! I haven’t been an 8 for years – I love that shop!”

Size doesn’t matter

So when I went shopping the other day (and got loads of new clothes), I came away with several dresses – ranging from size 6 to size 12, and some tops – ranging from size XS to size M.

Yes I had to be coerced to try on the bigger sizes, but they looked much better and nobody needs to know!

We’re all guilty of it, so be brave and buy the size that fits, not the size you want to be!

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Best paw forward

As most of you know, one of the topics I write about at work is pets. The following animal touched my heart when I wrote about Labradors a few weeks ago and today I came across his story again.

It just goes to show how little credit some people give animals. This story is so touching that every time I learn more about this gorgeous dog, I get a bit emotional.

Allen Parton is a Gulf War veteran who was injured in a car crash. His memory was affected and he was confined to a wheelchair. It was a struggle for him to get through the days as he couldn’t remember a large portion of his life, including marrying his wife Sandra and having his children.

Then one day Endal, a Labrador training to be an assistance dog came into his life, almost by chance. This remarkable dog showed Allen to hope and that he could live his life again.

Endal was the first dog to operate a chip and pin machine, ride the London Eye and use a cashpoint – truly incredible achievements for a dog.

When Allen was knocked out of his wheelchair, Endal placed him in the recovery position, gave him his mobile phone and went for help.

During his lifetime, Endal travelled widely, making public appearances and gaining fans and admirers across the nation. He was voted Dog of the Millennium and received the animal equivalent of the George Cross.

Endal passed away in 2009 at the age of 13, but is remembered by all as a heroic and loyal dog who gave hope to those who had lost faith.

Endal and Allen’s full story can be found at: and a film of Endal’s life is due to be released soon.

RIP Endal – Dog of the Millennium

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Eggcelent Easter

The Easter holidays mean that hundreds of people think it’s OK to travel on the tubes at rush hour. I work near Victoria and of course Billy Elliot and Wicked matinees both finish about 5.30 and they all try to cram onto the tube. Children hate crowds and parents are forcing these poor little kids onto packed trains full of stressed businessmen. The answer? Follow the advice of the ticket man and WALK. Oh wait, April Showers…

7.30am – posh man tells his colleague that his house is indeed close to the station. In fact after it was built in the 1800s the original owner had the station purposefully built, so that he could get to London quickly. Yes – Haslemere is home to the largest community of First Class commuters. Sadly I am not one of them.

8.30am (Waterloo) – train announcer “…and I can hear the Westbound train coming in now, which is going to… oh no wait, that’s going the wrong way. Oh here it comes… no – yes! Stanmore ladies and gentlemen!”

8.40am (Green Park) – I almost get whacked in the face by a rucksack so do a backbend on the escalator. Two people applaud me and someone wolf whistles

8.50am (Victoria) – people are actually asleep in blankets outside the Apollo waiting for it to open so they can buy tickets to see Wicked

5.50pm (Bond Street) – I go up a deserted escalator only to find myself walking into a sea of disgruntled commuters who are waiting for it to become a down escalator so they can get to the tube

6pm (Embankment) – Evening Standard man makes everyone’s day by talking Cockney rhyming slang and shouting “Free Standad laydees and gents”

6.05pm (Embankment) – it starts snowing which surprises me until I realise it’s actually a mixture of blossom and some lady’s cigarette ash

6.15pm (Charing Cross) – some man trips over nothing and falls spectacularly in a heap on the floor, only to sit up in hysterics

New experiences

  • I had my first burger from GBK – lamb (which I swapped for chicken) something burger with houmous and cucumber raika. I liked it!
  • I bought lunch from the canteen – chicken risotto at a bargain price of £1.80
  • I had my hair cut
  • I wore gold jewellery
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Auld Lang Syne

Lest old acquaintance be forgot…

So yesterday (in keeping with my productive spell) I signed up to the London 10k. I paid the full price of £50 for guaranteed entry and I get three ‘free T-shirts’ (as opposed to paying £32.50 for a ballot and getting no T-shirts – I win). My charity are excited and I’m all set to mentor a child after work.

All this was done on a morning’s commute.

When I got to work I had a lovely surprise as an old friend I hadn’t seen for about 2 years texted me about meeting for coffee. We arranged to meet that evening and had a good old natter. This has inspired me to text friends I haven’t seen for ages and sort out a meet up! I advise everyone to do it – what’s the worst that can happen?

This evening I met another old friend (who I haven’t seen since she ran down the hill to say goodbye to me the day I moved to Brussels) and while I was waiting I did some good ol’ people watching. London is excellent for this as it’s so cosmopolitan – I wonder what people say about me?

We booked a table at a fab pizza place (half an hour before we wanted the table – technology is wonderful) and went for a quick drink.

Being female we made the classic error of each ordering a Crabbie’s ginger beer. If we’d been men downing a pint in less than 30 minutes would not have been a problem, but as it was we had to leave with our glasses half empty (or half full).

When we got to the restaurant they apologised and said it would be another 15 minutes. So what did we do? We ran back to the pub to reclaim our half-finished drinks. Chavtastic!

Then we ate pizza, which was fabbity-fab and well worth the extra 15 minutes wait. Of course, we could have shared a pizza… but we managed to eat the toppings (the best bit) and have plans to go back for the Banoffee Pizza – a concoction of banana and toffee on a sweet pizza base.

Yes please!

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When I am old I shall wear purple

I’ve decided to dedicate this blog to my grandma. She really is a marvel and an inspiration to us all. She’s 89 in June and, because of the steep hill where my parents live, is pretty much housebound. Her balance is poor and she can’t use her triangular walker on the hill so unless one of us drives her to the centre, which is flat, she can’t go out.

However, she’s always positive, no matter what. If you ask her how she is, she usually replies “Oh I can’t complain, I’ve got my health and my wonderful family, I’m really very lucky.”

It makes you realise that you need to make the most of life and appreciate what you have. She’s got some wonderful stories about when she went trekking in the Himalayas, her life as a midwife and the many travels she did by herself after she was widowed in 1987.

So I’m taking a leaf out of my grandma’s book and appreciating what I have.

To do this, I threw away a load of crap that I don’t want/need. Most of it will go to the charity shop, so hopefully someone else will enjoy my old rubbish. I also packed up all my ‘house’ stuff into two boxes and put them in my parents’ loft. I’m desperate to finally get to use my spotty things, but don’t want to risk them getting broken in a shared house. This gives me more room for all the new clothes I bought this weekend.

I even managed to be positive about the vile weather we’re having – we needed water after all (hosepipe ban? HA!), I didn’t have to go out in it and hopefully tomorrow it won’t rain so I can wear my suede boots,

Everyone’s saying I’m a much nicer person recently but all I hope is that when I’m nearly 90 I’ll be able to say that I’m healthy and happy, surrounded by people who love me.

If this video doesn’t make you smile, then you’re dead inside!

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Food for thought

For a 3 day week I’ve been a busy bee – watching everything and everyone closely. As a writer, observation is crucial as anything could be a potential lead, give rise to a story or article. You see people who could easily be caricatured for a book, overhear anecdotes you’ll treasure forever and share moments with fellow passengers. I hate to admit it, but there are good sides to commuting.

I was eavesdropping on the train and overheard a man explaining to his friend how he and his wife weren’t having children. He wanted them, but she didn’t… yet. He loved her so much, that he was sacrificing his dream to be a daddy. It really made me think. Yes, I want kids – some day – but people who don’t want children shouldn’t be judged. There are so many unwanted children in the world that it’s good if people who don’t want them, don’t have them.

In the Evening Standard yesterday, there was an article about poor children going to school starving. It really touched my heart. I needed to get involved. I’ve spent most of my life battling with food, obsessing over it, avoiding it and using it as both a punishment and a reward. These children have nothing.

I’ve offered my support to Kids Company and am going to see about volunteering when I have days off; they will also be my charity for any races I undertake this year.

I love children and they all deserve a good start in life. I know what it’s like to be hungry: you’re tired and grumpy and you just can’t concentrate. Donating money’s all very well, but I want to be useful and see the effects first hand.

Someone suggested I ran for NEDA, but I don’t think it’s a good idea. Yes they deserve support, but I’m trying to forget that part of my life and move on. It’s always going to be there lingering, but my time should go to those that are suffering undeservedly and have no choice.

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7.45am – A man in a suit walks past me, turns and says “That’s a great book – are you enjoying it?”

8.45am (Westminster) – Someone blocks the staircase and everyone starts tutting and rolling their eyes.

5pm (Upton Park) – Mark Noble briefly chats about why I’m being filmed outside the West Ham stadium.

5.40pm (Victoria) – Eight Americans in convoy, with at least one huge suitcase each, get in everyone’s way as they have been waiting for a tube that has room for them for over half an hour… they were still waiting as I squeezed onto the tube.

5.50pm (Embankment) – A man wearing a Baby on Board badge(?) gives me his seat on the tube.

6pm (Temple) – Market stall owner struts up and down offering fresh fruit and vegetables whilst parading the fact that he is scratching his balls.


The sample sale at work – I bought £35 worth of stuff for £2

A telegraph pole painted brown with fake branches and leaves on it

Strawberry and white chocolate popcorn from M&S.

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