Should I Hibernate?

As the nights draw in and the weather begins to work against every new hairstyle you attempt, my (still very single) mind turns to how I will spend the darkest months. It  seems as though everyone is coupling up, as though the north with doth blow and we shall have  snow and I will die alone when the heating fails because everyone I know is under a blanket by a log fire with someone they love. The beginning of winter signals the arrival of four months of cold nights and short days. We bid tearful farewell to the days of beer gardens and sun soaked lunches with friends are long gone, because why brave wind and rain for a pint when you can stay in with red wine and Netflix?

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In truth, I adore winter there’s something about wrapping up against the cold in layers and topping everything off with a time of year themed coffee beverage that shits all over sweating and shaving all summer. My skimpy summer dresses have been exiled to the loft as I welcome back my cold month cosies back to my wardrobe with open arms. Oh oversized cashmere jumper and  leggings, how I have missed you. I have to say I really love winter fashion but don’t get me wrong I’m devastated to have said goodbye to my bright prints, outrageous clashing and the ability to wear a bikini top in lieu of a bra. With winter comes velvet, the most glorious of winter fabrics, the simple fabric that turns a navy dress into the perfect post work drinks outfit. Blacks are back.  It is now completely acceptable to wear an outfit without a splash of color and I love it and its so chic!

A friend recently wrote a blog on the power of an all black outfit (http://www.thefbombblog.com/#!Back-to-Black/c1w7u/8EE83955-1B15-4355-B43D-0CD19BAAE658)

There is also a lot to be said about the party season, sequins are still here and they will not be banished. I love the glamour of winter, the (faux) fur coats, the sparkly chandelier earrings, the fact that dark lipsticks during the day are not only acceptable but celebrated.

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It’s the time of year for hot soups and hearty stews and endless roast potatoes and I love it. But winter is a cruel mistress; for every charity shop jumper, there is having to watch couples Christmas shopping in town. For every pumpkin spiced latte there is forgetting how to use the damn heating. We must take care of ourselves this time of year, make time for a hot bath with a glass of red (Oh Merlot, how I’ve missed your caress). My first post back in March, I was writing to get over some moron who crossed me; I referenced Bridget Jones then, and I’ll do it again now. That gorgeous moment when she runs out in her pants and gets wrapped up in Mr D’Arcy’s coat and you die inside. Yeh that. I feel like that’s what every couple does instead of a peck on the cheek in wintertime. The smug winter advertising about what you and your loved one will gorge yourselves on as you wear matching jumpers while sequinned confetti rains down on your perfectly laid dinner table. The emotional blackmail from supermarkets. Its a confusing time of year for singletons, while wrapped happily in the warm embrace of winter’s blend of warm smells enjoying the spices that the approach to Christmas reintroduce onto our pallets to; we remember the couples’ playground that is winter wonderland. The couples on ice rinks holding hands and laughing as you trip them up with a stray limb and curse as you avoid slicing apart their smug fingers.

 

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I feel constantly between moments of solitary bliss,  wrapped up cosy on the sofa, Sex and the city filling in the silence in the background, watching Carrie struggle with having landed an amazing book deal but suffers from a total lack of love life and feeling like I know what its like! Standing on a dark platform as the mist makes way for the rain but getting to work and having gourmet chocolate waiting on my desk. How do I feel? I honestly can’t decide! Winter is the pull of a cracker; a loud bang, secreted in one half festive novelty fun, the other a lonely cardboard cylinder of nothingness. So dark. So bleak. But all is by no means lost, the festive season brings delicious treats with which to quell the fires of anger. I’m talking hot chocolate, cinnamon pretzels, freshly made chilli chicken wraps warming your fingers as you peruse tiffin at Borough Market. Warm your belly on that crowded, damp train home with a warm coffee beverage laced with spices and sugar. Winter is for dinner parties and wine and catching up with old friends and eating too much cheese. Sure many of us may be facing the bleak wilderness of singledom, some are seasoned pros, others left out in the cold, others throwing their arms out to the open sky with the glee that comes with new found freedom. Many things are uncertain, will we ever go a whole day without having to hoist the crotch of our tights away from your knees? Will I ever bring my useless tiny umbrella on days when I actually need it? Will I ever see the sun again?

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Girls…Please

Many moons ago, in my first year of uni, I was all about the heels and the dresses. Night after night I would go out dressed to the nines, wearing heels that made me look like an unsteady baby giraffe and more make up than you could shake a packet of face wipes at, only to inevitably come home, shoes in one hand, wadge of toilet roll in the other desperately trying to mop up the tequila and shame from my skirt. These nights out were a meat market, a cat walk without the glamour, during which time the sole aim was to be considered ‘fit’ by the dribbling masses slurring into their jagerbombs and forgetting your name every ten seconds. I shiver now when I think of the money I spent on these dresses, the time I wasted convincing myself that I would totally wear those heels all the time and the smiles and fake laughs I wasted on those mugs in the smoking area who didn’t give a fuck what your favorite Kubrick film was as long as they could tongue you.  I remember the significance those nights out had, how important it was to look good, to look like everyone else, to dare to wear the tiniest skirt, the highest heels, to pull off that quiff and why? Because it gave you some sense of self, some evidence that you exist in the eyes of others, and you know, since I stopped giving a shit, more people have been interested in talking to me. Gone is the girl who would get too drunk smile and laugh and play along, she has long since been replaced with a more superior model; the girl who is quicker than you, funnier than you and can take an insult better than you. Beware, females, your doe lashes and hair extensions will only take you so far, but what happens when they come off and all you have is you, and you’ve forgotten how.

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As I take the final pull on my cigarette before extinguishing it against the side of TGI Fridays, I see the hoards of girls begin to flock by in a milee of tiny skirts, huge coifs and heels that could kill a man. Inside ten female traipse in, each wearing heels and dresses that would make a drag queen blush. There is a sense of competition in the air as she who dares will surely be carried off over the shoulder of some hulking rugby player who has replaced his brains with biceps and foregone having a neck in favor of having pecks like dinner plates. This competition is at the centre of it all, the push up bras, the heels, the holding in tights, the false eyelashes, the mesh skirts, the see-through tops. I saw a girl wearing a white pencil skirt which was all but see-through throw shade at this girl for wearing a tiny black dress displaying both T and A. Hilarious, pot kettle slut! This is it though, these girls are going out dressed like they’re going to some horrendous TOWIE party, they work all week in jobs they hate, developing no real interests or hobbies focusing everything they are on how they look, the clothes they wear, the next color to dye their hair and literally living for the two nights a week they can put on a costume and pretend to be like the people they see on these horrendous shows (The Kardashians, Jersey Shore, The Valleys) when these people do fuck all with their lives. Oh look, Kim Kardashian posted another selfie online, why? Because she has no fucking life, she spends money, she has her picture taken and she goes home wondering why she still feels empty inside even though there is a generation of girls coming who want to be just like her. Forget Ellen Page and Michelle Obama because Jordan just released another autobiography about her life, oh, Emma Watson did a nice speech at the UN, that’s cute but look Rita Ora just dyed her hair pink, I wonder if  I could pull that off.

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Meanwhile, in my leggings and t shirt I tuck into a burger the size of my head, having already tucked into two starters waiting for the rest of the group to arrive, I have no shame. We all meet for dinner and head our separate ways to get ready for our friends’ birthday night out, for some this means taking out the rollers they wore at dinner, applying fake tan and picking one of the ten dresses they brought to wear. For me it meant having a shower, sticking me face on (and attempting contouring) and pulling on my jeans and top. Boom. Low maintenance. Ready. I even have time to roll a joint which I will share with the only guy in the group before we brave the land of spanx and blisters.

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As we head out, most are already drunk, girls walking around looking like Bambi on ice in heels that will doubtless be worn for an hour to deliver maximum effect when strutting into that first bar, to show in the split second that less than half the eyes in the place will be on you, that you take care of yourself, you make an effort, you’re a hottie.  Meanwhile, yours truly draws looks all night wearing black jeans, doc martens and a  nondescript black strap top. How upsetting for those who spent hours on their hair and make up to be ignored in favour for she who made the most minimal effort possible, and isn’t even remotely drunk when she cracks out her best grunge dance moves (all knees and face). I should point out now that it is not everyone’s fault that they are so drunk, the drinks in Swansea are hilariously cheap, at one bar I got a sizable cocktail for £6, a tequila for £2 and a Disaronno Cranberry for £3, so its no surprise that at one point I see a woman in a pencil skirt cuffed and escorted by police still holding her stilettos.  Also, tits. Tits everywhere in Swansea, little tits shown off with a plunging neckline in a backless number, tits propped up by so much foam they’re popping out of the tops these girls shouldn’t even bother to wear and the sheer amount of fake tits about was staggering. The rest of the night was harmonious, we kept to ourselves, danced like we were the Supremes, Michael Jackson and Beyonce all rolled into one. One of the girls in heels disappeared and returned triumphant and smug in flip flops and I have never been so proud.  It was traumatic for me to be confronted with the types of people I thought ceased to exist after 2009, but I feel secure in the knowledge that eventually they will go, fuck this, catapult their spanx out the window and opt for something comfy and let themselves be themselves rather than the girl who’s face they put on to go out in.

 

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Bestival 2014 “Survival” Tips

As summer merges into autumn and bikini panic begins to ebb away along with the cares you had about your ever growing leg hair, the strange month of September rolls around, signalling the end of Summer. A time which over the years has had so much significance now does nothing to remind you that you know longer have Summer Holidays and are a fully fledged adult. This time signals the end of summer festivals and daytime drinking and reminds us that the sun cannot last forever…But just when you thought it was all over, the last festival of the season approaches with gathering speed. Thanks to the genius that is Rob Da Bank and his empire, Sunday Best, we are lucky enough to have Bestival. For four days Robin Hill Park on the Isle of Wight is overrun with nutters dressed up to the nines and dancing their little wellies off to some of the biggest names in music at the UKs biggest fancy dress party. And there are only two days to go!!

 

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Now, at some point, everyone has to lose their Festivirginity, and I am no different, I spent weeks before Bestival 2013 googling ‘Festival Survival Tips’ and honestly, its not about surviving, its about giving in to fun for four straight days, dancing your little socks off and wearing more glitter than you could shake a Drag Queen at! So here are my three top tips for the Best(ival)

  1. Stop giving a shit about needing to shit. Yes its number one on my list (hilarious) and it seems it is the thing that bothers festival goers the most. So let me lay it out on the line for you. You will wait awkwardly in line to take a shit in a foul porta-loo. There will be pee on the floor and the seat, you may even find a little excrement art to admire while you do your thing. You will then come out into what will hopefully be glorious sunshine looking a little ashamed. But so does everyone else, so don’t worry about it. Everybody Poops, and it is never more apparent than at a festival. Just deal with it. TOP TIP: There are sawdust toilets in less crowded areas where you take a cup of sawdust in to cover your business like a cat, fun and eco-friendly, what could be better!
  2. Make friends. Everyone is there to have fun, get fucked up and dance like a lunatic, so make friends with your camping neighbors because in the battlefield that is the campsite, its always worth having an ally to watch your shit. TOP TIP: give them a ciggie or a toke, offer a beer or some brioche, do their glitter for them and help them set up camp, because when you stumble into the wrong tent at 4am in a whirlwind of beer farts and sequins, its better to have someone say “oh babe, fucked it”, than “get the fuck out”.
  3. Do not as “is this too much”. Bestival is, as I said, the UKs biggest fancy dress party, you are there to be outlandish and look fabulous. Plus, I have a theory; after four days of sweating and smoking you will stink, your hair will be greasy and your skin will suck, therefore we plaster ourselves in more and more glitter, wear flowers in our hair and wear ridiculous clothes to mask our putrid scent. Don’t worry, its not just you. Plus with its own carnival style parade, you will never be the sparkliest girl at the party. TOP TIP: Use vaseline to secure glitter, comes right off with a face wipe and keeps you well moisturised. Use eyelash glue for pompoms, feathers and gems (you’re welcome)

Thats it. Go out and have fun.

Oh, and if you see some fuckhead wearing this, you found me!

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My Preciouses

Oh my god it is beautiful. It is the most glorious thing I have ever seen in my life, I need it to complete my soul and cement my happiness… this bag shall rule over all of the other bags. Turquoise leather with a large leopard print pony skin panel and a removable strap made of chain and leather, it is truly a thing of substantial caliber. My heart race increases as I click on it, choosing it alone  from among the ranks of  lowly polyester blended tat, all neatly presented in tile formation across my screen. It has become clear to me by now that this gorgeous little piece would go with anything, smart, casual, fancy dress it would go, I just know it. My palms perspire as I click the add to bag button… the items in there have a total cost of £177. A dress with a thick petticoat layer in a neon tribal print at £98 tops the list, a moment of weakness…deleted. A Boy London T-shirt at £49….gone. All that remains is you, sweet bag, you alone are destined for a place in my life.  You alone have been chosen to join my celestial collection of eclectic accessories; the illustrious holographic clutch, the renowned Vintage Mulberry, the splendid silver glittery round shoulder bag and the ridiculous menagerie of enormous earrings. For all of them I fought to resist, fought to remain abstinent from shopping, spending, going on a…..a spree.

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Two words that will get us more worked up than finding an oiled up Channing Tatum waiting for us in the shower are “Shopping Spree”. Our pupils dilate, we take a shallow, faltering breath, we grip the edges of our laptops and think of England as we prepare to hit that “Pay Now Securely” button and ready ourselves for our ecstasy comes to an exultant climax. But there’s a problem… its slap bang in the middle of the month..and you are, once more, poor as shit til pay day. Alas, the collection you have built up in that online shopping basket over the last hour or so cannot be yours. After all you had that night out at the weekend, you bought that book that you probably won’t have time to read, that lunch last week when you forgot to prepare anything at home, not to mention your Gym Membership and Phone Contract. God damn our incredible ability to spend faster than we save.  But its so EASY, you click a little button here, tick a box there and two passwords later you’ve spent £45 on a pair of novelty sunglasses with flamingos on them, a T-Shirt featuring a cat pun and a scarf you don’t actually even like that much. I mean obviously we all forget our passwords here and there and end up having to use CAPS LOCK, symbols, numbers, the Deathly Hallows and the One Ring to create a new one. Now, as much as this is a total ball-ache, it does often somehow manage to deter me from my spending habits, slowing down the depletion of my bank balance to a rate I can almost keep up with. But there are times when you will find something in particular, be it a book, a dress, a rare original DC Print of Jennifer Walters mid-transformation (She-Hulk for you non-nerds out there), you end up like Gollum, rubbing your hands together, eyes like saucers whispering “I must have the precious” to yourself over and over again. Sure, every few seconds you will come to and realize that you have none of the money, and should probably ignore this absolute diamond for the sake of your future self who will want a beautiful pair of limited edition Irregular Choice Sequinned Kitten heels instead.

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So you force yourself to forget. It’s almost like a breakup because you had your sights set on a beautiful future with your precious, you could see the photos together, the holidays you could go on, the compliments you would receive from envious party-goers. Due to internet ‘cookies’, you’ll see them everywhere you go, on the Facebook Sidebar, in the ads when you are trying to stream the latest episode of ‘Game of Thrones’ on your preferred pirating website (no judgement here, we all do it). Its painful seeing them out there in public as though nothing has changed between you, acting nonchalant when all you want is to scoop them up into your open arms and never let them go. You clear your cookies, and your internet history for good measure. ‘Just forget about it’, your mind says, but your heart can’t let go just yet. You find yourself creeping back to ASOS.com just for a look, just to see if the price has dropped, whether there are any left in stock. Of  course there they are, looking as glamorous as ever, surrounded by their mediocre friends who make them look even better than before.  Eventually the memories fade, and life moves on, you find yourself taking joy in all things free; walks in the park, sunshine and birdsong, dinner with friends. One fateful day you brave checking your bank balance and find a TRIPLE DIGIT for the first time in weeks, and all hell is about to break lose. You have no option… you …. must… SPEND.

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So you make a day of it. You pick Saturday (just like everyone else) to go out armed with your smallest shoulder bag (room for key, phone, card and fags only), flat shoes and sharpened elbows ready to give a bitch a black eye if she even touches that clutch bag before you get there. You arrive in your local town center and one of two things will happen. Either you will go out and all your shopping dreams will come true, you will find endless bargains, that vintage shop will have a 1950s velvet prom dress made for you, there will be a sale on at Topshop and only YOUR size is left and you will get so many taster samples of food that you skip lunch and spend the money on shoes. Alternatively nothing will fit and the one thing that does is a totally ludicrous neon orange neoprene playsuit with scuba zip detailing which you would probably buy, wear once and regret it so much you donate it to a local charity shop where some crazy old lady will buy it and wear it in the streets with her pink dyed hair and her enormous 90s platform trainers asking for spare change to feed her thousands of cats. There is no rhyme or reason to a bad shopping day, but it can happen to the best of us, just remember, with that failure comes the promise of a better run next time, with double the budget (YAAAAY). People may say that society is becoming increasingly materialistic, and honestly I’m inclined to agree. As Carrie Bradshaw once said “I like my money right where I can see it… Hanging in my closet”.     It is true that money can’t buy you happiness, but it can buy you lots and lots of shoes and bags and shit, and that’s a good start.

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