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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One Night Stands

Its coming, the weather is hotting up, the skirts are getting shorter, the tops are getting plungier and the hedonistic nature in all of us is effervescing away beneath the surface waiting to burst forth in a wave of skin revealing revelry. Summer. The time of year where the youth of the day return to a primordial state where the smell of sunscreen, sweat and hair products propels the masses into a frenzy of sloppy tonguing sessions and even sloppier sex. We abandon ourselves to our baser instincts, summer is prime time for one night stands and I am here to tell you the DO’s and DON’Ts of this oh so special of occasions.

First things first, if you don’t use a condom when bonking a stranger, you are essentially a vile slut who doesn’t care if she catches every STD under the sun. This goes for boys and girls, for both are sluts equally. Do not skip the rubber, you don’t know where Mr P has been, and you don’t know who has been visiting Mrs V, so why risk it. Better than to have to momentarily pause proceedings than have to call ever one of your sexual partners and explain that due to your foul sexual discrepancies, you may have given them herpes. The rule is essentially, if your partner doesn’t suggest the use of any sort of protection with you, the odds are they don’t use it with anyone. Bail.condom1

 

Now, the fun bits. One night stands are the perfect opportunity to try those weird sex tips your read in  magazines, or to try that thing you’ve always wanted to. For example, in my final year of uni, my sluttish behavior was at an all time high, I had a fire escape outside my room, which my bedroom window opened onto. I called it the balcony and it was a happening place. I therefore made it my mission to get laid on there at least once. And I did, with a total random, who was JUST terrible. Which brings me to do number two; always bring them back to yours. This means you have control of when your conquest vacates the premises; fire escape guy wanted to stay and cuddle (something I will literally never understand) so I had to deliver the classic line “oh shit, my boyfriend is coming home in like twenty minutes. You should go!” (scoffing quietly to myself at the idea of me having a boyfriend at all)  It is also the perfect time to be demanding. Once you know that bonking is on the cards, you can pretty much draw up a little contract in order to be fully satisfied, I once gave a guy actual rules before agreeing to sleep with him (which ended up being a three-hour romp, followed by wedding  jokes at breakfast with the rest of the group in the morning) Also, one night stands are prime time for hilarity; take the time to do something hilarious and socially inappropriate and create an urban myth that you know to be true. For example, I had one guy back and after thirty minutes of heavy petting he was still…..a little more Philadelphia than Parmesan in the penis department.  Anyway, I was drunk and intolerant and delivered the classic ultimatum “Babe, at this point, go hard or go home”…he went home and I passed out naked…again. Then there are those classic moments when you’ve drunkenly gotten naked with a friend with no real intention of actual penetration. This happened to me at uni and the pair of us ended up passing out au naturel. About an hour or so later, our mate came into my room (greeted by the sight of my bare ass) to get the guy to go back and smoke up at his place, and I (still in a naked drunken stupor)  could only repeat the words “Babe, just chill out, its fine”.  There are those moments when you both think you are porn stars and then catch sight of yourselves in the mirror and both have to take a second to laugh hysterically. There are those times when you take a mid-session break for a cigarette and end up performing a top-notch blow-job in the communal garden in full view of the upstairs neighbors… just cos. There are hilariously awkward moments, however. For example, I once ended up bedding my Uni’s water polo captain, who definitely forgot my name and just referred to me as  “Baby”, I have never been so pleased as when he got up and left in search of a kebab.

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Things to beware: Beware the “accidental slip”, we all know what I mean here, and there is a chance that in the fumble to pleasure you, your partner may have gotten too excited and popped something somewhere it doesn’t belong for a second or two, causing you to perform the gravity defying ‘gecko’ move up the nearest wall.  Beware Magic FM…Seriously, I remember ‘Careless Whisper’ coming on at 2am and being completely unable to continue, while my playmate thought it was the sexiest thing ever. I literally almost pee’d with laughter at how cheesy it was. Horrendous.  Beware volume control. There is nothing worse than hearing other people bumping uglies, honestly it isn’t ok, you end up feeling like some sort of aural voyeur because no matter what you do you can’t block out the sounds.Beware inequality; go tit for tat, if you go down for fifteen minutes, the favor should be returned…any guy who says anything pertaining to “I don’t do that” can suck your imaginary balls and get out of your bed.  Beware feelings. As I have said before, if your legs open faster than Google’s homepage, you are not girlfriend material…one night stands are called this because they have a very precise shelf life. You are not going to find ‘the one’ this way. What you will gain is confidence, skill, experience and fun. Try not to give a shit about reputation, because the only reason people will disapprove is if they aren’t getting laid or if one of you is cheating. Cheating is BAD. Do not get involved with ANYONE who is attached.

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The G Word

Our famed family includes Boudica, Cleopatra, Genghis Khan, Chuck Norris, David Bowie, Judy Garland, Mark Twain, Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tori Amos and Vincent Van Gough. The Ancient Greeks believed we would become vampires after death. In Ancient Egypt we were buried alive as sacrifices to the God Osiris. Studies have shown that we have more sex, require more anesthetic and are more likely to be stung by bees. We are redheads. I hear that sharp inhalation, I feel the air turn cold, breath turning foggy you pull your  Gingers….have no souls. We are mutants, our mutated MC1R gene which gives us our red hair, pale skin and freckles also gives us the super-ability to withstand much greater levels of pain than non-gingers. The Spanish describe us as ‘human unicorns’ because we are so rare. In the 90s, when I was a child, even the glory of Ginger Spice could not abate the teasing, everything from ‘carrot top’ to ‘ginger pubes’ was hurled my way, like verbal rocks thrown at a stray cat. Playground taunts are one thing, but there have been horrendous news stories about youths being stabbed for “being ginger”,  women sexually harassed for their hair colour and kids as young as 14 committing suicide because of the taunting he had to face every day.

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But, there are two sides to every story. Some of us spend years dying our hair, covering ourselves in foundation and bronzer in an attempt to hide our true nature, but it will always out in the end. My fiery temper has been harnessed now, but back in the day, my god I was like Phoenix from X-Men, just totally out of control. I would get into fights at school over the smallest thing. At home I once smashed a double glazed window during a tantrum. We have  a fire within us that, if it goes untamed, could consume everything within a ten mile radius. Mark Twain famously said “While the rest of the species is descended from apes, redheads are descended from cats”. We are a secretly smug race; eventually we develop an amazing sense of humor because we spent so long being victimized by the common blondes and brunettes. To be honest, I would much rather be seen as a soul stealing sex fiend than a supposedly dumb blonde or dull brunette. Holy shit we are vampires! It is hugely inconvenient that we are essentially cursed to wander the shadows for all of time; this weekend I was in my garden for an hour and a half in the sun. Burnt isn’t even the world, I am scorched, I’m talking full on lobster. And the best bit? People telling you how burnt you are…like you don’t know. Like holy shit I’m burnt? Are you sure? Because it could be something else that is literally searing my skin down to the bone. Oh this redness? No you’re right, I don’t look as pale as usual.

 

However, there is one thing about ginger skin which I actually really enjoy. Freckles. Freckles are fucking adorable, so much so that you don’t have to be ginger to have them, but if you are they look even cuter! Some say they are sun kisses, others that you get a freckle for every sin you commit…but for redheads its true what you’ve heard, for every soul we steal, we earn a freckle. Our comeuppance comes, however, when we get a spot, because you cover that bad-boy in concealer and BAM! One bit of your face is freckle-less and you can see it from fucking space. I do think that ginger boys have it harder than ginger girls, however.

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More and more these days, gingers are becoming the revered and idolized creatures they were always meant to be, from Jessica Rabbit to Peter Pan, Eddie Redmayne to Christina Hendricks, we are increasingly prevalent in pop culture. But we are a proud race, built to protect each other. I swear to god, we gingers are naturally attracted to each other. If I see a redheaded man in the street, there is always this exchange of looks, both of us wordlessly agreeing that we would have cosmic fiery children. Let’s just take a moment to enjoy the ridiculous, mythical beauty of ginger men, shall we?

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Sweet lord above, I thank you for these inconceivably gorgeous additions to the human race. May I live long enough to find myself a specimen with bountiful fervid locks and an enormous package with whom to spend the rest of my days in a dark room. I mean, if I had to pick, Michael Fassbender would win every single time without fail. He’s like a handsome shark, he’s just the right side of fierce and if you’ve seen Shame then you know that there is no way in hell he’d ever be a disappointment, if you catch my drift.

 

 

Food for thought (punches self in face)

Picture the scene, its been a long day, you make it home, and the house is warm, you go to the fridge….and nothing. Bare. A bleak white landscape stares back at you, the once bountiful land of nourishment has been ravished of its goodies, and you know who did it…..it was you. Hence you’ve been to Tesco’s and stocked up on the essentials, which for me are becoming more and more lavish the more I come to accept the fact that food is my boyfriend. Oh sweet harrissa hummus, oh glorious kettle chips and you, oh you my one my only entire packet of caramel chocolate digestives, life would be so much less wonderful without you constantly reminding me that everything will be fine.

Now I’ll be honest, your girl here used to be something of a porker, a lady of lardaceous tendencies, I discovered fairly early in life that my feelings are utterly ambrosial, so I would constantly chow down on delicious inadequacy, necterous anger and my personal favorite,scrumptious self loathing. Food and I have had a tumultuous time, my first year of Uni I lived opposite a Chippy and a Chinese restaurant, and having spent most of that (and the following two years) in a baked haze of gluttony, thought nothing of getting several meals there a week. But all changed when I realized how unhappy I was, and how much what I was eating affected that. Don’t get me wrong, I am not a glass of water and a house salad girl by any means, no no no don’t be so ridiculous, but I have learnt that I can eat absolutely anything I like without it having to be horrendously bad for me!

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It used to be that cooking was a chore, a means to an end, a ball ache; but, with shows like Masterchef and Bake Off creating a nation of out and proud food lovers our eating habits are coming out of the dim secretive light of the pantry and into the bright limelight of Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest. Glory be to the Hairy Bikers for showing us that food is sexy no matter who bastes the turkey in its own juices, (excuse me whilst I take my clothes off).It has been known for me to groan in a very inappropriate manner whilst watching back to back episodes of Man Vs Food, in which Adam Richman would take on huge food challenges, like the 190lb burger (be still my beating heart!) Interestingly, Adam has, since the show last aired in April 2011, lost 60lbs and the ladies who once flocked to watch him stuff his face with endless tasty morsels have now discovered that he isn’t as cute now that he looks like everyone else. My heart bleeds for you, Adam, truly it does.

Hairy Dieters Hairy Bikers man v food

For the last few years I have discovered that my kitchen is the heart of my home, it isn’t just where we cook and eat, its where we laugh, cry, sing, dance, share and welcome people into our lives. It has always been said that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, however I think that anyone anywhere can be won over with a good meal. The dinner table brings with it a chance to reflect, you share the buttery roast potatoes of life with you and yours, sure some people may prefer hot sauce to mayo, and arguments erupt at the table, but I know from experience, that any argument can be quelled by quietly putting on “I wanna know what love is” and letting the argument descend into the discussion thereof. Believe me, it has happened in my kitchen, talk went from “yes but you can’t tell me that you understand my financial circumstances” to “yes but what IS love” in about 45 seconds.

There is a saying in France (or so I’m told) ‘show me what you eat, I’ll tell you who you are’ and its so true. A question I have often asked new friends or potential love interests (which are virtually the same thing) is ‘what would you have for your last meal’ and its a question that everyone loves to answer. My personal favorite answer so far came from a man who said he would have a tomato salad, made with his mothers home grown tomatoes, which were always so delicious because she would frequently nourish them with her own piss.