Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Fan of Jan

So my last post was a bit miserable, wasn't it?

I'm actually enjoying January. Yesterday, when I noticed it was (what they're now calling) 'Blue Monday', I realised that I am generally feeling very upbeat about January. I think a bit of subconscious prepping in November and December has helped to make this month quite nice, along with with the sheen of newness that shimmers over cold, crisp mornings, and the wholesome simplicity of not drinking too much booze and sticking to a purse-friendly diet of soup, lentil curries and baked potatoes...

A few months ago I booked myself on to a tap dancing course that started last week. It's amazing. I went to see 42nd Street and was completely taken in by the MAGIC OF TAP-TA-DAH and thought I'd have a look online for local classes... I found one at a community college that was only £80 for 11 weeks of classes (one hour a week). And it turns out Briony has already done the course, so I knew it would be good. (She also lent me her tap shoes.)

I've only had two lessons and already it's my favourite part of the week. My brain is completely focused for an hour, because you have to concentrate on the steps. And it's such a mix of people, coming together, always a bit self-conscious for the first five minutes, and then we all get into it. This week I partnered up with a guy called John while the teacher tried to sort the music out, and we were supposed to practice in pairs. He adds little jumps and jazz hands to all the moves, and he said he's also having jazz singing classes, just because he fancied it.

It's a lot more enjoyable than that crazy ballet class I went to, where the teacher kept asking me difficult questions and getting annoyed. The tap teacher is lovely and when she asks the class the question (she would never ask individuals a question like the bitchy ballet guy), if we're slow to answer she's says "There's no trick questions guys, it's ok."

I've also got trips to the ballet and to Hamilton to look forward to, although the seats I booked at the ballet are actually a bench, they're the cheapest seats I've ever had so we'll see if they're ok or not. I don't mind sitting up in the gods but I'm worried I might have booked seats against a wall behind a pillar or something.

Also cheering me up this month are the gold boots I bought in the sale. I wanted metallic gold boots for about six months, and then I saw a lovely pair in Anthropologie for about a million pounds. I tried to find a cheaper version and came across the Dune ones online - but there still £90. Low and behold on Boxing Day I checked online again and they were £45. I love them. It sounds simplistic but putting them in the morning makes it feel like it's an extra special day.

I've just realised all these things are about money, but what can I say? Only rich people will tell you money won't make you happy. I'm finally on a wage where I can afford to have tap dancing classes, and go to the theatre, and go food shopping whenever I need to, and wear glittery gold boots whenever I like. And it's made January very nice indeed.

Friday, 12 January 2018

Well well well

So I should probably stop promising to blog more, as I clearly am not up to it.

I wonder if maybe, during my three years in Paris, I was just a stunted teenager and so was still wrapped up in my own teenage self-involvement, and so that's how I was able to blog about my nights out and nights babysitting and thoughts on world events and such, whereas now I am a Mature Lady (28 and counting) I'm cripplingly self-conscious when it comes to my own writing.

Even if I try and write stuff for myself, that I know will never go on the internet, it just seems pointless. Everything's already been written, or people are writing it now. Every subject has already been talked about, or people are discussing it now.

I think about my ideas for short stories and novels constantly, but I've stopped writing them down. I work longer hours now, and have so much to do at the weekends. I guess this is the point where determined writers break free from the millions and millions of people who say 'I've got this idea for a novel' and actually make it as writers.

My cousin has self-published her children's book, it's beautiful. She's one of those people who will make things happen, whereas I say I will all the time and then never get round to it.

I'm not feeling sorry for myself, I'm just writing by the way. I was about to qualify that but if I have to explain the purpose of each blog post I start then I really will never get back into blogging. I mean I don't know if I do want to get back in blogging. I had the idea to maybe record some of my posts as a podcast, but I probably won't.

Maybe I'm just so negative because I'm a bit ill at the moment. I haven't had a cold for literally years, so it's taken me by surprise. I've also had tinnitus and vertigo, which is shit. That's loud buzzing, roaring and pitches in your ears and getting dizzy and losing your balance, if you don't know.

Whenever I've been ill in the past it's just gone away eventually, but I had this a few years ago and it went away and now it's back so should probably sort it out.

I don't know why I'm so miserable. I read a book about Paris during the war recently, it is a truly horrific but essential read - Les Parisiennes: How the Women of Paris Lived, Loved and Died in the 1940s by Anne Sebba. (Review here - but I disagree with the last sentence of the review which, incidentally, is about the last sentence of the book. The reviewer says the author should have passed judgement on those who collaborated. As you read the book it becomes very clear that the author dislikes most of the collaborators... by which we're talking about people who actively helped the Nazis rather than young women who slept with young German soldiers, either for love or food, and after the war, had their heads shaved and were stripped in the streets by angry mobs who in the large part and done nothing to resist the occupation and yet, once France was liberated, took all their rage out on young women. I was also shocked by what happened to camp survivors when they returned to France. We all need to read books like this so that as a collective we never forget and we are alway ready to stop it from happening again.)

For a few days afterwards I felt glad just to be alive and safe.

My new job is going well. I really wasn't sure at first. The first two weeks, the run-up to Christmas, were so quiet that I panicked I'd made the wrong decision. I was getting to work on bigger projects at my old job and now I'm doing random internal communications for tobacco companies.

But then I realised there was nothing better about writing fashion-focused copy for a designer outlet brand, or chocolate brands which is what I was doing just before I left. It's all just meaningless shit that I get paid to do, and now I get paid a lot more so I can go to the theatre more and maybe more of the places I've always wanted to visit.

God this is miserable. I'm not even going to add a song to end on, my left ear sounds like a speaker plugged into a laptop, volume turned up but no track selected, so just wavering static blasting out.

Please buy my cousin's book though if you'd like a children's story about the outdoors. It's about a little girl who lives in the Lake District, and goes off exploring in the wilds...

Take a look on Amazon here.

(Someone has written a negative review about the grammar in the blurb, my cousin is dyslexic and she must have written it in a rush, ignore that because it is a lovely story! EDIT Looked at that reviewer's other reviews and they are just a miserable moany Amazon reviewer, who hates everything!)

Friday, 1 December 2017

Last Day

I can't believe I'm up and typing at 8.30am. Last night was my leaving drinks thing at work - my last day in the office. The leaving drinks weren't actually too heavy. I got very very drunk last Friday with people from work, and the next day felt really guilty about drinking so excessively and ruining my weekend. (I couldn't move from my bed until late afternoon, and I had to plan a barre class I'd booked so they charged me £12! Such a waste of money/time/electrolytes.)

So yesterday I decided not to get horrifically drunk, and I'm so glad I didn't! I left at about 11pm, most of my team had left and I was a bit hungry, also the office security guard had kept my flowers and leaving present behind his desk for me but was very insistent that I collect it at half eleven/quarter to twelve as he doesn't like 'opening the door to people' after midnight even though he is a 24hr security guard! To be fair neither would I. It's dark and scary out there, whether you're a heavy-set security guard or not. (I know I'm going wildly off-topic, but his sign 'Security guard on patrol call this number' really makes me laugh, as surely he just having a wee rather than wandering up and down the five empty floors. If he doesn't want to open the door after midnight, to employees, I can't imagine him investigating weird noises and poking around in dark corners.)

What was I even talking about?

My last day. I felt like it was a weird anti-birthday - everyone wants to celebrate you and get you drunk, but they're not happy about it. We went for pizza and cocktails at lunch to this place called Maverick in Victoria (where our office is) and I would recommend it, especially as Victoria can be really lifeless, and it's mainly chain restaurants there. The woman who owned it (I assumed, maybe she was just a great manager) was so lovely - as I left she said 'Are you leaving, was this for you?' and I said yes and she said 'When one door closes another opens, you have all these lovely friends and now you can move on and still be in touch and make more'. The pizza and cocktails were great too. I had a gin martini in an effort to avoid a hangover this morning, but later on there was only wine or beer to start with at the leaving drinks so I switched to wine and ruined that plan.

Although I feel ok. And I don't feel sad really, I guess because it hasn't sunk in. There are people I will really, really miss and I don't think I'll realise until I've been at my new job for a while. I've never actually left an office job before but people do seem to keep in touch. I kept in touch with people from the restaurant in Paris, but we've recently lost touch I think. I actually didn't think of that when I deleted my Facebook.

I mean I'm not going to go on and on about my last day in the office, but I will say that I think I did a good job on my leaving speech. People came up to me and said it was the best leaving speech they'd heard. It got a laugh, which is good. I was worried people would take it the wrong way. You can have it if you like:

When you're a copywriter, people really analyse your words. So I'm not going to say too many.

It's been lovely. And I'm really sad to go. (Dramatic pause)

But I'm not sad enough to stay. Cheers!

Right, going to have a brew now. I might talk more about my last day as I think starting a new job is quite a good topic to get me back into blogging regularly. TTFN. Also. TGIF. Me and Lauren are having a Christmas shopping day today and getting a tree. Can you hear sleigh bells ringing?

Friday, 10 November 2017

New Job

I handed my notice in! Exciting. I didn't know if 'hand your notice in' was just a phrase, or if you actually had to hand a piece of paper in. I've never done it before. I've either had a job that ended at a certain point anyway (au pairing, teaching etc.) or if I've been a waitress or working behind a bar, I've just had a chat with the manager to say I'm not coming back.

Actually I have handed a notice in before. Just remembered when I was 16 and worked in Superdrug, and my mum and her-then husband booked for us to go to Lanzarote over Christmas. They said I couldn't take the time off, so I scribbled a note saying I wasn't going back and left it on the counter for the manager. 

My friend who still worked there said they never found it, and kept asking her why I was missing my shifts.

Anyway this time I printed off an actual template from Monster (the job searching site). You just fill in the details like name, dates etc. I stupidly left the Monster logo on the bottom of it, which was confusing for all.

It went ok actually. My boss said a few snide things about how I'm going to work for a company that has tobacco clients (it's not advertising, it's in-store stuff, so the creative concepts they do are always for tobacconist shops or the section where you buy fags in duty free. I'm not evil am I? I don't know).

But then someone quite high up, a director who is really nice to everyone, took me for a coffee and said was there anything they could do to keep me. I have to say it is very flattering, once you've told work you're leaving and they want you to stay. But why can't they let you know how much they appreciate you before you want to leave?

If anyone's reading this, thinking 'you're a whinging ungrateful millennial' - go and fuck yourself. I've been working since I was 15 and I'll be working until well into my 80s, probably. So don't begrudge me a little change in my career once in a while.

I read an article in the Evening Standard magazine (which I secretly enjoy even though the paper it is owned by is a Tory rag), they were talking about how 'millennials' flit from job to job for better benefits like beer on Fridays, and fun music in the office...

The journalist clearly only spoke to their friends' posh, financially-supported children, as I don't know anyone who would risk their job over such FRIVOLITIES.

I am really sad to leave now, and part of me wishes things hadn't being going so well recently, as then I wouldn't need to feel guilty at all. But although I've been working with different people in the last few months, on exciting projects, and the two managers who were bitches to me at the beginning of the year are now being all sweetness and light, I have to remember that things were bad before - and the thing that has made me much more confident has been going to interviews and thinking about new jobs.


I am definitely not staying in the old job! I am moving onwards and potentially upwards!

I start on 4 December, which is a good time to start - Christmas season and all that.

I"m feeling Christmassy already.

Me, my brother Rory and our three cousins, plus two of their boyfriends and baby Aurora, are staying in static caravans 10 minutes from mum's house as there wasn't enough room - my gran, aunty and uncle are staying there.

It will be so fun!!!

We're going to decorate the caravans with tinsel and I can live out my culture-appropriating daydream of being a fully-fledged Traveller. Although, as I'm sure I don't need to remind any old readers who are still here, I found out that we are only a few generations from being Travellers - both sides of my Great Grandma were 'horse people', one had a travelling circus and the other family were travelling horse tradesmen. So there!

Monday, 30 October 2017

Giving Notice


It looks like I am getting a new job. Waiting for them to send over the contract tomorrow.

People are dressing up for Halloween and I'm going to wear my cloak. Imagine if I handed my notice in while wearing my cloak?


I don't think I'll get the contract through until the end of the day, so I won't be handing my notice until Wednesday... I'm a bit scared actually. I feel really bad as everyone's been nice recently, but not bad enough to stay.

I'll let you know what happens!!

Saturday, 16 September 2017


So I have a work dilemma, kind of.

I guess it's a career dilemma but I don't like talking about 'my career'. It sounds like I'm about to throw you under a bus (metaphorically speaking*) in a cutthroat office environment, and I'm not even sorry because I have to think about my career...

And before you suggest I'm uncomfortable with the term career because I associate it with men and I don't think I deserve a man's success, that's not it.

Some of my friends who are girls (that's most of them) definitely have 'careers'. I wouldn't blink if they talked to me about their plans 'to progress their career', or making decisions based on what's best for their career.

I just don't like the idea of it for myself. I'd rather concentrate on each job as it comes, and obviously I know that doing well in each job will have a positive effect on Future Me, but I've never made plans and so far it's worked out very well.

When you make a plan for the future, you commit to one option, out of literally thousands. Moving to Paris was a plan I made about ten months in advance, maybe a year in advance. But imagine if I'd planned to leave Paris after my first year as an au pair?


Shut up.

My dilemma.

So, at the moment this is completely theoretical as I haven't got a new job yet. But I had an interview last week and it went really well. They want to take me out for a drink next week to see what I'm like as a person in a non-interview situation. (Although obviously I will be treating it like an interview, don't worry, I won't get drunk and start talking about how I don't think of myself as a Career Person.)

Amy, who works in recruitment now (after hating it at first, she's now realised she's exceptionally good at it, as she's a refreshingly lovely person in a world filled with aggressive, impersonal recruiters) said people only ask candidates for drinks when they're pretty keen to hire you.

The people I met in my interview seem really nice, and they are kind of desperate for a copywriter. It would be a really good opportunity for me to come in and play a huge part in them winning new pitches and selling in new ideas to their existing clients.

It's also quite a bit more money. I'm not obsessed with money, but it would be nice to jump my salary up, because - well, because it's always nice to have more money for trips away/theatre tickets/paying off debts etc.

If I get offered the job, my only reservation would be that my current agency would be left in a really shitty position. We're in the middle of a massive project, and I've done most of the copy for it already, but I guess they'd like me to see it through and the client has gotten to know me as the copywriter.

The project itself is great, and I should be really excited about it. But...

I don't know.

I've been working on the same client for three and a half years. I'm bored and nothing ever changes. Also, a few months ago, my manager told me I was bad at presenting and that there was 'a negative opinion of me' (she gave no context and no examples). At the time I'd never really presented to anyone, and I thought I got on with everyone, so it was a really weird thing to say. Since then, our boss (as in the boss who rules over all of us, including all the managers), asked me to present to the client and I think I've proved I'm really good at it. (I did Drama at uni for three years and taught in Paris, so if I'm not good at presenting what the fuck have I been doing for most of my life?)

But it doesn't make me think 'wow I've finally proved her wrong'. I just think 'what a ridiculous way to manage people'. I hope in the future she doesn't write people off so quickly and also that she doesn't give people personal feedback, as it really upset me and knocked my confidence.

So it's all going well at the moment, but I was SO miserable a few months ago, and things have gone well before and then we'll have a lull. When I'm not doing projects with our Big Boss, or other teams within the agency, I'm back to doing the same old shit I've been doing for three years. And it's hard to go back and forth between being involved in strategy, and presenting, to then have everyone discussing my copy without me in the room, and not listening to me when I try to voice my opinion.

It's just so weird how it gets really good and really bad again, and this job has come up and they said in my interview that the recruiter called me 'a real gem' and they agreed with him.

So in terms of my ego being boosted, it was a great interview. I feel like at this new agency I would have the chance to be myself, and I'd have permission to be my best self all the time (yeah, I use 'my best self' quite a lot now, sometimes tongue-in-cheek, sometimes in earnest).

And also, not that I care about having a career, but if I did, this would be like taking the next step.


Is it crazy to leave in the middle of a big project? Is it frowned upon? Is it bad karma? Am I being a horrible person?

I need answers. I'm seriously considering writing in to a newspaper agony aunt or something, as all my friends obviously think I'm a nice person. But what if a complete stranger looks at this objectively and says 'That would be the move of a dickhead'?


I don't know.

This is why it's best not to have a career.

*To any of my non-English readers (it could well be just me and Amy reading Left Bank Manc at this point, but you never know, an Austrian girl Googling 'au pair life' might stumble across my blog and so this note is for her): 'to throw one under a bus' is a great phrase. I won't explain what it means as then I'd have to explain every colloquial phrase I've ever used, or worse, every turn of phrase I've completely made up. (I know what you're thinking: She's just like Shakespeare. It's about time somebody made that comparison, thank you.)

Friday, 1 September 2017

Bedroom and Boobs Online

I love our new flat.

I have even taken some 'lifestyle shots' of my room to share with you, as I am so proud of my intimate space.*

My days of living in a messy pit of hell are over. Anyone who read this blog at the beginning, cast your mind back to when I would post photos of my hideous Frankenstein's Kitchen/Bedroom and talked of cooking spaghetti from inside the shower (it was a stretch, but I could reach out for the wooden spoon and stir).

No spaghetti in this room. I forbid it.

What the hell. I was trying to share those photos with myself from my phone, so I could easily add them here, and I saw an option to share them to Google Photos.

So I did that and then when I opened it on my laptop, there were ALL my photos from my phone including a few of my boobs that I took because they looked really big when I was on my period (and I've always had really small boobs).

I got the shock of my life seeing photos of my boobs staring back at me, with the button SHARE next to them.

I've used Gmail at work to open shared documents. For a horrible second I thought is this public??

To be fair, would it be that embarrassing?

If I was a celeb and they got leaked I'd just say THEY'RE MY PERIOD BOOBS THOUGH and creepy men would be disgusted by them instantly.

So be careful if you have Google mail, photos or drive or whatever it is!

Anyway, forget my swollen boobs.

'I love our new flat', is what I came on here to say.

I don't have many clothes in my bedroom wardrobe, as most stuff is in the shared walk-in wardrobe. We've put a picture of Cher inside the walk-in to inspire us when choosing clothes each day.

Now I've discovered all my photos, floating around in the fucking atmosphere for anyone to grab, I might as well put some more up. Here's one of Google's shit animations they make of your photos without bothering to bloody ask you:

It was the Church at Beatherder. Phil, Glasgow Laura, Kayt and Adam went. It was TOO GOOD TO TALK ABOUT REALLY.

Also this summer, we tricked Clare into coming on a girl's holiday in Spain. When, in the Whatsapp group a few weeks before, she asked innocently Shall I bring the spices to make chicken za'atar?, I got slightly worried that she was expecting a different type of holiday... but we had such a lovely time.

Laura and Clare drove all week so we went to some amazing beaches, hidden down the side of cliffs. There were six of us, so we rented a small people-carrier. Fun fact about being a group of girls driving a big car: every time you park, there will be a man stood watching you with his arms folded, or with his hands on his hips.

One man - and this is TRUE - shook his head, walked into his villa, then came back with his girlfriend and they sat on the step and watched Laura park.

I should have flashed them my boobs and shouted THEY'RE BIGGER WHEN I'M ON THE BLOB just to throw them off.

Here's a pic of one of the beaches, ta-ra for now!

*Not to be confused with my intimate place.