Live From The Trenches

You spend ages picking your best photos that show you in the right light, you want to look your best, you want to appear approachable, and you want to show you have friends and a life that doesn’t just involve watching Netflix and talking to your cat.

Then you get a man who leads with this:

Sucks

 

The man with a mirror selfie who thinks he’s doing the right thing in telling you that you look ten years older than you actually are. I love the way he even points out that he’s not negging me to get into my pants, nope, he’s just that rude. But it’s not the worst thing to lead with, as this next chap shows…

Married

See, I’m so nice I even blurred out the name of the man who is trying to cheat on his wife and you probably won’t be surprised to hear that I didn’t in fact reply with the below,

‘Oh blank! How very lovely that it is that you want to bang someone other than the woman you took vows with. I am SO flattered and not at all skeeved out by this’ 

Of course if you don’t have a wife to lead with, how’s about sending pages and pages of unrequested and terrible erotic literature? This isn’t even as ‘good’ as ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’, it’s more like ‘Ten Shades of WTF’.

IMG_5840

IMG_5841

IMG_5844

It went on for about twenty scrolls down and it was without doubt the most excruciatingly awful message I’d received. I deleted it without replying but then my inbox pinged again,

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Not only did he automatically assume he’d be meeting me, he assumed I’d pay for it because he was in fact a male escort touting for business. It may have been a while but I was am still not going to pay him for ‘his tongue passing along the reliefs of her intimacy, visiting each hem, every fold and folding up… in a sulky concert of groans’. Oh fuck no.

I’m also not interested in taking a slave (although I do need some pictures hung), being a slave, or making it with an invertebrate.

Slave

Master Likes

Octopus

Then there was this guy who clearly got lost on his way to a popular online shopping emporium. Although I dread to think what he was buying given his photo…

Amazon

 

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*Sidles In Looking Shifty*

Hi there, hello there, *ahem* yeah sorry about that unscheduled break from your regular programming. I got into the ‘zone’ with my book manuscript and was spending every waking moment going over it line by line whilst simultaneously thinking it was alright actually and then wailing and wanting to scrap it and start again because it’s a massive pile of dung.

I also just didn’t feel like blogging because, well I don’t know why actually, although it’s probably something to do with yet another medication change. I’m a huge advocate of the NHS but it’s intensely frustrating to see a brand new Psychiatrist every time you go because it turns out they all have very different ideas of how you should be treated.

Regular programming will resume over the coming days, and maybe I’ll even stick to a schedule this time. Although don’t hold your breath…

 

A-Z: Essentials I Can’t Live Without

I’m not about to get all LeAnn Rimes on your asses because I could survive without these but it wouldn’t be as much fun. 

Front and centre it needs to be my friends because although you think you might have the greatest group of friends in the world I’m afraid you’re wrong. Of particular note are of course my Urban Family, the Urbs. My true blue ride or die homies who I would do anything for. From the outside looking in we probably look mental, but we’re a-okay with that. 

Ice cold water – I know, none of us could live without it but for someone who doesn’t drink hot drinks, rarely drinks fizzy drinks, and can’t drink fruit juice (because heartburn) my choices of drink are wine, gin, or water. And I don’t think my boss would be too chuffed with me being pissed out of my tiny mind in the office. I drink 3 litres a day without fail, sometimes more, and yes I whizz like a racehorse. 

Lip balm – because I get lipstick on my teeth and even though I drink water until I piss like Shergar I always have dry lips. I’d like to be chic and I’d like to be the elegant sort of woman who can sweep her hair into a chignon and slick on some perfect lippie without a mirror but… I’m not. The best I can do with my hair is bung it up with a chopstick, y’know like I’m Mandy Moore circa 2001 and I’m off to the Teen Choice Awards with a slip dress on over my stonewashed flared jeans. I always have a collection of lip products in my handbag which currently include 2 pots of the same lip balm, one of a different brand, and a blue lipstick. I’m not trying to channel Björk, it only looks blue but comes out a sheer berry hue in case you think I’ve gone mental.  

WhatsApp – with 23 chats on the go, some of which go back to 2015 it’s clear I’m a bit of a junkie. Of course the large proportion of the chats must NEVER SEE THE LIGHT OF DAY. If I die, someone needs to go in and erase them before they go viral. 

My denim jacket and a pair of Converse – it sort of sums up my style that this is my go-to confidence outfit.  With a pair of Chucks on my feet and my ‘so cheap it was almost criminal’ denim jacket on my back I feel like I can take on the world. Plus sometimes I pop my collar and shove my hands in the pockets and I feel a little (very very little) like Sandy from Grease. 

Quiet time – if you know me in real life you know I’m gobby, can talk for England, and love relaying a story. But being ‘on’ also means I need time when I’m ‘off’. I sit and read, I nap, I walk by the water. I just ‘be’. 

Aaaaand fuck me that sounds wanky. 

Artwork – my ideal house has white walls that are crammed with art. Big art, small art, funny art, serious art, just art. I’m collecting it as I go to make a gallery wall in my living room and my style is, well it’s quirky. Tucked away I have a little collection of Anna Wintour cartoons building up ready to have an ‘Anna’ corner behind the door, and I have so many prints saved on Etsy I could open my own shop. 

My medications – I thought long and hard about putting this on here because recently I’ve proved to myself that I can live without anti-depressants (although I weep, I weep at the oddest things) however my other medication keeps me sane. Literally. We’re moving towards a place where we can be open and honest about mental health issues and so that’s what I’m doing. My tablets keep me upright and there’s no shame in that. 

What are your essentials? What do you keep around? 

Hello… Is It Me You’re Looking For?

Longtime readers will know I sometimes take little breaks from this whole shebang. I once tried to make a portmanteau of “blogging” and “holiday” and came up with “bloliday” which is quite possibly the worst word in the history of the universe.

Anyway, writing furiously and then taking my foot clean off the gas for a while is just what I do. This little mini break is a LOT shorter than the last which lasted a couple of years so you should all feel incredibly grateful. Feel free to kiss my feet. 

But where have I been? 

Well I’ve been being sick. A lot. 

It’s not a new thing and it’s terribly boring and if you’ve ever been out for a meal with me over the past ooh… four years (?) then I’m afraid to tell you I’ve been sick after it. 

As I said to my surgeon yesterday I have been sick in some fancy, and some weird, places. 

Royal Ascot – ✔️

Henley Regatta – ✔️

The Royal Suite of a posh hotel – ✔️

Into my own handbag – ✔️

All over myself whilst doing 60mph in my car – ✔️ 

Into a fruitbowl during the speeches at the wedding of some dear friends – ✔️

The list goes on. And on. And Ariston. 

It’s bloody boring and if I’d saved the money I’d spent on lovely meals out only to then horf it back up again I’d have my own private island right about now. 

So I finally got off my slack arse and contacted my wonderful surgeon, Mr S. I saw him yesterday and we came up with a plan. Sadly it involves yet more surgery but if it means I can start living normally again then I am here for that shit. 

In a twist of ‘isn’t the NHS simply brilliant’ fate my wonderfully talented brilliant bastard of a friend Adam has written a book about his six years hard labour at the coalface of it. You can buy it here and you really should. I read it in one emotional rollercoaster of a sitting, I laughed, I cried, I laughed while crying, and the ending gave me goosebumps and I had to have a little quiet sit to let it sink in. 

God bless the NHS. 

Throwback Thursday: Happy re-Birthday To Me!

Back to January 2009 today – and an entry marking six months since I went under the knife. What a six months it was!

6 months ago today I was sat on a hospital bed, all gowned up having just had 11 days of nothing but milk, waiting to go down for major life changing surgery.

So, let’s have a butchers at what’s changed since that fateful day –

In six months I have –
Lost 8 stone
Shrunk several dress sizes
Walked to and from work without dying on several occasions
Started going to the gym regularly (and enjoying it!)
Improved relationships with my family
Reclaimed the ‘F’ word
Started wearing colours
Gained the ability to laugh at myself (but without putting myself down)
Sung in front of my friends (!)
Planned out my career path
Written out a ‘to-do’ list
Dipped my toe in the dating pool and most crucially
Started to believe I’m not a horrible ugly useless troll and that I do actually have a future….

Strange Things Are Afoot At The Circle-K*

“NETS or WTF or OMG, XYZ, ABC, 123” I stood there looking seriously confused as the nice man in the shop bombarded me with acronyms. All I was trying to do was pay for a couple of items and here I was being expected to learn a whole new language.

“It’s a Visa. HSBC” I countered,

“But NETS?” he parried,

“I don’t know what NETS is, but it’s Visa” I plaintively waved it at the card machine.

“The machine is broken, NETS only” I was sweating my nuts off having walked in the muggy heat and now the man was doing the unthinkable and withholding my Cheetos and Sprite (such adventurous taste buds) He was on dangerous hanger rage territory after I had chickened out of buying anything at the Hawker Centre.

“Cash only, or NETS”

Cue terribly British embarrassment, “Oh err I’m terribly sorry I don’t have any cash on me and I’m still not sure what NETS is. Is there a cash machine near here?” (Oh God, another schlep in the heat)

“Cash… machine?” He looked ever so confused,

“Oh um, hole in the wall?” Nice one Al, if he didn’t know what a cash machine was he sure as shit wasn’t going to know that. His existing blank look deepened.

“Err, (by this stage I’m crimson and sweating profusely from embarrassment) ATM??” He looked relieved as I had finally stumbled across the magic acronym that we both understood.

“Which bank? UOB? OCBC?” yet again with the acronyms. He was obsessed.

“HSBC” I waved the card again,

“No, it won’t take HSBC. UOB, OCBC *insert another stream of yep, acronyms* only”

By this stage a crowd had gathered and were looking at me strangely, the sweaty British woman on the verge of tears because the nice man was withholding her carbs.

“Well, shall I try?” There was desperation starting to appear in my voice but he merely shrugged and pointed outside. Thankfully there was a cash machine, sorry ATM, directly outside the shop so I joined the back of the queue and tried to avoid looking at the nice man grinning at me and the other customers scowling at me out of the window.

Thankfully of course the ATM took the Visa after all it is widely accepted and HSBC is the World’s Local Bank and so I was able to shuffle back into the shop, slide some money across the counter and take my goodies away without bursting into tears. Winner winner no tears before dinner.

I consider myself to be fairly savvy, I’m resourceful and independent and yet I also now appear to cry at random intervals like some kind of Baby Annabel doll. I was welled up and biting the inside of my cheek pretty much the entire time I was in KU-Hell; I welled up when I couldn’t find the Cartoon Network on the telly (seriously, WTF?!); I welled up when the sun went behind the clouds and the pool got a bit chilly; and I welled up when I forgot my passport to get access to the compound where our office is and thought I was going to get shouted at.

I either need to man the fuck up, or invest in shares in Kleenex.

 

*7-Eleven

KUL? More Like KU-Hell 

I love an airport. I love them for the sense of adventure, the possibility of what could happen, and for the people watching opportunities which are virtually incomparable. I love them so much that as a young teen living in a sleepy village we would sometimes drive to Gatwick and sit drinking coffee (not me, blech) and putting the world to rights whilst watching the goings on. So very sad. 

Sitting in the business class lounge at Heathrow I had a small moment lamenting the fact I wasn’t out in the general population as it was pretty empty so I was forced to watch the planes like some sort of anorak. 

Then Mr and Mr Fabulous arrived who bowled straight up to the bar at 07:00 on a Sunday morning and ordered “champagne and keep it coming” and I felt like a total amateur with my bowl of Crunchy Nut Cornflakes. I’d even felt like such a rebel taking two of the little boxes! I swiftly became Queen of their lives though by giving up my prime seat right by the window nearest the plane we were about to board and settled on listening to them perve over the fuselage. 

When the time came to leave and join the plebs in the cheap seats (I am of course joking) it was a treat to see some real sights… the boy who can’t have been older than 8 but who had both ears pierced with the BLINGIEST earrings I’ve ever seen started me off. Then there was the man wearing Crocs, knee high socks, short shorts, a Saltfish Surf Co. t-shirt and a knee length camo jacket who decided to top his look off with a flat cap. I’m sure it’s all the rage in Hackney but in Heathrow it made him look like a prize winning wanker.

Even the comforts of business class (massage seats and mood lighting, wtACTUALf?) couldn’t help the fact that it was the most turbulent thirteen hours of my entire life. Oh and Mr Steward, if I want to order vanilla ice cream and champagne at 01:00 whilst crying watching “Hidden Figures” then I bloody well will. It is not your place to comment on it. Sleep was determined to evade me and so I already wasn’t feeling too crash hot when we landed in Kuala Lumpur where I was greeted by the grumpiest man alive who burbled something about maybe bumping me to a different flight (why God, whyyyyy!) before telling me to go to the Transit counter. 

Which didn’t exist. 

I marched up and down the length of the terminal in an attempt to find it and to find out just how long I’d maybe been bumped for, all the while conscious that my next flight was due to depart in 45 minutes from a different building. I found a rep from my chosen airline who snapped at me asking why I’d come to the counter (which was helpfully called “Tickets” not “Transits”). In my tired and now emotional state (for once not a Lohan esque euphemism for pissed) I explained what the man had muttered before she sent me away with a flea in my ear about daring to bother her as I tried not to cry. 

I went through Security at which point my bag was flagged because I had a very small bottle of water in it. Not allowed apparently. Also not allowed for me to just jettison the entire thing in the bin because that would have been too easy. No, muggins here was dispatched back out of Security to empty the bottle, queue up again (of course the queue was nineteen times longer now) and then I set the alarms off and was subjected to a very rigorous pat down. 

But then I found myself at the gate, surely there were still enough moments left for someone, anyone to redeem my experience? Well there were but of course it didn’t happen. 

Noticing my flight was showing as boarding I walked up to the ladies scanning boarding passes, gave them a big smile, and handed mine over. 

I was met with a stern face. 

“Phnom Penh” she snapped. 

“Sorry? No, Singapore” with a big although somewhat weak smile. 

“PHNOM PENH!” she snapped, louder. 

Ah I see. So although I’m at the right gate and the screen says you’re boarding my flight it is in fact a figment of my imagination and you’re still merrily boarding passengers for a flight which is showing as closed. 

Makes perfect sense.