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? 


Friday Five: 25-08-2017

No Friday Five last week as yours truly was busy officiating a wedding blessing (I know, Me! In charge of someone’s happy day!) so hearty congratulations to S&T and thank you for letting me be part of your special day. This Friday Five is coming to you live and direct from a muggy Singapore – my hair is like Monica Geller’s Barbados barnet.

Reading: An incredibly wordy (some might say dull, I couldn’t possibly comment) 48 page document on the General Data Protection Regulation – zzzzzzzzz.

Listening: ‘Mario Kart Love Song’ by Sam Hart. A funny little ditty, I can’t remember where I heard it first but it gets stuck in my head a LOT.

Watching: I watched ‘Hidden Figures’ on the plane over here on a recommendation from Toj and I adored it. It made me cry and I want to watch it again on my journey home.

Lusting: My front door is inside up a flight of stairs that already has a doormat at the bottom but bugger me if I don’t want this homage to my gin loving as a crowning glory outside my door.

Loathing: I’m not loathing it, that seems a bit harsh when I have an infinity pool I can dive into after work but the heat in Singapore at the moment is gross. Even my Singaporean colleagues are complaining. I’m looking forward to getting back to a good old British summer. Where you need sweaters and an umbrella.

Wishin’ and Hopin’

I had a dreadful panic last night that I’d lost my shopping mojo. For someone who’s stopped shopping that’s probably not a bad thing but it is when lovely generous friends start asking what you would like for your birthday.

In the past I always shrugged and said ‘dunno’, because not only had I already bought everythingIcouldeverwantandmore but also because due to the underlying lack of self esteem (blah blah you all know the story) I never felt worthy of people buying me presents, I felt that these wonderful people giving me their friendship was already more than I deserved. I still feel like that now to be honest but I’m very glad to say it’s waning. Yesterday was different though, I didn’t have a clue what I could ask for because I’ve stopped noticing things to buy as much. I still see things and think I’d like it but my brain has stopped storing them up for the next pay day binge and so I was stumped.

After giving myself a talking to about 2012 being the year I start appreciating myself I sat down and made a wishlist on Amazon. It took a surprisingly long time and it was reassuring to know that my brain has gone from telling me that I need everything on the list to saying, ‘it would be nice if these come into my lives but if not I’ll live’. What a refreshing change!

Lesbians, Little White Lies and Lipglossiping

Driving home tonight I was having a full on rant about a person who had pissed me off, they weren’t in the car but I was determined to get all the things I should have said off my chest. I was so wound up that my stomach started to hurt and I could feel a vein in my temple throbbing. Not cool.

Suddenly I remembered a tip I read somewhere the other day to sing any negative thoughts to the tune of “Happy Birthday”. Conscious of the need to calm down a bit before meeting my lovely friend Lipglossiping I gave it a whirl. Turning the radio down I belted out:

“Yes I think you’re a twat, you have no manners, if you speak to me like that again then I’ll punch you in the face”. (go on, sing it!)

I couldn’t help but smile as I realised how ridiculous it was and how silly I must have sounded and I started to laugh. A LOT. Before I knew it my mood had calmed and I had a smile on my face. It’s definitely a technique I’ll be using again.

Walking through the shopping centre I clocked the film rental man from a mile off and steadfastly tried to avoid his gaze but it was no good, “Excuse me Madam”
“Sorry! I’m already a customer!” I trilled. A total lie but he wasn’t to know.

I met with lovely Lipglossiping to have a coffee, chat and shop (a Pret ‘n’ Shop) and it was really nice to see her. We caught up over lardy cream laden hot drinks and then had a mooch round the shops. I was good and didn’t buy anything but I relished my role as enabler that’s for sure!

After a couple of hours shopping we stopped for another drink and feeling my bladder was about to explode I excused myself and headed for the ladies. I’d almost reached the safety of the escalator when I heard a familiar voice, “Excuse me Madam, do you watch movies?”
Balls. It was Mr Movie trying to lure me into his web of monthly payments,
“Still a customer!” I shrieked, by this time concerned I was about to piss myself. Clearly knowing I was lying he was undeterred,
“What package are you on?” Fuck.
“I don’t know, my girlfriend sorted it out!” I yelled at him before escaping down the escalator.

Why the fuck did I say that?! I don’t have a boyfriend let alone an imaginary girlfriend! I like girls but not in that way and really why didn’t I just say “I can’t remember”.

What a nob.

Maybelline Volum’ Express the Colossal Cat Eyes

What a mouthful and I’m not quite sure what Maybelline has against the correct spelling of ‘volume’ but we shall, for the purposes of this review, overlook them being bad at spelling.

As part of my shopping ban the idea was to use up my make up stash before buying anything new. Upon cruising my drawers for a mascara I was somewhat dismayed to only find a bright green available to me. Suitable for big nights out and fancy dress, not so much for the 9-5 so I nipped into Superdrug and grabbed the first basic black mascara I could find, which turned out to be the mascara with the longest name in the history of the WORLD.

The Colossal Cat Eyes promises flicked out fierce lashes that are up to 7x more volumised. So far so normal mascara spiel that tends to promise but not deliver. The packaging is what caught my eye, the classic bright yellow Volum’ Express Colossal chunky tube with a smattering of bronze leopard printon the lid. The brush, sorry, the CLAW, is designed to help you flick your corner lashes out to get that feline feel.

image courtesy of maybelline.co.ukBut does it work? Unfortunately there’s only one way to find out and that’s to look at a truly awful photo of my eyes resplendent with early morning eye bags (even taking the photo in HD couldn’t see them off!) to see my lashes in their naked stubby state. Et voila!

It was REALLY early and I took it myself...
It was REALLY early and I took it myself...

And after a generous coating of (deep breath) Maybelline Volum’ Express the Colossal Cat Eyes mascara?

I hear being boss eyed is all the rage...

Well at least I have eyelashes now but they’re not exactly feline or flicked out. The small claw brush does make it much easier to reach those tricksy corner lashes which can does make me feel slightly feline for the first five minutes after applying until my eyelashes go back to being their normal straight not cat like jobbies.

It’s interesting that there is a tip on the Maybelline website that says to use a stroke of gel liner winged out at the corners for a more ‘intense look’. To me they might as well have said ‘it’s a decent black mascara but won’t give you sexy cat eyes. Buy some individual falsies and bung them at the outer corners of your eyes if you want to look like Catwoman’. All in all it’s a decent bog standard black mascara but hasn’t set my world on fire.

Cosy Toes

After splashing through several puddles the other morning wearing a pair of inappropriate ballet pumps I have had enough and it’s time to make the annual switch to boots both for warmth and practicality. I thought I’d show you some of my favourites out there at the moment, of course I can’t buy any of them due to having massive feet and being on a shopping ban but I can live vicariously through you lot and your normal sized tootsies.

Starting off with the ‘Welly’ category, it would be remiss of me not to mention the ubiquitous ‘Hunter’ wellington boots. They come in a range of colours and sizes so there really is something for everyone but the ones that have caught my eye are their new Regent Collection. They bring to mind Elizabeth Bennett romping over the fields all flushed and sexy looking before bumping in to Mr Darcy for a bunk up. My particular favourites are:

image courtesy of targetwholesale.co.uk






Of course not everybody has over a hundred squids to spank on a pair of puddle splashers so if you’re in the market for a pair without a three figure price tag then the Welly Warehouse has literally hundreds of pairs to choose from – this pair that look like some girlie stripy rigger boots caught my eye, I’m a fan!

But what about if it’s cold and crisp and there are no puddles to jump in to? What’s a girl to do then? Break out the fur of course! Now I know they say that ‘Uggs are for Smugs’ but I can’t condone the wearing of those outside of the house so I’ve searched for other alternatives. I like to think of this category as ‘Ski Bunny’, conjuring up images of fair isle jumpers, plaits and big mugs of hot chocolate in front of a roaring fire.

I love both of these because they look so cosy and warm and would work equally as well with skinny jeans or a nice skirt and thick tights. My toes are getting warm just looking at these bad boys!

The final category in my boot tour of the world is for when you don’t want to schlumph about but instead want to be able to pick your way delicately over cold ground safe in the knowledge that you won’t be getting any chillblains. The sort of boots that make you think of Nancy Sykes from Oliver or the dancing scene from Titanic where Leo shows Kate how its done before they begin their ill fated love affair. Oh Leo, I appear to have come over all unnecesary *fans self*







I think it’s the laces that I like about these, I have a similar pair that my friend describes as my Victorian wench boots and far from being offended I quite like the description. They’re sort of like sexy hiking boots…. and who doesn’t want to look like a sexy hiker when the weather turns!

Sign The ‘Fession!

No I’ve not been eating all the Haribo but I do have a ‘fession to make. Earlier when I was in Waitrose doing a shop I let two magazines fall into my basket. Actually scratch that I went over to the rack and stood there perusing the selection before putting two in my basket and heading for the till. In the grand scheme of the shopping ban it’s not a total disaster but it still feels icky and like a failure.

I guess that makes it shopping ban 1, Ally 0 but it’s not over until the fat lady sings and I’m not warbling any time soon. I suppose the important lesson to learn is why I felt I needed them because I spanked almost six quid on something that entertained me for about half an hour and will soon be chucked in the recycling. I may as well have thrown six pound coins into the big green bin at the end of the driveway. It seems like an overreaction to write a blog post about it but sticking to the no shopping thing is something important to me and I’ve messed it up.

But why?

I’m on a bit of a confidence backslide at the moment and am having difficulty in getting my head round some goings on, which is bringing up uncomfortable prickly type feelings that I’m not sure how to deal with. In the past I’ve eaten or shopped to give myself the buzz to make them go away, in fact I’ve normally done both but now I can’t do either. This of course means I have to find another way of dealing with them which might involve *dun dun dunnnnnn* actually talking properly about them and letting people in.

I know I blog about all sorts of bullshit that’s inside my head but it’s rare that I let friends in properly by having actual conversations with them about it all. Perhaps it’s time for that to change.