What it’s Really Like to Live in London

I know that when I was young and naïve all those one year(s) ago, I imagined my life in London not to be full of glamour, but to be full of exciting, fresh and new opportunities at every turn. With the new batch of graduates lunging into the London scene this summer with the hopes and ambitions of really good graduate jobs, I thought I’d shed a light on London life, and what it’s really like.

Firstly, and I think this should definitely be cleared up straight away; YOU WILL GET LOST. I’ve lived here coming up to a year, and I still have to frantically OCD check the underground boards and do the thing when you’re walking, realise you’re going the wrong way so pretend someone has phoned you and turn around things. All I can say is god bless Citymapper. Download it before you get here, it shits all over Google maps, and then when you get lost, you can blame it on technology instead of your incapability of following a moving blue dot.

YOU WILL RUN INTO SOMETHING RANDOM. That’s just the nature of residing in a multicultural hot pot, there’s always something crazy going on. I’ve been to Japanese festivals, roped into Hari Krishna rallies, watched RADA performances, and seen Shakespeare plays on passing barges. So if you’re every wondering what to do one nice weekend, have a look on TimeOut, but also just grab some friends and pick somewhere on the central map, Trafalgar Square always being a good place to start. I can guarantee you will run into something weird and wonderful.

When everyone moves to London, they plan their first few weekends out with seeing friends and visiting museums. Let me just clarify, right now, that YOU WILL NOT SEE ALL OF THE MUSEUMS. You will always go ‘Oh yeah I really wanna see so and so’s exhibition at the whadyamacallit but you won’t. Time slips away in London, and that time is not meant to spent surrounded by hundreds of thousands of tourists ogling the Rosetta Stone.

YOU WILL BECOME A DOUCHE ON PUBLIC TRANSPORT. This is just a given. Accept that you are no longer a nice person and deal with it. You will get to your destination quicker.

YOU WILL CRY. Like the above, deal with this. By all means take that 5 minute break to go and cry some of those feelings out. Are they gone? Good! Those feelings don’t belong in London. See you’re learning.

YOU WILL ENCOUNTER A HIGHER CONCENTRATION OF CRAZY. Even people you thought were normal are usually crazy. Living in London ensures that people eventually become mentally ill. I don’t even wince when a drunken homeless man breathes on me at the bus stop asking for 20p any more. He is a mild puppy version of crazy in contrast to some of the motherf*ckers you will unfortunately come across.

In no way shape or form will you ever hear the words ‘Yeah I’ve been saving loads of money since I’ve lived here’, come from anyone’s mouth. YOU ILL SPEND ALL OF YOUR WAGES EVERY MONTH. Every last penny will be spent on clothes, booze, food and random trips out. Get used to this, anyone that saves in London lives in a box room in Epping and eats beans out of a can cold.

YOU WILL BECOME DEPENDENT ON COFFEE. I should probably save this for ‘Surviving your first job in London’ to come soon, but I think it’s also applicable to your social life. You will be knackered all the time and the only way to overcome this is to wire yourself off a drug that’s actually legal.

YOU WILL MOST LIKELY DRINK ON AN EMPTY STOMACH. Drinks after work on a Friday? Yeah you’ll only stay for one. 6 hours later and you’re stumbling home still early enough that you will get up before your teenage self would on a weekend, but you’re ashamed that you’re stuffing a midnight McDonalds into your mouth in a hope that it will soak up all the white wine spritzers you were having with your colleagues. You must do this because you promised yourself that this Saturday you were going to go and see that exhibition at that museum you’ve been meaning to go to.

And lastly but probably most likely, YOU’LL WANT TO LEAVE, but ultimately always stay, because despite all the above but because of all the above, you frickin’ love London.

 

 

10 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Splurge

With payday already in the distant past and your purse becoming thicker with receipts each day, you’re starting to realise that you may have a problem, an actual problem called I-Shop-Even-When-I-Shouldn’t-No-Really-I-Cannot-Afford-To-Eat-itis. But don’t worry, it’s very common, and although bank balance deadly, can be cured, slightly. I am here to help you, and myself as I too suffer from this deadly and painful disease.

10 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Splurge… (okay admittedly not a cure but something to make you feel as though at least you are making an effort to change).

  1. DO I OWN ANYTHING ELSE LIKE IT?

Me: ‘Ooh that lace dress is cute.’ Boyfriend: ‘Don’t you have that?’ Me: ‘I have one in black but this one is charcoal grey’. Boyfriend: ‘Hmm seems the same to me.’ YES GOOD BOYFRIEND, it is the same and more than likely you will have forgotten you have the black version and you’ll go home, dig it out and forget all about the fact you nearly cheated on it with new charcoal lacy dress.

  1. FAST FIX ADDICTION

You just want to buy something. You don’t know why but you just want to buy buy buy. Fast fixes are when you purchase an item for the sake of just that, buying it. Don’t get me wrong I didn’t do psychology at University so I can’t tell you the actual reason we as human beings (particularly girls) like this feeling, but we do and it’s dangerous! So like heroin, it’s best to avoid at all costs.

  1. IS IT GOING TO GIVE ME ETERNAL HAPPINESS FOREVER AND EVA AND EVA?

Chances are the answer to this is…No. Something you just literally love and can’t live without one day might be the one thing that stopped you from purchasing that other thing you totally wanted the next day, so think about this question very carefully. You can also translate this question to: WILL I BE SEVERLY DEPRESSED IF I DON’T HAVE THIS IN MY LIFE? Look at it this way, if you know you can walk away right now for a mile’s distance and wait an hour and then see if it’s worth walking the mile back to get it, get it. If not, it wasn’t meant to be. Okay I would totally walk a mile it’s not even that far. Okay 2 miles. No cheating! You can’t get buses or trains or piggy backs.

  1. AM I BRAND WHORING?

This one is a god send for me because I tend to binge buy brands on sites like eBay where the money is fake because it lives inside the computer. I bought an Aquascutum coat really similar to a Debenhams one I have because it was Aquascutum. When it arrived I complained that a size 14 which is in fact 2 dress sizes above myself was too big for me when I clearly pressed ‘Pay with Paypal’ myself and wasn’t at all held at gunpoint.

  1. AM I JUST SHOWING OFF TO MY MATES?

I believe this stems from High School and the whole Rockport versus Bootleg shoes fiasco which plagued years 7-9. Either way, it’s something that although painstakingly obvious, is mostly unnoticeable to yourself. You are not in High School any longer, you don’t need to buy those New Balance trainers to fit in with the new friends you’ve met since moving to London that all live in Shoreditch and smoke 500 fags a day. You hung around with the geeks at school for a reason. Go back to that happy Shaun the Sheep backpack place.

  1. AM I EMOTIONALLY VOID IN SOME WAY?

You look fat in all your clothes so you go and buy some slightly bigger, baggier black ones which are still totally in (let’s face it Black is the new Black and aint nothing gonna change that, sorry Orange) and you feel better about yourself for about 5 minutes until you realise you don’t look 2 stone lighter just cos you’re wearing black and realistically you wanted to wear the cute little vintage Laura Ashley dress you last wore when you were 18 and you blame it on your boobs being bigger but it’s actually the fault of your gut. Regardless of who or what delicious food’s fault it is, you might be buying this item because you are too scared to face up to the facts. You’re fat. You’re older. You just got dumped. There are loads of variations of this that a Fast Fix (see point 2) can seemingly help not surface, but not even beauty is only skin deep.

  1. AM I GOING TO WEAR IT UNTIL IT FALLS APART?

If it’s from Primark this will take roughly 2 weeks so yes, if from French Connection, then no it may take a little longer, in which you need to decide if you really need this item. Is it going to last? Is it good quality? Is my mum going to approve of the thickness, underskirt, the fact that it’s from a grown up shop like Zara and not New Look? Think about it, take a second and really analyse about whether this item is even worth your time girl.

  1. AM I COPYCAT STYLING?

Are you just buying this item because someone off Towie has got it? If so, you need to be shot. On a serious note, are you buying this item because it looked good on someone else? Sometimes I try something on I’ve seen in a magazine and I stare so long in the fitting room mirror that I start to tell myself that I’m looking good in said outfit and if I just lose a bit of weight here and stand in a certain posture, I’m practically working it. No I am not. It looks great in the magazine, good on the hanger and go damn awful on me. Get your own style and get something that suits you.

  1. CAN I BUY THIS FOR LESS ELSEWHERE?

Okay I know I said the thing about quality before but there are occasions where you can slip on this is when said products is for one night only or a couple of one night only’s. Basically you have a really cute black dress to wear to that thing this weekend but instead of using the black clutch you normally would pair with it, you fancy a bright yellow one. So your trek to the shops and you find a perfect bright yellow one for £29.99. Hmm £30 is a little too much for one event, and you can’t really think of much else this particular shade of yellow will go with. Queue Primark. Slightly vomit coloured but can get away with it if it’s dark yellow clutch bag there? £9. That’s a saving of £20, well done you, you’re learning.

  1. IS THIS ITEM A OSW- ONE SEASON WONDER?

You want to say no it’s a timeless classic but actually you’re lying to yourself so you’ll buy it. Those sandals that are reduced in Office to £25 are so cute but it is October now and you’d mostly have to wear them with tights which may look a bit weird with the open toe, and they are silver, something that’s so in right now in S/S 2014, but perhaps not so much S/S 2015. You want that Kimono right? Looks great with jeans and stuff, oh wait, Kimonos are out already? Be careful what you buy in season, just because it’s SO HOTT RYT NW doesn’t mean that it will be in 6 months, or even 3 months fashion trends move faster than Usain Bolt, okay perhaps not that fast. Cue the goodbyes to Creepers, Beanie Hats and tartan dresses. When I bought my £70 creepers in September 2011 I thought ‘Oh yeah these are shit hot.’ It was only 3 months later that I was putting them on eBay.

So there you have it, a long and slow winded way of explaining how to be a savvy shopper. You have to repeat whether you actually NEED something or just WANT it. They feel very much the same when you’re in the heat of the moment, but if you go home, put on your jammies and watch some Netflix, I can guarantee that you’ll have probably have forgotten all about them by tomorrow, or online shopped which (see point 4) is fake money living in the computer so that’s okay.

 

(What are we thinking of the stock image this time?)

Adding Kevin Spacey To The Man Crush List

So my other half LOVES Kevin Spacey, as in has added him to his man crush list, which currently has only consisted of David Beckham and Robbie Williams and has remained unchanged since around the age of 13. So adding KS, IS A BIG DEYAL.

So after watching two seasons of House of Cards in the space of a week, he emails me (My SO not KS, damn it) and says casually, ‘So I’m in love with Kevin Spacey, I’m thinking of leaving you so I can start-up a mega fan club where we wear freaky robes and worship a shrine of the usual suspects covered in rose petals that always seemingly fall in slow motion, and basically do you wanna go and see his new one man play Clarence Darrow at the Old Vic?

I wrote the above  A MONTH AGO, but I have literally been so busy with work that I’ve had to save all of my posts to my drafts folders and slowly (but surely) getting around to finishing them all off.

SO, this post was meant to be about how much I enjoyed the performance of Clarence Darrow, Spacey’s one man play at the Old Vic, and as much as I did thoroughly enjoy it (welled up at the standing ovation) I thought I’d make this post a little bit more interesting by divulging some fascinating facts about the legend that is Kevin Spacey. Now Mr Spacey has been very good over the years at being a high-profile A Lister without having his private life spayed across the press, so I don’t have any dirt on the man; but my GOD who want to, such a lovely man.

During the filing of The Usual Suspects, To make his disability seem more realistic, Kevin Spacey had his fingers glued together.

  1. His brother Randy Fowler, sold stories to the press about Kevin and now subsequently works as a Rod Stewart impersonator touring the shit parts of America. Serves you right Randy.
  2. Spacey’s real surname is in fact Fowler. Spacey is his middle name.
  3. When he was a young teen, he set his sister’s tree house on fire and was sent to military academy where he was later expelled due to throwing a tire at another attendee.
  4. He has an honorary degree from London South Bank University.

Okay so because of the lack of anything about Kevin Spacey on the internet, this was very much a botch of a post and I apologise. Unfortunately I can’t sit there and go ‘Go and see Clarence Darrow it’s amazing’ because it’s finished and I was just too late to post about it. But one thing I can recommend is snuggling down with someone you love and a Spacey movie. There’s a reason this guy is one of the most loved actors of all time, he’s just such an all round dude.

Oh look it’s Kevin Spacey with a dog!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Handle a Hangover at Work

So today is not the mother of all hangovers for me, admittedly I’ve had a lot worse and had to go into work. Frankly, I make myself feel sick with how few hangovers I used to get when I was 17/18, in comparison to the ‘couple of glasses of red head’ I get in the mornings nowadays. Even a couple of times I remember whilst I worked at Topshop; finishing my shift, getting changed, going out all night in Manchester, getting the first train to Stockport (Ikr gross) and getting changed and febreezing my clothes and hair (really). Ah to be 18 and comfortable with feeling that disgustingly unclean again.

So here I am, the wizardry of being a borderline alcoholic (I joke, I think?) and my stamina to still be successful. No seriously, and I know my liver will agree with me here, I’ve never been one of those people who can say no to ‘one drink’, and I know more often than not it’s not just one drink, but 5/6/7/8 but you still tag along with good intentions regardless. Yesterday however, my plan to chug back a few glasses of disgustingly tasting and disgustingly (over)priced warm white wine at Hyde Park festival was totally ruined by the fact that it was indeed a Sunday. Sunday= No Fun Day. But aha! It can be, if you learn how to handle a hangover at work.

Disclaimer: This is for the mild variation of hangover associated with not mixing your drinks and actually getting 7 hours sleep, and NOT for the ones when you wake up and go ‘OMG I FEEL FINE’ and then half an hour later realise that when you felt fine earlier it was in fact because you were still blind drunk and instead now your head is banging, throat dry and generally just HANGIN’ OUT YER ARSE.

5 tips because 10 is too much eff

  1. DRINK WATER- ALL DAY

So you haven’t been sensible enough to down a load of water before bed, silly you. Nevermind, you can begin to rectify this whilst you get ready for work. Try and down at least 2 500ml bottles of water before you go in the shower (dear god you need to shower the alcohol out of your pores) and then try and drink as much as liquid as you can before you set off for your walk/commute. Take a bottle of water with you, I guarantee you will have finished this before you arrive.

  1. WASH YOUR HAIR- EVEN IF YOU WASHED IT BEFORE YOU WENT OUT LAST NIGHT

It doesn’t matter if your hair is dry/lank/greasy normally, alcohol does this weird thing to hair where it just like shits oil out of your scalp and no amount of dry shampoo can soak it up, plus you look like a bird’s nest. It’s like the saying, ‘If you think you should wash your hair, you probably should’ (I know, who wrote that?) but it’s twice times a million more times true if you have been caning the carlo’s/slurping the stellas or anything else alcohol pun related that’s not beer cos I don’t even drink that.

  1. WEAR BAGGY CLOTHES- DEAR GOD JUST DO THIS

Basically, when you’re even a little bit hungover, your appetite either soars or completely plummets. Because I think about food 13,000 times a day on average, I am ironically one of these poor people who cannot stop feeling hungry on a hangover day and of course all I want is carbs to soak up my cocktaily shame. This means that anything I wear god better cover my bloated water filled belly and be comfortable enough to slob about in for a day at work. Let’s face it, who the f*ck wants to be wearing a pencil skirt on a day of a hangover? And thankfully my job allows for it. Resulting also in why I work in TV and not in finance.

  1. TYPE- EVEN IF IT’S HUFEHIOOGERHUIOGREUOIHGDFIHRJQW

Dear Friend, I am writing you this very long and convincing letter so that my boss believes that I am typing out a very important email to someone who is not you and probably far more important than you. Thank you for being my friend in these times of testing my endurance, Extreme! Version 2. I really appreciate it. I’m having to do a few convincing pauses so it looks like I’m really thinking of what I’m proposing in this email, or else it looks like I’ve just spent the last 20 minutes actually writing an email to NO ONE…oh wait.

And possibly the most important…

V. CHEW DAT GUM- LIKE YOUR LIFE DEPENDS ON IT

I don’t care if it gives lock jaw, you gotta f*cking chew that shit because there is literally nothing worse than alcohol breath in your co-worker’s/bosses face. They will think less of you for it. They won’t say anything but they will take two steps back when speaking to you.

And just remember, you will get through this. You’re not in trouble if no one knows you have a hangover. Don’t tell anyone, don’t act overly paranoid as sometimes happens with sleep deprivation from drinking and don’t forget shit, which you are bound to do because you’re see above point, hanging out your arse. However, this is just a day, chances are you work until 5.30pm and once that sweet bell chimes, you are out of there! Ready to eat your bodyweight in pizza, lay your gym stuff out for the morning, and watch Netflix in bed. You have done it, you have survived a hangover at work. You get a text, it’s 9.30pm, it’s from your mate. ‘One drink?’ One drink ey, ha you’re not falling for that one again are you! Well, you do feel a lot better now actually after that pizza and 15 minute nap you had in the toilets at work when everyone just thought you were taking a massive sh*t so I guess one drink wouldn’t hurt would it?

Haha I’m only joking…AS IF you would do that to yourself all over again! *Shifty eyes*

 

(Snow White pic is from Google and making an appearance because I hate shit memes and this was perfect).

Inter-review with Jacob & Goliath: The Right Side of Dickhead

You may remember that a couple of months ago I reviewed my time at the famous Portobello Road market, and upon wanting to eat my jacket potato away from the elements, huddled into the little gem that is Acklam Village market, I came across 4 piece band Jacob and Goliath. (see post here).

Well this time, the now 3 piece and newly signed group of lads from West London were playing at iconic venue The Islington, and being a) vaguely impressed enough at their last performance to follow them on Facebook and b) residing around the corner; I thought I’d pop along, treating two friends to the experience also.

So it was never going to be as cool as seeing The Libertines playing on the very same stage in the late 90s, but the vibe from when we arrived, was rather chirpy. There were two support acts but I can’t for the life of me remember who they were, and I heard one doing a cover of Fireworks so we opted out of watching that, we’re the all or nothing kind of amateur journalists you see.

The set, though short, was played with emphasis on Mr Jacob as being the band’s front man, his name also features heavily in the title of the band and as he later told us, this is because ‘some guy at school thought it would be funny and it just stuck’. Right. Either way, what J&G lack in wit, they definitely make up for in stage presence. Though Jacob’s faux Presley ‘Thank you very much’ can get a bit, well, much, and keyboard player Sam does give Shakira a run for her money at times, the glue of the band, Charlie is hidden at the back. Only coming forward for a song on guitar and then returning to his drum hovel. I’ve seen this band when Sam was jamming on a wooden box and Charlie was alongside Jacob and original 4th member was  heading up the back on some form of snowboard cello looking thing and their chemistry was more full frontal for lack of a better phrase.

Upon asking the boys about the commercial facelift to their sound since signing with LAB records, I was met with mixed responses as Jacob, much the talker for the 3, highlighted that part of the deal of getting a record contract is making yourselves marketable. I did want to protest on this point purely on the fact that I actually enjoyed their original version of the song they are releasing as their EP ‘Eyes Conveyed’ as I feel it was raw and untouched, which subsequently brought out some emotionally charged frustration from Charlie the little Drummer boy who expressed feelings of loss over his quirky and slightly country guitar solo in the previous version.

The clearly smartest of the 3, Sam with an offer to study Maths at Cambridge, pleasantly steered our conversation towards the future of the band since signing, and with pure spirit and the enthusiasm of recently turning 18, which has all but died by my own age of 22, began to tell us how he had big hopes for the band being successful, and upon my asking of whether he would opt for Chance of Success Versus Cambridge, Sam gave the right answer that anyone who took a risk for an ounce of success has ever had and chose his boys.

With what I would describe as a mixture of Two Door Cinema Club and The Kooks, these boys have quite admiringly managed to write songs that actually have a lasting impact on listeners. ‘Dream On’ being a particular favourite of mine and a big response online to ‘Green’ which was filmed for Burberry Acoustic, it’s nice to say that at least they have direction with their sound and are genuinely good at what they do, and not just some fast money making Simon Cowell scheme: Queue in comments about One Direction actually being talented. ‘Baby you light up my world like nobody else’? Purlease.

This 3 piece, though cocky, arrogant and very much still boys rather than men are extremely charming, offering out carrots and plums in their rented dressing room and made us laugh, throwing around chairs in mocked horror at making fun of the fact they’re born in 1996 or that one of their mum’s was waiting outside in their Saab to take them home for college the next morning. Playing Hyde Park festival supporting McBusted and other acts as well as doing a 4 date tour in September is pretty good going for boys who’ve only just been allowed to buy their first pint in the last 6 months. Jacob and Goliath’s lyrics are meaningful, their music tuneful and their attitude just the right side of dickhead. I predict a good future for these middle class Londoner’s and wish them luck for whatever comes next for them.

You can check out their music and smug little faces here.