Emergency Stop

I am an awful driver. There's little else to it. It is something I am completely useless at.

A great passenger, yes. Pass me the aux cord and I can fill a 2 hour car journey with back to back bangers not even Neil Fox could contend with. But there's no licence for being a good passenger. No fancy bit of plastic to say I'm a qualified Grade A passenger that I can hand over in ASDA to prove my age while buying cheap plonk. (3 white vinos for £10 is honestly nothing to smirk at). And the fact of the matter is that I'm 25, I have places to go and jobs to do and without a car I'm only able to do things by foot, by train (and we ALL know what Southern Rail is like) or by bus, which is great for when I want to get that lovely 'sat in' chewing-gum-effect on the back pockets of my new Levis'! I'm only joking. I can't afford Levis'.

So I decided it was time to get behind the wheel nearly two years ago. I am quite 'all or nothing' when it comes to most things in life and it turns out when it came to driving, this was no exception. So instead of booking myself onto regular, weekly lessons I thought 'nah let's get this whole thing done in 5 days! It'll be fine!' Well. It wasn't. A solid 23 months on and I'm still learning. I should've reminded myself that Rome was not built in a day and by that theory I was never going to sit my first ever lesson and pass just 4 measly days after.

Those 5 day courses can be great if you're quite confident or if you've already done quite a bit of driving and want a refresher before your test, but not if you're like me in anyway shape or form. I did about 18 hours driving in those 4 days and then was recommended that I didn't even sit the test at the end of the week! The whole experience put me off driving completely for a while. not to mention it gave me a numb bum and more road rage than Jeremy Clarkson stuck in a jam on the M3. I hated it.

So now after what feels like hundreds of hours of driving later I am taking my test in 3 days, in an Automatic car too. Or what most of my immediate family like to call a 'toy car'. But if it's the only way to get me on the roads then so be it. Initially I was incredibly tempted to just wait it out for one of these flashy driver-less cars, but then I remembered I wasn't Richard Branson with a few million to spare so that was pretty much the bursting point of that bubble.

What this post is sort of trying to achieve is basically a warning to stay in your houses if you are a resident of Sutton, South London this coming Friday. Obviously my blog has to reading force behind it for this message to be passed far and wide. (note: serious sarcasm right thurr) Or if you do see me before just wish me good luck. Lord only knows I will need it!


My painful audition: memoirs of the unprepared

I like to think I've built up quite an admirable resistance to embarrassment over the years. I used to be the shy, retiring type as a young child until I decided one day that I was born for the stage.  It was as if Andrew Lloyd Webber himself visited me in a queer, eccentric dream (we all have 'em) and preached the merits of theatre and I awoke from my humble mattress the following day a young, aspiring actress. Either that or I had literally zero academic talent and Drama was a handy cop out at the time.

Regardless, the want to be doing something creative has kept me going ever since. Since I pranced my way through Drama School I've come face to face with a whole host of weird and wonderful (and some not so wonderful) jobs. I've taught English and Drama in Italy with absolutely no knowledge of the Italian language but a huge love of garlic and carbs, I've given the whole 'extras' thing a go and trust me it is JUST like the Ricky Gervais series and I also had a stint of voicing a cockney monkey at Chessington World of Adventures theme park. Yes, my CV is about as colourful as the get up old Andy Webber had on in my dream all those many moons ago.

So as I said my cringing threshold is broad. But I don't think I've ever been as embarrassed as I was last week attending an audition for a pantomime where I had to sing a song I'd literally learnt that morning. When it comes to auditions I don't like to over egg the proverbial pudding. I never like to rehearse something too much because there's definitely more beauty in something a bit raw and natural. Well I'm afraid to say there was no beauty in my theatrical rendition of a song from the Dr Seuss musical. And I'm sure the company who saw me that day would agree. As the opening notes from the song played on the old school Sony speaker my heart dropped. What the fucking hell is the first line? Don't panic, it will come when the line is due. Shit. It never came. Nor did the second, the third or the fourth. If all else fails, just really go for the chorus, I thought as I stood there like some sort of cretin. I fully went for it though. I looked like the little girl in the school play who wanted to steal the show and didn't care who she trampled on to get there. It was awful. My cringe threshold was completely met and I apologised and took a seat.

At least a lesson got learnt. Sometimes organised and prepared trumps raw and organic ten fold. As I left the audition room head hanging low and cheeks a gorgeous shade of rouge I thought to myself; this is the last time I put myself through such an embarrassing and unthinkable ordeal. Trouble is, I know it probably won't be.


Why Reminiscence is more important then ever. Grab ya Grandad and have a natter!

Recently I’ve been doing some freelance reminiscence work with an old lady.
When I started I thought 'bonus! I love all the things she loves; relentless cups of Yorkshire Tea, dark chocolate Digestives, cat hair embodying my every inch and reclining chairs. I'll have a great time!'
And I do love it! I sit with this lovely little old lady and I listen to her reminisce about her childhood, her life during the war and often her sexual endeavours “I once dated a polish man. He nearly bit me nips off” (genuine quote). Her stories are gritty, unfeigned and frank about her life during the war, something we all learnt about in school.
I really enjoy hearing her reminisce about old times past because it's a totally different time to now. She reinforces how important it was to stick together through the war because your friends and family were all you had. Nowadays it's more "OMG she's unfollowed me on instagram?" rather than 'pack up your troubles in an old kit bag'. I just love the sense of community I imagine when she talks to me.
As the elder generation who witnessed the second world war first hand are getting older I think the time is now to gather as much real life oral history as possible. What is history without it’s memoirs after all?
The happiest bunch of oldies you'll ever see?


Paleo Diet (a.a MY body is yearning for a bloody bread roll diet)

This year marked the start of a few changes for me. I set 3 news years resolutions on 1st January and I managed to stick to a solid one of those which beats my previous success rates from prior years. So overall I'm pleased.

The resolutions I set were:
  • Get more organised- status? Not there yet. Still using my day to day diary as more of a doodle pad where biro drawings of Wentworth Miller clog all the writing space meaning that actual events I need to attend are totally disregarded.
  • Learn to drive- Unfortunately no I'm not yet racing around London in a pink lambo. Well probably fortunately for most of you as it means you can sleep peacefully safe in the knowledge I'm still just a regular pedestrian and not in charge of any engine operated vehicle.
  • Lose some ruddy weight- I'm pleased to say that I've shifted a nifty 1.5 stones since Christmas! To be fair it probably was all Christmas weight all solely consumed on 25th Dec. I'll literally never understand why I see Jesus' birthday as an excuse to leave my internal organs begging for mercy but that's just Christmas in all its bloated glory. Anyway. Yes I lost some weight and feel must better for it!
So yeah, 33.3% of my resolutions have been fulfilled.

I've done him no justice.

The funny thing is I've completely changed my food plan and I make all the effort to go to the gym as often as possible. The weight fell off by mid April and since then I haven't managed to shift one single measly pound. Not a pound I tell thee. Why? I don't know. Some say it's muscle gain but I'm a long shot from looking anything like everyone's fave gym meme man Arnie. Some say my body's reached a comfortable weight but I say I won't stop until I'm literally BeyoncĂ© in all her bikini glory.

At no point have I ever followed a diet. Well I attempted the 5.2 diet but decided that it was ludicrous when I couldn't calorifically afford to eat a banana on a '2' day. Not for me. I've just tried eating sensibly. If I wanted a sandwich for lunch I wouldn't have toast for breakfast. If I wanted a glass of wine of an evening, I wouldn't have 3 Big Macs for lunch, you know that sort of thing. This was up until I was talking to my Uncle recently who was telling me about the Paleo Diet. It's basically a really primal, cave man-esque way of viewing food.

ere's what the fellas over on Wikipedia say:
'The Paleolithic diet, also popularly referred to as the caveman diet, Stone Age diet and hunter-gatherer diet, is a modern nutritional plan based on the presumed ancient diet of wild plants and animals  It is based upon everyday, modern foods that mimic the food groups eaten during prehistoric times.'

So basically it's like eating all natural food, stuff that hasn't been overly processed or manufactured. So things like bread, pasta, rice, cous cous, cake, chips are totally out the picture I'm afraid. Basically think what cave men would eat and you've got it. Just this time you don't have to gather all your food like a scavenger. Well actually, that bit depends on the quality of your local ASDA.

Anyway I'm giving it a little go at the moment. I've nearly been doing it a week so far. I've been eating a shed load of fruit and vegetables, loads of fresh meat, salads, nuts and seeds. Can't tell you the sort of bread cravings I'm having. What unholy things I'd ruddy do for a sandwich. Unheard of. But, on the plus I've not felt bloated once, had a stomach ache nor have I felt low in energy. So Imma see how it goes and I'll be sure to keep updating on here how it's all going!

Optimus Alive 2014

We all love a good festival. Standing in a squalid pit with thousands of other mud soaked revellers with the pungent stench of Carling in your hair. And let’s not forget the acceptance of pooing in a bush. It’s as if we, the general public revert back to our primal caveman days, just this time with the addition of neon face paint.

I’m no exception myself. I love any excuse for a pint at 11am and living out a tent which wouldn’t even comfortably sleep a puppy. However this year I thought I’d try going a bit further afield for my live-music-day-time-drinking fix and ended up at Optimus Alive in Portugal earlier this month. The line-up included bands like the Arctic Monkeys, Black Keys, Sam Smith, Imagine Dragons and the Libertines to name just a few. There was even an onsite KFC which excited me no end (being the culture vulture that I ever so obviously am.)

The tickets to the festival were cheap as (KFC) chips too. A ticket for 3 days and camping was a measly £104. AND there was the guarantee of the blistering Portuguese sun all weekend long. Meaning that I got to prance around in my Havianas singing Brianstorm rather than uncomfortably trying to undo a wedgie under a wet poncho.

High lights of the festival included a huge range of different things to do aside from soaking up the sun and chilling out to some live bands and DJ sets. There was a salon come beauty parlour, delectable cocktail stalls, interactive game stalls and a fantastic pic n mix stand who are a good 40 odd euroes better off since my departure.  I’m a sucker for a strawberry bon bon, or 108.

I was in my element. In the day time before the festival I’d lounge around on the beach, have a swim and then muster up the energy to pop a bit of lippie on and head down to see the bands. The crowd was totally different to any other festival I’d been to before. I don’t think I saw one mosh pit, one pile of unruly vomit or any sign of excrement on the floor. It was just totally chilled and for the three days I was there I felt like I was in some sort of Enid Blyton novel. Lovely.

Flights to Lisbon can be super cheap too if you book in advance meaning that all in all the ticket price of this glorious Portuguese music jubilee can work out a heck of a lot cheaper than your standard British festival. Which makes me wonder if I’ll ever grace the British festival scene with my binge drinking, awful singing and bush pooing ways again? I kid, I kid, my singing’s not that awful. But anyway, what need would I have when I can go abroad and actually make a holiday of it too for the same price?