When Did This Happen and Why Didn’t I Get the Memo?

Overlooking the glaringly obvious – like the fact I am a twenty-nine year old married graduate, with a mortgage and interest in current affairs, it hadn’t dawned on me until recently that I’m actually now a grown-up. When on earth did this happen and why didn’t anyone tell me? 

In my defence – I still know all the words to Disney’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’ and the dance moves to ‘Backstreet’s Back’.

I was hoping this would be sufficient to keep me young, hip, happening and generally down with the kids, forever. Apparently not. It seems the following truths go against me:

I have no desire whatsoever to throw my knickers at Justin Bieber. A rock, perhaps…(Kidding, obviously).

I almost hyperventilated with delight when my brother gave me a toaster last Christmas.

My husband and I have an emergency fund, just in case: 

  • The boiler breaks down.
  • I flood the bathroom for a second time.
  • I accidentally leave a fork in the microwave again.

I have more fruit, salad and vegetables in my fridge than wine or beer.

I can no longer go out three nights in a row and function normally. (Or at all, in fact).

The deciding factor for all shoe purchases is whether or not I will be able to walk in them for more than three minutes without being crippled or maimed. I’m sure this was never an issue in my teens. 

I hugged, rather than swore at the cashier in the Poundshop who asked to see ID for my recent tin-opener purchase. Who knew you needed to be eighteen to gain access to chopped tomatoes?

I have an outfit in my wardrobe for every occasion – yet nothing to wear.

I own three houseplants, countless ornaments, roughly thirty-two spare light bulbs and a dozen scatter cushions. 

The latter, incidentally serve no purpose whatsoever and should be outlawed. I’m starting a petition. Who’s with me?

Life Before Facebook

Does anyone else remember life before Facebook? It was such a simple time:

Poking resulted in bruising.

You didn’t have 367 friends you never talk to.

No one knew, or cared what you ate for lunch. They still don’t care. 

If someone wrote on your wall, you’d report them for vandalism. Now you actively encourage friends to do so. 

Unless you wore a ring on your finger or your heart on your sleeve, then your relationship status was often a mystery to others.

You were only tagged in the playground by friends, not when eating chicken wings at Nando’s.

Your mother merely suspected you made a complete twit of yourself on Friday night. Now she has photographic evidence

ON A POSITIVE NOTE:

Nobody forgets your birthday anymore. Facebook won’t let them. 

You have a captive audience* to promote your latest business venture / charitable event / blog post / boyfriend / kitten.  *Until they get bored and unfriend you.

There’s always detagging. Phew.  

The power of networking. Presidents have been elected, Dictators fallen and Simon Cowell undermined, all thanks to Facebook. God bless it.

You learn new things. Like the medicinal power of peas, courtesy of your cousin’s constipated goldfish

Think of your Profile as the coolest autobiographical scrapbook ever. Absolutely no need to faff with glue, scissors, glitter, pretty paper, or not-so pretty paper cuts:

 

“Wax on, Wax off” and Other Words of Wisdom from the Silver Screen

Along with my house keys, odd socks and random bits of fluff – I often find wisdom in the most unlikely of places:

“WAX ON, WAX OFF”. Karate Kid  

Mister Miyagi coupled housework with martial arts training. He also caught flies with chopsticks.  Someone give him a medal. 

“IF YOU CAN’T SAY SOMETHING NICE, DON’T SAY NOTHIN’ AT ALL”. Bambi

As an English graduate, it pains me to see such poor grammar, but I’ll let Thumper off, on account of him being a rabbit.   

“I RECOMMEND ROLLING AROUND IN POND SCUM”. An interview with Kermit the Frog (star of the Silver Screen) 

“IT AIN’T ABOUT HOW HARD YOU HIT, IT’S ABOUT HOW HARD YOU CAN GET HIT AND KEEP MOVING FORWARD”. Rocky Balboa

Alternatively, you could just find a nice quiet office job.

“DO, OR DO NOT. THERE IS NO TRY”. The Empire Strikes Back 

For a creature that looks like a frog who ingested toxic waste as a tadpole, Yoda is surprisingly insightful. 

“DON’T EVER LET SOMEBODY TELL YOU, YOU CAN’T DO SOMETHING*…YOU GOT A DREAM, YOU GOTTA PROTECT IT…YOU WANT SOMETHING, YOU GO GET IT”. The Pursuit of Happyness

*Exceptions to this rule include:

  • Having Pikachu tattooed on your inner thigh.
  • Wearing orange.
  • Dying your hair green and then getting it cut into a mullet.
  • Anything whatsoever to do with Justin Bieber.

“BE WHOEVER YOU WANT TO BE”. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

This statement also excludes Justin Bieber. 

“DREAMS DO COME TRUE, IF ONLY WE WISH HARD ENOUGH”. Peter Pan

I always dreamt of finding love – and look what I found!

It has become apparent however that I have so far neglected to dream hard enough for Adele’s voice or Pippa Middleton’s bottom.  Note to self: Must try harder.

Give Peas a Chance

Meet Goldie. Like me, she is one of five children. Along with her siblings – Blackberry, Snow White, Custard and Silvery, she resides in a bijou waterlogged glass-fronted apartment in the posh part of Watford.

She is a lifelong supporter of Brighton and Hove Albion, though is yet to attend any football matches at their home ground due to mobility issues.

At three years old, Goldie likes nothing more than chewing her siblings’ tails, watching SpongeBob SquarePants and listening to Lady Gaga.

Come Dine with Me was her favourite television programme – until they showed her great-aunt being deep fried and served as an entrée. That kind of took the magic out of it.

Two days ago Goldie took a turn for the worse. Those of a nervous disposition should look away now: 

It is fair to say that everyone apart from Goldie’s owner (my cousin Sarah) had given up on her. A patch of lawn at the back of the garden was earmarked for her grave and a discarded tube of Bisto gravy granules was set aside for her coffin.

All was not lost though, as rumour had it that when fish swim upside down – they are not necessarily on their death bed, just somewhat constipated. (Who knew?) Not only that, but frozen peas (yes, peas) aid their digestion.

So Sarah fed Goldie peas accordingly – and look what happened overnight:

"My mama told me when I was young, We are all born superstars"

It’s a fishy miracle!

I feel there are two morals to this story:

  1. Never give up on someone you love.
  2. Give peas a chance. 

This Is Just So Unexpected…

My gracious loser face is well rehearsed. I have had many occasions to use it:

  • The karaoke judges at Haven Holidays failed to appreciate my flawless rendition of ‘The Shoop Shoop Song’. (When I say “flawless”, I may have exaggerated a little – there were a few tuning issues, I forgot the words and my performance was lacking in melody, harmony and rhythm).
  • I once came third in a Michael Jackson lookalike competition.
  • Despite 3,792 submissions, none of my artwork ever made it onto Blue Peter.
  • Simon Cowell was not amused by my recorder symphony of ‘Three Blind Mice’ – despite playing it through my nose.
  • I missed out on the best costume prize at a friend’s Halloween party in 1991. The winner incidentally wore a white bed sheet with two eyeholes cut out of it. Even at eight years old – I could spot a fix at fifty paces.

Having spent so many years being overlooked, underappreciated and totally misunderstood (that’s my defence and I’m sticking with it) imagine my surprise and delight when this humble blog of mine was actually nominated for something fabulous. It was just so unexpected! So I danced like a rock star to celebrate. 

Now picture my response when I received four further nominations for other awards – within ten days. (I might have self-combusted a little bit). 

Okay, so given my misspent youth, I’m no expert on acceptance speeches – but I think I have a reasonable grasp of the etiquette:

DO

  • Thank all the people who made this possible.
  • Say something heartfelt.
  • Recognise those you believe to be brilliant.

DON’T

  • Blub. 
  • Have a major wardrobe malfunction. Bras and Knickers are strictly off limits.
  • Forget anyone really important. Like your mother/father/border collie.
  • Offend people.
  • Get intoxicated.
  • Bring along a superfluous handbag, or lose a shoe en-route. Thank you Meryl Streep:

SO HERE GOES:

* Thank all the people who made this possible* I wish to express my gratitude and undying love to the following thoroughly upstanding individuals for seeing something in me that Simon Cowell clearly did not. Here they are, along with the awards they bestowed upon me:

Suburban Enlightenment

April Hawks

Twyste

TaylaAC

Arizona Girl

*Here’s the heartfelt bit* It means a lot to me; really. Thank you.

*Recognise those you believe to be brilliant* Having spent literally minutes on PowerPoint creating a totally made up, brand new, fancy schmancy award, I would like to present it to the following outstanding blogs for being ruddy marvellous. I highly recommend them to anyone:  

The Life and Times of Nathan Badley

Prawn and Quartered

Childhood Relived

Project 1979

Globe Tracer 

Life Outside the Wall 

I believe this is the point in proceedings when the producer goes to commercials, so before I forget – I’d like to thank my mother, father, lucky pants and dog Yoko – who also made me smile all over my face. (Apart from the time she ate my favourite scrunchie).

Excellent News! Nobody’s Perfect

I have four brothers. The eldest – Oliver, selfishly made life particularly difficult for the rest of us growing up, by being so goddamn brilliant. How rude. While I struggled to make a three legged cat from Stickle Bricks, he built the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World using matchsticks and wood glue. His Hanging Gardens of Babylon were particularly stupendous.

At eight years old, my extensive list of achievements included:

  • Playing a Daffodil in my school’s production of Alice in Wonderland.
  • Learning all of the words to Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.
  • Mastering my three times table.                             
  • Drawing a Viking, whose immense moustache protruded from his nostrils.

When Oliver was eight – he started programming computers. By nine – he moved on to assembler programming (whatever that is). I just thought he was showing off.

Some people are simply destined for greatness. Oliver is one of them. Though don’t feel too bad – he can’t cook:  

Rumour has it Victoria Beckham has twelve toes, Brad Pitt is actually bald, Adele’s breath smells of cabbage, Dame Judi Dench once had an illicit affair with Billy Connolly and Sylvester Stallone can’t sleep without his comfort blanket.

Okay, so none of the above statements are strictly true, but for a brief moment, when you thought they might have been – weren’t you uplifted, just a little? By learning the flaws and mistakes of others – we feel a little better about ourselves (and sometimes a teeny bit smug). 

If it helps – Lily Allen really does have a nubbin.

As I face the formidable task of job hunting in this uncertain financial climate, I am comforted by the fact I don’t actually need to be perfect. Excellent news, given that I have the hand-eye coordination of a Muppet, coupled with the athletic dexterity of Moby Dick. I may not be made for waitressing, cheerleading or fire-juggling, but I can string a sentence together. I even know what an apostrophe is and I’m not afraid to use one. So somewhere out there in the job hunting abyss is an occupation with my name on it, something I am meant to do – that doesn’t involve spilling hot drinks, dropping people, or setting myself ablaze.    

I hear there might be a few openings at The Sun

I Was Young and Needed the Money

I once spent four and a half hours cleaning my father’s car, only for him to run his index finger along the bonnet and tell me it wasn’t spotless enough.

Admittedly, I hadn’t really removed any of the dirt, merely repositioned it. Considering the fact I had worked my way through a thousand gallons of water, two giant sponges, six bottles of washing-up liquid and 32 rolls of kitchen towel – this was something of a disappointment.

My parents were very keen to teach my brothers and I the value of money at a young age, and it is fair to say – they succeeded. Having persevered with the car for a further two hours, I was dutifully rewarded for my hard work, determination, blood, sweat and tears (so many tears) with what my father considered to be the going rate: fifty pence. I also caught a cold from being sopping wet all day, developed a rash from the industrial cleaning products and lost all feeling in my fingertips for three days.

Needless to say – that was the last time I ever worked for 7.6 pence an hour. It also marked the end of my short-lived car valeting career.

I was made redundant today, a scary prospect to say the least. To mark the occasion (aside from the obligatory job hunting) I thought I’d take stock of what I’ve learnt so far in my fourteen years of employment. Please remember, I was young and needed the money:

AS A WAITRESS – ONCE YOU’VE TAKEN A FOOD ORDER – MAKE SURE YOU PASS IT ON TO THE KITCHEN STAFF. They’ll cook it so much quicker that way.

CUSTOMERS DON’T TEND TO LIKE IT WHEN YOU SPILL HOT COFFEE DOWN THEM.

WHEN CARRYING 72 EMPTY PINT GLASSES STACKED ON TOP OF ONE ANOTHER, BE CAREFUL NOT TO TRIP OVER YOUR OWN FEET.

IF AN INTOXICATED CUSTOMER LOOKS LIKE HE’S ABOUT TO THROW TWO BEER BOTTLES AT YOUR HEAD – IT’S BECAUSE HE IS ABOUT TO THROW TWO BEER BOTTLES AT YOUR HEAD. That’s your cue to move.

DON’T BE A DOORMAT. If your obsequious boss frequently guilt-trips you into coming in early (unpaid), finishing late (also unpaid), cancelling your social life and mopping the floor with your tongue: leave.     

NEVER DATE THE BOSS. Especially when he looks like Phil Mitchell.

WHEN YOU EVENTUALLY GET A PROPER GROWNUP JOB – ALWAYS CHECK YOURSELF IN THE MIRROR BEFORE LEAVING THE HOUSE FOR WORK. You can just about get away with odd socks, but wearing your top inside out in the boardroom will start rumours.

IF YOU FALL ASLEEP AT YOUR DESK/CRY IN THE LADIES TOILETS/VOMIT IN THE WASTEPAPER BASKET, JUST ONCE – DON’T EXPECT YOUR COLLEAGUES TO FORGET IT. EVER. 

ANNOY PEOPLE LESS AND THEREFORE AVOID GETTING STABBED WITH A BIRO.

MINIMISE THE WEB BROWSER WHEN YOUR BOSS COMES OVER. Not everyone shares your appreciation of David Beckham in his underpants. (I am yet to establish why).

THE NIGHT BEFORE YOUR INTERVIEW IS NOT THE TIME TO EXPERIMENT WITH FAKE TAN.

BEWARE: “REPLY ALL”.

FOR SOME LIGHT ENTERTAINMENT – REPLACE YOUR BOSS’ MOTIVATIONAL POSTER “PLAN, PREPARE, PERFORM” WITH ONE FAR MORE CONSTRUCTIVE, LIKE “PLAN, PREPARE, POTATO”. I give it 3 weeks before he notices.

DO SOMETHING YOU ENJOY.

HAVE A PLAN E! This is mine.