And The Bride Wore Monkey

I finally learnt all of the words to The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air in 1993. This would have been the highlight of my year – had it not been for a crazy girl named Carrie asking me to be her friend. We hit it off immediately and during our years together at secondary school, developed a mutual understanding:

1. The back of the class was always the best place to hide.

2. Boys liked girls in short skirts, but thick black tights were imperative. (We were classy young ladies after all).

3. Carrie would pick me for her team in PE every week, so long as I pretended not to notice when she fell backwards off her chair in Maths class (for the third time that day).

Nineteen years on and now a fully fledged teacher – Carrie spends far more time at the front of the class than the back. She continues to fall backwards off chairs on an almost daily basis, but in line with the school dress code, her skirts are much longer than they used to be.

It was only ever a matter of time before a man fell head over heels in love with her. Having spent years fashioning faux veils out of toilet tissue, next month Carrie finally gets to wear the real thing, when she marries the love of her life James.

To mark her forthcoming nuptials, this weekend, I joined nineteen of Carrie’s closest friends for a nice quiet, tasteful and sophisticated hen do celebration, complete with willy straws, a large inflatable banana and a phallic shaped cake.

As a bit of a getting to know each other exercise, the party was split into two teams, each given ten minutes to make a demure wedding gown fit for a Queen. I know ten minutes doesn’t sound like very long, but there was no need to panic as we had all the materials we could possibly need: Half a dozen rolls of toilet paper, some white bin liners, masking tape and fifteen metres of tin foil. Having made a valiant contribution to this task, by crafting a crown and several long stemmed roses from foil, I am now considering a new career in costume design. I’m sure you’ll agree, they both look ravishing:

The only information the bride-to-be knew in advance of the hen do, was when it was taking place. Everything else was clouded in mystery. As a result, understandably it took several weeks for Carrie to organise suitable attire for the occasion. With hindsight, she need not have bothered – as an outfit had already been picked out on her behalf. One that she would wear throughout, whether she liked it or not. Yes, that’s right, the bride wore Monkey: 

Having downed several Strawberry Daiquiris and French Martinis, we played a game of Mr and Mrs, where Carrie tried (and failed) to convince us she dated James for two whole months before they first kissed and then went on to justify why she once put her hands down the pants of a complete stranger. 

At around two o’clock in the morning on the first night, Carrie leapt into her bed, without realising it was two twins shoved together – rather than a double. It takes style to wedge yourself between two beds. Style, poise, elegance and several strong cocktails. 

The weekend was surprisingly educational. We all learnt how to screw in light bulbs and throw chicken feed the following morning during Bollywood dancing lessons. 

I think we all aspired to choreograph a visual spectacle comparable to Slumdog Millionaire’s Jai Ho fame, but sadly, I let the team down. This photo sums it up pretty well. Yes, that’s right; I’m the one in the middle, getting it all wrong. 

Had it not been for the fact that I am unable to follow simple instructions, have no rhythm and can’t tell left from right, then I’m pretty sure we’d have had it in the bag.

We went for a group photo shoot in the evening – during which, Carrie was allowed a brief hiatus from the monkey suit. We’re kind like that. Then, adorned with tiaras, hen party badges and glow bracelets, we went into town for drinks. Whilst there, we bumped into some gents who looked strangely familiar – the entire cast of Super Mario: 

No, we have absolutely no idea what Batman was doing with them either. He obviously didn’t get the memo.

We went on to a brilliant comedy club, where one comedian performed an impromptu Haka and another made some very naughty jokes about willies and nookie. Loved every minute.

The club laid on a DJ in the evening and we all busted some moves to classic tunes with funky beats until the early hours of the morning, courtesy of Aerosmith, The Killers, 5ive, Steps, S-Club 7 and (believe it or not) the Fresh Prince of Bel Air. My funky chicken was of particular note.

We also bumped into our new friends Mario and Luigi et al. They nicked Carrie’s inflatable banana, so we took their mushroom. I don’t think anyone noticed; we were very discreet.

Several hours later, once most of the group had lost all feeling in their toes – we called it a night.  Everyone woke on Sunday morning feeling like they’d licked a cat. A thoroughly encouraging sign methinks that good fun was had by all.

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To This Day, I Have No idea What We Were Thinking

I first committed fraud at the tender age of eleven, obtaining property by deception. The item in question: one child’s lucky bag.

Just to clarify – I did not steal the lucky bag; I merely purchased it under false pretences. That doesn’t however make this story any less embarrassing. Allow me to explain:

Lucky bags generally contain a mixture of vile tasting sweets, a miniature colouring book, one defective toy (usually a whistle or yoyo) and an extensive palette of three (yes, three) crayons.

At four years old, this would have kept me occupied for at least three days. I’d use the crayons for the Wassily Kandinsky homage on my bedroom wall, and then eat them for lunch. If there were any remnants left over – I usually stored them in my left nostril for later use. Beyond the age of eight however – lucky bags lost their appeal and suddenly seemed extremely lame.

At eleven years old, my best friend and I decided to be VERY cool and rebellious by purchasing candy cigarettes and pretending to smoke them in the park. The trouble was, we both also had a hankering for lucky bags that day – which quite frankly, at eleven, was social suicide. 

We took our chosen items to the counter and to avoid embarrassment, made a point of telling the cashier very loudly that the lucky bags were for our younger sisters and most definitely not for us, because we were like waaay too old for them. (I don”t even have a sister). Much to our surprise and delight – she didn’t bat an eye lid. It dawns on me now that this was because:

  1. We both looked seven years old.
  2. She did not care.

We paid for our items, and swiftly fled the scene of our crime. To this day, I have no idea what we were thinking. I certainly had no need for a broken whistle.

I’m sorry to say that was only the start of my life of crime. At sixteen years old, I managed to acquire a fake ID. I was utterly convinced that I could pass myself off as a thirty-two year old beautiful Latino woman called Carmelita Chiquita Estevez.

Apparently not.

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:

 

Pearls of Wisdom Just for You (You’re Welcome)

Someone really ought to learn from my mistakes, so please consider the following life lessons my gift to you:

No matter how much your brother tries to convince you – it is never cool to staple your own thumb.

Swimsuits don’t respond well to being ironed.

Fish Fingers only take approximately 12 minutes to cook. Not 4½ hours.

Cut your own fringe at your peril.

As an A-level student, resist the temptation to change your answer-phone message to something seemingly witty and hilarious, like “Hi this is the tumble dryer. The answering machine can’t get to the phone right now, so please leave a message after the beep”. University officials prefer not to liaise with kitchen appliances to congratulate you on your A-level results.

You will not make friends and influence people in University Halls of Residence by singing along to Destiny’s Child “Independent Woman” at 140 decibels at 4:00 am, regardless of the fact you split up with your boyfriend 20 minutes earlier. Nobody cares that you bought the shoes on your feet, the clothes you are wearing or the rock you are rockin’.

If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck’. This methodology is particularly useful when applied to picking a mate: If he looks like a Neanderthal, walks like a Neanderthal and barks like a Neanderthal, I assure you he is a Neanderthal. No need to waste time testing this theory; I’ve done the ground-work for you.

If it looks like it might rain – this is because it is going to rain. Unless you want to model the ‘drowned rat’ look for the third time in a fortnight, I strongly recommend you bring your blasted umbrella.

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.

Never be afraid to try new things – apart from cottage cheese with pineapple. Big mistake. Huge.

2011 in a (larger than average) Nutshell and Plannage for 2012

2011 Highlights  

  • Celebrated the New Year with my fiancé, friends, SingStar and a deranged Springer Spaniel.
  • Planned our wedding. Saved for it. Sold numerous worldly possessions (including semi-vital organs) to help pay for it. Talked a lot about it. Wouldn’t shut up about it. Narrowly avoided being stabbed with a biro by work colleagues for going on about it so much. Toned down the wedding talk (a teeny bit).
  • Lovingly hand-made 67 invitations for the wedding. Suffered roughly 3 billion paper cuts in the process. Wished I hadn’t committed to making my own invitations. Posted invitations. Received lots of praise regarding said invitations. Glad I made invitations. Felt warm and fuzzy inside.
  • Announcement at work: Redundancies likely. Oh dear.
  • Attempted to lose half my bodyweight in preparation for the wedding. Actually lost roughly 9½ pounds (not half my bodyweight).
  • Received evil death stares from my brothers for not shutting up about the bloody wedding.
  • Had an amazing Hen Doo to celebrate forthcoming nuptials, during which I captained my own ship, went ape and allowed fish to eat my feet for breakfast. Loved my girlfriends even more as a result. Returned from Hen Doo. Collapsed with exhaustion. Slept for a week.
  • Enjoyed sampling my fiancé’s practise wedding cakes. Worried that I would no longer fit in my dress.
  • Had a manicure with my mum. Collected the dress. Forgot the veil. Did not sleep.
  • Leapt out of bed at stupid o’clock in the morning. Had a fabulous time being beautified with my bridesmaids. Reunited with my beloved veil – courtesy of one legendary best man. Wedged into my dress by bridesmaids.
  • Fashionably late (by almost an hour) I skipped up the aisle and married the love of my life.
  • Posed for photos. Got my leg out and embarrassed my new in-laws as a result.
  • Posed for more photos, without my leg out.
  • Managed to eat almost 2 whole spoonfuls of our 3 course wedding breakfast, due to corseted dress squishing my entire digestive tract into 4 square millimetres. Laughed at the speeches. Cut the cake. Ate cake.
  • Did an impromptu speech. Danced with hubby. (Got the distinct feeling we were being watched).
  • Friends and family joined in and there was a Take That dance-off.
  • Honeymooned in Cyprus. Sweated more than I thought was medically possible. Cooled off in the sea. Ate prawns the size of my head (and I have an abnormally large head). Loved every minute.
  • Returned to work. Did not love every minute.
  • Husband was made redundant from work.
  • Watched The Lion King in the West End as a birthday treat. Sang the first line from the “Circle of Lifeout loud repeatedly for 2 weeks. Really must learn the next line.
  • I got placed at risk of redundancy from work. Had a proper grown-up conversation with my brother about career options.
  • Husband found a new job.
  • Husband surprised me with a beautiful pine tree two weeks before Christmas. It died within an hour. Have spent most of the festive period extracting pine needles from my right eye.
  • Put milk and cookies out for Santa. ­W­as dutifully rewarded with magnificent gifts, so wrote a charming letter of thanks to him, like a good little girl.
  • Started my blog. Asked friends and family nicely to read my blog. Thanked those who did. Bugged those who didn’t.

2012 Plannage                       

  • Live, love, laugh and eat Jaffa Cakes.
  • Continue blogging.
  • Shamelessly plug said blog at any given opportunity.
  • Annoy people less and therefore avoid getting stabbed with a biro.