The 10 Commandments of Facebook

1. Thou Shalt Not Document Thy Every Move.

“Just got out of bed. Dreamt about being a pufferfish”. [0 Comments].

“Breakfast”. *Includes photo*. [0 Comments].

“On bus”. [0 Comments].

“At work. Photocopier broken”. [0 Comments].

“Lunch”. *Includes photo*. [0 Comments].

“Work update: Photocopier fixed”. [0 Comments].

“On bus again. Old man sitting next to me smells of socks”. *Includes photo*. [0 Comments].

“Walking from bus to my house”. [0 Comments].

“I wonder what I should have for tea”. [1 Comment: “Cyanide” (32 Likes)].

“Chicken nuggets, chips and peas. Yum yum”. *Includes photo*. [0 Comments].

“Jam roly-poly for dessert”. *Includes photo*. [0 Comments].

“Off to bed. Night night homies”. [0 Comments].

2. Thou Shalt Not Use Stupid Apps and then Invite Others to Use Said Apps.

I will throw an actual sheep at the next person who invites me to join FarmVille

Don’t think I’m joking.

3. Thou Shalt Not ‘Friend’ Thy Mother or Thy Boss.

Pictures of you dressed as Hitler will not impress them.

Status updates like “Dude, last night was so funked* up. Did anyone return the llama?” are also unlikely to put you in line for promotion. 

Also, if you really don’t want your mother to see the dodgy tattoo on your left buttock, then it is probably wise not to moon your best friend when he’s armed with a camera.

4. Thou Shalt Not Create a Group, Then Send Thirty-Two Thousand Frickin’ Messages.

“Hi guys,

I thought I’d message you again, just to say – there’s still no update. Once I have an update, I’ll let you know, but if I don’t hear anything then I’ll get back to you within 30 minutes”.

5. Thou Shalt Not ‘Friend’ People Thou Dost Not Know.

Nobody has 36,792 friends. Not even the cast of Friends.

6. Thou Shalt Not Air Thy Dirty Laundry in Public.

“You think you know someone, give them everything, then they funk* you over. Trust no one”.

There’s a time and a place for this sort of thing. You have 2 choices:

  1. In a quiet bar, with close friends.
  2. On national television with Jeremy Kyle.

*Censored for the women and children.

7. Thou Shalt Not Tag Friends in Incriminating Photos. Unless Thou Wanteth No Friends.

Your real concern however should be the ammunition your friends have against you.

Hot-pink leotards don’t look good on anyone – particularly 12 year old boys. Dancing to Madonna. With 7 girls. On stage. At Brownies.

8. Thou Shalt Not Divulge Too Much Information.

I am delighted that your baby made it here safely. Name, birth weight and “mother and baby doing well” will suffice. Details of the labour, how many centimetres dilated and reports that “it got a bit messy” are superfluous to requirements. I’m quite happy to maintain my belief that you found him or her in a cabbage patch. Thank you.

9. Thou Shalt Not Rant Chronically.

“I can’t believe the price of stamps have gone up by 10%! 10%!”

“God it’s hot. I hate this”.

“Freezing cold. Come back sun”.

In the words of Chandler BingMy wallet’s too small for my fifties and my diamond shoes are too tight”.

10. Thou Shalt Not Contact Anyone Whilst Intoxicated. 

Never EVER declare your undying love or burning hatred to someone whilst inebriated.

Your spelling and grammar will be atrocious.

Oh Dear Diaries…

I have spoken before about the trauma I suffered aged six, when my brother Chris decapitated my beloved Tiny Tears doll. It is fair to say that none of us were ever the same again:

– Chris realised he should never mess with his little sister – due to her nifty right hook.

– I learnt to hide stuff from my brothers that I didn’t want damaged / maimed / beheaded.

– Tiny Tears developed a new-found appreciation for polo neck tops.

I became exceptionally good at concealing my possessions after Tiny Tearsgate, 1989. Anything of value or sentiment was stowed away in a safe place, until I left home at the age of eighteen. This included, though was not exclusive to:

– A second-hand paperback copy of Roald Dahl’s Matilda, purchased for fifteen pence.

– My extensive Pog collection.

– One hundred high quality fibre-tipped colouring pens.

– Three mixed tapes of Boyzone, Peter Andre, the Spice Girls, and Backstreet Boys.

– My top secret, highly confidential, tell-all diaries, that I began writing in 1995, at the             tempestuous age of twelve.

With impressive foresight at just fourteen, I acknowledged that I’d probably look back on my diaries in years to come and laugh. I may have underestimated just how much.

Here are some highlights from the last seventeen years in the life of me.

Names have been changed to protect the innocent:

11/05/1997 SECONDARY SCHOOL: Everything in this diary seemed to have a point to it when I wrote it. That’s why I refuse to look back and cross stuff out. Even the really embarrassing stuff about fancying Dave from my Maths class and cutting my own fringe. Again.

27/12/1997 SECONDARY SCHOOL: New Year’s Resolutions for 1998

  1. I will slap the next person who says I fancy Dave, because I don’t.
  2. I will tidy my room at some point this year.
  3. I will keep my room tidy for at least a week.
  4. I will stop worrying so much about how I look.
  5. I will marry Ronan Keating.

30/12/1998 SECONDARY SCHOOL: New Year’s Resolutions for 1999

  1. I will cut down on chips and chocolate, eat my greens and drink more milk.
  2. I will either slap or kiss Smith for being such a git.
  3. I will snog any (well, just about any) boy who offers.
  4. I will not take my mobile to school for the sole purpose of showing off. Well, maybe.

11/05/2000 COLLEGE: Oh fudge. I tried to pluck my eyebrows to make them look better, but now it’s a case of “Eyebrows? What eyebrows?” Will have to draw them on with pencil until further notice. Note to self: step away from the tweezers.

11/03/2001 COLLEGE: 

21/06/2001 COLLEGE: Have opted to come down with food poisoning on Friday. Not actual food poisoning, but this is my brilliant plan to get out of work. I am brilliant.

30/11/2001 UNIVERSITY: Nothing to report apart from my slow spiralling descent into madness.

“I didn’t lose my mind; it was mine to give away.” Robbie Williams.

11/02/2002 UNIVERSITY: This afternoon was highly productive. I finally mastered the art of reading half a book and blagging the fact I read the whole thing. It’s a talent. One I am proud of and grateful for.

19/04/2002 UNIVERSITY: My plans to go into Uni today were scuppered by an overwhelming desire to sit at home on my bed and highlight stuff. Very important stuff; naturally.

22/04/2003 UNIVERSITY: 

13/08/2003 UNIVERSITY: Mental note: Everything happens for a reason and anything pants that seems to crush you at the time, just makes you stronger in the end. H’mm, that’s very phylosophical of me for a Thursday afternoon. Must learn to spell phylosophycal philospohycal philosophical.

19/10/2003 UNIVERSITY: Am so proud of me! Have spent the entire day doing boring Postmodernism coursework. All something to do with hyperreality. Very confusing. Despite having written 2,503 words, I still don’t understand it. This does not bode well for the ‘A’ grade I was hoping for.

29/11/2004 UNIVERSITY: Momentous occasion: Handed in my dissertation. *Takes a bow*.

03/10/2005 POST-UNIVERSITY: An ode to Tony: “When I fall in love, it will be forever”. Thank you Nat King Cole. 

Note to self: Must put prophetic talents to good use. A winning lottery ticket would be a great start.

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

10 Things I Wish They Had Taught Me in School

I learnt a lot in school. These are the edited highlights:

  • Henry VIII put it about a bit. (Quite a lot actually).
  • Guy Fawkes was a pyromaniac.
  • When in an exam situation – if you can’t remember the year something happened, just put 1962. Lots of things happened in 1962”. (John Keenan, Media Studies teacher; legend).

I was fortunate enough to benefit from a decent education. That said, I did once spend an entire term in Metal Work making a pooper scooper, so arguably my time could have been better utilised elsewhere.

There are several things that with hindsight, I wish they had taught me in school. Here’s my top ten:

1. BULLIES NEVER PROSPER. Those evil witches who pick on you now, throw pencil shavings in your hair and spit in your pencil case? Get the popcorn ready – they’ll soon be regular guests on the Jeremy Kyle show.

2. DON’T BE A SHEEP. You’ll waste the first 16 years of your life desperately trying to follow the herd and fit in, then the rest of forever trying to stand out.

3. YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW GORGEOUS YOU ARE RIGHT NOW. I don’t expect you to understand – you’ll only realise this in 15 years time, when you’re older, fatter and less firm.

4. FAILURE IS AN OPTION. You are not destined to be a Tomato, win The X Factor or marry Ronan Keating. Once fully disillusioned – you’ll learn a valuable lesson and go on to succeed in something you never expected – like Rubik’s Cube solving. A key life skill.

5. “BE NICE TO NERDS. CHANCES ARE YOU‘LL END UP WORKING FOR ONE”. Listen to that Bill Gates chap; he’s something of an authority on the matter.

6. UNIVERSITY IS NOT THE ONLY OPTION. Without it – you are likely to be just as successful, without sclerosis of the liver or a debt problem.

7. IF YOU DOWN 2 SAMBUCAS, 3 VODKAS AND 5 AFTERSHOCKS IN CLOSE SUCCESSION, YOU WILL BE SICK AND IT WILL GLOW IN THE DARK.   

8. NO, YOU CANNOT HOOVER UP PAPERCLIPS. DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT TRYING. The warranty will not cover damage caused by miscellaneous stationery items, Christmas ornaments or pet gerbils. House spiders however are permitted.

9. WHITE FOOTBALL SHIRTS DO NOT RESPOND WELL TO SHARING A WASHING MACHINE WITH RED SOCKS. Your husband and his team will not thank you either.

10. CAREER-WISE: HAVE A PLAN E. You are likely to need one.

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.