Monday, 28 June 2010

Family: who'd 'av 'em?

I love my family.  Very much.  I just thought I'd clarify that before telling you that right now I want to kill them.  I don't know whether it's my fault really.  I'm 22, I like my own space, I've moved home after three years of living with friends 90 miles away and my tolerance is low when it comes to annoyance.

After spending a spectaular long weekend in Barmouth, Wales, I returned today literally five minutes before my dad and sister walked in the door.  My sister, who at 11 has turned into a character from Kevin and Perry Go Large (a film she doesn't even know exists because it was before her time) stropped in without a smile, without asking about my weekend, and then proceeded to be everywhere I wanted to be.  My father proceeded to tell me what a crap day he had in no certain terms willing me to ask why it was this way.  I didn't.

Retiring to my room I tried to pretend they weren't there.  They were ruining my post-holiday buzz.  I was dad in a strop because now the boy is back he won't have a babysitter.  (The boy is back literally just for four nights and then he's off to Europe for a month before returning to Leeds...I mean Christ, cut me some slack.)  Then he shouts at me because I don't want to know what's been happening in my very short absense and strops out telling me to ring my aunty.

I swear, I live with mental people.  This or I'm mental.  According to my doctor I'm too stressed and need to reduce the stress, "is that possible?"  My response: "I live with my dad, what do you think?"...turns out she'd seen my dad just that morning so no wonder she kept her mouth shut and just gave me a knowing look.  According to my cheerful father depression has some genetic elements and so in 20 years I'll be rather like he is now.  Lord help me.  One thing's for sure...I've came back to reality with a right bump when I walked through that door.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

World Cup vs Lemonade with Gran

Today I finished work at 2:30.  Nearly 3 hours before I'm meant to.  Why you ask?  The World Cup of course!  I'm not into football at all (sacrilege I know) but I skipped out with everyone else, strolling through an overly busy village to home as everyone else rushed to get to their rightful location by kick off at 3pm.

Where was I at 3?  I was delivering a plant to my Granny for her birthday and drinking lemonade.  I most certainly was not watching the football.  Now it's all over and after two horrendous draws we've only bloody won one.  England 1 - 0 Slovenia.  Awesome considering we were literally booing our own players just the other day.  More importantly for me it means the boy will be happy, we won and we're still in the World Cup... Well, he'll be happy with the result, he most definitely will  not be happy that he had patients all afternoon (he's just about to start his final year as a dentistry student) and I had the time off and still didn't watch the match.

What matters though is that my Gran loved her plant.

Friday, 18 June 2010

I love Jennifer Behr

I love Jennifer Behr.  I do.  She's wonderful.  Definitely just makes me think of Blair Waldorf though and a wonderful life where a headband is not just a headband, it's a crown...and you know what?  I want a crown.

 Images from the Jennifer Behr Website

Due to a big dance festival work closed early as our bosses headed off the weekend and we got to go shopping.  Well, we got to go shopping after I made some elasticated headbands, painted flowers, cut feathers and added them all to make some fabulous head dresses.  So today I went scouring the high street to find some Jessica Behr knock-offs as she is massively out of my price range.  (Even though the prices are in dollars I still know when a headband is out of my league!)

I failed completely in my search.  Well...that's a lie, there are some nice headbands out there.  Not Jennifer Behr but good, from chic to embellished.  The only problem is as I can actually now make flamboyant head dresses I'm sure I could embellish a simple headband or, indeed, make an elasticated/ribbon based one myself.  Therefore, I couldn't bring myself to part with over 10 well earned pounds for a headband.  The only problem is I'm pretty sure I'll never get round to making one myself.  I'll definitely need to bribe myself to the haberdashery store.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

The Perfect Telephone Voice

There is a voice for everything.  We all know it.  Whether you're trying to be charming, formal, annoying, deal with children or are on the telephone.  That's always the best.  Everyone loves a good telephone voice.  For me, it isn't just about tone alone.  It is the tone and the accent.  I go all la-di-da.  As does my boss at work, God love her.  Her husband becomes more common and approachable all "mate" this and "mate" that if he's trying to do a deal.  Our manager is quite clipped.  Not in a nasty way, just so nothing is misconstrued...she's all professional, concise and clear.

O2, being such a massive corporation in the UK, have it absolutely nailed.  Before I explain why I will take this opportunity to say this can't always be the case, I've just been lucky.

Sitting there listening to their absolutely awful hold music, which, just as I get into it changes to a woman telling me that I'm on hold.  SHOCK.  I gasp, I hold back tears...who knew?  Oh yeah, you told me before and then put the music on.  Basically I was getting very bored.  Then...and this happened last time as well...a lovely man with an awesome accent comes on the phone.

This time he was Irish.  Last time he was from Newcastle and was all Geordie.  I'm crossing my fingers for a Welsh man next time.  And yes, they were all male...I'm sure SOMEONE who works at O2's call centre is female, I just haven't spoke to them yet.  These men were good.  No harsh accents, no foreign accents (which sadly scream "cheap labour in India") and most definitely no hint of boredom or annoyance at their jobs.  They've been calm, soothing and gave me what I wanted - potentially because I have some charm myself?  Their accents topped them off though.  There's something so approachable about their accents!  It's the boy-next door factor.  Bravo O2!  You have discovered the perfect telephone voice.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Facebook Stalking vs Actual Psychotic Episodes

When we talk about why we use Facebook some girls use it for a very specific reason: Facebook stalking.  They'll admit this.  At work the other day one of the girls said "oh no, I didn't see that. I only really go on to stalk Josh."  I should point out Josh is her boyfriend...who she clearly doesn't trust.  Other Facebook stalking includes those who just hover on the News Feed to pick up on any/all gossip possible and those that trail after friends, ex's, friends of boyfriends etc.

All pretty harmless...or so you think.

Then I find a site called "Psychotic Letters From Men"...a blog that posts exactly what it says on the tin over the course of a year.  It stopped in February but that doesn't prevent it from providing some rather amusing/scary stories.  These "letters" after all, are actually mostly sent over the internet via email/social networking.  Psychotic men tracking women down over the internet that they haven't spoke to in ten years plus in some instances.  They verge from the self-deluded and apologetic to the downright insane and delusional.

Thank God for privacy settings.  I've just upped my considerably!  Check out the site asap in case they decide to shut it down entirely and make sure to click through to older posts are they're better...though lengthy in some cases!

Here's a quote though from PLFM Quickies: Cat Thoughts afer Amy reminded Alan he had no right to enquire about her cat after he once threatened to kill it:

From: Alan
To: Amy

I was nice to you to send you back your stuff. Now you write something like this.

Forget it. Just forget it.

Karma will get you. It starts now.

You are now in my kill file.

Monday, 14 June 2010

Poorly sick = Chick Flick

I'm sick.  Not the *cough, cough*, *sniffle, sniffle*, "pass me the bucket", kind of sick.  I have tonsillitis.  Yes, as a friend has told me, it is a childs illness and at 22 it's about time I just have them pulled out.  This is, after all, the second time I've had this in six weeks.

I always thought it was a mild illness until I realised it could effect everything...from giving you earache and headache to making you sick.  My God.  How do you fix it?  In my case it's antibiotics.  One problem though...I'm allergic to Penicillin and some other stuff.  When I went off to the emergency doctor yesterday, expecting him to be very helpful, I told him of my allergies and his response was "well what exactly do you want me to give you then?"  My response: "Well I don't know.  YOU'RE the doctor."  This was said with less force than I'd have liked because my throat was too bloody sore to voice my irritation properly. an attempt to make myself feel better I have digested chick flick after chick flick. After all, tonsillitis came on whilst in the cinema watching Letters to Juliet.  (Nothing spectacular but a proper chick flick with lots of shots of the very beautiful Italian landscape.)  I've watched everything from She's All That to 17 Again, embracing my childish romantic side.  I challenge anyone under 25 to not find Zac Efron attractive when he steps out of that car on his first day back at school post K-Fed disaster. 

On my first (and hopefully last day at work) I'm now sat wondering why chick flicks are the answer.  Holed up in bed looking decidely NOT gorgeous, depite what the boy may think - he's not here to see the mess I am after all, I am indeed miles away from proclamations of love and dreamy days out in the sunshine.  Despite all this I have completely ploughed through my collection, sleeping through a few I must say, so what next?  Any ideas?

Sunday, 13 June 2010

22, 22 years ago.

When my lovely mother was 22 she was engaged to my dad.  In June 1987 they went on a holiday to Newquay with my uncle and his wife, stayed in a nice hotel and drank too much.  Then nine months later there I was.  Well...that's how I imagine it went.

 My Mom and I in Newquay when I was a little girl.

22 years later I clock it's June.  I'm 22.  I'm imagining potential excursions with a boy...and in nine months almost to the day it is my birthday.  One difference though...I'm not pregnant, nor will I be anytime soon.  So as I declared this to the boy, saying how weird it is that generations have changed as they have, he said: "But you realise we have friends that are engaged and have children."

He's right.  Turns out our generations aren't all that different.  We are actually old enough to do all these things it's just that we have chosen not to as yet.  We are grown-ups now.  How scary.  So when do you know you're a grown-up?

  • When you're friends have been in relationships longer than some people who are getting married.
  • When you're friends are moving in together.
  • When you're friends get a mortgage.
  • When you're friends get engaged.
  • When you're friends have a baby.
  • When you're friends get married.

This, for me though is all speculation.  I realise it but I haven't done any of these yet, people I know have.  So know do I know?

  • I get annoyed when people get in my way on the street.
  • I get annoyed with queueing on a Saturday in town because I can no longer go in during the week.
  • I tell 12 year olds off for giggle and chucking things in the cinema because they're stopping me from watching the film.
  • I tell my younger siblings off and they actually listen to me.
  • I go to work 5 days a week and now see that as normal rather than a chore.
  • The thought of moving in with someone isn't all that scary.
  • I don't feel the need to get drunk all the time because hangovers are just frustrating and ruin the precious 2 days you have off work.
  • People actually think I am capable of doing a grown-up jobs.
  • I am capable of doing a grown-up job.

So I am officially a grown-up.  I realise this isn't a very grown-up post it's just all hit me in one go.  So how do I adapt to this?  Do I settle down?  Do I find a steady, career-focused job at a boring company?  Do I chuck away all my cartoon t-shirts and start wearing pencil skirts?

Naaa.  I'm still me.  Still sat here in my nightie under a blanket, both of which I've had since I was 12, because I have tonsillitis.  Definitely not a grown-up illness.  The difference is at 9am tomorrow I'll be going to work not skiving school.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

On Top of the World? Ground me again please...

I recently read an article on The Cool Hunter entitled On Top of The World - The Rise of The Observation Deck.  From observation orbs added onto the Ericsson Globe to the Eureka Skydeck and the London Eye for years the rise of heights has been growing as an ability to appreciate landscapes and areas in a new way.

 Image of the Ericsson Globe taken from The Cool Hunter

 It is by no means a new concept...I mean how long has the Eiffel Tower been around?...but as the concept spreads to places such as Brighton, with the planned i360, consider new ways of attracting tourists and locals to appreciate what they have to offer I'm becoming concerned about how high my friends will be wanting me to go.

  Image of The Edge at the Eureka Skydeck, Melbourne, taken from Luxique
and The Aurland Lookout, Norway, taken from Gossip Rocks

I am scared of heights.  Massively.  I didn't think I was, I just thought I had slight vertigo.  When I explained this to some university friends in Paris they laughed and said "so you're scared of heights then."  I got to the first level of the Eiffel Tower and freaked out.  I definitely should have taken the lift, creaky stairs that are surrounded by thin air and some metal strips are not the way to overcome a fear of heights.  I shook, I couldn't stand next to the edge and I couldn't get down quick enough.

Every time I go to Alton Towers, securely strapped into Oblivion, I wonder why the hell I'm doing it.  The next time I go I get in the queue and don't understand why, it's like I'm daring myself.  What is most important in these situations is not the view it's the fact I feel physically sick and dither continusously.  So...with this newfound passion for heights that the world is going through (because if it's not an observation experience it's the new heighest skyscraper) how does a girl overcome the fear?

Monday, 7 June 2010

iPhone 4: Waste of Money?

Soooo after having a right royal strop because Apple blamed all my phones problems for 'liquid damage' that it never recieved (Watchdog featured this last mom told me) I wrote a rather snotty email to Steve Jobs (yes I'm aware it's not him that reads them even if Jamie at the Bull Ring store tries to tell me otherwise) I got a phone call the other day: "We're terribly sorry, come in and as a gesture of goodwill we'll replace it.  However, this is not what we normally do, it is an exception."

So...refurbed and fully working iPhone 3G in my hand I'm sat here contemplating the new one.  Yes, after overhearing the man in the Apple shop tell a poor woman "The iPhone 4 is just a rumour.  We have no idea when/if this phone will come out." ...LIES...they've announced it.  It's coming and soon.  In a matter of weeks the first shipment will reach UK stores.  You could have one...for a price.

So now I'm sat here wondering if I want to pay to upgrade as I am due a new phone this month...after all the problems I've had with mine.  I am such a sucker.  Seriously.  According to apple a US retailer is offering a "cheap" upgrade of just $199, so if UK stores do a similar thing I'm looking at £100 minimum.

The Independent sure make me think I may be a bit silly with their "10 reasons not to buy Apple's new iPhone" but will they change their minds when they see all the new features from video calling to the swanky new retina display?  Maybe.  Maybe its just marketing over functionality.  After all, there's really nothing wrong with the phone I have now the one with all the problems has gone.

What's the bet I'll have one of these within three months?  Odds are 1 in 2 currently.

Stuart Cable Tribute

Devastatingly for many Stuart Cable, the original drummer of the Stereophonics died this morning.  After raving about the latest line up of Stereophonics only yesterday it feels so sad to be writing of his death now.

What do I most remember Stuart Cable for?  Other than his time in the Stereophonics it has to be his deep gravelly voice, enhanced only by his strong Welsh twand, which was completely compelling when he presented on Kerrang! Radio.  His radio show, Rock N Roll Years, as well as his appearances on other shows never failed to brighten my day. Kerrang! are today adjusting their schedules in tribute, playing a range of Stuart's favourite music as well as interviews and live sets Stuart Cable performed for Kerrang! with his new Welsh band Killing for Company.

The most interesting news piece I've seen comes from the BBC where Kelly Jones tells of how the drummer said only two weeks ago on his 40th birthday that he thought he'd never reach 40.  Check it out here as Kelly talks on the day of his uncles funeral, who was honoured at the Cardiff gig, mourns the loss of another man close to him.

Here's one of my favourite Stereophonics songs from back in 1998...RIP Stuart x

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Stereophonics: Summer in the City at Cardiff City Stadium

Last night the Stereophonics did a one off gig as the first band to ever headline at the new Cardiff City Stadium, supported by 4th Street Traffic (competition winners handpicked by Stereophonics), Kids in Glass Houses and Doves.  Good bunch that.

Oh...and I was there :o)  Now I won't gush, even though I want to, but it was amazing.  The sold out gig only showed its true colours when Stereophonics took to the stage, before that despite the good names on offer not everybody deemed them worthy of a watch.  Opening with Trouble, not my favourite I'll be honest, the anticipation was amazing as we all listened and watched their silhouettes through the bold, red, Keep Calm and Carry On curtain that covered the stage and was dropped to raptuous applause.

Kelly Jones, charming as he is, regaled us with stories of a quiet night "in the old town" where "I woke up to the sound of my own voice and thought I was tripping.  I almost opened the door and said 'what's the crack like?'"  I wish he had, can you imagine the faces of those at that party if Kelly Jones turned up.  Epic.

Phone in hand, I rang my friend as Same Size Feet belted across the stadium (it's his favourite) only for it to be delayed due to some idiots that thought standing on the very precarious roof of a temporary bar was a good idea.  Kelly Jones was stopped by security and announced: "Now I know you're having an amazing time lads but can you get off the fucking bar, it's about to collapse."

And it was oh so Welsh...with Doves the only act that wasn't Welsh, the Welsh anthem playing before Stereophonics took to the stage, flags flying everywhere, Kelly Jones' wonderful Welsh twang and fireworks and streams exploding at the Welsh white, red and green of course!

Ok....enough with my little stories, I'm still too wrapped up in it all.  Enjoy with me?

...I really enjoyed this one live.  There was something quite transcendent about it.  Well...until the fat old man next to me started grinding into thin air thinking he was very sexy.  He wasn't...but Kelly Jones was.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Cupcakes: Do I Dare?

I can't bake.  When I try the fact our oven is broke inevitably means anything on the right hand side burns.  That, or in my attempt to shift them round enough to prevent even cooking means that any cake drops and lacks all life.

This is particularly difficult for me at the minute because I pine for cupcakes.  I'm absolutely, wholeheartedly in love with them.  Fed up of paying £3 per cupcake I figure it's about time I give it a go.  I may force my mother to bake with me tomorrow as I know full well her oven works!

In preparation I called out for a wonderful lemon cupcake recipe.  Liberty London Girl, ill as she is, so nicely gave me advice via Twitter.  After finding a wonderfully simple basic recipe to work from and jotting down her lemon-related alterations I am now fully ready.  And now I'm scared.  What if I butcher them?  This is completely irrational but I just don't like to fail.

Baking advice anyone?