Bubble wrap.

I ordered some bubble wrap for the office the other day…

Then this arrived.bubblewrap3

In retrospect I MAY have gotten the amount needed a little wrong.

But still – It’s the most beautiful thing I have seen in my entire life.

It’s taking ALL of my powers of self-control to stop me from unrolling the entire thing and stop, drop and rolling the shit out of it.

Or, doing this:

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But obviously I am now a professional adult brimming with substance and maturity and will not be doing this.

You know. Not again.

Well… at least not until lunchtime.

Random act of kindness Friday – Chalky the homeless guy

For my random act of kindness this Friday I decided to step up my game a bit.

There’s this homeless guy who sleeps outside a decaying heritage building in Mayfair on a piece of cardboard and a sleeping bag. He mainly spends his time drawing on the pavement with chalks or being ignored by people. He doesn’t beg for money or hassle people, he alternates between sleeping and drawing.

I can respect that. This is how I spend the majority of my weekends.

You may or may not be aware of the fact that there are some really mean homeless people in Mayfair who lunge at you at crossings, tugging at your clothes – or sit by the road like this:

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But Chalky just minds his own business and does his own thing. London can be a crazy place that’s a total bitch to navigate without having at least one or two murderous thoughts – so I appreciate one less stress in my day. I’ve always meant to do something nice for Chalky but didn’t know what exactly. So on my way home on Friday I found him in his usual place and offered to get him some food. I took him into the local fancy pants sandwich shop around the corner, which was filled with snooty wealth management sorts (they were thrilled about this by the way) and immediately turned into my mother.
“You need some fruit? / How about some Soup? / Would you like another sandwich?”

He looked embarrassed but thrilled he was getting at least one good meal that day, giving me a big toothy grin, a Charles Dickens-like “Gawd bless ee” and leaving with two fancy-pants bags containing sandwiches, soup, chocolate covered cranberries, a comedy sized coffee to go – and a banana.

I felt really good about this.
Awkward… but good. I know I haven’t changed his life or given him a home, but I did help out someone in need of a decent meal. Not to sound like a total self congratulating assemble, but what better way to spend a Friday evening?

Fun thing of the week: I do the “No mirror makeup challenge”

As everyone else seems to have done one at one point or another, I decided to cave to imaginary peer pressure to do my own “No mirror makeup challenge.”

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I honestly don’t know how or why women on public transport do this.

I look like Widow Twanky.

Ten things I learned at a ‘posh’ all-girls school that probably explains why I’m such an awkward adult.

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  1. I licked it so it’s mine

This is a fundamental rule that every girl learns on their first day at a boarding school. Every time dessert was served up to our individual house tables (usually chocolate rock cakes) we would ALL automatically lick our hands and put them on the food to claim it for our own. Which is repulsive, but it was prison rules baby. Think Shawshank Redemption with skipping ropes.

I still employ the “I licked it so it’s mine” rule to this day. Sometimes there will occasionally be ONE chocolate biscuit left on a plate after sunday lunch. Instead of being an adult and offering this to Daddyo, Mothership or Nanna – I grab it, lick it from bottom to top and then innocently look at them as if to say “Oh, sorry… Did you want this?”

However, this is not a good strategy when claiming either a boyfriend or office stationary.

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  1. If you make accidental eye contact with either me OR my partially nekkid body while I’m changing this automatically makes you a lesbian

This was drilled into me repeatedly from the age of seven by the other girls at school – which made things really awkward for the first few years. I was convinced I was a lesbian, only I liked boys. So I was the worst lesbian ever.

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  1. Removing your bra while keeping your shirt on should definitely be counted as a life skill

This is a follow on from the above “rule.” If you didn’t want to show any skin while changing (and therefore be branded a lesbian) you were forced to contort yourself into all sorts of unnatural shapes and positions to gain entrance to an entirely new outfit while remaining at least partially covered by another until you are ready to emerge like a butterfly from its cocoon. It’s harder than it looks, but I have been grateful for this skill on many an occasion. Like the time I went bra shopping, didn’t know my size and whipped my current bra off and out my sleeve without betraying an inch of skin in the middle of M&S to a shocked audience of family matriarchs.

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  1. If you need the loo, you also need your entourage. As both company and human shields.

When I was a teenager, the girls moved in packs. I can’t speak for the others, but personally this was because I was always convinced there was a giant spider-monster living in the S-band of the toilet that would come out and bite me on the vagina when I wasn’t looking. So if I had a friend with me they could help me fight it off so I wouldn’t die all alone in a cubical like Moaning Myrtle in Harry Potter. But it was also nice to have someone to chat to.

These days I prefer to do my peeing alone.

But I still worry about that spider.

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  1. Chocolate doesn’t count when it’s “that time of the month”

This is a universal truth known by women the world over. Chocolate is a magically hypothetical food group whose consequences vanish when you are on your period.

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  1. When someone asks “Do I look fat in this?” The automatic answer is “No, you look great” NO MATTER WHAT

Face it. Damned if you do and damned if you don’t. The answer is “You look great” – always.

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  1. There will always be the token backstabbing super-bitch in any given workplace or establishment

In my time I have gone to five different schools, had seven different jobs and there is ALWAYS the token bitch lurking somewhere. The one who’s trying to simultaneously get the dirt on you, pretend to be your friend and trip you up at every opportunity. This is depressing.

I’d love it if life in general was a Beyonce-like “who runs the world, girls!” Kind of place where we empower each other on a daily basis, but the fact is a lot of women seem to hate one other for no reason at all.

Which is why most of my friends are guys.

Problem solved.

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  1. When you take a picture of me, I need 10 option pictures to choose from and final photo approval.

There is something particularly cruel about someone who takes a random candid of you that looks awful and then posts it on social media without giving you a chance to veto it first. I take a picture of myself? I look normal. This bitch takes a picture of me? I look like golem. It’s like a magical power she has. One to end friendships.

 

  1. Being a weird tomboy is great – but other girls will hate you because you’re friends with all the cute guys that won’t give them the time of day

As mentioned before – women baffle and confuse me. I am not good at forging friendships with members of my own gender and I have always been like that. The problem with this is that the girls at school always hated me. While I was hanging around with the boys, playing Red Rover or Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles and having a whale of a time – they were staring longingly at the same mud and snot smeared boys, flicking their hair and applying strawberry chapstick in what they hoped would be an alluring manner.

 

  1. Everything is funnier if you aren’t allowed to laugh

I love it when I get a fit of the giggles. The problem is getting yourself to stop laughing. Especially when the giggles strike for no reason and you know that you are in a situation where you shouldnt be laughing. Like a wedding, or a funeral, or sex ed class… or during a smear test. This is when the giggles veer into hiccup territory and only seem to get worse the more you try to stop them.

Which is generally when I have to picture dead kittens to sober myself up again.

Random act of Kindness Friday – Big Issue man

I bought a big issue today as my Random act of Kindness this Friday.

This may seem lame and I could be a bit more creative – but the guy I bought the magazine from is so nice I have been meaning to do this for ages.

To start with he positions himself so that he is UTTERLY IMPOSSIBLE TO MISS by standing somewhat impractically in the middle of the street, smiling winningly at each wave of people stomping their way to work in the hopes of making a sale. He seems really sweet and friendly and will say good morning / wish you a good weekend when ever he catches your eye.

I feel really guilty when I don’t have any change on me to give him. The ironic thing is, I’m surrounded by a swarm of bankers and executives who’s yearly earnings could dwarf mine five times over – but I’m the one that usually gets singled out for the disapproving shake of the head when I don’t pick up a copy.

This time, I saw him and felt around in my pocket for some change. By some small miracle I actually had some! Pound coins! Which everyone knows are like the Olympic gold medal of change. I gleefully went over to him and asked for a copy. He asked me for £2.50, so I gave him £4 and couldn’t help but feel good about the smile that crept across his face.

And now, as an extra silver lining, I have something to read on the tube home!

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Hurrah!

Happy Friday Everyone!

Fitness Update – seeing some subtle changes

I’m not going to lie. My “living clean for 2015” challenge has been tough so far. On paper, it’s not rocket science. I just needed to be eating right and finding the time to work out every day. Simple, right?

Wrong. I soon discovered that a lot of foods that might have looked perfectly innocent and healthy were more often than not riddled with high amounts of hidden salts, sugars or carbs – and the majority of “fast result” fitness DVD workouts were prescribing a life of  hard-core, fast paced cardio that would probably be enough to make my heart explode right out of my chest.

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I decided not to go with the Oliver Twist method of getting back into shape. I wasn’t going to start weighing my food, I wasn’t going to become an amateur nutritionist in my spare time, I wasn’t even going to punish myself with hours and hours of gruelling workouts. I was simply going to use good old common sense. Unfortunately, as savvy as I like to think I am about my diet and fitness (considering I was a strict and very athletic Pescetarian for 13 years) health experts were contradicting themselves with conflicting revelations on a near constant basis – which confused the shit out of me. I mean, which whey is the right way?

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Luckily I found a few blogs, Instagram accounts, books and websites that were actually very helpful when it came to figuring out how the fuckety fuck to navigate this healthy lifestyle minefield. Mostly because the people running these sites actually knew what the hell they were talking about. Which helps.

greatistGreatist

This website / blog is quite frankly brilliant. They review fitness apps, give you workout tips and ideas, have a section for ‘Quick and easy’ healthy meals, post smoothie recipes and write articles about how to fit exercise into your busy daily life. Greatist is well written and relatable. A go-to for anyone trying to make either little or large changes to their lifestyle.

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Superhealthfoodie / Healthycleantimes – Instagram

The above are Instagram accounts that will give you loads of ideas how to keep eating healthily and swerve your diet out of the boring health food “Not another salad, I beg of you” death-zone that comes before a pizza binge. They post recipes for Cacao protein chocolate chip buns, healthy breakfast sundae’s, salads and a tidal wave of chia puddings and smoothies I’m dying to try. Nothing they post or recommend looks or sounds boring.

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Bodybuilding.com

When I first came across this site, I’m not going to lie. It scared me. I thought to glean any form of use from what lurked within you had to be able to bench-press an elephant. I had no business here! How wrong I was. This website completely changed my perception of the bodybuilding community. The people running this site are experienced healthcare professionals, Olympic athletes, nutritionists and personal trainers. They post effective step-by-step workout regimens based on your health and fitness goals. Worth trying.

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The ‘Deliciously Ella’ cook book / Deliciouslyella.com

This book is jam-packed with brilliant healthy recipes anyone can try their hand at. Ella promotes a positive attitude towards food and encourages wellbeing and health. It’s not about living on a diet of mung beans and drinking goat wee for the rest of your life. It’s about eating well, realising that food is NOT the enemy – and feeling full without any saturated or processed junk sneaking back onto your plate.

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Health and Fitness – Pinterest

This is a Pinterest board for everything health and fitness based. You can find exercise print-out sheets to give you inspiration / guidance for your next workout, recipes, workout clothes, interesting articles, motivational pictures, nutritional advice – almost everything you can think of!

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SuperFoods by Julie Montagu

This is another book that I have come across lately. It sounds scary, like you’re about to have a basket of vegetables and goji berries forcibly shoved in your face – but fear not. This really is a flexible approach to getting more superfoods into your diet. Mothership gave me a bowl of the Courgetti spaghetti and I loved it. I had two bowls of the stuff and I don’t even like courgette. Granted the smoothies, juices and spiralised vegetables won’t be for everyone. But it’s worth trying, surely?

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Popsugar fitness – Youtube

This is a very cool channel that always has different sorts of new workouts on it for you to try. The ‘Beyonce sexy dance’ workout, zumba, HITT sets, Pilates, ballet body barre, bikini body ready workouts… they also talk about nutrition. It’s a bit camp, a bit girly – but you know what? So what? I like it.

So far I have seen quite a few differences in myself physically since starting this fitness challenge. For starters, I had been forced to cut my hair really short after a terrible haircut and I was losing hope that I would ever see my long hair ever again. It was brittle, split easily, taking forever to grow even a few inches… But now? Check it out

longhairAlso, my skin – which has struggled with debilitating acne since I was eight years old was starting to clear up thanks to a mixture of healthy diet, twice daily Neutrogena cleansing routine, drinking two 1.5 litre bottles of water every day and using Isotrex gel every night before bed.

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I still get the odd breakout – but I am confident that (with a little more hard work and patience) I might finally have these facial explosions under a bit more control.

As for exercise? To be honest my evening workout was getting sidetracked by the mountain of other shit I have to do as part-time housefrau / stepmother and fulltime PA. So, in order to rectify this I’ve been doing an hours workout in the morning before I leave for work. I can do weights, legs, core – or just go for a jog. The rule is, I HAVE to do at least an hour every morning. And if I don’t then I need to make up for it in the evening.

I never thought I would be joining the ranks of those sad acts who get up ridiculously early to jiggle up and down, lift weights and drink cups of lemon slices in hot water before work. And yet – here I am, queen of the sad acts, reporting for duty.

excersise4I have been printing off exercise sheets from Pinterest as useful workout guides for me to follow. This is very helpful considering I’m now staggering around bleary eyed each morning trying to negotiate my way into a sports bra without dislocating both arms. All I know is that I feel is achy. Very, very, very achy. To the point that if I listen very carefully I can actually hear my muscles stifle a scream every time I move.

The upshot is that there’s a definite hidden ripple of muscle going on in general. I also feel more flexible and far less breathless when I climb stairs. I may still be grumpily hunching over my computer for most of the day, but I don’t feel like such an old lady when I get up again. I’m not dramatically clutching my back or complaining loudly about my knees anymore. I’m also drinking more water. Now that I’m doing a morning workout I’m getting through two 1.5 litre bottles of still Buxton mineral water without even blinking. I drink one before work and one during the rest of the day. I even keep notches on the bottle to marker the time so I can tell if I’m drinking enough.

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Sometimes I put a mint tea bag in the bottle to ring the changes and give the water a bit of flavour without adding any sugary syrups. Sure it tastes like diluted mouthwash but it’s worth it. I’d rather be drinking a french martini … however sacrifices must be made.

I hope at least a few of my more visible muscles get here for summer – because I really, really, REALLY want to wear cute summery clothes this year. Things that call for a bit if midriff. Things that you might see an Abercrombie and Fitch model wearing while posing wistfully in a field of wildflowers, suggestively licking a 99.

Everyone’s gotta have a goal – and I guess this is mine.