Monday, 29 July 2013

I'm just saying.

I'm sitting in the dark, on my bed, listening to Taylor Swift and scouring my Twitter feed for any sign of intelligent life. I'm afraid to announce there's not much. I am, as I am frequently told, too obsessed with Twitter. In fact, I must admit, I do have a life outside of the mass black hole that is the tumultuous Twittersphere. I don't know why people seem to jump to the conclusion that because I have tweeted a huge 35,719 times, that I therefore cannot even comprehend, never mind pursue an actual social life. This, in fact, couldn't be further from the truth. I'm a very sociable person, usually. On and offline. There's nothing better, to me, than meeting a friend over Starbucks and having a gossip, a drink at the pub or even a tweeting marathon online. I will dispute this constantly, I have a life, both regarding and disregarding my online activity.

We've all done it. Fallen into the social-networking trap, became obsessed with the latest networking craze and found yourself planning your sleeping pattern around your Facebook newsfeed, Twitter timeline or Bebo profiles (yes, really far back in the day!) It's kind of funny really. My parents are constantly saying to me, "why don't you get off twitter and actually go talk to your friends?" with which I respond, "what do you think I'm doing now?" I've said it before, and I'll continue to say it again, I have to be one of the easiest people to get in touch with, on the planet. I have a Facebook account, a Twitter, a discarded MySpace I never really nourished, a Tumblr I have no idea how to use, but I'm always receiving emails about comments and photo posts, a YouTube I don't really need, and of course, a Blogspot. I'm always attached to my phone, and if I don't respond to a text, a tweet, a facebook message or a phone call, then I really am avoiding you, or I'm extremely busy (i.e. Watching Luther, NCIS or lost in a book.)

I love my networking, even if other people laugh at it. I've seen the looks, and heard the comments. I'll slip in something about a tweet or a blog post into a real-life, physical conversation, and there are certain people who just can't help but roll their eyes and just stand there, blatantly uninterested. That's okay. And you know why? Because it makes me happy. I like to blog and tweet. It's what I want, so it doesn't cross my mind what other people think of it. Even some of my friends, I'm sure, probably think they have better things to do than blog, but for me, it's more than just a play-by-play, online diary entry, it's a personal way I can get my writing out there, into the vast array of the internet. A powerful force, and a way, hopefully, that may open up many new opportunities for me in the future.

There's probably a lot of people close to me who think I'm clutching at straws, or just being a naive little dreamer by wanting to pursue a career in writing, but I shrug it off. You might think I'm a dreamer, but maybe I am. But years from now, I hope to see more than four office or classroom walls. I don't mind there's no steady wage or pension plan or set holidays, because what I want isn't about stability. It's about passion. Years from now, when my friends are teachers, and scientists, and pharmacists and doctors and all that stuff, maybe my name will be known for something else, for some other reason. Maybe I'll be the next F. Scott Fitzgerald, J.K Rowling or Jane Austen. I want you to be reading someone's blog who will later become a bestselling author, a journalist, or a magazine editor. I want to write, the freedom of expression, and my words down on someone else's page. It may not be conventional, but who wants to be conventional anyway. Every risk I take may get me one step closer to the thing I really want, so if that means writing a blog, and spending too much time dreaming up creative pieces, then so be it.

Skyscraper expectations.

What if everything stopped here.
What if your name and mine are never uttered in the same breath any longer.
What if you're okay with that, and I'm not.
What if we never met, or never do meet again,
Is that better, or is that worse?
Do you regret it, that thing we knew as us?
Or do you want to laugh every time it's brought up,
Like it's just a fly on your windshield,
Just a spec of dust in your peripheral vision.
Maybe that's all I am now,
Or all I ever was,
But to me, you weren't just that.
You weren't just a crumb to be brushed away
Or an insufferable stain you just can't shift,
You were welcomed. Wanted.
You still are,
And I think you know that.
In the pit of your stomach, you know.
But I shrug my shoulders when I hear your name,
Because I can't ever live up to it,
Your skyscraper expectations.
I'm not that girl,
And you're not that kind of guy who is willing to compromise.
And I guess that's the beginning,
And the middle,
And the end, of everything.

Book #3: An Abundance of Katherines.

As I sit here, the wind whistling violently through the gap under my bedroom door and the remnants of a cup of coffee perched beside me, I think I'm experiencing too many emotions all at once. With a too-heavy copy of Norton's Anthology of English Literature placed offensively in front of me, I feel the guilt welling up inside of me like a dormant little monster. But then, I realise where my interests lie, and forget all of that, as I've just finished reading another one of John Green's masterpieces. This time, it's AAOK, or, as it is formally published, An Abundance of Katherines. A title that speaks a thousand words. It really couldn't have been christened anything else. My supposedly guilt-ridden shoulders were, just a few hours previous, practically hugging my Kindle, the home of so many of my latest reads, including the latest, AAOK.

This being the fourth of five John Green books I would have read, I was excited, yet kind of nervous. My expectations were very high, the bar had already been set, and I was terribly afraid that a man whose writing I had come to love may just plummet in expectations, as soon as these pages began to be flicked through. However, to my utmost pleasure, I was wrong. At first, I struggled to get into it, as I was far too preoccupied with this novel living up to my skyscraper-like expectations, that I momentarily forgot how to just disappear into a story, get emotionally attached to the characters, and experience a journey through a new set of eyes. Once I'd got past my own awkwardness, An Abundance of Katherines was everything I wanted it to be. I have this theory, that every John Green book is the same yet different. There's always something new brought to the table. While each one of his novels combines emotion with astounding characters and a great deal of cold-hard-reality, (a bit like Kevin Brooks, yet not as brutal) each one has something that a previous lacks. That is, not to say, that I believe, any of Green's books 'lack' a sense of je ne sais quoi. (Sorry, I just had to interject that to prove to myself that my French failure of an A-level was not, despite my results, a total flop!)

Anyway, what I'm trying, and somewhat failing at explaining is, that in my opinion, John Green's books are in some ways, worlds apart, yet still interlinked. There are aspects of Alaska Young echoed in Margo, and Augustus Waters and Colin Singleton may possibly become friends in another life. While all of his characters go on both physical and emotional journeys, perhaps none as much so as the protagonist in my latest read. Colin Singleton, (yes names are very significant here) has had a history of past girlfriends, aptly all named, yes, you've guessed it, Katherine. Coincidental, funny and down-right amusing, Colin's journey to, and from, Chicago, his former life, and the emotions he is constantly tied down by, is one never short of humour or interest to readers. A very likeable, surprisingly relatable character, Colin echoes Ross Geller, with his almost-unbelievable chain of divorces, and the loathsome self-pity that somehow translates into hilarity.

I can't actually say much about this book, I don't want to spoil it for anyone. It's yet another piece of Green's brilliant writing. The dialogue never fails to be witty, and it is probably one of the most intelligently written books I've discovered in a long time. I'll keep this brief, so, just pick it up. You'll be pleasantly surprised, and take note, there are morals to this story unlike any other.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013


Sometimes all you want to do is disappear. For a few minutes, hours, days. To be alone, in your own company. To spend time with yours truly. The one person always with you, the friend always by your side, the keeper of your brain, emotions and conscience. Your personal confidante, your physical being, the shadow always one step behind you.

Days like these, are underrated. Not that everyone in my life isn't wonderful, but everyone needs alone time every so often. To think things over. To make your own decisions and deal with your mistakes. To shut out everyone else, and enjoy not having to give a damn.


"My name is Allie, and this is my story so far."

Allie is a strong girl with a good heart. She's a natural brunette and has never dyed her hair, but cut it drastically once or twice. She never cries in public but sometimes has to wear a down-turned smile. She's intelligent and hard working and considerate. Reliable, motivated and very, very passionate. But Allie isn't perfect. Far from it. Under that hard, steely exterior, Allie is vulnerable. Insecure. A thousand tears are cried behind the privacy of her bedroom door, and many times has she feigned sleep to dwell on everything she wished she could change in her life. Allie bites her nails, and swears a lot, and has a tendency to be overly materialistic. She probably does drink too much. Her friends try hard with her but eventually, they lose their patience, because she has a tendency to be defiant. She's spontaneous and a little bit crazy, and sometimes out-of-hand, but at least she's never boring. She can be friendly yet out-spoken. Allie is, somewhat secretly, a very fragile little doll, under her disguise. Under the layers of foundation, the dark eye make-up and lipstick, the carefully-perfected hair  the meticulously-selected clothes, the perfume, the nail varnish, the complete façade: she is a different person. 

The shy, quiet girl, who knows what she wants but has no idea how to get it. The girl with the broken smile, the bitten-back tears, the scar not visible to the naked eye; not physical, but mental. The girl with the idea but lacks the confidence to share them. The one who won't raise her hand in class, although she knows she has the right answer stored in her head or perched on her lips. The girl who may just have the ability to change the world, if only she had a spoonful of gumption in her grasp. Allie spends too many hours crying, too much time dwelling on the past, too much time being unhappy, and there are too many people in her life who don't seem to realise how weak this strong girl really is. The girl who has so much she needs to say, but no one to listen. With a smile plastered across her face, and a whiskey chaser in her hand, the world is her oyster, or so you'd think. She sits at her desk, doodling in her latest, overly-priced notebook, watching the world live their lives, while she's too frightened to live her own the way she'd truly like to. Dwelling on the missed opportunities and poor choices, her negativity is there to cloud any potential growth of optimism. Her family are amazing, but sometimes, Allie needs more than that. She needs freedom and excitement and yet, at the same time, she needs to know that the friends she spends weekends partying with, are there to pick up the pieces when her world comes crashing down around her ears. A very-real hand to help her up, a bearer of good news, a light in even the darkest times, someone just to give her a hug or a tissue or a 'congratulations' card when she achieves her goals. 

She needs the people she has in her life. The carefully selected few she'd break an arm for. The support system she has built over the years, in the desperate hope that if/when she needs it, they'll kick in, they'll stand up, they'll be out in full-force, at her beckon-call, to be who she needs them to be. A shoulder to cry on, a drinking buddy, someone to have a late night chat with, and ultimately, someone who not just can, but will, drop everything for her if she needs it. Upset, angry, worried, and Allie's group will be by her side, on the other end of the phone, or the other end of the settee, to make sure that if she needs anything, they'll be right by her side, or just a stone's throw away. Allie's always going to be quiet inside, even if there's a part of her she wants to show off, shout from the rooftops. The reserved, shy side isn't dormant quite just yet. So, the girl with the big smile and the carefully applied mascara, well, she's still sort of hopeful. If they aren't there to pick her up, she picks herself up. If there's no one there to dry her tears, she violently mops up her own. If there's no one there to reassure her when her doubt starts to take over, she tells herself that exact thing. When the insults fly and the tempers rage and everyone seems to be conspiring against her, what does she do? Allie simply shuts the door. She walks away, holding her head as high as she possibly can. She knows the skies will clear in time. Luck changes. And most of all, Allie knows, that with the right help, she will become the person she's always wanted to be, and in her heart, always has been.


There really is so much pressure surrounding us these days, that it's hard to get anything right. How do you get something down to a T when odds are on that you'll mess up fifty times before you could ever do something half-decent? Night spent tossing and turning, taking your passivity out on your duvet and even occasionally right-hooking your pillows when the agitation gets too much. And why? What's the reason? Worrying. I don't know about the rest of you (presuming, perhaps vainly, that there is someone reading this) but I worry about everything. That's right. Anything you can fix your mind on, I worry about. From the usual stuff like being late, or embarrassing myself in front of someone *important* or academic achievements, to totally outrageous and unlikely things that aren't probable at all.

Worrying about not being thin enough, or clever enough, or pretty enough, or tall enough, or loud enough, or confident enough, or fashion able enough, or independent enough, or happy enough, or plain-and-simple, no-sugar-coating-necessary, just being not enough. I think that's probably my biggest fear (if you discount moths, lifts, heights and bridges, that is.) Maybe I won't live up to everyone's expectations, and then what? What on earth would I do? If I don't live up to my own, my degree is wasted, and my dream is in tatters? My family would be so disappointed and slightly disgraced, my friends would try to help but there wouldn't be much to say to console me. After all, I am difficult at the best of times.

Anyway, you can see how my stream-of-consciousness thinking has a tendency to get out-of-hand. I do this a lot. And I mean, not just like once or twice a month, or every time Comedy Central puts adverts in between their day-long re-runs of Friends, but a lot indeed. I'm really insecure, and when it comes down to it, I don't have enough self-confidence to brush these doubts and worries under the carpet, so my head gets a little done in from time to time. So, this isn't even one of those little philisophical blog posts reflecting on life, this is merely just life as it is, for me. This is me saying, hello, I'm insecure, a total worrier and I don't know how to change it.

That's it. That's all.

Friday, 19 July 2013


Standing in the middle of the airport, surrounded by many happy, bustling holiday-goers, I'd never felt so alone. Your hand in mine, that look spread across your face, and as you parted your lips, I urged you not to breath another word, not to say those words. The ones we'd been hovering around for months, and now, well now it was too late. Now it didn't matter if you said them or not, everything was decided. Now I didn't want to hear them. I didn't need to hear them. I needed you. It would just make things a thousand times harder, for you, but most of all, for me. As you looked down on me with those big brown eyes, I saw them fill with tears. I'd only ever seen you cry twice before, and once was when your football team lost the World Cup, so I knew this was different. This was serious. These weren't crocodile tears. This hurt more than words can describe. This stung so badly it made me want to scratch my retinas with a blunt object just so I didn't have to watch you experience such pain.

With your suitcase in one hand, and your hand luggage slung over the other shoulder, it all looked so real, so final. Eventually, I plucked up the courage, forced myself to catch my breath and say those words I really needed to say.

"Liam. Don't go."

You stared at me blankly for a few moments, obviously expecting me to say something else. Something, I don't know, more, maybe. Finally, you spoke.

"You know I can't do that babe."

I couldn't believe what I was hearing. Anger rose up from a deep cavity in my chest and seem to rest grudgingly and uncomfortably in my throat. Ready to leap out like a mutant if agitated further. Why was I angry? I knew what was happening. I knew it was just something he had to do, so why was I getting so angry, so upset, so fucking infuriated at the fact he wouldn't give up an opportunity like this, for my sake. For me, for us. Did I really think he'd do that? Was I really that stupid? I shook my head a little too vigorously, not realising I'd actually physically moved. I contemplated how naive I seemed to have become over the last few months. I was on auto-pilot. Everything seemed to be happening without my say-so. It was like I was watching my life unfold from one of those mirrored windows; I was looking out but no one could see in. I was invisible, even to my true self.

"Why can't you do this for me?" I blurted out.

There was that blank stare again. You blinked too obviously. My heart seemed to plummet and at the same time, rise and bounce off my rib cage. I inhaled sharply. You let go of the handle of your suitcase, and put down your hand luggage. Taking both of my hands in yours, all the while you looked longingly into my eyes.

"Han, you know if I could have it any other way, I would, don't you?"

I nodded, biting back tears. I was acting like a spoiled brat who wasn't getting her own way. But I composed myself, a bit. I couldn't make a scene. Not here. Not with all of these people around me. Not now. He'd never forgive me. 

"I...I suppose so."
"You've got to understand. This is a big deal for me."
"What?" I snapped. "A big deal for you? You haven't got a clue, have you? It's a fucking huge deal for me too, Liam! But you never considered how it would affect me, did you?! You're being so selfish!"

You just stared again. I was getting more and more infuriated. 

"So Liam, what about me? What about us? Where do I fit in this little arrangement of yours? Oh wait, yes, I forgot. I DON'T!" I spat viciously, totally unaware of the bitter looks I was receiving from the people close by, trying to check-in with as little hassle as possible, and here was me, causing a scene, having a total hissy fit, and being "terribly inconsiderate" I believe one woman said.

The blank look faded from your face to be replaced by an upset one. I received a kind of morbid satisfaction in seeing you shed a tear at my bitter words. At least it showed you cared on some level. 

"Hannah, I do understand. More than you'll ever know."
"Don't patronize me. If you understood, you wouldn't be doing this."
"Jesus Christ" What do you want from me, Hannah?"
"I want you to stay."
"You heard me. I want you to stay, here...with me."
"I can't."
"Why can't you?"
"It's just..It's not that simple."
"Well, make it simple."
"You're the one making things difficult here Han, not me."
"Oh for fuck sake Liam, stop it. Please!"
"Stop with the pseudo-sympathetic bullshit you seem to be spewing out all over" Stop pretending you give a damn about me and just get on that fucking plane and do us both a favour. I thought I was enough, but I'm never, ever going to be able to live up to that. I can't let you stay if you'll spend the rest of your life telling people that I'm the reason you didn't achieve your dream. I can't be your second choice, and I am."

Silence. At last. I didn't know how to react to it. Apparently, neither did you. The surrounding area seemed to have cleared of travelers, minus one or two scurrying carefully to check-in, trying to avoid that couple having 'a domestic.' Those that were still at a close distance still managed to shoot us a disapproving glance, as if we were ruining their holiday experience before they'd even stepped foot on the aircraft. You broke the silence, to my relief.

"Han, just listen. Please. I told you about this before we even got together. I told you i had full intentions of going back to Melbourne when the term was over, and you said you were fine with it. You seemed, excited for me You knew- you know it's a great opportunity for me. I can't pass up a job offer like this. Not for anyone. You know this isn't about you, it never has been. It's always been about me. Don't take it personally. I'm not hurting you. If you just-"
"How can I not take it personally, Liam? I'm the one you seem to want to fly thousands of miles around the world to get away from? How the hell am I supposed to take that? I take it very personally. In fact, it breaks my fucking heart. Why are you doing this to me? Do you really not care at all? Am I not even worth a decent goodbye? Actually, scratch that- am I not worth more to you than some poxy job? You'd choose a huge paycheck over me?"

"You're not getting what I'm trying to say.. I need to take this opportunity but the thing is.."
"You don't get it! No, I don't want to hear any more excuses. You're going. That's the beginning and the end of everything. If I was given an ultimatum, I'd choose you over everything, every single time. But, I guess it doesn't always work both ways."
"Han, you're getting too upset.. I wish you'd just listen to what I'm trying to tell you!"
"WHAT?" I practically spat. My eyes felt like they were burning. The tears in my eyes stung like I'd been crying acid.
"I'm sorry."
"What for? Leaving me or letting me know I'm your last resort?"
"Everything." was all you could say.
"Yeah well, I'm sorry I even met you, so fucking bad luck."
"Don't be like that, Han. You're taking this all wrong."
"You know what, Liam, I can't even bare to look at you any more. Just go. Have a fucking great life. I hope you forget me in an instant, because I never want to spend another second thinking about you."

And with that, I pulled my hands sharply out of his grip, turned and walked away, heading for the exit. Without saying a word, you grabbed me by the waist, stopping me.

"You're fucking hard work, Han, has anyone ever told you that?"

It was now my turn to be wearing the blank, confused expression.

"I'm only going to say this once, Han, so for god sakes, shut up and listen. You mean more to me than anyone or anything in the whole world. I've loved you ever since I set eyes on you, at that bus stop in November, when it was pissing down with rain and your hair was soaked and sticking to your cheeks, and you asked if I had a lighter on me. I never intended to hurt you. This is something I just have to do, for me. It's not a selfish decision, it's just a decision I really need to make. But, if you give me a chance, I'll prove myself to you, properly."

I didn't respond. I just kept looking into his eyes. Liam then rummaged around in his jeans pocket, retrieved something small and then took my left hand in his. As he knelt slowly to the floor, my brain just caught up with what my eyes were visualising and a grin found its way across my face. I'd missed the signs. He'd been trying to tell me, and I'd gone all psycho-bitch on him. 

"I wanted it to be a surprise," he told me. "Why else do you think I've got so much in my suitcase? There's stuff in here for you too."

And that was it. I was finally speechless.

"Hannah, I love you. I always have, and I always will. I can't bare to live without you, whether it's in Leeds or in bloody Australia, I can't contemplate the idea of not waking up next to you every morning. So, Hannah, baby, whadda you say, will you do me the pleasure, the privilege, no- the honour, of becoming my wife?"

Tears were streaming down my cheeks, this time, happy tears. Happier tears than I'd ever experienced. I knelt down to meet his eye level, and kissed him.

"Is that a yes then?"
"It's a yes." I half-laughed, half-sobbed. 
"Thank god," Liam exhaled deeply, "I thought I was going to have to pawn the fucker."
We both laughed in unison, but we were suddenly interrupted.

An announcement came over the receiver;
"Last call for flight 421 to Melbourne, Australia. Please report to gate 16, immediately."

We exchanged a glance. "Shit!"

Liam grabbed my hand, "come on, hurry, or we'll miss it."
"Wait, i haven't got my ring on yet."

He sighed, rolled his eyes, laughing a moment, slid the ringer quickly but carefully on my finger, kissed it softly with his lips, and then, it was time to run. No, sprint. Between us, we grabbed the bags and began running as fast as our legs could take us, to the correct terminal. We were running badly, hand-in-hand, juggling too-heavy luggage that kept hitting our sides every few hundred metres. Giggling like a pair of school kids. The distance made me feel like I'd ran a marathon on a stomach of three cornflakes. I felt dizzy and my pulse was beating out of a vein in my forehead. We both struggled for breath as we reached the gate and fell into the departure lounge, laughing heartily and breathlessly. We'd done it. We'd settled our differences, solved all our problems, and established what we both wanted. Now, there was only one problem...

"Liam, why does that board say Mexico? I thought you said we were going to Melbourne?"
"Shit," we both said in unison for a second time, and collapsed onto the floor even more, laughing hysterically. 
"Fuck it, we'll get the next one."

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

For Gracie.

To the one person who told me to document my holiday antics until I returned to still-quite-sunny Newcastle, to update her, so here you go Gracie. I told you I'd do it. Some may be slightly beating around the bush, for dignity's purpose.

Tuesday 9th July 2013: San Antonio Bay, Ibiza.

As I sit surrounded by young people and one or two families, not satisfied with the way I look in the bikini I'm wearing, the sun blaring down on the stony ground by the pool, I realise how perfect this is. There's the usual lot. The girls who are ready to have the time of their lives, tanning straight away and spend their days giggling away and admiring the lads, and the lads who perhaps fancy themselves a bit too much, tattoos in show and have a bottle of whiskey with breakfast. I have Taylor Swift playing on my iPod and it's so hot, my hair has done that *woo hoo* thing that Phoebe says. A picturesque backdrop of woodland and sand, our hotel is situated literally a minute's walk away from the sandy coastline of San Antonio Bay. Bikinis, sunglasses and pints are out in full-force. All Inclusive alcohol has just kicked off at half ten and we're already drinking what is fondly known in Geordieland as Trebles. A mad week ahead I think. I miss by blog but my notebook and phone will suffice. Cue the cameras and fasten your seatbelts, you're about to have the best week of your lives.

If I stopped lying, I'd just disappoint you.

As I sit here listening to Robbie Williams' Come Undone, it finally hits me how much of a brilliant week I've just had. I got back from Ibiza yesterday morning, and I'm already terribly nostalgic and sad to have left the white isle. This is a song that's played one-too-many times around the pool over the last seven days, and while I was feeling close to depressed at it's constant playing, I think I've learned to love it for what it represents. I'm donning a very commercialized 'I heart Ibiza' top and trying to hold on to the hilarious, fabulous and drunken memories of the past week. With more funny quotes than you can shake a stick at, and hundreds of photos, I think it's safe to say we'll be reminiscing for a while yet.

We met so many lovely people, I guess I should say hello to you all, just in case one or two of you actually stumble across this. So, a big hello to Amy and Courteney, Alex, Danny, Lucky (of course!) Jack, Sam, Tom and Jamie, Gaz/"grandad", the man who actually claimed he was Paddy McGuinness' brother (yes, WHAT) as well as all the lads from Manchester, including Ollie and not forgetting Luke Longsocks. Also, George, the owner of the cafe on the corner, a woman who had never heard of "Charlotte", Isabella and everyone else who actually made our holiday one of the best experiences in my entire life.

Big thanks to you all. I haven't got much to say on that front, but here's a few little messages;
Alex, if you're reading this, fetch me some absinthe (oh, and well done on finding this, you said you would!). Jack, I'm still awaiting my diamond, so hurry the hell up. Sam, I'll try and write my novel by next week and send it to you, but don't worry if it's a bit late. Tom, I seriously miss our apple schnapps sessions, even if there's next to no alcohol in them, so I must find myself a bottle. Jamie, I seriously can't wait for these photos to appear on facebook. And for god sakes Luke, take your long socks off, it's thirty nine degrees out.

An amazing week in the sun, partying our arses off. There's so many more blog updates to come so hold on tight.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Goodbye for now.

With less than 24 hours to go until I'll be jetting off, from Newcastle airport, to the sunny isle of Ibiza. Seven days of blissfully sunny (I hope) days, and a few too many party nights. Excitement, nerves and anticipation are in the air. A week with my two best friends, what could be better, you ask? I'm hoping we have a fabulous time, (Did I mention it's All Inclusive?) and come back with some brill holiday snaps, a tan and one or two funny souvenirs. With our Ibiza playlists, Factor-15 and beach-wear at the ready, there's nothing else to do, but check in, order a large drink, and get on our way. I'm even taking a notebook with me, as you do, as an aspiring writer. So, think of this as a little goodbye. (I'm getting teary-eyed!) I'll be back in a week or so, to update you with my holiday antics and whatever else may or may not be going on in my life. Meanwhile, hope you all have a fabulous week (after all, Britain's having a heatwave) whatever you're doing. I'll speak soon, much love.

Mixed-up metaphors.

It’s human nature to beat around the bush, avoid the obvious, tip-toe around the subject matter at all costs. But why is it, we can never say what we actually mean? We throw about one-too-many sneaky metaphors lately, and I’m beginning to think it’s a bad habit. There seems to be something about speaking your mind or saying exactly what you think that’s risky. Do you brand yourself the “arrogant” one, the “bitch” or the “tosser” because you’re “blunt” and speak up? Or do you become a shrinking violet, shy away into yourself and hover around the truth like a moth dallying around a flame, scarcely aware of the danger which lies ahead? Sometimes, using all of these back-handed, mixed-up, complicated metaphors is the lesser of two evils. At least, if you’re not 100% honest, you don’t risk hurting someone’s feelings or making a name for yourself as the bitchiest girl around.

We live in a world where the clichéd “it’s not you, it’s me” and “we’ll maybe we’re better off as friends” are the norm. They echo between the school corridors and rattle around the walls of workplaces. Yet, it’s funny, we all know what the underlying meaning really is. “It’s not you, it’s me” does mean it’s you but we’re all too polite to come right out with it. Being Friend-zoned, everyone knows, just is another back-handed term for telling someone you used to associate with, that you actually don’t want to establish a “relationship” and that time you kissed after seventeen Tequila slammers really was just the drink talking, not you confessing your undying love for a colleague, friend or associate.

Everywhere we go, we seem to be surrounded by our inability to tell the truth, point out the obvious and embrace honesty as really “the best policy.” When did we start needing life to be not only sugar-coated, but deep-fried in chocolate and wrapped in a dozen layers of cotton wool? When did the truth really get so ugly? Hide haphazardly behind your rose-tinted RayBans all you like, we can never, ever, fully escape the truth. Even if it is buried deep under our skin, it’s always waiting to break out like a caged gremlin on a vengeful promise.

Maybe we should be more honest with each other. Maybe lying does really breed contempt. Is it more damaging to hide behind your mixed messages and metaphors or to speak the truth and dare to get chastised for it? This time, I really don’t know. I think it depends on context. If your friend is trying a dress on that really doesn't suit her, and she asks your opinion, you politely suggest another dress to try on instead, rather than tell her out-right that you abhor her choice of outfit, hurt her feelings and risk damaging your friendship. However, if someone asks you straight-up for the truth, they catch you off-guard. You stammer. You become cagey. Your become unable to process your own thoughts. They become trapped in a limbo unlike any other, between your brain and your tongue, the words just linger.

Does this person really want to hear the God Honest truth, or are they testing to see whether you’ll follow your brain or your conscience? I think that’s a judgement call. Sometimes it is better to speak your mind, but other times., keep shtum unless its absolutely necessary. Some things aren't meant to be repeated, no matter how much you want to share it.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Next stop: Nostalgia Junction.

Imagine this. You wake up tomorrow, and it's all been a dream. A long, complex, crazy, out-of-this-world kinda dream. Your teenage self wakes up a meagre ten years old, with no experience or worry on your little shoulders. You lift your head up from your pillow. Sit up in your bed and rub your eyes violently with your hands. It's July 1st 2003. Do you remember that day? I don't. So, you wake up and it's ten years ago. A decade of your life just wiped out. A clean slate. There's a note addressed to you on your bedside table. At the top of the page, it reads; " Advice for the future, take note." And then there's a list of tips. A long, lengthy list of advice. Brought to you by an anonymous source. The advice fairy? It's a mystery. So. This is your chance. You've been given the opportunity to start your teenage years over again. What do you do? What do you wish you did differently? What does your piece of paper say?

Mine says the following;

  • Don't worry about silly fall-outs in Primary School. Enjoy it while it lasts, the easy stuff. The relaxed days. The lack of real work, stress or aggravation. You'll come to love that place, and miss it when you leave it. As for the people, you'll realise that Primary School friendships very rarely last, and that's okay. You'll spend your last day denying that you're upset, but you'll cry when you walk down that staircase and take one last look at the first place you were ever educated. It will make you who you become. 
  • Secondary School is tough, not just for you, for everyone. Speak up. Don't sit back and be referred to as "the quiet one" as it'll get you next to nowhere.
  • When you like him, why don't you just make it obvious. You're young and you have absolutely nothing to lose. Taking a risk is better than spending the next year and a half upset when he's with someone else.
  • When that girl is horrible to you, with her nasty, bitchy slurs, stand up for yourself. Straight away. She'll realise she can't talk to you like that, and grow out of her bitchy phase. Ish.
  • Don't take anything too seriously.
  • Year 7 will be full of petty arguments and fights. Ignore it.
  • At 13, you'll be very naive. Don't trust those girls who say they're your friends. You'll be better off without them.
  • Don't let anyone kick you when you're down.
  • Don't let certain people see your tears, they'll play on your insecurities.
  • Make it clear where your passions lie.
  • Don't break your heart over your name being dragged through the mud at fifteen because of a choice you may or may not have made wisely. They're bitches. Facebook will cause a lot of unnecessary trouble, so be careful.
  • If you like him and he likes you, there's not a problem. Unless there's someone else involved. If so, stear clear. It's not worth a bitch-fight. This one is vital. Learn from it.
  • Don't tiptoe around that girl who pretends to be your friend. She's not vulnerable, she's manipulative. Watch out, she'll ruin your life given half the chance. Confront her, and you'll be satisfied with yourself.
  • Enjoy your GCSE years, they're the easiest exams you'll ever sit. They aren't worth the stress, and these years will be some of the best of your life.
  • Laugh every chance you get.
  • And make sure you pick Media Studies.
  • P.S. No matter how much of a good idea you think it is, don't choose a Geography GCSE. Sorry to be harsh, but you're just not very good at Geography. Listen to your teachers, and your parents, and pick History. You're good at History.
  • Don't stress about GCSE results. They're good. In fact, they're brilliant. You'll ace them, so stop stressing and enjoy the carefree time you have with the people that matter.
  • Those people you took chances on? Never mind. Shrug it off, move on. You can do better.
  •  Don't cry over certain individuals who hurt you.
  • You don't need anyone in your life that doesn't absolutely need you in theirs.
  • Write early. 
  • Pick your A-level options wisely. And no, Eleanor, that doesn't mean French.
  • Avoid Psychology if you can, you'll break your neck to pass.
  • Apply to Uni, even though UCAS looks like the scariest thing ever. It's not as hard as you think.
  • Don't give up.
  • Work hard, play harder.
  • Be daring in your personal statement. Show off your passionate side. They WILL want you.
  • Do get your hair cut short, even if you get stick for it. It's who you are, be an individual.
  • Get used to the sight of the Wicket Gate. (It will be a pub. Just so you know.)  It will become your second home at 18/19.
  • Learn to love Sambuca and Tequila. It'll be beneficial in the long run, and help you avoid so many nights spent on the bathroom floor.
  • Openly admit you love your home comforts. Chester may be one of your favourite places on the planet. Never ever forget your roots, you'll be happy for them when you're almost 20.
  • The best nights out are nights close to home fuelled by lots of vodka.
  • Don't move away for Uni. Everyone knows you love your family too much to leave right now. It's important you're around. 
  • Your family believe in you an awful lot, so it's about time you appreciated that.
  • Hold on to your friends. The ones who hold on to you are keepers. Betty, she is. You call her Betty now, it's a long story. She's lovely. So is Steph. You'll get to know her better in Sixth Form.
  • Take a chance with everyone and anyone. Be risky.
  • Drink too much from time to time. It doesn't always end badly.
  • Never, ever bottle things up; if you need to cry, then cry.
  • You'll be reunited with some of your long, lost family. Be happy about it, it's not their fault things turned out the way they did. Get to know them.
  • Write because you want to. Screw what anyone else thinks.
  • Don't spend hours/days/weeks worrying about Uni. It'll be great. You'll meet some of your best friends there. Keep tight ahold of those three girls.
  • Maintain that blog of yours.
  • Read at every chance you get.
  • When you meet HIM, walk away.
  • Everyone is entitled to a second chance, not a hundredth chance.
  • When That Thing happens, don't let him off with his excuse. But rise above the hurt, you're better than that, and you're better than him.
  • Those people aren't worth your tears.
  • You'll make mistakes, so learn to live with them and move on.
  • Know when to keep your mouth shut and when to speak up.
  • Don't stress too much about school stuff that it makes you miserable, but work your arse off, it'll pay off.
  • Don't acquire a taste for wine or gin. It'll wreck your nights out.
  • Do go Abseiling even though it scares the shit out of you.
  • Make sure you take part in Freshers week, you'll love it.
  • Say "yes."
  • Discover ASOS sooner. It's fabulous.
  • Black coffee, fish finger sandwiches and the Friends boxset is a winning combination.
  • When Harry Met Sally, Sex and The City, Mean Girls and Friends will teach you everything you need to know about love, and life.
And most of all, be happy in your own skin. Learn to be confident. Love YOU. You can't be anyone else, and after all, why would you want to be? You've got it pretty fucking great. <3

Monday, 1 July 2013

One week and counting.

Just a little thing to say, I'm very excited. I jet off to the white island of Ibiza exactly one week today, and I'm totally thrilled. Myself, along with my two best friends in the entire world, Betty and Steph, are looking forward to a week of civilized (ha! who are we kidding?) partying and being able to enjoy that big round thing in the sky more often than we do in the somewhat-dull North East of England. I feel like I've been waiting for this holiday for months, so now it's finally in reach, or so it seems. Excitement, anticipation and alcohol fill the air. An all inclusive holiday may be just what we need to escape gloomy little England, even if it is just for a seven day period, (maybe that's all we'll need!)

Anyway. Just a little hello, even if there's no one reading this, it's not as if it's particularly groundbreaking. I've literally just whacked this out amidst creating an 'IBIZA 2013' playlist on iTunes, sorting through my mountain of holiday clothes, drinking coffee (as yes, I always am) and deciding which books to put on my Kindle for the essential holiday reading list. It's been a busy day to say the least. I think my bank account may be crying a bit, or at least shedding a few bitter tears at the amount I've spent these last few days. I'm making lists of Things To Do and Remember like there's no tomorrow, when in fact we've got a week to go, so I shouldn't be acting all panicked and OCD, but seems a shame to change the habit of a lifetime.

So, I'm curious. Where's everyone jetting off to this summer? Please, comment below, or tweet me and let me know: @eleanorward_. Wherever it is, I hope you all have a fabulous time and come back with great tans like I'm hoping to, as well as hundreds and hundreds of holiday snaps. Some may even reach it to here, but we'll see if they're suitable. 

The countdown has begun.
Ready and waiting.