I never used to drink gin. Ever. My mum has always drunk gin (with coke, don’t ask). I go through phases with drinks. In my late teens, when I thought I was super knowledgeable and classy, I solely drank Tia Maria and coke. At uni I progressed to lager and sambucca (separately) solely on a cost factor. Eventually I found the original love of my life – dark rum. I’m no expert on rum; I’ll drink anything from golden to dark – though never light or spiced. Considering my partner runs a pub I should probably know more. Show me mercy, please.
Then, when I met M, I jumped on the gin bandwagon. She drinks gin like it’s going out of fashion, excuse the contradictory pun, it’s very much the fashion now. Enjoying a good quality gin is one of her favourite ways to end her day.
In the early days of our relationship, I was attempting to impress her. I turned to gin to try to turn her to me! Turns out she thinks I’m perfect the way I am and I didn’t need to try – who would have thought?! Now she’s a huge inspiration to me!
So now, if I’m just having a drink or two (which isn’t very often), I’ll have gin. Rum is still my number one girl for a Big Night Out but gin is my day to day friend. I am, however, pickier about my gin than I am my rum. Now, I’m learning a lot about different brands and different types.
Mass Produced Gin
Mass produced gins seem to all taste the same top me. They’re pleasant but nothing to get excited about (though Aldi’s own brand gin is award winning, delicious and doesn’t hit you hard in the wallet). Side note – I went to an amazing PR event (which I actually paid for) by Bombay Sapphire about 18 months ago, and I wish I had HH23 then, it was a blogger’s dream!
The pub M runs is owned by a corporation who jumped on the gin bandwagon last summer and we suddenly had 10 gins on sale. Brands like Bombay, Hendricks and Gordon’s mass produce these. I guess they would have to, to keep up with the demands of a huge pub chain.
The menu changes every winter and summer and now we’ve got a new gin menu! Their new summer drink is an “Ultimate T&T”. It’s a Tanqueray 10, with Fever Tree Mediterranean tonic and a slice of grapefruit, with plenty of ice of course. Tanqueray 10 is a premium of the mass-produced gins. I have to say, I’m pretty bloody impressed with it. The bottle is so pretty. The taste is paired so well. The softness of the tonic and the sharp cut of citrus in the grapefruit just work! I accidentally had 3 before I could go home!
Though we are a branded pub, I’m also very big on supporting small businesses. I love products that have a more personal touch to them.
Small Batch Gin
So we’ve been investigating other small batch gins to see the difference. The first that we’ve tried is 1606 – a small batch London Dry distilled in the UK and distributed by the British Honey company. They only make 300 bottles per batch and they’re not always available but we got the timing right for the latest batch! We bought a bottle through a friend and decided to crack it open when my mum came for a weekend.
The bottle is classic and striking; much like this juniper-led gin with strong scents of the Sicilian oranges used in the distillation. We chose to pair it with the classic fever tree light tonic, with slices of oranges. I actually forgot to take pictures of the drink, as I got carried away drinking them.
The gin is easy and delicious to drink. I find some gins can be quite aggressive in taste but this is perfect for summer. Light enough to quench thirst in a pub garden on a summers’ day. Heavy enough to combat the end of a bad day!
The second is Tiger Gin, which I found through Instagram. I was scrolling through several accounts that are followed by The Gintern. She has probably the best job ever. Imagine a week in her life! I got my hands on a small bottle – enough for 2 drinks – and thought I’d try a normal light tonic and a flavoured tonic.
I didn’t have any ice which made the whole experience odd. On first opening the bottle, I noticed it smelled very boozy. Not a bad thing, in my opinion, but perhaps a little strong for those of you couldn’t drink enough to sink a ship and all its pirates, like I can.
I also didn’t have any garnish so apologise for being uncouth. With just the light tonic, it was fairly standard but with the elderflower tonic, it was much fresher, lighter and more enjoyable. My favourite Fever Tree tonic is the Mediterranean (which just so happens to have the prettiest bottle) but I think with maybe one of the rose or orange infused tonics it would be just as great!
Having originally though that it was a little strong, it seemed to disappear really quickly from my glass. I had my gin with dinner (because gin is for all occasions) of a chicken fajita type concoction and it was really pleasant too, didn’t overpower the flavours of my food at all!
Then I sat and listened to the Women’s Hour podcast all cosy in my gin glow.
I’ve found a few other gins I’d like to try too. The fruity flavoured gins on sale in Aldi and Lidl look super tasty, there’s a new JJ Whitley gin in the pub that I’d like to try. I’ve seen a few people supping on Salcombe Gin lately and I’d like to jump on that bandwagon. John Lewis sell a gin that a customer in the pub was raving about called Unicorn Tears that I want to try just because of the fact that it’s sparkly. Mostly, I want to try a gin called Silent Pool. I was recommended this by a tenant of mine who manages bars in high end hotels in London, and is assisting with this product being launched in Italy!
What is your go-to drink? What gins would you recommend?
I worked out recently that I spend, on average, 20 hours per week in my car on my own, travelling to and from work. I used to spend all that time being absolutely brain dead, listening to the same 12 songs on the radio every day. The traffic is something drives me mad – pun intended – and can, frankly, make me miserable. Who knew that a podcast would save my melting brain?
I could get public transport but it takes the same time and costs three times as much. I also can’t have personal space or the temperature how I want. So I’m sticking with driving. I can’t change the traffic (the A13 is notoriously one of the worst roads in the whole universe). I can’t take away the negative time but I can change what I do with that time.
I’m not sure where I got the brainwave from but I finally decided to give in to podcasts after hearing about them since I was about 18 and had no idea what they actually are. I sound about 73, I know.
Turns out podcasts are pretty cool. They’re like radio shows but for a purpose, on a specific topic, with people who actually care about what they’re saying and don’t play the same awful re-purposed songs.
Having discovered this wonderful world, I felt compelled to share the podcasts that I’m loving at the moment, in the hopes that they bring you a level of mental stimulation too. I use the Castbox App – mostly because it’s the first one that came up in the Play Store.
From The Heart Podcast
The first podcast ever discovered was from Yoga Girl, called From The Heart. . I’ve been following her on Instagram for a long time and find her to be a breath of fresh, honest air in the confusing and somehow pressured world of yoga. She talks on everything spirituality, motherhood, current affairs. She’s moving, funny, awkward, thought provoking and generally just a beautiful, light soul.
The next is BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs led by Kirsty Young. This is a condensed version of the radio show and it’s utterly brilliant. DID has been running since 1942 and is still wonderful, 76 years later. Guests range from Russell Brand to Professor Phil Scraton of QUB. The guests explore music that has deep meaning in their life and it’s fascinating to see the way Kirsty leads them through an emotional journey, even making Tom Hanks cry!
When I need motivation or a source of light in a tough day, I turn to Oprah and the podcast of her Super Soul Sunday Conversations. Her guests are of the highest calibre. They explore feminism, human rights movements, comedies, life advice. My favourite episodes so far have definitely been either Maya Angelou or Ru Paul, though I’ve hundreds of episodes to catch up on!
To change things up from the female narrative (and to feed my love for him), I’ve been avidly tuning in to Reggie Yates’ Talk Stew podcast. Reggie and his BFFs sit in what sounds like a cold dank room but keep the energy light, jossing with each other whilst flowing through natural conversations with their guests. I was surprised at how articulate and well-rounded Goldie is in 2017 and discovered that Little Simz is pretty famous in Australia! I think this has been a real labour of love for Reggie and I’m really enjoying being part of his journey on my journeys.
I subscribed to The Guilty Feminist because I thought I should, if I’m honest. I often feel that I’m not a good enough feminist. I envisaged it to be akin to Germaine Greer and I couldn’t have been more wrong. I haven’t looked into the background of this but these women are funny, intelligent, and brutally honest. I think they’re my kindred spirits. Their sections on “I’m a feminist but…” have me in hysterics that have my fellow A13 dwellers looking at me through the car windows worrying if they should call the police.
Fearne Cotton has blossomed in the same way Reggie has and is a much more authentic person, living in pursuit of good mental and physical health, and her Happy Place podcast is another stream in her network. I’ve only listened to one episode so far, with Dawn French, which was of course enlightening and emotional. She’s only got 3 episodes so far and the other two are queued and ready to play coming home from work this week.
Lastly, and by no means least, is Will Young and Chistopher Sweeney’s Homosapiens podcast. This is based at the LGBT+ community, filling a void they felt in the market. It addresses important issues in the LGBT+ world that are not addressed enough, with equal parts compassion, respect, humour and intellect. Their informal conversations and discussions amongst the pair between their interviews and discussions with each week’s guest have me feeling like I’ve just got my mates in the car with me and make my boring journeys whizz by!
I have many roles in life, as do most women in 2018. I am a property manager (estate agent), a girlfriend, a daughter, a sister, an auntie, a friend, a pub wife, a blogger. Each of those roles pull me in 8 different directions and, honestly, I struggle to keep up with any of them. A week in the life of me can be so many different things!
A lot of women I know in life or follow on social media admit to feeling that they’re failing in at least one aspect of their life. The media however depicts so many famous women as sailing through life juggling all of these roles, without breaking a sweat. “Effortlessly” is a word that flies around a lot and a topic I’ve recently heard Mindy Kaling discussing openly.
The ethos of my blog is Honesty. I try very hard not to portray on social media that I am succeeding at any of these things in life. What I want is to show the truth of myself and the life of a modern 30 year old living and working in London. I want to subvert the blogger stereotype of dreamy shots all filtered in the same dusky pink hue and show the reality of the sweat and tears involved in actually functioning as an adult in 2018. I think a “week in the life” is a great way to show normality.
Thus, was borne “A week in the life of Holly, Honestly”. This will be a recurring feature periodically through the years. This last week has been a particularly brutal example of getting torn in all directions and an insight into the madness that is my life. It’s also been a week full of anxieties and me thinking I’ve failed at everything, as usual. We’ll start with Saturday, as this is the first day of the week after my post on a Friday.
One of my best friends came to the pub for lunch and then we headed over to Lakeside to do some shopping and catch up. We hit up Primark with a vengeance, determined to bag myself a new foundation but they didn’t have any in my shade! Luckily, I did nab this lip crayon in Velvet Matte Dulce de Leche which is a perfect colour for me and I’m smitten with it.
I was also over the moon to see this full window ad in Primark with these beautiful women who actually have real human bodies!
I spent the evening fulfilling my Pub Wife duty and did a shift on the bar. We had a cracking night with a big engagement party in; everyone was in a great mood and the bride to be was super happy! Rolled into bed around 1am and was probably asleep by 130am.I spent the night worrying that I haven’t been a good enough friend of late and my dreams were riddled with images of bridges crumbling. How dramatic.
I was up early to drop M to the pub to open, then hit the road for the 70 or so miles down to Hastings where my family live. My brother offered to cook a roast for us all for Mother’s Day which was brilliant!
I gave my mum this card from You Said It cards and she loved it! They do a great range of ‘alternative’ (read cheeky to downright rude) cards which exactly suit the humour me and my mum both have! They are great quality and offer a variety of colours for the envelopes to just suit the person receiving it! I’d like to thank You Said It for the opportunity to try their product!
I really dislike driving in the dark so I headed home around 430, picked M up on the way and went home to dinner. Then, I spent the evening frustrated that I hadn’t done enough on the blog that week. It was like I hadn’t written enough posts, engaged enough with others. M gave me a strong pep talk and calmed me down like only she knows how!
Mondays are always busy in my job. My work is people’s homes which don’t close of a weekend so there’s always loads to keep me busy on a Monday and the day just flies by!I had planned to go to the gym Monday evening but a mixture of being exhausted and M having gone to the pub after work means I ended up going home, getting dinner and settling on the sofa to plan and pay some attention to social media.Naturally not going to the gym made me feel like I’d failed. We’re going to Cape Town at the end of April. I’m not a small person by any means but I’m definitely carrying extra winter fluff and I’m not ready yet to be revealing what hibernation and winter food has added to my waistline!
I really detest Tuesdays, thanks to my friend Katie. She made me realise that they’re the worst; the warm glow of the last weekend has gone and the next weekend can’t even be seen on the horizon. They always seem to take about 15 hours too.Luckily I had a busy day with inspections, furniture installations, preparing contracts, the usual. I went to a property to bleed some radiators and re-pressurise a central heating system too. Sometimes if you want things done, you just have to do them yourself!I also managed to bag myself a fire safety certificate after completing an online training course!
I never go to the gym on a Tuesday. They always leave me feeling a bit bruised and I like to just go home and snuggle under a blanket and turn my brain off.On Tuesday, Jay Z and Beyonce announced they’re bringing their new On The Run 2 Tour to the UK. I spent most of my time planning how many meals I would have to skip to buy us tickets. Conclusion – about 15 months. Sigh.
Attempted to go to the gym in the morning. What I actually did was turn off my alarms and go back to sleep. Later than I usually would and had to panic faff to get to work on time.I drive an hour each way every day to work so I like to keep myself entertained with a mix of the radio, my Amazon Music playlist and podcasts to keep me company on those particularly bleak days of traffic on the A13.
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Today, I chose the Women’s Hour podcast, my first time tuning in to it. Margot Robbie was on this episode, talking about her new film “I, Tonya” and I was taken aback how smart and knowledgeable she is!I managed to inspire myself to make a beautiful breakfast in lieu of going to the gym. I think this is going to be my staple in spring!
Another busy day at work, met another tenant and moved him in; another happy customer! For me, your home is the centre of your world, where you start and end every day. I get great job satisfaction knowing people are comfortable and happy in their homes!I downloaded the Preview app to try and get more organised with my Instagram posting. Apparently, I have no idea how to work it. I tried to schedule a post. It was edited beautifully, wrote a great caption and apparently scheduled it for 11am on Thursday but it didn’t post! If anyone has any tips on how to use this, please let me know!
I MADE IT TO THE GYM BEFORE WORK ON THURSDAY MORNING. It has taken me 3 weeks to actually manage it! It was hard bloody work. I was super surprised when I left the house at 615am and it wasn’t dark! I did a short 25 minute full body kettle bell circuit, courtesy of The Food Medic and got super sweaty. I’d have liked longer but the traffic was awful, even at 630am. The A13 is the bane of my life.
I was full of energy all day and surprised I wasn’t drained. I was focused, awake, and happy. The sun shining probably contributed a lot to that too!I did a couple of inspections in the Royal Wharf development. There’s a lot of fantastic scenery in the area I work in but this creepy abandoned mill really caught my eye.
I went to the pub for dinner and to have a catch up with a few of the regular customers who had been at a funeral that day, which was bitter sweet. Getting up an hour an a half early had me knackered by the late evening so I was tucked up in bed and asleep by 1030pm, a very rare occurrence for me!
Friday was another super busy day at work! Luckily we knock off at 530pm on a Friday and the traffic wasn’t so bad. It was still light when I got home! I can’t wait for spring to bloom and the sun to be out every day. It makes such a difference!
M was out for the evening with her friend, so I had the house to myself. I attempted to make a tuna sandwich as I was so caught up in planning and reading. I failed. The lid came off the peppercorns and destroyed my dinner.
I threw a proper tantrum and ordered Indian as a replacement. I gave up on using my brain for any longer and settled in with Pitch Perfect 3 which I absolutely loved!Summary I feel like I’ve been to a hundred places and done a hundred things but my life really revolves around 4 places. Work, home, pub and Hastings. This “week in the life” has been hectic and I’ve not achieved any of the things I wanted to. Life doesn’t always go to plan. I spent far too much time this week dwelling on my failings. I was not focusing on what I have achieved or planning what I can achieve. This is a part of my personality that I am slowly changing over time but it clearly still needs work! I very rarely feel that I am “enough”. I need to work harder on being as kind to myself as I am to others. How has your week been? What anxieties have you had? What achievements have you made?
Here’s to Strong Women. May we be them, may we know them, may we raise them!
In honour of International Women’s Day, I didn’t just want to share this piece with you, I needed to. Women are the future! I have so many women that I look up to, especially for inspirational quotes. I could have written another ten thousand words on this, ten times over. In the interest of keeping it sweet (sorry, it’s not short by any means), here is a list of the 10 women who are currently inspiring me as a woman. I’ve included an inspirational quote from each person, what the quote means to me, and why each woman deserves to be on my list.
Helen – My Mum!
She always taught me that whatever I am doing, do my own best at it. Don’t compare myself to anyone else, but put your all into the things you care about!
My mum is my rock. She’s my best friend, confidante, boost when I’m down and ego curber when I get carried away. There’s nothing in the world I can’t talk to her about, and she’s probably the only person on the planet on my wavelength. She gets just as upset about the injustices of the world as I do, as well as getting just as excited about a new gin the way I do. We have had to work at our relationship to get to where we are, and will continue to do so. I am so blessed to have such a smart, empowering, funny, kind, hard working, non-judgemental, all round wonderful woman to lead me through life! My mumma loves life quotes as much as I do!
M – My Girlfriend
I am the best at what I do, and I’m proud of it!
Most days, I can’t even find the words to describe her. She is funny, kind, smart, absolutely ridiculously beautiful, hard working, motivational, supportive… I could list 100 more adjectives and it wouldn’t be enough. She runs a million pound business without batting an eyelid. She’s an amazing chef. She’ll give the clothes off her back to see someone else be warm. She’ll run around for 12 hours at work and still come home and hold me whilst I cry. She’s bold, brave and determined. She won’t spout inspirational quotes at me but she’s made me see a future beyond next week. I live every day totally in awe of her.
Sometimes life cuts you down, learn from your mistakes, from the wrongs in the world; absorb that negative energy into you and use it to fuel your next success!
Oprah Winfrey isn’t just a woman, she’s a phenomenon. She rose from birth in a poverty stricken family to being worth over $2billion dollars and receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Her media prowess is second to none. Her entrepreneurial spirit, grit and determination are awe-inspiring. But the item that has put Oprah into this post is one of the many things she does to progress women in the world – her Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa. The college came as an idea from her and Nelson Mandela and she ran all the way with it. The school is for girls who come for poor backgrounds but whose minds are rich and ambitions are high. I bet they are taught many strong women quotes too. The first graduating class members have moved onto universities all over the world! Also check out her Super Soul Conversations podcast, it’s just bloody brilliant.
Life is tough. Not everything will turn out gold. But those moments that do, embrace them!
She may look like a sweet southern belle, but don’t let her demeanour lead you to think she is anything less than a beast! With 27 industry awards (and a further 48 nominations) under her belt, she’s taken the world of movies by storm since a young age. She juggles work, husband, religion, and friends, alongside motherhood and its intricacies, growing little humans into fantastic young people. She also founded and runs a clothing and lifestyle brand, Draper James, all of which is affordable and authentic to her personality. She also has her company, Type A Films, which bought us Gone Girl and Wild. Her movies are full of empowering quotes that I doubt she even realised the potential impact of. Reese realised that there are not enough diverse or positive roles for women in the industry, so she founded a production company and decided to make the films and programmes herself. She brought us Big Little Lies, and is offering us the adaptation of Eleanor Oliphant. Her work with the #TimesUp campaign, alongside Save The Children, the Children Defence Fund, and being an Avon ambassador, adds the sparkle to her already shining star!
Talking about change isn’t enough. We must speak up, we must practice what we preach, and we must stand in solidarity against the things that hold us back.
Lena is 2018’s rising star and couldn’t be more deserving. She’s best known for her role in Master of None, winning an Emmy for her writing in the show, the first black woman to do so. She’s also created the new series The Chi which is looking to be the talking point of TV for summer 2018. My reasoning for adding Lena to my list is her sheer determination to succeed and overcome all the adversity stacked against her. Being gay, black and female, there are so many chances for the industry she works in to typecast her to low level roles. She’s smashing through those glass ceilings, speaking her mind and following her dreams. There’s hope for all the young, queer, black girls out there looking for an inspirational woman and she’s their shining light!
As I grow older, I learn from my life and it frees me from my past, letting me move to my future
Alicia Keys has been my musical idol since I got her first album when I was 14. It’s an album that has got me through many tough times. I’ve sung teary through “Caged Bird” more times than I care to remember. All her albums resonate with me in some way. None of her music sounds like anyone else, and she doesn’t care. She makes the music she does because it makes her happy; she is a strong woman and sings the truth of what is her life at the time. Her amazing music, her conquering motherhood with elegance and grace, refusal to wear makeup any longer aside, it’s her Alicia’s philanthropy that speaks to me in this list. She is co-founder and ambassador of the Keep a Child Alive foundation. She’s been passionate about educating people in Africa about Aids & HIV since a young age when she lost a close family friend to the disease. Alicia also actively participates in direct action in protests relating to educational budget cuts, war, racism, indigenous rights and women’s rights alongside her annual Keep a Child Alive ball.
Being a woman is an honour. The ability to produce life, complete the challenges we do, mother, nature, lead, with elegance and gentleness is incomparable.
Clearly I don’t need to explain why mother Maya (as Oprah calls her) is on the list but I feel like she deserves every great word written about her. She is generally defined as poet, singer, writer, and civil rights activist but she is so much more than that. She is a mother to a son, and adoptive mother to many more. She’s been a writer, director and producer. She was a professor at a college. She was a journalist in Ghana. She’s worked with Malcom X and Martin Luther King Jnr on the civil rights movements. She has spoken out for black people too afraid to use their own voice. She has fought back on behalf of all women who have ever been victims of violent or sexual assault. She overcame poverty to grow to wealth. Her writing is basically a catalogue of inspirational sayings. She’s received over 50 honorate doctorate degrees, alongside the Presidential Medal of Freedom. All of this, with the calm, style, grace and power of the Goddess that she is, mother Maya will live on to be an inspiration for centuries!
Being nice to other people really makes a change. Making a person laugh can change the course of their day, their life, and the world.
Everyone knows and loves Ellen, fact. She has evolved with the times. She started with a stand up career in the 80s. Now she’s hosting her own international chat show now. She came out on a TV show in a time where it was not fashionable, cool, or “normal” to be out and actually proud. Another unstoppable entrepreneur, Ellen has gone to grow her several brands, building an empire beyond her published writing, comprising a a production company and a record company. She spearheads AfterEllen.com, a website for the LGBT+ community focusing on queer issues in the society, highlighting all negative and positive portrayals of queer people in the media. She’s won 30 Emmys and 20 People’s choice awards. She is one of the most decorated hosts and producers in the world. She may not be the epitome of women empowerment but for me, Ellen has made it to this list because of the same reason she has made it big – her mouth. Ellen is not afraid to say what she thinks. She may soften the blow of the blunt words behind humour. However, she addresses every topic that needs addressing, loud, proud and without apology.
I am a LOT. I am apologetically loud, opinionated and strong minded. Not everyone can cope with that and that’s their problem, not mine.
For me, the crux of the women’s rights movements, is to empower women. I think that has to start with Self. I spend as much time as every other woman beating myself up. I’m too loud, too tired, too lazy. Too brash, too fat, my skin is bad. I’m not a director, I don’t save the world. But actually, do you know what? I am fucking AWESOME. I am SMART. I am KIND. I am FUNNY. I am HONEST. I work HARD. I LOVE intensely. I deserve to be HAPPY. I’m not perfect. I never will be. I do spend my days, trying to be good, make the world a better place, make people smile. So it’s taken me a long time (30 years so far) to figure it out. To love myself is the path to loving other people, and love life. It will be a hard path, and I have a lot to work on but, right now, I LOVE ME!
Betty Irene – My Nana
Treat people the way you want to be treated! Respect everyone if you want to be respected. No one person is superior to another!
I was lucky enough as a child to have my nan living with us growing up. She and I had a special bond over musical films and cake. I remember even thinking doing the washing up was fun with her! She survived a divorce in a time it was till taboo, raised 2 kids, 4 grandkids, played football in the garden with my brother in her sixties, whilst waiting for the cake she and I had baked to cool. I try every day to make her proud, and I know if she were still alive, she would just be glad that I’m happy.
Please, please, please, today, do something to recognise your own self worth.
Please comment with any women who inspire you, and why!
We all get tagged in a post on Facebook by a friend. Sometimes once a week, sometimes once an hour. A few of the posts we’re tagged in give a minor chuckle. Most are meh. In December, my friend Emily tagged me in a post. She’s one of my closest friends and also one of the funniest people I know so I know it’s going to be a good one. The post is along the lines of “Overnight Disney Movie Marathon”. I already know I’m in.
I agree quicker than I would to a free ticket to a Spice Girls concert and forget entirely about it.
Until last weekend when it rolled around. My 30 year old self is as excited as my 7 year old self would be.
12 hours of Disney movies, back to back, at the Prince Charles Cinema in Soho. I don’t even know what films are on. Nor do I care. I love them all.
I spent all week obsessing about what to wear, what to pack, what snacks to take, whether or not I should take wine (not allowed by the cinema!).
Clothes were easy. I decided on stretchy jeans, layers of tops and fluffy socks. A blanket and my flight cushion were must-haves. I’m 30 now. Comfort over cool every damn day.
I recently bought a Google Pixel XL 2 and the battery is phenomenal but 12 hours is a long time and we were off to the women’s march in the morning after the marathon so I needed to be prepared. In goes the portable charger and cables.
In goes the clean pants for the morning, toothbrush, face cream, face wipes, deodorant, slippers. Water. Anything within reach, in it goes.
Snacks were a dilemma. Nothing too smelly or noisy so as not to annoy others. Nothing that needed to be warm or needed utensils. Slimming world friendly. Fruit? Veg and humus? Sandwich? I accidentally stopped in M&S on the way and got deli snacks, crackers, sweet treats and pork pies. Never go shopping when you’re hungry.
I hop on the train and head to Soho. Arriving in Soho on a Saturday night in comfy jeans, with the intention to sit and watch Disney films in fluffy socks is an odd concept that my grown-up self is conflicted with. A usual trip to Soho would involve Chinese food, gin, tequila, a tuktuk and making BFFs with drag queens.
I used to think I was super cool. I realised I’m not. I’m absolutely okay with being the kind of woman who goes to Disney marathons on a Saturday night.
We get to the cinema, check in and get settled in our seats. My anxieties have been high this week with work and the weather but at the forefront of my mind, I’ve been worrying about tonight, for Emily. She is 6 full feet of goddess and her legs seem to take up about 4 foot of that height. How is she going to settle in to this space for 12 hours?
Luckily, the Prince Charles isn’t like your average high street cinema. It’s spacious and clean, the seats are comfy and well maintained. They charge £20 for 12 hours of Disney heaven, not £12 for every average film on the market.
I get into my comfies, get set up with snacks and drinks around me, blanket and pillow at the ready and settle myself in for a night of nostalgia.The list pops up and we’re on the way! The atmosphere is beautiful. Every person has either a blanket, slippers, Disney pyjamas or all of the above. Everyone cheers at the beginning of each film and claps at the end.
By 1am, I’m waining.
I didn’t have great sleep Thursday or Friday, my planned power nap was disturbed. Between around 130am and 7am, I sleep on and off, despite the bright screen and the very loud soundtracks. I’m not alone. I’m in a mass napping cult by now.
I sleep in a warm cosy Disney haze, an upgraded version of the awful sleep you get on planes. I managed to catch the first and last ten minutes of most films, with snatches in between.
The credits roll on the last film; everyone cheers and we all bundle up our nests into bags and schlep off into day light. The middle of China town at 840 on a Sunday morning is an eerie place. Bright, brash, with none of the usual beautiful sights, sounds and smells that usually embrace you as you pass through the tunnels of lanterns.
I stumble home, looking no better than someone that’s spent the weekend in a rave in a warehouse, to my warm bed, where I spend the next 5 hours sleeping with “Got no Strings” from Pinocchio pinging around my brain.
Growing up, I had all the same misconceptions that I think most girls do.
The One would come along nice and easy. I assumed I would date boys in high school, go to university, meet the love of my life in my last year, we would get awesome jobs, and end up married with dogs and kids in the suburbs living happily ever after.
THIS NEVER HAPPENS
I am smart and sensible. I have a law degree and have never placed a bet on anything in my life. So how on earth was I ever foolish enough to think that the scenario above would be my life? Why would I think The One would just fall into my lap on the tube one day?
My path has been very different. I didn’t really date boys in high school. I went to university, dated guys that should have just been friends, made mistakes. I didn’t meet the love of my life. I never thought I would even consider giving out dating advice.
I am, however, living the beginning of my happy ending. I found The One.
I got a job I hated, changed careers, and ended up as an estate agent. Long story short, I ended up on Tinder searching for women. Years of dating and flirting with some very wonderful and some very awful people, I swiped right on the love of my life, M, at the grand old age of 28.
There were a hundred times I thought I would be alone, just in 2015.
I vowed off men, women, humans, and decided to devote myself to my life and trying to finally finish watching every episode of Grey’s Anatomy. People like Meredith find The One. Not people like me. I was so very wrong.
I won’t tell you the whole of our story; it’s Ours and special and private to us. What I will tell you is this – She is worth every bad date, negative comment, tear, bottle of rum and everything else. A week in my life is so worth it, with her by my side.
So here are my 9 reasons why you should keep dating and find The One:
When the world grinds you down all week, you have someone that will hold your hand and pretend nothing is happening whilst you cry uncorrelated buckets of tears at Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, and release a week’s worth of tension.
2 Someone to share the burden with
You’ll have someone who will brush and blow your hair when you’re poorly and just can’t handle it. Even just having someone to split household chores with makes life just that little bit more bearable.
The thought of finally getting home to slippers, pyjamas and The One will get you through your sixth hour of traffic jams in two days.
4 Excitement keeps you young
Butterflies in your stomach. Forever. So worth it.
5 Someone to share with
When you’re in a restaurant and you can’t decide between two meals, you have someone to order the other so you can try both. When you see a beautiful rainbow, you have someone to send it to.
6 A problem shared is a problem halved
There’s always someone to make you see another side to the thing you’re worrying incessantly about.
7 There’s no place like home
You’ll have someone that, no matter where you are in the world, no matter how bad you feel, when you’re with them, you are home.
Morning cuddles. A hand to hold in the cold. Kisses in the rain. Enough Said.
That dream holiday to the Maldives you’ve always wanted? Set it for your honeymoon. The cupcake shop in your city that’s gone viral for it’s 2000 calorie all day breakfast cupcake? You have someone to share one with, who won’t judge you for wanting three. Want to try mountain climbing? Someone to catch you when you fall.
I know what it feels like to go on 8 failed dates in a row. I know what it feels like to wonder if all men are vile or if all women are insane cat owners.
I also know what it feels like to open your eyes every morning and see this sleepy, mushed up face whose eyes light up when they see you, morning breath, smeared leftover mascara and all.
So please. Don’t give up on dating; don’t give up on yourself. You deserve to be loved. Your reward for all things good will come, exactly at the right time. Say yes to the man in the coffee shop. Ask the girl in the park if she wants to share a coffee. Tweet that person with the hilarious gifs that retweets you. Load that dating app and Swipe Right. Whatever avenue you want to take to date town, stride boldly and enjoy the journey!