Saturday, 31 December 2011

Way back when...

I started this blog two years ago with a post entitled "New beginnings, same old." I wrote a fluffy little post about how a new year can be good, and listed a few resolutions I had for the year 2010: "shrinking my waist, fixing my hair, seeing more of the friends I've drifted away from and working out what to do with my life." I also added at the end of the post: "no romantic entanglements".

Two years on: I've gone down a dress size, I'm growing my hair, I have a lovely group of friends and I've decided I want to write for a living. Of course, as I predicted back then, the "romantic entanglements" resolution did not last long. I should have been more realistic in that respect. In fact, just reading the post now, I am incredulous as to how hopelessly naive I was just two years ago.


So, this year I am being slightly more realistic with my resolutions: grow my hair, try harder in every respect of my life, and not eat a single box of After Eights. Okay, so maybe I'm being realistic with just a hint of optimism. Isn't that what the New Year is all about? x


Thursday, 29 December 2011

2011, "the year that..."


I hate those people who say on New Year's Eve that they can't wait for next year, they want to "start fresh", and that the past year has been the worst of their lives. It's ridiculous how many Facebook statuses I've seen already saying: "goodbye 2011, you were shit", or "hopefully life will get better in 2012"... Surely no matter how hard a year is, it can't be without it's happy moments?

I don't want to be a hypocrite here; I admit it, I have said about a hundred times that 2011 has been the worst year of my life so far. However, after giving it a lot of thought I've realised that in amongst all the hideous heartbreaks and devastating let-downs of 2011, I somehow managed to find time to enjoy myself.

2011 was the year I broke up with my first real boyfriend, and the year he got a new girlfriend. It was the year I spent Valentine's Day wandering around town watching other couples have a perfect night together. It was the year that I got properly drunk for the very first time, and the year that I had a car accident. It was the year I had to say goodbye to everyone I knew. It was the year that I grew my hair down to my ribs, the longest it's ever been, then had it all hacked off. It was the year that I fell for a guy who had a girlfriend and the year I had my very first one-night-stand. It was the year I lost a best friend. It was the year I betrayed womenkind. It was the year I was made to feel totally and utterly worthless by just one guy and the year I had to watch a guy I really like, be with someone else. It was the year I got unbelievably homesick. It was the year I was excluded and left behind. It was the year that my heart broke for the second time. It was the year I made the biggest mistakes. It was the year I felt more alone than I've ever felt before.

2011 was also the year I performed an amazing devised piece with my Drama group, and the year I had many cups of coffee with my Drama teacher. It was the year I kissed a black guy and the year I wore high heels for the very first time. It was the year I saw Taylor Swift live. It was the year I passed my driving test and said goodbye to 6am starts and train journeys. It was the year I got my best friend back and the year I got a crush on someone for the first time in what felt like forever. It was the year I started doing Zumba. It was the year I had the best birthday party ever, and the year I turned eighteen. It was the year I went to Australia and met my baby cousin. It was the year I got into university, and the year I met some amazing new people. It was the year I attended three Halloween parties and the year I realised how lucky I am to have a good home to go back to on weekends. It was the year I drove home for Christmas. It was the year I fell in love again. It was the year I laughed a lot. It was the year I grew up all too quickly. x

"This is SO going in my blog!"


Behold: the English Lit Crew 2010-11.
For a whole year the six of us crowded around a table only intended for four, laughing and gossiping our way through what would otherwise be deathly boring lessons. Our teacher was frequently distracted from her PowerPoint presentations and in-depth poetry analysis by our random questions about her home life or comments about her shoes (usually goth-like loafers or a brightly-coloured pair from her famous collection of Doc Martens), and secretly loved us for it. We were the table everyone wanted to sit at.

When you leave college and move on to university, or start a job, you realise who you want to stay in contact with, and who you definitely don't; who will make the effort to stay in contact with you, and who doesn't bother. Somehow, despite all of us going to different universities all around the country, and two of us doing gap years, we stay in contact and make the effort to meet up over the holidays, and the English Lit Crew remains strong.

In the Spring break, we went to the cinema as a group, and before we went our separate ways in September we all had lunch at the local American Diner. Today, we spent the afternoon at John's; eating Christmas leftovers, exploring his rather amazing house and chatting all kinds of shit for hours. The four of us who are currently at uni wanted to hear all the Eastbourne gossip, get all the details on Stabby and Pheebs' new boyfriends, bitch about Becky's ex, and hear about my recent one-night escapade. We never got round to the planned Disney movie marathon, sadly.

I also found out today that darling John reads this blog as well as my tumblr. And for that, I shall love him forever. He even said to me: "you'd better blog about this day!"

One thing I love about our funny little group (we carefully decided which of the 'Friends' characters we all were today) is that we are all honest with each other, and always say what we really feel, no holds barred. For instance, I mentioned the name of the guy I spent the night with on Monday, and everyone was straight in there with their opinions on him: "I don't see what's attractive about him", "isn't he a massive slag?", "I like him, because he bought me a drink once." It's so refreshing to hear what your friends really think, after years of nodding along and insincere "I'm happy for you"'s.

Basically, I really hope we all stay friends. I love y'all. Also it would be cool (and mighty handy) in the future to know an artist, a doctor, a make-up artist, and two highly-paid geniuses; five people who generally have style and make me laugh hysterically every minute we're together. x

Sunday, 25 December 2011

The Day.

Christmas Day, the most joyful yet also the second-most disappointing day/night of the year (bested only by New Year's Eve). It's finally here. Oh hey, where did it go? I got a text at about 4:30pm from a friend saying "hope you all had a great Christmas!" Emphasis on the "had" part.

I'm a little kid, really. I wait all year for Christmas; I look up vegetarian roast dinners in February, I buy presents in October, I even lay out my outfit (Christmas dress/jumper, leggings and Santa socks, every year) the night before. When the day finally arrives, I am a bundle of Christmas cheer and infectious giggles, running back and forth from the kitchen to the living room - and any innocent present lying in my path pays the ultimate price. I pass out the presents when the whole family is settled by the fire, amaze everyone with my ability to make my entire roast dinner vanish within seconds of sitting down at the table, and then snuggle down on the sofa for the evening while all the grown-ups have their Christmas naps.


Today, I'm watching one of my five new Gilmore Girls DVDs, eating my way through a whole box of After Eights, and staring at my glorious pile of presents. I won't list my Christmas presents on here, I'm not that arrogant (although I might casually mention my McFly tickets and Chanel perfume).

At this time of year, I forget everything that's less than perfect in my own silly life and focus on the things that matter. I indulge in this one beautiful day I have with my family, and at midnight tonight when Christmas Day is over, I make a wish that one day everyone in the world will be able to enjoy this day as much as I do. x

Saturday, 24 December 2011

The Eve.

I'm sitting on the sofa watching the Miranda Christmas Special with my family. The cat is snoozing on top of the sofa, ruining my mum's hard work hoovering by getting his ginger fur everywhere. A bowl of half-shelled Brussels sprouts sits on the coffee table. My little sister is slumped next to me, gulping down her second glass of straight Disaronno. She has a sure-fire plan to ensure she sleeps through the night tonight: several glasses of Disaronno, a handful of extra-drowsy travel sickness tablets, reading in bed until her eyes get tired, then playing relaxing music on her mp3 until she drifts off. I, on the other hand, will be lying wide awake in bed until 5am - at which time I'll fall asleep for one hour before my well-rested sister comes into my room at 6am with her stocking and we wait patiently for 7am to arrive, which is when we're allowed to wake up our parents.


I've spent the day delivering cards, playing festive music and going to a special Christmas Zumba class at the gym with a few friends. This evening I went to my little town's annual Christingle service, for the giggles; every year we go along as a family, belt out the hymns and eat all the sweets off our Christingle before we've even left the church. After the service we hit the pub (getting semi-drunk with your parents is always fun), and then we come home and set to the last of the Christmas tasks; setting the table for Christmas dinner, wrapping the last of the presents and exchanging family cards.

So yeah, this is a generic "Christmas traditions, family stuff, exciting times" post. You'd think I'd be sick of reading these by now, and yet here I am writing one of my own. And y'know what, I'm willing to bet I'll be writing a Christmas Day post tomorrow... x

Friday, 23 December 2011

I have a question...


Due to past experience, I have been led to believe that the male gender have a very different attitude to the female when it comes to friendship.

The best example of this is the classic ex-boyfriend saying: "of course we can still be friends", or my ex-boyfriend, who went one better and said: "let's be best friends!"
Of course, this didn't last. I don't think he expected it to either... But I was foolish enough to believe that he genuinely wanted us to stay in each others' lives; we'd spent a year and a half together being ridiculously close, maybe as close as two people can be, so it made sense that we remain friends. It would be stupid to lose contact completely...

So boys, answer me this: do you stay friends with a girl, but then cut her loose as soon as you realise that there is absolutely no chance of something more? Like your ex-girlfriends; you've already slept with them, so why should you keep them around? Do you restrict your quota of female friends exclusively to attractive girls that you have yet to have sex with?

Seriously. Let me know. Because in my experience, and in many other girls' experience for that matter, this is always the case. x

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

HRH, The Queen of Bad Timing.


Despite the many many times when I say "knowing my luck...", "just my luck" or a very sarcastic "lucky me!", I do know I am much more fortunate than most. A lot of good things happen to me, many of which I'm not sure I totally deserve. Anyway, I've realised my many more misfortunes have nothing to do with luck... It's all about timing.

I honestly have the worst timing of all the people I know, and indeed all the people I don't. I can never find that moment between food in the oven being under-cooked, and it being burnt. I only realise I want an item in a shop after they've sold the last one. I always seem to think I can start an assignment at 3am and have it finished by 9am. No matter how many diaries I buy and how many important appointments or casual meet-ups I write down, I never get into the habit of keeping good time... And I never ever learn from my many timing catastrophes over the years. 

Small, insignificant timing errors where cooking and shopping are concerned is something I can learn to live with; it is, of course, in the "realm of romance" (to quote Basil Brush) where my timing issues inflict the most damage.

Again, a few small frustrating things happen as a result of terrible timing: I bought a brand-new (very expensive and unbelievably extravagant) Ann Summers underwear set the day before my relationship ended, I passed my driving test a month after I stopped needing lifts to my boyfriend's house, and my ex was given a double bed not long after we broke up.

However, these minor yet infuriating inconveniences are nothing compared to my numerous well-intended romantic escapades and endeavours which failed simply due to poor timing. In late 2009, I realised I was madly in love with my best friend, and when I sat him down specifically to tell him this, he jumped in first and started telling me about this amazing girl he'd met and was falling head over heels for. Early 2011, I texted my ex-boyfriend one night telling him I missed him, and the next day his Facebook status changed to "in a relationship". Mid-2011, I asked a gorgeous boy for his phone number, and just as he opened his mouth to read it out to me, his equally gorgeous and devastatingly skinny girlfriend appeared and seized his arm possessively.

Right now, I'm hoping the end of 2011 will also mean the end of my terrible luck timing. I am expecting 2012 to give me a good sporting chance and break my lifelong streak of bad luck timing. Even if it means I have to stand in front of the oven staring at my food as it cooks. x

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Life, recently.

Remember back in September when I blogged about that awkward phase between getting A Level results and starting uni, when everyone was frantically arranging final day trips and night outs with friends, and saying endless goodbyes? Remember that famous overused phrase that I grew to loathe? "See you at Christmas".

Well, now there's a new contender for the title of Most Overused Farewell Phrase: "see you after Christmas!" I had my last Drama lecture of 2011 today, and afterwards I went to the canteen with a few Drama friends and we all had a hearty farewell fry-up breakfast. Then I spent an hour in the library (which I have only set foot in twice in the past three months), polished off the last of my coursework and homework, and handed it all in two hours before the deadline. I walked back up the dreaded hill to my house feeling as though an immense weight had been lifted off my shoulders; like a swarm of black clouds that had been hovering above my head for weeks had suddenly cleared to reveal nothing but beautiful blissful sunshine beneath them. I felt so free.

I've had my best girl staying with me since Sunday night, and I only said goodbye to her a few hours ago - it's been a week of staying up until ridiculous o'clock, eating our way through an entire packet of cream crackers, bitching about the boys in our lives and generally putting the world to rights. I convinced her to create a
blog and set up a Twitter account for her (her bio reads: 'Gracie made me do it'). Last night we were awake until 4am, despite me having a 9am lecture, snuggled up in bed watching Jeremy Kyle. As usual, it was sad seeing her off at the train station tonight, but this time I was comforted by the fact that I'll be seeing her again in a couple of days - and probably countless times over the next month we have at home. 

I told my mum (Lorelai) that my bestie had gone home early and I'd submitted all my work, and suddenly she called me and said "I'm picking you up tomorrow!" Even though we'd originally agreed to have the whole family pick me up on Saturday morning. Apparently my darling Mumma couldn't wait that long - and to be honest, neither could I. So tomorrow I get to sleep in, go to my last lecture of 2011 (Scriptwriting, my favourite) and then my mum will pick me up and we'll have one of our lovely long drives together; singing along to CDs such as Usher and Pussycat Dolls, stopping at every service station we pass for coffee, and catching up on everything in each other's lives.

I won't lie, besides the Strictly Come Dancing Grand Final on Saturday night (COME ON HARRY!), the drive home is what I'm looking forward to the most. x

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Where you lead.


When I was at home last week, I sat down to lunch with my mum for the first time in ages, and she said: "so, what are we watching with our lunch?" There was a short pause, then we both burst out laughing. What a ridiculous question.

I'm not ashamed to admit that a television show plays a major role in my life. 'Gilmore Girls' has become an imperative staple in my family home, and lunchtimes spent watching it with my mum and little sister have become a sacred tradition. We always sing/wail along to the 
intro together, complete with our own actions and gestures, and then collectively wonder why we haven't yet released a mother-daughter hit single. My sister and I have both asked for the complete 7-series boxset for Christmas, despite the fact that we have pretty much every episode recorded on our TV.


I often compare my mum and I to the Gilmore Girls; we have witty, fast-paced conversations (usually accompanied by hysteria), go on shopping trips around our quaint little town, and love nothing more than a movie night snuggled up on the sofa with sweets. The main reason, however, that I see us as Lorelai and Rory, is because we've reached a point in our relationship where we are truly best friends as well as mother and daughter. Yes, we do call each other Lorelai and Rory.

We've affectionately dubbed my little sister April, because of her cuteness and book-smarts. There is also an ongoing debate in our house as to whether my Dad is Luke or Christopher.

Whenever people ask me what my hometown is like, I will always say: "It's exactly like Stars Hollow, but with an Abbey and no hay bale maze." The shops are cute and family-run, and we tend to spend hours in each shop chatting to the owner. My friends hate walking down the high street with me, because every five seconds I stop to talk to someone I know. At Christmas time, everything is lit with fairy lights, and the whole town looks more Stars Hollow-esque than ever. 


My mum, little sister and I recently discussed who would be whom in Gilmore Girls in our town. My high school Drama teacher is Miss Patty, my friend who lives just down the road from us is Lane Kim, our neighbours Susie and Jason are Suki and Jackson, and the verbally incontinent assistant in the Post Office is Kirk.


I don't think there is a fictional character that I can relate to as much as I do to Rory Gilmore. She had a challenging time at school meeting people's expectations, trying to fit in with the other kids, and being relentlessly tormented by a gang of girls. She wants to be a writer, and went to university to pursue her dream. She reads five books a day, and her idea of shopping is browsing for hours in the local bookshop. My ex-(and only) boyfriend reminds me a little of Dean, a lot of Logan, and even possesses a few Jess-like characteristics. Rory and I have even gone through the same evolution of hairstyles. I can only hope that my future is as bright as hers.


The night before I left home to start at university, we all watched "The Lorelais' First Day at Yale", and when my mum dropped me off in my halls the next day there were countless quotes and references to the episode flying around.


A few days ago, 
 I confided in my mum that I wasn't sure if university life was the right choice for me. When I (reluctantly) returned to uni after my mini-holiday at home, I received a text from my mum: "Hey Rory, stay at Yale! We're all rooting for you back here in Stars Hollow. x"

7.

Hi, my name's Gracie. I'm an aspiring writer and an avid tweeter, before I go to bed every night I watch about a million videos of The Ellen Show on YouTube, my favourite song to listen to while driving is "Come On Eileen", I'll always be a little bit in love with my ex, the perfect present for me is a woolly hat, I write my shopping lists during lectures, my mum thinks I need a boyfriend, surprising people is my thing, I love a good spooning session, I have no right to judge people but I do it anyway, I love being asked really personal questions, I only ever paint my nails red or purple, I go through phases of being really self-conscious, my wardrobe is 90% cream/beige, I am currently mortal enemies with my overdraft, I feel naked without my nose stud, I want to be 'the girl all the bad guys want', my favourite meal is breakfast in San Francisco, my guilty pleasure is the Daily Mail Showbiz online page, and I may not be perfect, but I'm perfect for you.

I do one of these posts every month. x

Monday, 5 December 2011

Home is where Christmas is.


Last Tuesday, I heard that two of my lectures later in the week had been cancelled and one was optional. So on Wednesday, I packed my bags and headed back to my cosy little home town three days early, to surprise my family and enjoy some home comforts.
It was exactly what I needed. I was able to get into the festive spirit, listening to nothing but Doris Day's holiday songs CD, decorating the tree with my little sister, watching my high school's annual pantomime and burning 'Noel' oil on the mantelpiece so the whole house smelled like Christmas.

When I walk back to my halls after a day of lectures, I see the whole main street of the student village joining in the festive frenzy. There are paper snowflakes stuck on windows, streamers hanging in the kitchens, twinkly lights adorning the balconies, fake snow covering every inch of glass, and even a few Christmas trees are visible here and there. My housemates, bless them, in their abundant social awkwardness have slapped a few scraps of paper saying "Merry Christmas" on the fridge and hung a token glittery snowflake and star from the ceiling. At least they tried. I often wonder, as I watch student houses gradually transform, one by one, into Santa's Grottos, if I am the only student on campus feeling a little less-than-merry at the moment. Am I the only one who thinks that Christmas is a time to be spent at home with our families, not in a house/flat full of people we've only known for three months? Are the other students frantically decorating every inch of their temporary accommodation simply because they are trying to make themselves feel more Christmassy, when deep down we know that we will never be truly festive as long as we are away from home?


December 17th cannot come quickly enough. I'm sure by December 25th, I will have eaten my weight in advent chocolate, played the guessing game with all my presents under the tree and watched 'Elf' a couple million times; then and only then, will I feel truly Christmassy. x

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Did you know I write?

I am currently studying a degree in Drama and Creative Writing, and every time I write a new blog entry, I post the link in the "Creative Writing Freshers" group on Facebook. The other people in the group, however, write blogs that consist of actual pieces of their own creative writing, while I write melodramatic little soliloquies about friendship, love and heartbreak.
Not gonna lie, I do sometimes feel a bit frivolous and inferior by comparison. So, I thought I might try posting a short piece of my own writing. In our lecture we were talking about how setting can be affected by happiness or sadness, so I tested that theory out... Using a rather lovely and totally non-fiction memory of mine.


My head is on his chest, and I’m slowly sinking into the soft cushions beneath me, feeling so comfortable and warm that I am in danger of falling asleep. A hand brushes my cheek before moving down to playfully tickle my neck; I close my eyes and breathe in the rich and unmistakeable smell of wood smoke that always hangs thick in the air. I can hear the constant stream of chatter coming from the television, and some background babble from the radio in the kitchen. There is also a faint hiss and crackle every now and again from the wood burner in the corner of the room, the source of that delicious smell that I’ve come to associate with happiness and love. Whatever is on television must be funny, because my dozes are frequently interrupted by that infectious laughter that ripples through his body and jostles me a little. If it were anyone else waking me up, I would be irritated. But because it’s him, I don’t mind. In fact, I wake up a little and laugh along with him; thinking about how he is the only one who can always put a smile on my face, and wondering if he realises just how much that means to me. How much he means to me.


I raise my head ever so slightly to look out the window; it’s still snowing. Big thick flakes are tumbling down, lining the windows and covering the ground. After several days’ heavy snowfall, the cars in the driveway are just great masses of white and the trees around the house are looking beautiful, although clearly straining under the weight. The apples on the apple tree in the front garden are frosted, as though they were each individually studded with a thousand priceless crystals and left on the tree as a present for those who were brave enough to venture outside in the snow. We were those brave ones earlier today, venturing into the blizzard in our boots and mittens, trekking through the snowy fields and valleys searching for the perfect sledding spot. Now the snow has covered our footprints, leaving no evidence that we were ever there. The continuous snowfall means I’ll be staying here tonight, and probably most of tomorrow. Right in this moment, I am the happiest I have ever been.

x

Thursday, 1 December 2011

My worst fear (II).

It's not spiders, the dark, being attacked on my way home at night, escaped mental patients or house fires... I live in fear of being a bitch.

There have been so many times in my life (especially recently) when I've been known to say: "oh no, I can't do that, it'll seem bitchy", or "I shouldn't say that, I'll look like a bitch", etc. Believe it or not, I am extremely cautious about what I say or do, just in case someone takes it the wrong way, or in many cases someone finds a way to interpret/twist it the wrong way, to their own advantage. I only publish about 4/10 blog posts I write, purely for that reason. If there's one thing I've learned over the past year, it's that people can manipulate anything you say or do to make you appear to be someone you're not.

It's not a case of caring too much about what other people think (THAT is a whole other can of worms), it's more like a desire to keep my composure and ensure that if someone chooses to complain or gossip about me, it's for a real reason, rather than just being based on something they twisted, exaggerated, or simply made up.

I will not have a serious discussion or argument via text or Facebook mail, because if I do whatever messages I send will be saved and quoted back at me someday, or whoever I'm corresponding with will show them to their friends and get more people onside against me. There's also the whole "if you've got something to say, say it to my face" thing. I am a firm believer in that, of course, but also I feel that if you say the words in person, they have more of an impact and they can't be retrieved later for the purposes of vengeance or blackmail.

I am constantly envious of my more feisty friends. I'll walk away from a confrontation (I seem to have had a few of those recently), and tell my friend about it, blow by blow, and she'll say "wait a minute, you actually let him/her talk to you like that?! Please tell me you stuck up for yourself!" I always think: "I try to stand up for myself, but I'm too afraid of sounding like a bitch..."

So there we go. All I can really do at this point is hope that you realise just how badly I don't want to sound like, act like, or in any way be a bitch... x

Veggiepescaveganism.

"I'm a vegetarian." "Do you eat fish?" "No, I'm a vegetarian."


I'd like to indulge myself a little here, and share with you all one of my pet hates. I've been a vegetarian ever since I was born, and for my whole life I've felt the need to explain myself or even apologize to others because of this one major life choice; the choice to not eat meat.
I may not be a hardcore radical activist "throwing red paint at people in fur coats" vegetarian, but I still feel very strongly about this particular subject. Which is why it does annoy me quite a lot that even in this day and age, with an estimated 400 million vegetarians in the world and 3.6 million in the UK alone (apparently), and people like Joanna Lumley and Ellen Degeneres on our television screens talking about their beliefs and promoting a healthy meat-free lifestyle, some people are still so ignorant about vegetarianism.

I don't want to rant and rave about my particular beliefs here, although I could preach about animal rights and the shocking ways in which they are bred and killed for their meat until the cows come home (yes, I had to do it). For now, I just want to alert everyone to the fact that there are several different terms for people who don't eat meat: those who don't eat meat of any kind are vegetarians; those who only eat fish are pescatarians; those who don't eat meat or any products that come from animals (such as dairy) are vegans.
Okay, cool. Rant over... For now. x

Thursday, 17 November 2011

"I read your blog..."

These are the four words that can fill me with unimaginable joy... Or absolute dread.
Obviously, I love it when people read my blog; when they comment on some of the things I wrote, say they can personally relate to a particular post, or if they just like to stay updated on what's happening in my life... Saying something positive about my blog will always be one of the best compliments you can give me (second only to saying something nice about my skin).
Some of my most loyal Twitter followers are constantly giving me good feedback and saying some really sweet things about my bi-weekly posts; this is one of the many reasons I love Twitter. Then I occasionally get random messages from old friends saying they've been reading it, as well as people on my course at university. One of my best friends from college told me recently that reading my blog has made her realise what a "gifted writer" I am. Okay, actually "gifted writer" is definitely the best compliment you can give me.

Things like this inspire me to keep writing, and maybe even pursue a career in professional rambling. My new dream is to one day get paid to write a blog. "Whoa, dream big!" (Juno, 2007).

However, sometimes I am genuinely frightened by hearing the words: "I read your blog..."
It never occurs to me that certain people might find and read my blog; I always assume that my blog is in some secret hidden location where only a select few can find and read it... When in actuality, it's on the internet for the whole world to see. The whole world... As well as my little sister, my parents, my ex-boyfriend and his new girlfriend, all my friends at uni, my former best friends and my soulmate. Yes, none of this ever occurred to me. So when any of the above mention it, reference it or directly quote it to me, I am shocked and horrified ("how did you find it?!!" "It's on the internet, dummy."). I'm also instantly paranoid. I frantically go through all my latest posts in my head, trying to remember if I "mentioned" (aka, bitched about or slagged off) that particular person recently. I immediately apologise to them, chastise myself for being such a horrible person, then I go home and write a post and do it all over again. It's a vicious circle.

I've had some of my closest friends worry about me because of things they've read on my blog, and one friend told me off for posting certain photos and is now saying she's going to buy me a diary for Christmas to prevent me from getting too personal on here...

I think I've managed to keep things at least semi-professional on the blog, and I never refer to anyone explicitly (if you notice, I'm always very careful not to use names - and if I do, it's a big deal). So luckily I don't get a lot of awkward "I read your blog" moments nowadays.
The worst thing anyone has ever said to me about one of my blog posts, is when I wrote a particular post about a guy telling him how I feel, and he said to me in person "yeah I read it. I wasn't affected by it whatsoever." Ouch.

So, generally the blog doesn't get me into trouble. Twitter, however... That's a whole different matter. I've argued with people, fallen out with friends and even lost a best friend because of the things I choose to tweet. I've had so many people questioning me relentlessly about whether or not a tweet I've recently posted is about them. I can honestly say that 9/10 times, people are wrong and my tweets are not about them. I never use names (again, unless it's a big deal), and I always try to keep it vague. I just happen to have this really nasty habit of tweeting whatever stupid thought pops into my head. Those of you who know me well will also know that I have a tendency to exaggerate and distort things if I'm feeling especially emotional. And as you can imagine, this habit and this tendency do not go together well.

So to all of you whom I have offended via blog or Twitter, I'm truly sorry.
To those of you who read my blog and my Twitter, thank you, I love you, keep reading. x

Thursday, 10 November 2011

My first first.

Life is full of firsts. Some of them are obvious: first baby tooth, first word, first day at school, first love, first kiss... The list goes on and on. Then there are also the firsts that we all fail to mention in that list, but are equally important in life: first sleepover at a friend's house, first holiday without your parents, first "time" (I may write a post about that sometime in the future, it's a good story), first heartbreak, first life decision... Again, the list could go on forever.

Anyway, I'm actually referring to a different kind of first. The kind you get as a grade on a university assignment, or on your degree overall: First Class Honours. I got my first ever essay assignment back today, marked and annotated by my lecturer, and I genuinely thought they'd given me the wrong paper. Because according to the one they gave me, I got a First. I even double-checked with my seminar leader; I probably looked like a complete dick in front of all the students gathered in the office receiving their 2:1 and 2:2 papers, loudly announcing that I wasn't sure if 75% was a First or not. I felt the need to apologize to them all on my way out, and I even said sorry to my friend who was accompanying me.
I'm still in shock. I wrote this essay at 3am the night before it was due, fueled only by fizzy sweets and a burning desire to get this bastard of an assignment done and out of my life forever. If I managed to get such a high grade out of that, imagine what I could achieve if I started an essay two weeks ahead of the deadline date... Having said that, I have another essay due in two weeks, and I haven't even started. I'll just have to hope for another miracle!

I'm really intrigued by the theme of firsts (I've now written the word "first" so many times that it doesn't even look like a word to me any more), and I think I might write another post sometime soon on the subject.
If any of you follow me on Twitter, I might get a few others involved to share some stories. Look at me, talking like a professional celebrity blogger... Not quite there yet! x

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

My worst fear.

It's not spiders, the dark, being attacked on my way home at night, escaped mental patients or house fires... I live in fear of being left out, excluded, replaced or forgotten.
If you were a psychiatrist analysing me, you might say that this fear of exclusion can be traced back to when I was five years old and my little sister was born. I was so upset at no longer being the centre of attention that I convinced myself I was being forgotten/replaced, and as a result I began to loathe my baby sister. Obviously this was a completely ridiculous way to react, and back then I had the perfect excuse of being just five years old.
Now, however, at the age of eighteen, I am still living in fear of being forgotten. I go out at night with my friends partly because I want to have fun, but more often than not it's purely so I won't feel left out of all the action. I hate seeing photos appearing online from the night before and me not being in them. I hate watching everyone having the time of their lives without me. I hate the feeling that I am slowly being pushed out of a group that I once felt so included in.

Maybe I need to stop being so paranoid. Maybe I need to have a serious talk with the people in question and let them know how I'm feeling. Maybe I need to find better friends.

Today, I woke up with the flu. I instantly felt sad and lost, because this is the very first time I've been properly ill away from home. I didn't have my mum coming into my room bright and early, feeling my forehead for a temperature, calling up my school/college and letting them know I wouldn't be coming in that day, setting up a bed for me on the sofa downstairs, staying at home with me all day watching daytime TV and making me meals of crackers and lemonade. Instead, today I could only Skype my mum, have a little cry and let her cheer me up.
Isn't it always the way, that when one thing goes wrong, everything goes wrong? Like today, I happened to be feeling really unwell, and then somehow I ended up seriously considering dropping out of university, going home, getting a job and starting a whole new life. Where did that come from?! I shouldn't be allowed to think for myself when I'm feeling down. One of these days it will get me in trouble. x

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Overrated.

I've done the "going out and getting messy" thing. I've done it to death. I've downed drinks, danced madly, drunk-dialed and staggered home a million times. Right now, I am perfectly happy to stay in, snuggle down in bed in my PJs and slipper socks, and watch How I Met Your Mother.
I know this is basically unacceptable and ineffable behaviour as a university student, and I'll probably be indebted to my more socially-orientated friends for the rest of the week if not the whole semester, but right now I couldn't care less. I've had a rough couple of days, and every part of my body is screaming for comfort and rest. After weeks of pushing myself to limit, I feel I deserve this. x

PS: There is currently a vacancy for a person to accompany me on these particular nights. Must be cuddly, funny and have a decent taste in movies. Apply within.

6.

Hi, my name's Gracie. I could happily live the rest of my life eating nothing but cream crackers, I love it when my mum calls me Rory, May 2010 was the best time of my life, I am paranoid that my hands are abnormally large, my dream is to one day get paid to write a blog, an Irish accent makes my clothes fall off, I can stay up until 2am doing absolutely nothing, if you take something away from me I will want it more, I never want my "magic number" to go into double digits, Ed Sheeran sings me to sleep, I've given up on becoming an actress, I believe in fate, I am the queen of the silent treatment, I have a love-hate relationship with alcohol, I always pull the same facial expression in photos, I really really want to be a feminist, I hate being left out, and I think we're more alike than you realise.

I do one of these posts every month. x

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Option: Time.

The way I see it, when you go through a break-up, regardless of whether it is amicable or vicious, you then have three options when it comes to dealing with it and moving on. You can: a) rush straight into another full-on relationship (better known as a "rebound", which sometimes can be taken too seriously and too far), or b) sleep around and get into all kinds of trouble (to prove some kind of point to yourself while also making the most of being "free"), or finally c) give it time, let yourself grieve, wait for someone better and in the meantime find out who you really are.

I hate the expression people spoonfeed you when you're going through a rough patch in your life: "give it time." It seems like the most useless piece of advice one could ever give or receive. I always thought: "Well, how is that supposed to help?" But over the past few months, I've realised that there is some truth in this hideous cliche. I went through my very first break-up, and chose Option C. My ex chose Option A. Well, each to their own.

It took me six months to completely move on and even then I was genuinely surprised to find myself developing feelings for someone else. I hadn't expected to feel "okay" after such a short amount of time. I don't know how some people can move on so quickly. I was crying and wallowing for every moment of those six months, wondering when it would end and if I'd ever be truly happy with anyone else. My dear old Dad said to me: "it's good that you feel this way. Because it shows that he meant something to you." Then when I eventually brought a boy home for the first time since the break-up, my parents were absolutely thrilled.

What heals a broken heart... Chocolate? Romantic comedies? Sellotape? Alcohol?
All of the above? Actually, the only thing you really need is time. Well, time, and the latest Adele album. x

PS: I'm not religious, but please #prayforAdele.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

You and your rules.

A while back I said (and tweeted): "the rules are different at uni." This could not be more true. In the four weeks that I've been here, I've learnt so many things... And I don't mean on my course.
I've learnt that since I don't have a TV, YouTube is my new best friend; that you must always wear some form of shoes when using the toilet in 'shared facilities' accommodation, and that I can eat a whole packet of chocolate Bourbons in less than an hour.
I've also learnt that your housemates won't always be nice people, that "being casual" with someone you really like doesn't work, and that sometimes the best thing you can do is pretend everything is fine.
My new bedtime is "any time after 3am", and my average weekend lie-in lasts until 2pm. Drinking is no longer a fun weekly option, it's a mandatory nightly activity. A lovely home and loving family to go back and visit on a weekend isn't a right, it's a privilege.
The rules are indeed very different at uni. Trust me, you leave with so much more than a degree. x

PS: I started a perverted little competition on my Twitter last night at 2am (it was a product of severe overtiredness and boredom) to see if anyone could guess which person in this photo I have slept with. I would delete the tweet that started it, but I got some pretty funny responses. Hint: it's not the girl with the red tie (disappointing, I know). x

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Don't judge me by my past, I don't live there any more.

So the other night this guy, who I've taken a bit of a shine to, made a few harsh observations about my character... Luckily I'm not a girl who gets hurt easily, but I couldn't help but feel that the things he said were a little unfair, considering he's only known me for three weeks. Sure, we've spent a lot of time together over those three weeks, but I don't think he knows me well enough yet to be that honest with me.

Two girls can walk up to each other and say: "hey, slag", and "ewww, not you again!" and you instantly know they're the best of friends. I have a few relationships like that; it takes years to form that kind of closeness which warrants constantly insulting one another.

My very best friends, however, I greet with a "hey beautiful!" and a cheesy Baywatch-style run-up hug whenever I see them. We have our giggly light-hearted gossip sessions, but then we always end up having serious, in-depth heart-to-heart discussions about life, love, etc. I live for the days I spend just sitting in my best friend's bed eating chocolate, watching True Blood and talking about everything. She and I are also close enough that if I tell her something I've recently said or done (I can't really give a clean example at this point in time), she will give me her honest opinion on whether I said or did the right thing, and what I should do next. I always listen to her advice, and act on it. She could royally tell me off for something, and I'd totally understand and agree with her. That's not true for many other people in my life.

So when my friend turned to me the other night and said something so brutally honest about what he thought of me, I was pretty shocked and upset. I know people will form their own opinions of me, and I can't help that, but when they voice it so openly, after only knowing me a short while... I'm just not used to it.

He had a good point though. I was being a bit of a bitch that night. I was reading out some of the things a certain girl had written about me online, scoffing at her comments and making fun of her. What I was actually doing was hiding that fact that the things she was writing were deeply upsetting me, but he wasn't to know that. He was totally right to tell me off. However, he was not right to say: "you don't give a shit about other peoples' relationships."
Don't get me wrong, I can see why you'd think that. But I honestly do care about and respect other peoples' relationships; no matter how much I want someone, if they're unavailable and happy with someone else, I won't go out of my way to sabotage them and steal them away. If it's meant to be, it'll happen, and if it's someone special, I am happy to wait. I've been a lot of things; the other girl, the girl who wanted more, the broken-hearted girl, the girl with the worst timing... But the one thing I have always been, is the girl who waited. x

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

3 weeks in...

I've already had a lot of amazing nights at university...

...But last night was one of the best yet. I went up to London, had a lovely dinner and went to see the gorgeous Joshua Radin live in concert. This was the second time I've seen him live, and to be honest I didn't think he could get any better than the first time. I was so wrong. He was heartbreakingly beautiful. x

Saturday, 8 October 2011

5.

Hi, my name's Gracie. I don't like Spongebob Squarepants, my favourite form of shopping is ordering books online, I get through one packet of Bourbons a day, I have licked the Eiffel Tower, Joshua Radin follows me on Twitter, I hate my university housemates, I am in love with a guy who drunk dials me every night, I love confidence but hate arrogance, my mum is horrified at some of the latest photos of me on Facebook, I get serious Nutella cravings, I prefer Strictly Come Dancing to The X Factor, shots of Sambuca cured my Freshers' Flu, I never forgive and I never forget, I will only ever wear silver jewellery, my worst fear is being forgotten, I'm at university, and I'm learning a lot.

I do one of these posts every month. x

Friday, 7 October 2011

The back-up plan.

Let's see. There's the cheeky boy who led me on for months, only to tell me he was interested in someone else; the pretty boy who gave me his number on my first night out in the city and started seeing another girl the next day; there's my gorgeous friend who somehow neglected to tell me he had a girlfriend when he was kissing me at my birthday party (and also didn't let the fact that he was taken stop him from spending the night with me a few weeks later), who still calls me and assures me he's going to be with me someday soon; there's my soulmate who I'm always waiting for; even my lovely ex-boyfriend only decided he wanted to be with me after things didn't work out with another girl.
Well, maybe it's time I told all of you...

Monday, 3 October 2011

Leftover Love.™

The other day, I accidentally saw a photo of my ex-boyfriend. You know when you just stumble across something that you really don't want to see? This hardly ever used to happen; a few years ago you would only ever see a photo or something your ex once wrote to you in an old photo album or in a keepsake box... But nowadays, these marvellous social networking sites enable you to see everything, whether you like it or not. This is why I block people online. Since I blocked him, I've had no unpleasant surprises.
However, I brought a massive envelope of photos with me to university to cover my noticeboard in my new bedroom with memories, and I didn't realise there were old photos of him and I in there. So when I was going through the pictures of my friends and family, I found his cheeky face tucked in there - right next to my Goonish Grin face. We always used to joke about being "the most unphotogenic couple in the world"; we could never ever get a decent photo of the two of us together. So the only two decent photos we ever had together were, of course, printed off and saved in my special photos envelope.

I won't lie, it was a bit of a shock seeing his face. But instead of being horrified and instantly upset at the sight of it, and being overwhelmed with the memories it held, I was pleasantly surprised. I looked into his bluey green eyes and felt nothing but a soft reminder of happy memories, some of the best of my life. No spite, no jealousy, no pesky Leftover Love.

I'm so relieved. Maybe all I needed was time (although I hate loathe and detest that age-old expression: "just give it time"), or maybe it was finding someone else, or maybe it was leaving my little town and moving to an exciting new city, or maybe it was meeting new people who don't know anything about my past. Whatever the reason, I am over it all completely and I have nothing but a faint fondness and a soft spot in my heart for that boy that made my life an adventure for a year and a half. x

Saturday, 24 September 2011

I'm a romantic.

I hate cheesy love songs, I scoff at couples who declare their love for one another with little hearts and kisses on Facebook, and if I see two people being overly affectionate in public, I will always shout: "get a room!"

But I like hearing stories about how couples first met, I love the private jokes two people can share, and I adore receiving little love notes and messages.

I know I don't look it, or act like it, but I've always been the kind of girl who wouldn't object to being totally swept off her feet.

The past two nights at uni, I've gone out with some friends. We checked out the city nightlife one night, then went to the "Back to School" Freshers Party the next. I had a really great time, and I even met a few lovely guys... Two guys gave me their number (I'm always cautious about giving mine to anyone), and made me promise to call or text them. That was a new experience for me - I've never done the "meeting people in bars" thing. It was perfectly innocent, but my roommates are giving me hell about it. I have five people living with me in my student house, and they are all in serious relationships. I'm "the single one". So they all tease me relentlessly whenever I dance, flirt or even just chat with a guy on campus. It was funny at first, but now I kind of resent them for it. In fact, I'm almost hoping that their relationships don't last, just so they won't pick on me any more.

One pet hate of mine is drunken kissing. At the Freshers Party, as the night progressed, the amount of kissing going on was ridiculous, almost obscene. I will happily chat to someone at a party, give them my number, etc. but I will never kiss them. I just feel like it takes all the romance away. Your first kiss with someone should be exciting, highly anticipated and just sweet. Surely that's better than smashing your face against someone in a club while the music is blaring all around you, just tasting a mixture of alcohol, sweat and poor judgement, and not really feeling... Anything.

I went to see 'Friends With Benefits' earlier this week with one of my best guy friends (he claimed he was "insinuating something"), and while I laughed almost the whole way through, I also thought there was a really important message buried within this seemingly harmless, fluffy and downright silly film. Sure, you can have a "friend with benefits", you can have "something casual"... But it can never stay that way. Someone will always want something more, and someone will always get hurt.

Justin and Mila, oh so naive.

Right now, at this point in my life, I feel like a "friend with benefits" is exactly what I need. I don't want to get bogged down in a full-on relationship just yet; in fact, for a really long time now I've been convinced that I will never want a major relationship ever again. I said to my friends the other night: "I don't want another boyfriend, because I don't want another ex-boyfriend."
And I stand by those words. I only have one ex-boyfriend, and after everything that I've gone through in the eight months since he became my ex-boyfriend, I just don't think I could handle having another one.

But at the same time I want someone to make me smile when I wake up, tell me I'm beautiful and surprise me every day. I want someone to be romantic with. x

Thursday, 22 September 2011

I'm here.

The story so far... I cried when my mum said goodbye, I've gone a little overboard trying to make my room look "homey", I've tackled the daunting task of cooking my first meal (and washing up afterwards), got to know my housemates, officially enrolled, got my student ID card (and actually like the picture on it), identified a university hoody I will be buying purely to wear when at home with my family, taken a chlamydia test (because the campus nurse made me feel like a slag), got a load of freebies (including a lollipop, a Bacardi bracelet and plenty of condoms - student stereotyping anyone?), checked out the eye candy on campus (not too shabby), spent all day today trying to access the internet, Skyped my family and even found time to be cheeky. Not bad for the first two days. Tomorrow, the adventure continues as I venture into the city with my housemates! Stay tuned for more exciting antics of Gracie, the Uni Student! (Anyone wanna give me a better superhero name?) x

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

I've spent my last day at home frantically packing, having a last-minute check-up at the dentist, printing photos, transferring my iTunes from one computer to another, buying myself a beautiful jewellery stand for my new bedroom, and seeing my best friend for one final "True Blood and chocolate" session.
I've spent my last night at home doing Zumba with my friends and family, eating egg and beans for dinner, watching the episode of Gilmore Girls where Rory goes off to college (it seemed appropriate) with my mum and sister, and sharing a whole box of After Eights.

It's been perfect. x

Monday, 19 September 2011

"See you at Christmas."

Those four words are all I've been hearing recently. Slowly but surely, the majority of us are making our way into the world. We're spreading out across the country, with our lives in cardboard boxes and a big scary future ahead of us. We've all downloaded Skype and promised to use it as much as possible, taken the CDs and DVDs in our homes that are rightfully ours, packed more clothes than we will ever need and bought toiletries in bulk. We've studied our student cookbooks, done the shopping for kitchen paraphernalia, debated whether or not we really need a dressing gown and realised we have no idea how to operate a washing machine. We've talked about nothing else for weeks, felt totally overwhelmed and wondered what life is going to be like from now on. Are we ready for this? Will we miss our families? Have we done everything we possibly can to prepare?

I guess we'll find out soon enough. We're all in the same boat; we're all totally alone. x

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

"You've changed".

That was all I heard from my school friends last year. As soon as I started college, a different college to the one they all chose to attend, I also started hearing comments on a daily basis about how much I'd "changed"; my every move was scrutinized, my every word was analysed and my every belief was questioned. After a while I grew tired of hearing about how "different" I'd become, and I began to wonder why these people who were supposed to be my best friends were suddenly so unsatisfied with me. When you're friends with someone, you love them no matter what, right?

That wasn't even the point, though. It wasn't the fact that I was changing, it was that they were not. On paper, it looked for all the world that they had left school, but in spirit... They really hadn't. How can you really grow as a person when you're surrounded by the same people you've known for five years at school? What they failed to grasp is that I had made the difficult decision to move on from school to a college that none of my friends were going to, where I barely knew anyone, but where I knew I'd be happy.

And now, two years on, I can honestly say that I don't regret this decision for one minute. I often wonder what my life would be like if I'd followed the crowd and gone to the college that pretty much everyone in my school year had chosen to go to. I'm pretty sure that if I had, I'd be nowhere near as happy as I am today. In these last two years I've met some amazing people, learned so much about myself, and made some friends that I know are for life. I've had so many laughs, a few tears, and moments that I will never forget. I even managed to get three A Levels done somewhere along the way.
Yes, I've changed. But for the better. Sadly, most of my old friends either changed for the worse, or didn't change at all.
I'd say I've become a more responsible, generous, honest and cheerful person. I've figured out what I believe in, formed a decent set of principles, broken some rules and learned some valuable lessons. I've changed in a few smaller ways too: I've actually started watching The X Factor, I appreciate dirty jokes, I've gained a couple more piercings, I've learned how to flirt and I've realised what I want to do with my life. Just thought I'd clear this one up: change is good for you. x


PS: I'm aware that I'll probably get into trouble for this post. Oh well. x

Saturday, 10 September 2011

The Age-Old Question.

Can a boy and a girl ever be "just friends"?

I've given this a lot of thought, and examined all my relationships with members of the opposite sex, and I think most of us girls have the same set of male relationships: the classic ex-boyfriend who says "we can still be (best) friends", the best guy friend who is secretly in love with you, the boy who is everything you need but you just don't feel that way about him, the boy you consider a great friend but question his choice of girlfriends, the gay best friend who doesn't know he's gay yet, the boy who becomes your boyfriend when you're both drunk, the good friend who you share a complicated history with... The list goes on.

I get a lot of grief for being affectionate with my male friends. I will hug them and kiss them on the cheek, tell them I love them and say things like: "where have you been all my life?" when I bump into them in public. This behaviour has earned me some pretty harsh judgement and even a few enemies. However, if I exhibit exactly the same affection with my female friends, nobody says a word.

And of course, the level of affection between friends either decreases or intensifies dramatically once alcohol is introduced. The other night, I found myself hugging people I knew from my Sociology class and have barely exchanged fifty words with (boys and girls), and kissing my best friends repeatedly on the lips (boys and girls). I got several drunken phone calls last night from one of my male friends (I would categorize him as: "the good friend who you share a complicated history with" and also "the boy who becomes your boyfriend when you're both drunk") and he told me he loved me, he missed me and he wanted me "right now please please please".

I have kissed several of my male friends, and spent the night with two of them. I still consider the latter two as close friends, although I am in serious danger of falling in love with one of them. This just proves that there is a very fine line between friends and "something more".
I discussed this at length with my mum once (neglecting to mention that I've slept with two of my male friends) and she simply said: "you NEED to watch 'When Harry Met Sally'."
So that's what I'll do. Maybe Billy and Meg can give me some guidance... x

4.

Hi, my name's Gracie. I hate copycats, I think it's better to say nothing than to say something I'll regret later, I remember everything, I will never understand other girls' behaviour, I've had a one night stand, I paint my nails every day, I never wear heels on a night out, I'm obsessed with chiffon, I love driving, my favourite drink is anything with Malibu, I live for random phone calls, I'm in love again, I get my incredible sense of loyalty from my mum, I worry that my cat will forget me when I leave home, I'm going to university soon, and I know I'll be okay.

I do one of these posts every month. x

Sunday, 4 September 2011

OneNightStand-itis. [wun-nyt-stand-eye-tus] .noun.
A form of disease that manifests itself within one's mind and relentlessly torments the afflicted.
The early symptoms of this disease are actually rather pleasant; the afflicted person feels happy, confident and self-assured, however soon these positive feelings turn to those of guilt, shame and in some cases self-loathing.

© Vicky G and Gracie L. x
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