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
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