Tuesday, 23 June 2009

How to have a giggle and be a bit naughty at a wedding

I love weddings. Free booze, free food, everyone's happy (well, after the speeches are over) and you get to admire a lot of nice shoes. Such occasions do, however, invariably include a certain amount of hanging around, waiting for the bride to appear after being papped for the millionth time or metamorphosing into "Evening Bride", waiting for the speeches to be over, etc.

Anyway, it is at these junctures that you can indulge in what I like to refer to as 'fake careering'. The clue is in the name.

This is an especially fun pursuit if you hate your job (or indeed, wish you had one). Some people might call it lying. I prefer to think of it as creative research and an excellent tool of self-amusement.

To illustrate: More often than not, the seating plan will reveal you have been placed between two complete strangers, and it is very unlikely your paths will cross ever again. The champers is flowing and before you know it you're a make-up artist to the cast of Madame Butterfly at London's Coliseum theatre.

This is exactly what happened to me last Saturday at a friend's wedding where I knew precisely 1% of the other guests.

But I didn't stay a make-up artist all night - mais non! During the course of the evening I was a midwife, a set designer and a bonsai tree surgeon. Granted, the latter was at the height of inebriation, and whether the guy I was harping on to believed me, I doubt it, but at least it was a tad more interesting than answering “I’m unemployed” to the “so what do you do?” opening gambit, which inevitably sparks furious chatter about the severity of the recession. And honestly, who wants to talk about that at a wedding?

Weddings are meant to be dreamy occasions, so I reckon using them for a bit of personal escapism is allowed.

NB: Practice caution if it is a small gathering, or if you know over 6% of the other guests.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Hang Loose

I have a confession to make. I have become a closet fan of Loose Women. Well, closet until now I guess. How did this come about?

As a student, my daytime TV ritual started with The Wright Stuff, incorporated Trisha and This Morning, and ended with the lunchtime edition of Neighbours. It categorically did not include Loose Women, which I frivolously wrote off as a bunch of past it personalities moaning about the early onset of menopause and talking in cringe-worthy fashion about sex. No ta.

Imagine my astonishment when I tuned in – by accident – a few weeks ago only to see a glamorous new presenter, find myself laughing at Coleen Nolan’s jokes, and see that Carol-mayor of moansville-McGiffan had gone blond and bagged a toy boy! I was even giggling at the cheeky Malteser ads that appear before and after every break. When did all this happen?! I was hooked until the end of the show, and the next day a tiny bit annoyed when I saw it was 1pm and that I’d missed the first half hour.

I now make sure I have a really early breakfast so as to be sufficiently hungry to eat my lunch at 12:30pm whilst indulging in my daily dose of the loose ladies. And after shunning her for all these years, yesterday I was even disappointed to find that Carol wasn’t on the panel!

Maybe it’s because I’m older. Perhaps it’s because you let certain things into your life when you need them. Is it simply because they make me laugh or am I becoming a sad appreciator of daytime TV? Who knows? At least Wimbledon starts in two weeks and I can have a proper reason to turn on the TV in the middle of the day.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Will somebody please press play?

The blasted birthday. Just typical of it to have the audacity to fall right slap bang in the middle of my personal career crisis, now made all the more poignant by a new digit smirking away at me.

Why are we so hung up on age? Is it a female thing? Us being inherently programmed, thanks to our biological gift of bearing children, to constantly review where we’ve got to and whether we’ve ticked all the boxes on our life lists we made at the ripe age of 16.

I'm not too worried about not owning a house yet or being nowhere near walking down the isle. What I find hard is being in some kind of career limbo, and feeling like everyone else I know is whizzing past me on their respective career ladders while I stay rooted to the spot.

To illustrate: when I found out that former Apprentice candidate Deborah Barr is 23, I literally fell off the sofa. Whether it was the TV camera’s influence or not, she does look older, but regardless, to be so confident and to have arrived at such a point in her career that she was in the final three, incited in me pure panic. What have I done in the last four years? I ended up questioning my past decisions and doubting my ability to succeed as a journalist.

Admittedly, the Deborah debacle was short-lived, but what I can’t seem to shake off is this feeling that I’m on standby. That the recession has hit the pause button on my career and I’m incessantly fighting to get it back on play.

Make your commute work for you - an update

The bloomin loves at TFL know how to show they care, hey? A two-day opportunity to walk all the way into work, arrive refreshed and alert, and then make your way home either on foot or by buses so rammed you'll have lost half your body weight in sweat by the time you alight - what are the chances?! Thanks guys.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Make your commute work for you

Could it be possible that I miss my commute? Am I really pining for a bit of blatant elbow shoving and the suffocating heat of the underground?

Yes, actually. Why? Vanity is the simple answer. To clarify: Because it was a bloody effective (and my only) form of daily exercise, and I loathe to admit it but I may have gained several centimetres on my hips since the commute became a part of my former life.

I was a serious pro in commutersville. I had my journey planned down to the last second, which of course gave no time for error/customary delays and frequently saw me running to make the several connections required in order to arrive at work on time. Hence, a great work out.

Thinking about it, my commute offered every type of exercise a girl needs to maintain her figure.

Cardio: Running for bus, running from bus to train, running from station platform to tube, running from tube to office.

Resistance training: Maintaining perfect balance on said bus, train and tube, whilst simultaneously checking phone and reading book.

Working up a sweat: Northern Line. 8-9:30am.

Increased lung capacity: Holding breath on aforementioned line when faced with proximity to a large armpit.

Poise: Learning to stand a millimetre apart from all surrounding passengers but under no circumstances ever touching them.

Step and tone: Storming up and down escalators, barging those who dare to stand on the left out of the way as you go.

Weights: Heavy handbags/shopping bags ensure upper arms remain toned.

You could even take it a step further and introduce chin dips or pole dancing using the abundance of cylindrical shafts in the tube carriages. I wouldn’t recommend in rush hour but it’s something to consider.

So what are you waiting for? All you need to do now is set a PB, try to break it on every journey and watch the pounds disappear.

Don’t thank me, thank TFL.

Monday, 1 June 2009


I am losing all patience and rationality when it comes to job adverts. Can they not just get to the point? Here’s the problem. I’m a journalist - I’m used to skim reading to the fourth line of a press release and knowing if a story is contained within. Actually, I rarely have the self-discipline to read to the bottom of anything, which just adds to the frustration and anger that befalls me on reading a page of job ads. I will illustrate my displeasure using a recent example:

An ad for an editorial assistant role catches my eye. I can instantly see that the pay is good and the subject matter is interesting so I read on. Editing experience – tick, liasing with contributors – tick, working on journals – tick. I’m getting a flutter of excitement butterflies and start mentally drafting my covering letter when - bam! At the very end of the third paragraph, more than half way down the ad reads the line: “Knowledge of classical Arabic is essential.” Seriously, you didn’t think that could have appeared a tiny, weenie bit higher up?

And while we’re at it, here’s a crazy thought. Why not think out of the box a little and say what the job actually is? It would sure save us poor potential candidates a lot of time and energy finding out we didn’t want to work for you in the first place.

Take Foxton’s, for instance. A prime example of a job ad that tells you positively nothing, except that you get to parade around the city in a mini cooper – oh and that maybe it has something to do with surfing or extreme sports?

Perhaps they do it because the job itself is so utterly soul destroying that they’d rather you figure that out once you’re contracted into a three-month notice period.

Anyway, my point is please can job ads be a maximum of twenty words and include any middle-eastern language requirements in the first line. Thanks.

Rant over.