Friday, 31 December 2010

The standard new year self-reflective post.

I was pulling a pint when 2010 started. Since then I have...

Got an awesome job.
Met some fab people and been to some incredible places because of that job (most notably, Wembley for an England game).
Realised my single status' potential.
Taken risks - from my first black ski slopes to seizing opportunities.
Rekindled old friendships and strengthened the ones I already had.
Bought my first lippie and wore mascara for the first time EVER.
Started to donate blood regularly.
Grew up (a bit).

So as I continue into 2011 in the manner that I have throughout most of 2010 (dancing around with too much alcohol in me), I promise to...

Ask for a pay rise.
Love all my gorgeous friends even more.
Go on a long-haul trip.
Master liquid eyeliner.

That'll do for now. Happy New Year y'all.

Monday, 20 December 2010

2010’s only way is Essex

Written to: Mariah Carey - All I Want For Christmas

Following a string of Essex reality television winners and that TV show, it seems that the UK has grown to love my home county. While there are already quite a few well-known Essex lads and ladies around (including Alan Sugar, Ray Winston, David Beckham, Helen Mirren and Denise van Outen), the number is growing thanks to reality television series. Olly Murs, Diversity and Chantelle Houghton have all been taken to the nation’s hearts and celebrated reasonable success. Then in the last month, Stacey Solomon was crowned queen of the I’m A Celebrity jungle, Colchester’s own Matt Cardle was chosen as the nation’s X Factor winner and just Saturday Southend’s Kara Tointon lifted the Strictly Come Dancing glitterball. Having lived in Essex all my (albeit short) life and been damn proud of it, here are my top five reasons for why I think Brits love Essex so much.

1. Confidence

At times it borderlines cockiness or plain arrogance but it’s rare that Essex spawned celebrities are the hiding wallflowers in the corner. So there may be the odd outlandish claim and they’ve made a few mistakes but generally these people have had the guts to show the world what they’ve got and by the looks of things; they have the talent. Out of all of this year’s contestants it seems Matt Cardle is the one who has kept his feet on the ground and not thrown a hissy-fit over a wardrobe change or song choice. However, the tabloid’s stories suggest he is a bit of a ladies’ man. You can take the boy out of Essex…

2. Honesty
Whether it be Lord Sugar’s cutting remarks or Russell Brand’s naughty jokes, the population of Essex is not afraid to tell it like it is. It’s not always cutting either, I think we just generally don’t think about what we’re saying before it’s too late, or a situation becomes so frustrating that we have to speak up. Take Stacey Solomon in the Aussie jungle. She was the only contestant with the guts to ask Gillian McKeith why the hell she was still in the competition. She also openly admitted that her music career seemed to be going nowhere and all she wanted out of I’m A Celeb was a few magazine deals.

3. The Essex Accent
Giggle all you want but a lot can be said about an Essex accent. Having lived with it myself (although mine actually isn’t that bad), you come to realise an Essex accent can help cover all manner of motives. By dropping a ‘h’ or ‘t’ or calling everyone sweetheart you automatically become endearing and it is seen as more ‘authentic’. It is as if Essex people can be forgiven if they say something a bit daft, particularly when you have the twang to go with it. But despite this revolving around a stereotype; it can work in our favour. Take David Beckham as an example. Ol’ Golden Balls has always been mocked for his little voice but his power in the football industry and money should not be overlooked. Underestimation allows for subtlety.

4. Sense of Humour
Essexians (yes I made that up) like to ‘ave a larf and as a result, we don’t take ourselves too seriously. Lee Evans, James Corden and Russell Brand, probably our most famous comedians, have made a living out of a degree of silliness, but they are also not afraid to poke fun at themselves. In a way this ties up the three points already made in that these comedians’ confidence, honesty and accents/persona are integral to their performance. I’d also like to put forward that a montage of Lord Sugar’s sayings would crack a smile or two.

5. Ambition

The story of the working class boy done good is reverent throughout many an Essex success. Heck, even Shane Ritchie entitled his book ‘From Rags to Ritchies’. But seriously, Essex is one of the UK’s richest counties and that cannot just be by chance. There are dreams and aspirations here with determination but, crucially, a realistic approach. Shame some don’t have the class or taste to match.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

General Election Live

Brief Facts from ITV's Live Debate Forum

Posts on ITV's website so far are favouring Nick Clegg, whose had 48-50% of the 'whose on top' votes from website users.

David Cameron is not far behind but users are criticising him for using sound bites.

All of them are using personal stories of who they have met to answer questions.

Things have evened out a bit more with Clegg seeming most popular with 39%, Cameron at 31% and Gordon Brown at 30%.

Topics so far have included immigration, crime and the expenses scandal/MP pay.

59% of users have said that the television will influence their vote the most.

Gordon Brown is attempting to build a connection to the Lib Dems but Clegg is denying it.

Clegg's rating has gone up to 60%.

Debate turns to education.

Users are noting that Cameron is mainly just 'slagging off' current policies rather than provide a solution.

People like that Gordon Brown is cracking jokes but have said that although he is saying a lot it is 'nothing'

Apparently there have ben 84,000 Tweets on the debate.

Users are saying Brown looks strong on the economy and obviously has the most experience

Most users are concerned about where money will come from for any policies as income has not been mentioned.

Debate turns to the armed forces.

Sympathy turns to Brown as users say he did not get the country into the recession.

Cameron has become third in the popularity polls.

Users also saying that Brown is making a lot of sense.

Users unhappy when the leaders 'suck up' to NHS, army etc

Most confidence in Brown to improve economy.

Several have commented that Brown's tie is pink and not red...

Clegg and Brown seem most realistic on helping the elderly and carers (a touchy subject for me)

Clegg honestly admits that politicians don't know how to solve some issues!

Brown seems stronger on policy.

Users not liking Cameron's sometimes subtle, sometimes obvious, mentions of state schools and his son

Closing Statements

Clegg: "Choose something different. Choose fairness."

Brown: "We musn't make mistakes in 1930s and 1980s [in regard to recession]. We must protect our health service, schools and police."

Cameron: "Choose hope over fear. If you work hard I'll be behind you, if you are old and become ill I will help you."

Final online poll:
1. Clegg: 45%
2. Brown: 36%
3 Cameron: 19%

Who won the debate? (ITV News figures)
Clegg: 43%
Cameron: 26%
Brown: 20%
None: 11%

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Easy as 1,2,3...or maybe not

Recent research from today revealed the most confusing everyday activities for the average human being. Maths and money-led activities proved to dominate the top 10, with sums, currency conversion and interest rates all giving us brain ache. The opposite sex, offside rule, wireless networks and even selecting wine were also included. I wonder how many people really think about the theory of relativity everyday though.

Here's the top 10:

1. Algebra
2. The theory of relativity
3. Converting currency
4. The opposite sex
5. Driving in a foreign country
6. The offside rule
7. Setting up wireless networks
8. Understanding Interest rates
9. Insurance policies
10.Selecting wine from a menu

Is there anything else you would include in the list?

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Match maker, match maker, make me a match

Written to: Black Eyed Peas - Rock That Body

Wow it's been aaages since I posted!

Right, so, dating agencies and advertisements.

I have nothing against websites like for getting couples together, it's all rather endearing that they have things to talk about before they meet..blah, blah blah. The key part of online dating though is that, generally, these people will be sat at home on their computer/laptop/pda logging onto the website to meet people.

Why, then, do's advertisements show couples meeting in day-to-day, face-to-face situations? In the animated versions a guy stops a lift for a girl and one eventually snuggles up to a girl under her umbrella. In the most recent ones, the pair exchange flirty glances across a shop. All these suggest that the couples/dates/conquest are a 'success'.

Okay, an advert of people sitting on laptops is not exciting and just want to get people together but this doesn't even advertise their product properly. They are basically saying 'you'll probably meet somebody while you're out and about, just wait'.

Which is what we are all desperately doing anyway..!

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Pub Dilemma #7

Written to: Telephone - Lady GaGa and Beyonce


Would you rather not be able to taste any food or lose the feeling 'down there' (otherwise known as an orgasm, More!)?

Ha, well, I won't linger on to this for too long because no-one probably cares, but it has to be food all the way. Could you imagine if you were feeling crap and couldn't eat that chocolate to get you by? Or you picked up that kebab on a night out and didn't appreciate the taste of it reducing the vile VKs you've been drinking all night?

There would no need for restaurants, and that is not good. Not good at all my friends.

So long as everything worked 'down there', you could have children and the guy was happy, you'd be alright, right?

Saturday, 27 February 2010

Video killed the radio star

Written to: Kanye West and Estelle - American Boy

Liz Jones' article in today's Daily Mail is one I have mixed feelings about. Entitled How pop became PORN, she goes on about her disgust at music videos and their objectification of women.

I can completely understand what she means. Most hip-hop videos make me feel awkward and it's unnecesary. At the moment that Iyaz song comes to mind, where most of the focus is on some girl whose bikini is too small. Since trying to search it for you all to see, I've since found out that there is a milder version posted on his YouTube channel with a girl who is much more covered up. Whether that is to meet Virgin Islands culture I do not know, but it certainly suggests the video was changed for the British (and American) audience.

As much as I believe that showing women in this light is not 'right', we have to remember that this is a man's world and, to be frank, it sells. Iyaz's Replay went straight to number one. I'm sure Rihanna's Rude Boy will too this week, which is also mentioned in the article. It's the most blatent sexual video and song she's released and to be honest has some of the most hilarious lyrics I've heard. I wonder how literal the girls who listen to this would actually take it.

It's difficult to say how kids will react to this kind of thing, but they do have a choice. It's the sort of thing they will only go looking for anyway and is almost unavoidable now.

Annoying moral conservatveness aside, what really bugs me about the Mail is their insentivity and need to limit everything into a sweeping sentence. When mentioning Rihanna, Jones says this: " an American popstar most famous for having been beaten up by her boyfriend". Excuse me, but how does this empower women exactly? Not only was Rihanna hugely successful before that scumbag, but that was a serious issue in her life and many other women's lives that should not be used in such a cutting way.

This contradiction shows just how meaningless feminism and half the crap the Daily Mail churns out is.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

My Plug-in Baby

Written to: Whurring of London buses

Shameless plug today my friends. I'm currently working for these people, give them a few more page hits :P

Trains, Center Parcs, Devon website, Kingfisher, SITA and BA stories are mine. Also I wrote the Madeira story on the newsletter (second 'top headline', page 2)


Thursday, 18 February 2010

Music is my life you see

Written to: I Turn To You - Melanie C

My commutes to and from London have resulted in me listening to my iPod alot. Out of laziness and convenience I usually just go straight to my recently played list and let the last 152 songs roll on. And on. And on. A few days later and I've become incredibly bored of these songs. Not wanting to go 'oh look I have an iPod, and Blackberry, and god knows what' I try to keep it in my bag, so just switched to a general shuffle setting.

But this did not feed what I wanted either, as I ended up skipping most of them. What is it that is making me keep all these random songs, half of which I've never listened to? Well, partly because I'll pick up anything that's free. Partly because 'you never know'. Partly because I love different music. Partly to try and fill up the 80GB iPod (I'm currently only at 15 anyway!).

Nevertheless even when I've come to make a playlist in the last week, there's nothing jumping out to say 'listen to me'. I've been turning back to my old favourites and actually listening to whole albums: Songs About Jane, From Under the Cork Tree, Northern Star, Inside In/Inside Out.

I'm quite worried that there is nothing I'm particularly enthralled by, even a listen to The Fame seemed quite tame today. Perhaps I've just not been listening to the right thing for the mood I'm in. But God, I even spent a train journey home with no music today and that is very unlike me.

What doesn't help is the fact that my earphones have broken, so only the left ear works. Having the right one in but no sound coming out is actually a bit strange.

If you have any recommendations of bands or artists with melodic songs that have a bit of attitude, let me know. Doesn't matter if it's rock, dance or pop, although I'd like to know what they're saying so I can sing along. For now I'll resist buying the tonnes of albums I could buy...

Monday, 15 February 2010

I hope you had the time of your life

Written to: 22 - Lily Allen

Sorry I haven't updated in forever but now that I'm having to do the work experience circuit there's just no time after hour commutes (God, they are horrible).

I'm on my second week at Oxygen 10 working on their Celebrity Angels and Seasons magazines. It's going really well, I've written about 6 web stories that I uploaded myself as well, been doing bits of research and have written a four page feature!

The editor called me in Wednesday to ask if I would record a wine tasting session, prompting the conversation, between Michel Roux Jnr, David Ginola and a sommelier. Yes please! We headed to Le Gavroche in the Marble Arch area and I basically had to just record their conversation. When I got in the office the next day they asked if I wanted to write the 2,000 word feature, which of course I jumped at the chance to do!

So overall it's been pretty amazing. And there's still a few days to go!

Meanwhile I spent my weekend working so haven't had a day off in 9 days. Oh the joys of living the dream. I'm a walking cliche!

Sunday, 31 January 2010

I've been travelling on this road too long

Written to: Many of Horror - Biffy Clyro

I must admit that being single has certainly messed around with my head the past few months. Or should I really say that the guys I have been speaking to/seen/etc have been instead. Men, please, learn to listen, flirt, not mess around and ask us out for drinks.

Regardless, I've found myself thinking more and more about wanting a boyfriend, but for no particular reason. I'm at a stage in my life where I need the freedom, no attachments. I can see where they are stopping some people from doing what they want. Perhaps it's because everyone around me but my 15 year old cousin is in a relationship, all happily loved up in their own little world. It's sickening at the moment to be honest.

Then I see new couples who are together, or started, for all the wrong reasons. There's been quite a few of these recently, mainly all sprung from insecurities or "needing" someone. Is there still a stigma attached to being young, carefree and single? Or in this fragmented world are people just clinging onto whatever they can find?

What bugs me are the times when I need that hug, someone to say it will be ok, or that I know they are there. Right now I would LOVE for someone to meet me after work and take me for a drink. Hey, if any of you lot want to do that Valentine's Day, I'll be at work til 11ish when all the couples have emptied out of the restaurant to go and have sex.

For now, until that right guy comes along I will continue to gaze at the beautiful members of your species and shower my best friend with affection instead. Although I may have to cut down on the public Facebook loving. Don't want to look too lesbianic now, do we?

Remember that it's easier to be cynical, that way there are no expectations to be met and people surprise you more!

Sunday, 17 January 2010

We are family...

Written to: What's My Age Again? - Blink 182

Before I properly begin to talk about today's events I'll give you a bit of history. My nan was 82 on Thursday, one of NINE who barely speaks to her family due to on-going grudges and rows that never got sorted. Plus they all had too much pride to swallow, pick up the phone and ask how they were. Because of this, there is a huge part of my life that I don't know about.

Today two of my mum's cousins came over as part of a surprise gathering for my nan and it was amazing to hear their stories. There are Irish connections in my family, apparently a great aunt even married a Romany gypsy. Loads of my mum's cousins and they're kids live around Essex, some in the towns I visit regularly, or ones that are next to us.

My nan was one of the youngest, born in 1928. The mothers of these cousins (her sisters) were born in 1911 and 1912 (nearly 100 years ago!), so they were the same age as my nan rather than my mum. This is strange for me as my closest cousins are around my age, not my mum's!

It's incredible that I could have met, served, been served, walked past any of these people over the past 21 years and never known who they are. Part of me is angry for my nan to have not kept in touch with people, but I'm glad I have the rest of my life to meet them.

We're gathering data now so my mum can create a family tree. I can't wait!

Friday, 15 January 2010

Pub Dilemma #5 and #6

Written to: Taio Cruz - Come on Girl

Two this week because I've neglected it! Let me know some views please, and follow me if you're a regular reader!

Would you rather wet yourself everytime you hear "saucepan" or live with Kim Woodburn?

Ha, well. That depends how often you would hear the word saucepan really isn't it? Although I wouldn't want to take the risk of ever going into a restaurant or department store in fear that I may randomly wet myself. No.
Kim Woodburn would be bloody hilarious to live with! She'd always keep the place tidy, look after me and scare away the useless men who can't handle real women. She gets my vote anyday!


Would you rather eat gum off the pavement or help a fat man go to the loo for a week?

Eurgh eurgh eurgh to both. But gum, all the way. Get it over and done with in one quick go. Or "one swell foop", as a BBC commentator said at the weekend. But still, eurgh.

A Design, For Life

Written to: Steady as She Goes - Raconteurs

So it has been decided that there has to be a symbol for sarcasm. Some corporation in America (where else) has designed an emoticon, which I can't find a decent picture of, or would show you.

Growing up as a MSN teen I see the total relevance in having a symbol like this. As a sarcastic person it is impossible to get things over to people sometimes if they do not share the same humour or point (or have a big ego, or are a bit thick). Although to be honest, no MSN conversation is exactly relationship building (sorry to those I'm currently talking to on it!)

Therefore to be able to stick this swirly thing next to a sarky remark would be beneficial and avoid confusion. But then, do you want it to be that obvious that you are being sarky, surely the element is in its subtley, or the fact that you want to appear ambiguous? Clear up misunderstandings it may do, but that takes all the fun out of it.

I've just realised I've been rather foolish. Of course there are no pictures of it online, or they wouldn't be able to make money out of it! The company currently charges $2 to use it.

I suppose I'll have to go and get it as soon as it's available to the British market. I can't wait! Everyone will finally know what I mean!

And was that sarcastic? You'll never know, I don't have the symbol yet.

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Boys, sometimes a girl just needs one

Written to: Boyfriend - Alphabeat (how fitting)

First of all, HAPPY NEW YEAR everybody.
2010 is gonna be a good one.

Back to today's post about one of my favourite but most frustrating loves, men.

As I have been a commuter into London over the past two weeks I have had more than ample time to gaze at different types of the species.

And with all the seasonal entertainment, there's been some more to fantasise about from television too. I definitely have a thing for skinny intelligent, witty young men who are sentimental, not all quite 'there' and do things on the spur of the moment. David Tennant's Doctor Who or Robert DJnr's Sherlock Holmes types. Logic, practicality and knowledge is HOT.

Besides that, I have noticed the differences between East and West on my commutes to the big smoke. I picked this up at university, where most of the people I met were Westerners. Not that they're a bunch of aliens, but there are differences. I can see them in London too, especially as the train goes into Essex.

There's a level of confidence in Easterners that I can't help but love. Generally I've always liked a wise-crack, someone I can have a good banter with. Most of the guys I imagine to be this type on trains are sitting next to their girlfriends.

You then spot the few in nice suits, iPhones and gorgeous shoes, only to realise they are that arrogant sod who's been sortin' stuff for his 'mates' on the phone and been letting the whole carriage know about it.

I'm not looking at anyone who looks over 30 by the way. Or has a child. Although there was a nice looking dad the other day. But, still, that's wrong on lots of levels.

Every now and again I come across a skinny jeaned, checked shirt and wild haired god who I admire from afar and always will do. But I'm not cool enough for someone like that.

What I'm being increasingly drawn to is young, tall Asian guys with a short, dark haired and well spiked haircut. Add a smart coat and scarf and I'm there. I'm over generalising, of course, but the majority of them are just lovely to look at. It has certainly helped pass some time over the past few weeks.

That and falling more and more for Edward Cullen (NOT Robert Pattinson), another intelligent, playful deep thinker that I've got completely sucked into.

To which I shall now return!