Sunday, 29 December 2013

The Chop Chat

... I hate having my hair cut.

Unfortunately, a while back I was the victim of an excruciatingly bad hair cut. Much like a magpie to anything shiny, I am a sucker for any sort of posh or fanciful looking salon - on this occasion, the rainbow room was my shiny. Little did I know, less than an hour later I would emerge with less than half the hair I went in with. And £40 lighter. And, well - BLOODY MISERABLE.

But that's not the worst of it. 

Picture this - I'm sitting there with soaking wet hair, under a hairdressing cape that might as well be steel chains pinning me to the seat - and the hairdresser starts talking about her failed marriage. Wait, I'm not ready for this. Ten minutes ago I was reading a gossip magazine from 2008 in reception - now I'm Dr Phil? I was torn between crippling under the immense pressure to comfort this jilted young woman, and fearing that she was going to picture her ex husband on the back of my head and start hacking. By the end of the appointment, she had told her story, vented her feelings... and I looked ah-mazing. Seriously, I felt like tracking down this good for nothing ex-husband and high fiving the bastard. I admit, I continued going to Karen for some time - but with time and acceptance over her divorce, came mediocre haircuts... it was time to cut her off.

My next hairdresser was promising. A young woman named Cara with a pretty face and beautiful hair. I probably would have hated her had she not been the nicest person ever. Everything started out so well - she understood me, laughed at my jokes, washed my hair... until BAM. Her Army boyfriend sent her a dildo from Afghanistan. And she was ready to tell me all about it.
WHAT IS HAPPENING. I had to play this cool. Anger and bitterness brought me a great haircut from Karen... but I wasn't sure how Cara's horn was going to fare on my do. Thirty minutes of sex toy chat later, with one word answers, and the occasional "I'm-pretending-to-agree-with-you" nod, I made it out unscathed. I never saw Cara after that - nymphos aren't really my thing.

I was almost sure it was third time lucky with Craig - a twenty something guy with a blonde afro and a nose ring in a trendy west end salon. I figured less shiny, more trendy might work for me. I now had to include a subway ride to the price of my haircut though - what's a girl gotta do for a quiet life? Craig was just what I needed - he liked talking about movies, and music, and his band. Yes, I had to fake a little bit of enthusiasm when he spoke about his latest performance with Fire Exit, or Exit Stage Left, or Exit through the gift shop or whatever they were called...but it was a worthy sacrifice. Then one fateful day, I showed up for my usual cut and dry - hold the emotional baggage - and something terrible happened. Craig's friend Jay had gotten engaged. Why Jay? Why are you doing this to me?! I'm sure Craig wouldn't have felt the need to bring it up - but his girlfriend was less than pleased that Jay had been with his fiance half the time she and Craig had been together. Where was her ring, Craig? Craig seemed to think I held all the answers. I did not.

I left that day knowing I would never see Craig again. I think - on some level - he knew. But it didn't make it any easier.

Female, 23, seeking highly skilled and emotionally vacant hairdresser.

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Staying in.

"Oh the weather outside is frightful" - but my bank balance is even more terrifying.

Christmas is lovely; the fairy lights are pretty, the food is great, the family time is oh so precious - but the financial side of it makes me want to take Santa outside for a swift boot up the arse.

Even after cutting down on the presents this year, I think I've still overspent a little... so it's Saturday night, I'm sitting with a mouthful of Ferrero Rocher, playing backup singer to Mariah Carey's All I want for Christmas is you - and I'm having a ball. Honestly, if Ryan Gosling himself asked me on a date right now, I'd have to rain check his fine ass. I don't know if living with a boy has made me adopt more female tendencies or if I'm jut getting boring in my ripe old age of 23, but sometimes a girl just needs some time to herself to... be a girl!
Even though I'm not defined by another person, I'm with Oscar on the alone time. It gives you time to reflect, to relax, to give yourself a stern talking to - whatever you need at the time, you can count on yourself to deliver. Sure, socialising with friends is a huge part of my life - but while it might sound boring to others, nights like these roll some of my favourite things into one. Sex and the city, Elle magazine, Bloglovin, Pinterest, chocolates and hilarious conversations with my best friend via text (because I'm not a complete introvert) are just a few of life's good stuff in my eyes - and I get a whole evening of it!

Throw in a puppy and I'd probably wet myself. 

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Not crying over spilt cancer.

No, that wasn’t a typo.
Earlier this year, I landed my dream job, moved to the city my long-term-long-distance boyfriend was living in – and my mum was diagnosed with breast cancer. I’ve spoken before about looking back and remembering exactly how a memory felt at the time, but it isn’t until now that I realise – I have never had a memory as crystal clear as my mum telling me she was diagnosed. The jilt in my stomach when I clocked the tissue my dad was holding sheepishly in his hand. The feeling of confusion while trying to make sense of the glass of wine she was passing me, and the sombre look on both her and my dad’s face. The pause that felt like an eternity while I watched her take a breath before delivering the news. I can see every single movement in my head even now, months on.

Obviously the tears came, the questions soon after… and hugging. There was lots of hugging. Fortunately or unfortunately – I’m not too sure – I was the first out of the three daughters to be told, so it was up to me to be there and help my mum stay calm as she broke the news to my sisters. I think, had I not still been a little in shock, I would have found it much harder than I did.
Once everyone had been told, and we’d hugged each other silly, it was time to return to work – my new job that, only a couple days before, had been my only great concern. I worried about telling them, and wasn’t even sure what I was telling them. I didn’t know how bad the situation was, what treatment she needed, when it would all start, if I would be needed at home – it just felt like words. Like it wasn’t really happening.

I arranged a chat with my editor in private, and was sure that I could manage through the opening line without crumbling – I was wrong. Before I’d even explained what was wrong the tears were falling. Albeit slightly shocked, she looked at me sympathetically and said something that has stuck with me throughout these past few months of hospital appointments and 'how are you feeling' text messages:

“Oh sweetie, tilt your head back so your mascara doesn’t run.”

At the time, I tilted my head like she said – but all it did was keep the tears off my bottom lashes and instead running freely into my ears. But it soon became planted somewhere in my brain, ready to recite itself whenever I could feel myself getting emotional about the situation. It reminded me that crying wasn’t going to change anything. Ruining my mascara wasn’t going to take away the cancer. Crying over spilt milk wasn’t going to clean up the puddle. There was no point in crying - it was part of our life now and I had to realise that.

One operation, one round of chemo and numerous blood tests later, she has just started new treatment, due to finish by the end of January, and has been the same old lovable loon that she always was. Apart from telling us about the diagnosis, I’ve not seen my mum cry once. Not after her operation, or when I came home to her shaved head sitting atop her beautiful face for the first time, or on any given day that she decides she could cry – all day if she wanted to – because she had cancer.

 But she never did. For that, and for so many other things, she’s my bloody hero.
Oh god - here come the tears again... *tilts head back*

Monday, 2 December 2013

Life - according to my wardrobe.

A pair of shoes can change your life. A new haircut makes you feel like a new woman. That LBD makes you feel like a MILLLION dollars. 

I’m not sure if any of these are true. I’ll tell you one thing though. An old pair of shoes, the same ol’ haircut, and a lack of LBD in your wardrobe makes you feel like the 1p change that no one waits around for. 

I love shopping. I also love non-shopping. Non-shopping, in short, is when you spend hours at a time looking at clothes you want – but would never bother buying because you know you’d never wear them. So, a waste of time, basically. Take the midi skirt (or don’t, in my case). I think these are nifty little things – not too short, not too long, casual and formal... what’s not to like? Well, I’m pretty sure if I was wearing one, I’d look like one of those piping bags used to decorate the tops of cakes. Can I imagine myself wearing one with a cute blouse and ankle boots to work? Yes. Can I see myself pairing one with a crop top and some heels for a night out? Absolutely! Will either of these situations ever materialise? Doubt it. 

I have such a Love/Hate relationship with my wardrobe that I’d go as far to say it actually affects my mood in everyday life. Healthy, right? Who else wakes up in the morning with plenty of time to get ready for work, but then stands staring aimlessly into their wardrobe for 25 minutes in the hopes that something, anything is going to catch your eye that you don’t totally hate? That in itself will put me in a bad mood before I’ve even left the house. Sometimes, on particularly fragile days, I even get mad when I can’t find matching underwear.


 So that got me thinking – does an organised wardrobe make for an organised life? I’m very much an impulse buyer – buy now and find something I already own to pair it with later. Maybe if I was more tactical in how I shopped, I wouldn’t find it such a task to get ready in the morning/succeed at life. I can see it now… 

Oh yeah – I’m going to get this “I made my lunch last night so I can sleep in this morning” shirt and wear it with these “all the housework was done at the weekend, so I'm spending tonight watching Made In Chelsea and drinking wine” trousers. Not forgetting the “I bought this art for the lounge straight from a gallery” shoes and a “I'm totally over that relationship – and you” matching set. 

Anyone fancy a shopping trip?