Friday, 18 December 2009

Tantrums over TV

It seems that with television, like presents, the best things come in small packages. Or rather small series’. I’ve noticed a recent trend with my favourite shows: they all end far too soon. Take my current TV love Misfits which came to an end last night, leaving me feeling lost. Without my Thursday night routine of Gavin and Stacey (which is also drawing to a close, sob) followed by Misfits, I’d have to actually do something useful with my time, instead of curling up on the sofa and laughing my way through to Friday.

And it’s like that with all my favourite shows: as soon as I’d discovered BBC’s Miranda she’d slipped away from my life, ditto with True Blood which the nasty TV Guide told me is also ending.

Why does this keep happening to me?

Is it a coincidence that all my favourite shows have this in common, or could it be that a short series is the key to an excellent show?

An all time favourite show of mine is the wonderful Ugly Betty, and for her latest series we got to join Betty in a series of New York romps lasting 24 episodes. At first I was delighted with this, but my delight soon turned to horror when I did some shoddy maths and realised that translated to: 24 weeks of commitment, 24 weeks of always having to be in on a Wednesday night, 24 weeks of always eating my special Ugly Betty viewing snack of Ben and Jerry’s and as a result it was more than likely to be 24 weeks of dieting afterwards to recover from my Betty Binge.

I’m not sure I can cope with long series’ anymore. I might be a television commitment phobe, always chasing after the TV shows that will satisfy me for a short time, but will never stick around long enough to fuel me with entertainment long term.

So, what will I do come January when I’ve slept around with all the short series’ and I’m left with nothing to watch at night but endless documentaries starring my much hated Tony Robinson?

Luckily for me, I have one long lasting television love. Something that never lets me down, always wraps me in a warm hug at the end of a hard day and never fails to make me laugh: the e4 Friends double bill.
Maybe there is something to be said for the long running series after all…

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Weaving my web

I have a confession to make: despite working for an amazing website and writing this some-might-call amazing blog, I actually don’t know too much about the internet apart from how to expertly stalk people on facebook.

However, 2009 has been my personal internet revolution. Being a magazineaholic I must spend about a tenner a week consuming all the magazines I can get my hands on, but ultimately they’re not enough to satisfy my addiction in fact sometimes (I’m ashamed to admit) I have to buy TV guides to stop my cravings.

But the net! Oh the wonderful internet allows me to get my fix anytime I want. Why didn’t I begin exploring it earlier? I should never have let my stubborn hatred of World of Warcraft get in my way.

There is a site for all aspects of my personality, from my shameless love of pop music to my interest in modern day feminism. And best of all, my favourite sites feel so personal –it’s like having an intelligent discussion over red wine with your best friend or bitching about celebrities with your GBF, all from the comfort of your living room.

Take a look at my top 7 sites (I'd love to get this number up to 10 so if you have any suggestions let me know...)

1, DorkAdore: an excellent site reviewing all things dorky that women love, from True Blood to the latest technology. It’s also a site I’m lucky enough to write for occasionally and want to continue in the future.

2, What Katie Wore: I’d love to be friends with Katie from WKW, she’s so fun and brightly dressed and she and Joe seem to be the perfect couple. When this project ends at the end of the year I’m really going to miss seeing Katie in her bright clothes, so much so I may actually have to track her down and make her be my friend…

3, PopJustice: I love pop music and I’m not afraid to admit it, this site celebrate today’s pop music in the same way the much missed Smash Hits used to.

4, I Don’t Like You In That Way: A very, very guilty pleasure – the writers of this site are so bitchy but so hilarious you can’t help but love them.

5, Running In Heels: I feel like intelligent, stylish and fabulous whenever I read this site. What more could you ask for?

6, Domestic Sluttery: I want to have a nice Cath Kidston esque home but I don’t want to live my life like a desperate house wife. This site encourages me that when it comes to my home I can have my cake and eat it too (even if it’s not home made…)

7, Wahanda: The key to happiness is indulging yourself every once in a while, with wahanda you can do that- in the best places for the absolute best prices.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Monsters In My Closet

I’m not someone who is particularly scared of ghosts or aliens, bugs or worms. But monsters, monsters are a different story entirely. And I’m not talking about the monsters that live in your closet or under your bed, but the monsters of the mind – the ones that truly have the power to control your life, ruin it even.

There’s one particular monster that has plagued me for years and no matter how hard I fight him he still crops up in the most unlikely of moments: the green-eyed-monster.

I often wonder whether envy is a trait of those with just one sibling. I’ve noticed that friends of mine with just one older brother or sister tend to spend their lives comparing themselves to said sibling or even worse seeing everyone around them as better than them.

It is certainly the path I’ve gone down. When I was younger I felt constantly compared to my sister, with older relatives commenting on how smart she was whereas frowning on my artistic abilities. I longed to be like her, even fashioning a pair of glasses out of play dough to be like her. Luckily my parents loved us both so much, even more so for our differences, that I learned that comparing myself to her was pointless. I had to be my own person.

Unfortunately, my dalliances with the green-eyed-monster didn’t end there. As soon as I became old enough to don a uniform, wave goodbye to my parents and embark on my first day of school it became scarily clear how many other girls there were just like me - in their pig tails, ironed uniforms and shiny shoes. And worst still they could colour in better than me.

For the rest of my school life I made the same mistake over again: I chose to be friends with who I thought was the prettiest, smartest, well dressed girl and lived my life putting myself down because I wasn’t like her.

It’d be easy to blame my choice of friends but it wasn’t and still isn’t their fault – I love to be around them for the precise reason that they are pretty, smart and well dressed. I’d hate to be the type of woman who surrounds herself with dull, less attractive friends in order to make her feel better. It is my own demon that makes me resent them for everything I love about them.

And it seems I’ll never learn…

A very good friend of mine got offered a job today. I am delighted for her, it’s a dream job and it will be amazing for her career. However, it was also one I went for and didn’t get. And despite being very happy in my internship and concentrating on how well my life is doing, my same old feelings of inadequacy and self doubt kicked in. And then I began to feel guilty for not being 100% happy for my friend, which made me hate myself even more.

But then do you know what I did? I told someone how I felt. And not a close friend who will love me no matter what but someone who I’m just getting to know. Confiding in her a side of myself which I wasn’t proud of was a risky move – I’d hate her to think less of me. However, she didn’t react with disgust and order me to erase such hideous thoughts but told me what I was feeling was perfectly natural. It’s human to feel jealous every now and again, just make sure you don’t let it consume you. She told me she believes that in order to get what you want in life it throws a few challenges at you and sees how you react before giving you what you really want. You have to make the most of everything before you are rewarded.

So that’s how I’m now seeing this situation: the job is not only a great opportunity for my friend, but an opportunity for me. I have to take the high road and not use this as an excuse to wallow in self pity but simply keep on applying for the jobs of my dreams and use her as an inspiration that the right job is out there for me somewhere…

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Todays Interesting Tit Bit...

... depends on what your idea of interesting is.
But if you make spaghetti bolognese using tagliatelli it tastes much, much worse.
Who knew pasta could make such a difference?

I had a bad day...

Bad days, everyone has them, right? And today I was blessed with one of the worst days ever. From the moment I got up to the moment I got home in the evening things just seemed to go from bad to worse.
But now sitting on my sofa thinking about my day I realise it wasn’t that bad at all. I brought all the irritating things that happened today on myself - by not just grinning and bearing it.
I’m normally a half glass full type person but looking out the window this morning from my boyfriend’s warm bed onto the dismal, wet surroundings outside I felt dread in the bottom of my stomach: today was not going to be a good day. Deciding to be brave and not pull the tempting sickie I so wanted, I dragged myself to the bus stop. Only for two busses to pass me, full up with people not wanting to walk in the rain. Harumph, I thought, as expected today will be terrible.
After taking some time off, work seemed to have piled up and I had no idea how to do any of it. This came as quite a shock as everything I’ve done so far in my job has come as a breeze and I suddenly felt very insecure in my ability to be a journalist.
It didn’t help that I had also received feedback on a job I had applied for, which despite my previous entry on wanting to receive criticism, actually upset me a lot.
All the typical annoying day ruiners followed after that: getting caught in a rain storm on my lunch hour, just missing my bus home, terrible traffic and having that evening’s plan cancelled. But actually these are things that happen to people every single day; every day this week I’ve felt low in myself or got caught in typical London rush hour but I didn’t let it get me down then. The key to that was because I woke up feeling good, on the right side of bed - I looked at the positives in each bad situation and found them, whereas this morning I decided it was going to be a bad day and it was.
I’ve seen so many people succumb to negative thinking and let it ruin not just perfectly good days but how they live their lives. Today I made a promise to myself never to become one of those people and from now on I will make sure I always get out of bed on the right side (even if what’s out of the bed isn’t as appealing as what is in it…)

Friday, 20 November 2009

Confessions of a Comper

Since moving to London I have had to (painfully) spend all my money on boring things like rent and food, only allowing myself the occasional extravagance of a discounted bottle of white wine. This, as you can imagine, is a very dull life for someone who takes a great deal of pleasure in spending a lot of money on a lot of crap. So I’ve had to seek my thrills elsewhere. Mainly entering as many competitions as I can find. This allows me to indulge my need for things I don’t actually need without spending any money, I can ogle the prizes in the picture then daydream about what it would be like to win them. It is incredibly satisfying.

However, there is a down side…

Like most things in life which are thrilling my new found pastime is also terrifyingly addictive and damaging to my emotional wellbeing.
I am a naturally optimistic person, sometimes so much so that I’m borderline arrogant. This means that every time I enter a competition I assume I’ve won it, resulting in a stream of stressful thoughts such as: “if I won this holiday for two who would I take?” and “what the hell am I going to do with £1000 worth of beds?”

It also means every morning on the bus I’m thinking about checking my inbox and finding I’ve won one of the many competitions entered only to arrive in work, see the small bracketed (1) beside my google mail, let out a squeal of delight shocking my colleagues only to discover the email is another depressing one from milkround informing me that there are no good jobs for graduates. Going through this exact same routine daily means my bright, glass half full personality is slowly being eaten away at and I’m becoming a negative person who believes she has no luck (after all surely it is impossible for me to enter ten competitions daily and not win at least one of them) and who is not going to get a paid job ever (the depressing lack of jobs becomes even more real when you’re expecting the news of it to be a 5 star holiday to the Caribbean)

The catch 22 of the competition entering is that you only really win when you least expect it. Like the proverbial watched pot my constantly checked inbox is never going to deliver me an amazing prize unless I stop expecting it to. Yet I’m constantly expecting it to because I spend so much time entering competitions. It may not seem that hard thing to do but being a ‘comper’ (the official word for a competition addict) is a full time job. There’s the constant searching for new competitions you haven’t already entered, the trying to explain how much you want to meet Zac Efron/Jim Carrey/Jodie Marsh in under 15 words when actually you have no desire whatsoever to do so and the never ending debate with yourself about what would actually happen if you won.

Whilst writing this I’ve not checked my inbox in the last ten minutes and maybe, just maybe taking my experience and doing the proactive writer thing of actually writing about it will have upped my karma slightly and there’ll be an invite to a worldwide premiere waiting for me. I’ll let you know…

The Top 5 Crap Competitions I have entered:

1, Win! the new Joss Stone CD (when I win this I’m burning it and not in the good: I want all my friends to have a copy way)

2, Win! £1000 worth of beds (as aforementioned the thought of winning this prize stresses me out more than anything, and when I think of it all I can see is my house full of beds and no room for any of the other prizes I WILL win)

3, Win! the DVD of Robssesed (I have entered a total of 6 competitions to win this DVD and unlike the rest of the female population I don’t fancy Robert Pattinson)

4, Win! a vibrator covered in semi precious jewels (why would anyone ever need such a thing? It is worth a whopping £1,500 so when I win it I’m going to ebay it)

5, Win! a lifesize cardboard cut out of Edward Cullen. (again no desire for Mr Pattinson and his cheekbones whatsoever)

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Absolutely Flawless

To improve my own blog I am trying to read as much of others as possible. The idea behind this is so I can learn from their writing styles, see what it is like to write from other view points and well, be as nosy as possible. However, when I read other people’s writing all I get is self doubt. Mean thoughts about my own ability fill my mind:

Why can’t I write like that?

That was funny, I wish I was funny, how can I become funny?

That person’s grammar is so much better than mine!

I’ve recently gotten over the hurdle of letting other people read my work. As you can tell from my ever-so-secret, won’t let anyone know about it blog, it is not something I enjoy. Though I feel I can take their criticism pretty well. In fact, the more of it the better. What I can’t take, like so many before me, is their praise.

How can these people whose writing I respect and is so amazing be blown away by mine?

Do they not see that some of the sentences don’t really make sense and that I tend to get carried away by one point that is interesting to no one but me?

Oh yes, I know my flaws and this is supposed to be a good thing. I’m supposed to learn from them until I am flawless. Yet I don’t. I know I should check, check, check again yet how many times have I only just check, checked only to click ‘publish’ and find a million mistakes. I know my grammar isn’t up to scratch and I have several books lined up on my shelves so that I can improve it, yet they remain unopened. I’d choose the latest Marian Keyes any day. And knowing these flaws, yet not improving on them just makes me all the more paranoid that ultimately my writing is terrible.

However, I do like to think that whilst I clunk my way through life I am learning. I try to face my fears (though not daily, who has the time or nerves to handle that?!) For example, after admitting that I find talking to my very friendly boss terrifying (it really is a silly fear) I try my best to say something witty/embarrassing to him every morning.

The book I’m reading at the moment (why the tree loves the axe) has a very distinctive writing style which in the eyes of a grammar Nazi is flawed: the author doesn’t use quotation marks ever. But that makes it kind of beautiful as you really feel you are living the life of the main character- after all going about our daily lives we never envision punctuation. Maybe this is the kind of writing style I should learn from: the kind that makes its own rules, the kind that will never be flawless yet that’s its charm. A bit like me.
Maybe I will let the world know about this blog, flaws and all…

My New Boots (My Newest Lie)*

For the past two days I’ve been wearing a pair of nondescript brown lace up boots.

They’re not much, quite boring and not really on trend (they’re not covered in buckles for one thing) but it is safe to say that I am head over heels in love with them.

It’s the way they make me feel that elevates them from a comfortable, day-to-day boot to an object of my up most affection.

When I’m clomping about in them I feel like I’m a character in a movie: a poor, Bohemian writer struggling for success. And I know technically I am poor, Bohemian (my upbringing saw to that) and a writer: it is just very rare to have found footwear which makes me feel so amazingly confident in my ability to just be myself.

Ironically, when I am truly being myself I tend to be daydreaming about being someone else. The best form of fantasy is not when I imagine I’m Kate Moss for a day (I’m bound to wake up and feel shit about myself for not being her) but just fun, life affirming day dreams.

In them I transport myself to another time and create stories about myself in my head. Essentially I’m a character in my own novel for a day.

And that’s what is so great about the boots: they’ve become my latest prop. When I lace them up in the morning I can transform myself into a hard working chimney sweep who whistles on his way to work and when I undo them at night I’m a tired, homeless girl who’s just found a place to rest for the night: her boots her only true possession.

Being lost in a different made-up world may not sound like the most practical way to live your life, but then practical is never something I’ve aspired to be. I want to walk around with my head in the clouds saying ‘hiya’ to dogs as they pass. It makes me happy. And you know what? When I wake up from my dream world and take a look at myself I’m not sad that I don’t see that tuggy haired homeless girl or cheeky chimney sweeper because I see myself, and I’m still a heroine in reality. A heroine who happens to own some very good boots.
*The boots actually belong to my housemate Corinne.

Monday, 26 October 2009


On Saturday night I joined a cult. They didn’t seduce me into their inner circle with the tried and tested routine of chants and green tea, but with the much more effective disco music and vodka. It seems it only takes a little of each to become totally hooked on Madonna.

My good friend Edward has been an avid Madonna follower for years and is constantly barraging me with facts and reasons why I should love her just as much as he. I always, no matter how amazing the story, remained completely un-swayed, shaking my head to each suggestion- ‘no, I don’t like that song’; ‘I think she sounds like a total bitch’ were my most common responses. So it was with my obvious reluctance that I agreed to join him and the other so called ‘Madonna mentalists’ at a special tribute night at G-A-Y on Saturday. I decided to give myself three hours and plenty of booze before I would wearily take myself home. In my mind that counted as giving her a chance.

Turns out I didn’t need the booze and although I did only stay three hours that was only because after that time they stopped playing Madonna, substituting her for Kylie (anyone who says that she is the Queen of pop is mad!) You see, within minutes of being inside the door the sheer love for Madonna was so overwhelming I couldn’t help but smile. Hordes and hordes of men in various Madonna tour t-shirts were perfecting their awesome dance routines whilst rare Madonna videos flashed on television screens around the dance floor. I sat down and people watched for a while, praying for a “who’s the biggest Madonna fan” bitch fight to break out. But it never did. It seems Madonna fans have as much love for their peers as they have for their idol herself. Immediately my presence there meant I was one of them, loved: my position in the family secure.

Hesitantly I made my way to the dance floor full of fear that my lack of dance routine to ‘vogue’ would reveal me as a fraud and I’d have to hastily leave. Surprisingly I found that my classic ‘side to side shuffle combined with miming along to the words’ dance was as equally accepted as the break dancers in the corner. Between each song we would all clap and yell ‘well-done Madonna, you go girl!’ – In fact we did everything short of getting down on our knees and praising her. I admit I did start this over energetic praising with an edge of sarcasm but then slowly I began to realise that Madonna did in fact deserve all of it. She was more than a pop star: she was an icon and a pioneer.

Like me, maybe Madonna’s music doesn’t directly appeal to you but you’re bound like at least one of the spawn of female pop stars that followed in her suit: Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears, Pink plus many more all grew up listening to Madonna and cite her as a big influence on their careers. Well known for singing about sex, love and even political issues (as Pink did with ‘Dear Mr President’) it was Madonna that paved the way for them to do this: even at the very beginning of her career Madonna was pushing the boundaries of the lyrical content of mainstream pop.

Music wasn’t the only thing she advanced either: she contributed greatly to the sexual empowerment of women across the world. Using her songs, movies, videos and the infamous book ‘Sex’ book, Madonna took away the Barbie Doll image of women and told the world proudly that women need and want sex.

That night I must have seen all of Madonna’s different personas she has created for herself over the years: this constant image over hall which continues to spawn fashion trends. Every time there is a 80s fashion comeback the trend is all about Madonna’s iconic pearls and lace gloves.

These changes didn’t just influence the fashion world but were key to Madonna the business woman: the inspiration to other inspiring female entrepreneurs out there. She was the first female to achieve financial control over her work- something that women had long fought for within the industry. Nowadays, the London Business School presents Madonna as a ‘dynamic entrepreneur’ worth copying identifying her vision of success, her understanding of the music industry, he ability of recognize her performance limits (and thus asking for help), her sheer hard work and her ability to change according to the times as the reasons behind her phenomenal success.

I’ll never be able to list every knock on effect Madonna has had on the world nor will I ever be able to list all of her criticisms, but I am very grateful that I had the chance to spend the night appreciating everything she has done and how it has influence my life (despite my stubborn protests). You see, love her or loathe her we can all learn something from Madonna: to take our criticisms, fight back and never underestimate an image over hall. I’m certainly a convert.

Monday, 13 July 2009

Don't worry, I feel swine.

After feeling pretty lousy for a couple of days my doctor has now prescribed me as having swine flu.

Now, apart from feeling like a complete hypochondriac I just feel like a regular ill person feels: sore throat, achey, coughing and a changeable temperature. Not at all how I imagined someone with swine flu would feel. Although, now after research into the virus I have the exact symptoms you are supposed to have- mild.

However, it is still scary having something which could potentially turn nasty very quickly. The statistics are small but they are undeniably there.

I also fear passing it on, especially to my Dad who has already been exposed enough to catch it. Even if I get over it, who's to say the person I hand it to will as well?

As I've learned in the past your fate can change very suddenly, one minute you can be a happy, carefree girl then the next your whole family is in meltdown. Fate in the past has never shown to look after me or my family so how can I trust it this time, even with something so mild?

Wednesday, 8 July 2009


An emo title there sticking with the blog stereotype. I had a job rejection today, actually not even a job rejection- a free work rejection. I had emailed a free magazine in Edinburgh asking them if they needed a helper for over the summer period and the editor was lovely and asked to see my CV which she really liked.She then asked to see my work so I sent her four of my favorite pieces. I then get a reply saying they don't need someone at the moment and don't have space.
I felt like I had got a low mark back from an essay all over again. She seemed keen, she liked my CV yet when I sent her my work she didn't want me.
I know I have to get used to this, keep my head up no matter what, keep faith in my writing.
'They really didn't have space' I tell myself over and over again. 
But that little nagging self confidence demon keeps muttering 'it's cos you're shit'
I really need to silence him. Any tips?

What they don't tell you about grief.

You'll quickly discover that I am someone going through grief. I lost my mum four years ago. 'Four years ago?' many, I imagine, think: 'Surely, she can't still be going through grief?'
But that is what they don't tell you about grief- losing an important figure in your life results in a lifetime of it. 
I remember hearing about my Mum's tumour and walking down the road to tell my Grandma: her mum. And my sister stopping me in the road,- on a thin pavement my Mum had spent years campaigning to be made bigger. In my memory the weather was grey, when actually it was during one of the hottest periods of the year. My sister told me: 'this will be with you for life, you know?'

And I didn't believe her.

But I do now. 

I don't miss my Mum everyday, it's not like I am constantly aching with pain. It's just my life is totally different from what it was before she died. I'm completely different.This new Katie goes through her life, she laughs, she cries, she still can't decide what to wear in the morning and does something stupid, embarrassing or immature daily. She doesn't on the outset seem to be anyone with any real problems. But she doesn't know if this is her. I don't know if the person writing this is me.
I have lost something so huge I don't know where I fit anymore. And that's loss, for me, that's grief.
It's about losing a piece of your jigsaw and knowing it will never come back. You have to build the puzzle without it.

I never know who I can express these emotions to. My friends are wonderful but none of them have gone through this amount of loss, I worry that if I speak of my Mum or how I still am struggling to cope they shall question my strength. I wish I could turn back the clock and speak more about how I was feeling in that time- that year after she left when everyone was looking out for me. But I was so busy trying to prove I could get over this in record speed, slot myself back into the life of a regular 19 year old girl that I didn't talk at all. And now I feel silenced by unwritten rules of grief- which are probably all in my head anyway.

My sister, my Dad and my Grandma have also, obviously, been through the same loss I have. But I don't feel I can talk to them either as I fear knocking down their tower of cards. When you're trying to get on with your day, trying so hard not to let emotion bring you down, you don't need someone voicing all those scary thoughts in their head, the same thoughts your trying to forget. And everytime I try to voice them it results in their tears.
The only thing worse for me than my own grief is witnessing theirs.

My First Blog (my first lie)

I have this constant stream of thoughts going through my head at all times. When I think it, it sounds good. When I write it down, I tend to think it looks stupid. But I have to write it down. Something has to force me to do this.
Eventually I want to be able to call myself a writer and not look down in shame when someone asks to read a piece of my work. I want to have the confidence to look at something I wrote, something off hand and be proud of it.
Having spent my last three years writing for marks- often spending days and nights up laboring over something which was then to be handed back to me with a mark so disappointing I always felt I shouldn't have bothered, it is hard for me now, freshly graduated, to go back to writing for fun: to write for me, not someone with a red pen.
So that's why I created this blog. My First Blog. Except that's a lie as it is my second. The last one I created because my lecturers told me I needed one to get ahead in this business. They were probably right. But that's not why I have subscribed to this fresh, shiny, new blog. No, I have done this for me. To begin writing all over again. For now, I won't tell anyone about it. I won't post my status on facebook as 'Katie has a new blog- read it now!' as then I will be putting too much pressure on myself to be perfect. 
It may only be me that ever reads this: the great wide world of the web seems to allow anonymity for a non-commercial blogger like myself.
If you do read it I do hope you enjoy it (and don't comment on my grammar!)