Everything that Rachel Green taught me

There is a lot you can learn from Friends; coffee is one of life’s bare necessities, everyone has a lobster and the only way to move a sofa is to PIVOT. We have all sat there with our own friends deciding who is a ‘Ross’ and who is such a ‘Phoebe’ and this actually holds meaning. I have always considered myself to be a bit of a Chandler- correct me if you think I am wrong. Yet it is Rachel that can teach you most about becoming a grown up.

I know what you’re thinking how could the over privileged, daddy’s girl of the gang teach anyone anything about real life. But trust me, Rachel knows all. She starts the series with the harshest wakeup call (you know when she didn’t marry Barry and retire to suburbia) and it is for this reason that it is in Rachel that I trust, and so should you.

Rachel learned the hard way that being a grown up is NOT easy. Yet she picks herself up at the start of series one, makes something of herself and before she knows it she’s working at Ralph Lauren and has Ross in tow (with a few minor complications along the way). She is living her best life and we should follow.

Here are all the things Rachel Green taught me about being an adult…

No matter how old and grown you think you are, sometimes you just need your mum and dad. Rachel proves that although she cut financial ties with her parents, no matter how together you think you are sometimes calling home can make a situation 100% better. Granted, your mum quitting her life to move in with you because you’re scared of becoming a parent is a bit extra but your parents get that the fear of messing up is a real thing, so use them.c9d2c473bfcf2b8ef0a29a31ac54593f9046fb14f63a2a657d0afffeef5e9396.gif

A new look can do a lot for you. It would be so wrong to talk about Rachel’s imparted wisdom without mentioning ‘The Rachel’. Becoming THE hair cut of the 90’s ‘The Rachel’ proved that a change in look really isn’t as scary as we think it is and we should all be more open to it.

Working your way up in life is really hard. Rachel’s personal stylist job saw her help an 80 year old woman try on a thong that she didn’t go on to buy and then the train wreck that was Joshua happened. But she was patient, she worked hard and she persevere, something I know I could learn.

Money doesn’t grow on trees and tax really sucks. One of my favourite Rachel moments is when she realises FICA took money out of her first big girl paycheck, I am there for you girl. We all know that taxes exist and what their purpose is but it doesn’t make it hurt any less and stop you wondering what the point of working is at all.635968920447906101726051157_6358451111588893622008133523_rachel-gif

You have to celebrate the small victories. Rachel learned how to do her own laundry, something we have all had to do at some point. But in the process she proved my suspicion that it is really scary putting your favourite top in the wash not knowing if it is going to come out shrunk or if the colour will have run and dealing with people in public places is awkward and they can be mean. Yet Rachel semi successfully washed her clothes and won the argument with the scary, small woman by jumping in the kart and standing her ground. Two adult points!

Dating a co- worker is not a good idea, even if it is Tag. So Tag…He literally embodies that wholesome, all American thing that Hollister really strive for. I don’t care who you are, there is no denying he is a beautiful beautiful man. From the sexy review which found its way to her boss’s desk to the slightly awkward break up, Tag and Rachel’s relationship was not the worst but it probably wasn’t worth it either.tag

Saying goodbye is really freaking depressing. During the episode where Rachel leaves for Paris I cried, not a small passing of tears, full Kim Kardashian losing her earing in the ocean bawling. It was too much for me, why was she moving on in life? It reminded me that whilst the next adventure/ job might be really exciting it doesn’t take away from how horrible it is to leave people behind.

You don’t have to like everyone. Rachel is sassy and kind of mean, which is probably why I like her so much. But when she leaves Barry at the alter and queen of all fake friends, Mindy goes on their honeymoon with him Rachel knows to cut her off. In the same breath, when she finds Monica and Rachel adopts everyone else as her friend in the process she has found friends for life. It is okay to cut people off who only bring negativity to your life and it might be a good thing call that old friend and go for a coffee.giphy.gif

Getting off ‘that’ plane is really hard, but it also might be the best decision you have ever made. Rachel and Ross marked THE on/off relationship of the 90’s. It was painful to watch. Were they on a break? Was it a good thing that Mr Ross and Mrs Rachel got so smashed in Vegas that they tied the knot? Is Ross really fine? Yet in the end Rachel does what is right for her, gets off the plane and goes and gets her lobster. There isn’t always a plane and it isn’t always for love but I know I am terrible for playing it safe in the fear that it won’t pay off. Sometimes putting yourself out there and doing the thing that defies all sensible logic is the best thing you can do.tumblr_mvyen3xDQp1qe826to3_500.gif

Advertisements

Puberty’s surprise second coming

I have a question and if anyone can explain this to me I would really appreciate it. Why does no one tell you that puberty has a second coming once you leave university? Do people just conveniently forget how shit it is when you suddenly don’t have the obligation of lectures but you’re struggling to find a full time, properly paid job that life becomes rubbish and you suddenly lose all sense of self? Because this was all a surprise to me…

I used to be afraid of failing and then I started to apply for jobs. On your tenth rejection you forget what that fear even felt like. Yet in its place something else has taken hold. Something that, in my opinion is worse than failing.

Not progressing. Or I should say, not progressing at the pace you want to or feel you should be. This is more of an itch than a fear yet still leaves you completely disheartened.

About 18 months ago I got the ick. Mid way through my dissertation and facing the back end of my degree I had absolutely no idea what I was going to do with myself after I finished. I couldn’t see a way I was going to walk out of university with my shiny qualification and naive optimism and into a job. I just felt like life had stopped moving forward, it was stagnant. That is why I started writing this blog and after many extensive chats with my parents, to do a Masters and see if anyone would let me write for a living.

Now I have found myself in a similar position where I am applying for jobs and getting some interviews yet it always seems to fizzle out. Something is going right, there just doesn’t seem to be any follow through. You feel like you are surrounded by people who are making such fast progress and I should say, I am so insanely proud of my friends. I love hearing about what they’re doing and how they’re nailing it. Yet, it makes you want it more.

I have found that this ‘ick’ leads to procrastination too, which really isn’t helpful. I will sit for hours on end staring blankly at job websites with Netflix on in the ‘background’. I wonder why I am uninspired when I haven’t picked up a magazine or paper in days. Then I wonder why I haven’t heard back from any jobs when I have applied for one all week.

It is like I forget that this is what I love doing and to be able to do what you love and to get paid for it is such a massive privilege but you have to want it. I am a stickler for plans. If I could have a five year plan with the guarantee that it will all happen that would be ideal.

This doesn’t just apply for academia or jobs. There have been so many times romantically where something has been really exciting, we have got past the first couple of date jitters and something real might be on the cards and then it just isn’t. Something happens, it takes a freak turn and falls off a cliff. The same cliff. Every time.

After staring at a job application for a few hours I took myself out of the house over the weekend to grab a coffee. Whilst I sat and soaked up autumn a teenage girl and her mum came and sat behind me. The girl was huffing and puffing about something I am not quite sure but her mum turned to her and said (quite loudly hence me hearing) “you have heard the saying comparison is the thief of joy.” I felt like turning round, hugging the woman and giving the girl a shake because she was not appreciating her mother’s wisdom sufficiently.

I spend so much time on Instagram and Facebook looking at how wonderful other people’s lives are when actually mine isn’t so awful. Studies have found that young people (yuck) work longer hours now than ever before. Maybe I just need to enjoy the time I am being allotted, go along with the flow of things and push on through.

 

 

The 5 books to get down with this ‘cuffing’ season

I firmly believe that spending a Sunday afternoon on the sofa with a constant supply of tea and a good book is one of the last forms of pure joy on this earth. It is my happy place. If I have had a long day it won’t fail to lighten my mood. If I’m unwell, it will distract me. It is a fail safe way to make a day 100 times better.

We have finally rolled into November. I say rolled quite literally, October was spent eating birthday cake and Halloween sweets. The clocks have gone back meaning longer, darker evenings. This marks the beginning of cuffing season- the time of the year that perpetual singles and tinder kings and queens everywhere settle their ways for the winter months because drinking mulled wine alone just isn’t the same.

If, however, you are anything like me (don’t see any issue eating cheese and wine alone and a little bit too lazy for cuffing season itself) then I might have a solution so you can hang your heels up for the winter months. Here are the top five reads that are going to get me through to December 25th.

  1. The old favourite: Pride and Prejudice- Jane Austen

Pride-And-Prejudice-Book-Cover-Locket-Necklace-keyring-silver-Bronze-tone-B0964

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife” might be the greatest opening to a novel in the history of literature…I’m not bias. It doesn’t matter how many times I pick up Pride and Prejudice, Austin always leaves me with something new. I don’t know if it’s the fact that she wrote female leads so empowered and before their time or that Mr Darcy comes to life in those pages that keeps me coming back.

If you haven’t read it I am giving you permission, close your laptop, put your phone down and go and find a copy. You won’t regret it. Elizabeths sarcastic quips and her torn feelings towards the sexiest man ever written will get you through the dark winter evenings.

  1. The ‘Best Friend in the form of a novel: Hot Mess- Lucy Vine

51LOVW-ddiL._SY346_

Moving home was quite difficult for me initially. After spending four years living with and seeing some of my best gal pals every single day to only having group chats to sustain my vulgar sense of humour and ridiculous need for gossip Hot Mess came right when I needed it. Ellie Knight will become your hero. This book did what so many which have gone before it couldn’t, it made me feel better.

Whether it is tinder dates with grotesque men, tackling the fact that some of your friends are actually settling down or life just generally not going to plan, Lucy Vine leaves no stone unturned and creates a character so relatable you will inhale this novel. Since my parents don’t seem to appreciate my jokes about sex/ poo/ the general human anatomy at least I can still message my friends and then read about Ellie.

  1. The Thriller: The Dry- Jane Harper

I am not usually one for thrillers or books that could in any way scare me. Obvious endings annoy me and an elaborate plot at the expense of good writing just isn’t for me. I can happily say The Dry is none of these things. Initially recommended by my Dad, it unravels a mysterious triple homicide and a small town’s dark history.

I couldn’t put this book down for weeks. It is gripping and just complex enough to keep you hooked right until the end.

  1. The Thought Provoker: Of Women- Shami Chakrabarti OR Freakonomics- Steven D Levitt and Stephen J Dubner

Depending on what you’re after, both of these books are exceptional. I have already written extensively about Shami Chakrabarti and her new book but it has proved to be as good as eagerly anticipated. Unpacking issues faced by women across the globe she makes, what can sometimes be presented as very complex theory, easy to understand and digest. You can dip in and out of it or sit for hours and, if you’re anything like me get increasingly inspired to get off your ass and go and fight the patriarchy. In a time when attacks on women are getting so much media attention this is THE book to read.

I first picked up Freakonomics on a long haul flight after it was recommended my politics tutor. There was definitely some hype around it but, without sounding too cliché it literally blew my mind. Levitt and Dubner have the rare capability of making maths and economics understandable and engaging. I practically devoured the book in a matter of hours and ordered the next two (which are equally as good). They question everything and their theories are applicable to most things in life- from drug dealers, poverty, weird baby names and perfect parenting.

  1. The Christmas Novel: Little Women- Louisa May Alcott

downloadThe closer I get to December 1st the more I pine for candles, Christmas lights, festive films and Mariah Carey. Whilst I start the Christmas count down on October 13th (age is just a number) I am aware some people aren’t so jovial.

I love reading Little Women at this time of year to start getting me into the Christmas spirit. Granted this is not the happiest book in the world and it breaks me every time I get to the end but following the adventures of Meg, Beth, Amy and Jo really puts me in the mood for mince pies and snuggly blankets.

Ghosts of dates past…

It is Halloween and if all is right with the world, as this goes live I will be curled up on the sofa watching Hocus Pocus/ Harry Potter and eating the quality street that have been left for the trick or treaters. I am not mad, I wouldn’t answer the door to demanding masked youths any other night of the year. I would like to see Christmas.

In the spirit of all things spooky I thought I would talk about something that has truly haunted me (and most singles) for the last few years, ghosting.

If you don’t know what ghosting is (have you been living under a rock?) Urban Dictionary describes it as “The act of suddenly ceasing all communication with someone the subject is dating, but no longer wishes to date. This is done in hopes that the ghostee will just “get the hint” and leave the subject alone, as opposed to the subject simply telling them he/she is no longer interested.”

Ahh ghosting. I wouldn’t have such an issue with it if it wasn’t so terribly rude. In a day and age where you can reach anyone basically anywhere in the world there really is no need. If you can’t tell someone why you don’t want to date anymore, a) grow up and if you’re incapable of that, b) just lie. It doesn’t even matter if it is a terrible lie, it’s better than nothing.

For instance, I was dating a guy for a little while a few years ago who told perhaps the weakest lie to get out of seeing me. I can give you his number if you’re struggling although this doesn’t take much imagination (or a lot depending on how you look at it).

I thought everything was going smoothly (how wrong I was) until he ignored me for a weekend. It was valentine’s weekend so I figured he probably didn’t want to come across needy or too keen. I am fairly chilled out, I get it. Then after three more days of no contact he turned up at my flat saying we needed ‘to talk’. Looking all worried and down beaten I withheld any sarcastic comment I had been conjuring up all morning and invited him in. He sat down on the sofa, staring at the ground as if the answer to the meaning of life lay somewhere on my kitchen floor and shuffling about. I prepared for the usual ‘it’s not you it’s me’ spiel but it never came. He then preceded to inform me at great length that his grandma had ‘been stolen’ and he didn’t want me getting involved with court proceedings…Stolen…I offered the correction of ‘gone missing’ or kidnapped but he maintained that stolen was the correct description for the situation.

Stifling laughter, I patted him on the back sympathetically- his grandma had been stolen after all. I handed him back his onsie and showed him out before collapsing on the floor in a fit of giggles. This was a teacher, he is around children who lie every day and the best he could come up with was ‘my grandma has been stolen’. It was impossible to be upset.

I feel like there are two types of people in the world, the people who go to university, meet their SO in the first few weeks and are happily together to this day. Then there is the rest of us who get to meet delights like the fore mentioned gentleman. In possession of a long list of failed dates and hilarious stories. Because, despite what my history might suggest I don’t think you can ever have a bad date. Everything is funny a few days later.

Take the first guy I dated at uni as an example. Tinder got really big in my first year which was a blessing and a curse. I was one of five girls in my flat and evenings would be spent swiping left or right and thinking up the most ridiculous chat up lines.

Within the first few weeks I had met a boy (boy is the correct term) who I thought was really mature (he was 27) and had his shit together. In hindsight he was about five inches smaller than me, was in a dead end job,  had the same name as my ex-boyfriend (who I obviously still wasn’t over) and wore the skater trainers that most self-respecting adult stop wearing age 16. It was the first couple of months of uni so the girls who would soon become my best friends weren’t the savages that they would have been today but when they requested to meet him and I decided I wasn’t ready to introduce my man child to the people I live with it became clear it was time to part ways.

Then there was the accidental ‘love you’. I should preface this with it happens and I will set up a support group for those who have suffered at the hands of their own stupidity! After what had already been a bit of a difficult morning a guy I had been dating for a couple of months was leaving my house. I liked him, we had a lot in common and he was fun to hang out with. Things were on track but I will maintain to the death that what happened was down to pure tiredness and stupidity. As I stood in the doorway waving, slightly bleary eyed and unoptimistic about the day of lectures ahead, he turned back to say ‘see you later’. There are a lot of appropriate responses to this, all of which I know and use regularly. However that morning I decided the correct response was ‘yeah love you’… He froze, sort of blinking at me but not saying anything. I nearly vomited in my mouth. I murmured some sort of apology, closed the door and died on the floor.  It didn’t last much longer after that.

Enough to give anyone nightmares I would like to say this is the full expanse of my dating failures but it’s not even scratching the surface. Yet all of them are pretty hilarious to look back on (not at the time). Ghosting kills all this.

Yet come next Halloween ghosting might just be a fear of the past. Because now you can be ‘Benched’, ‘Breadcrumbed’, and ‘Zombied’. Whoever said romance is dead clearly didn’t know what was coming. Date at your own risk.

My Motivation

My brain likes to retain small, meaningless facts which usually only serve me well at pub quizzes (and usually I am three glasses of wine too far to be taken seriously at pub quizzes). However, I read that it takes 21 days to form a new habit. Three weeks, that isn’t very long.

I am now about a month and a half into the new work out thing that I have been trying. To be clear, a months and a half is about 45 days. And I am struggling! I am not getting up in the morning and bouncing all the way to the gym- my 21 days are up, what is this fresh hell?

So, obviously, instead of just biting the bullet and dragging my lazy, untoned ass to the gym I googled who first came up with the quote so I could refute it on twitter (call me petty, I have no regrets).

First coined in 1950’s by the surgeon Maxwell Maltz it has since been proven to be very inaccurate…So how long will it take for me to develop these new, gym bunny habits? When will I stop craving pizza crusts (yes really) straight after a work out?

It turns out, according to psychologist Phillippa Lally from UCL, I am looking at about 2 months or 66 days to be exact.

So whilst I battle through my next 21 days (oh the irony) I thought I would share what has kept me motivated up until this point.

Overall, the thing that keeps me going back to the gym is the clear outlook I seem to have when I leave. At a time when I spend most of my day refreshing my email inbox to either find nothing or job rejections it is nice to just have an hour, sweating it out.

Externally, music really helps me. It either motivates me to run faster or push harder and you can’t feel miserable when you’re listening to Ella Eyre’s voice- it is actually impossible. I get the same feeling I do when I am dancing in a club, only I’m sober and hyperventilating.

Competition is a really big thing for me when it comes to fitness, but not competition with other people. The little sense of accomplishment you get when you can lift 10kg more or get to the end of your abs work out without feeling faint is so real and makes it worth it.

I am a really visual person and I love watching what other girls are doing on Instagram or Youtube. It gives me that little kick up the butt when I don’t feel like getting up for the gym and keeps my own work outs interesting.

I am an all or nothing girl. When I am on a fitness hype I will work out six days a week and really watch what I eat and then the week after I will go twice and spend four nights out drinking wine. Balance is really important. It’s about not feeling bad for giving yourself a rest and allowing yourself to do things you love.

I am hoping the next 21 days will fly by and the next time you speak to me I’ll be a fully-fledged gym bod but until then this is what will be getting me through.

‘They’re’ wrong, you should meet your heroes!

I have wanted to be a lot of things in my life. I remember going over to a friend’s house, aged six with one of the massive tubs of haribos they used to sell at Asda which have since been discontinued due to the rise in child obesity (children ruin everything). We would sit for hours and hours and take it in turns being the teacher, asking questions and rewarding each other with fat handfuls of cola bottles and fizzy cherries.

Then as I got a little older I decided teaching wasn’t cool, so obviously not for me. Covering myself with tattoos and piercings and dying my hair blue with semi-permanent spray in hair dye, which literally breaks your hair, seemed like the way to go. I would become a designer and live in some sort of communal arrangement with lots of other creatives. This would have been a really nice idea, if only I was able to draw.

I think it is easy to feel like everyone knows what they want to do age 14- when your friends who will one day go on to be doctors and lawyers work out they need to start getting work experience now if they ever want to get into university. I was no different.

My parents have always had an impressive book collection in the back room of our house. Hundreds of books piled on top of each other- from Harry Potter to Hungary. I remember one day back in 2014, in a bid to procrastinate from exam papers I picked up ‘On Liberty’ by Shami Chakrabarti.22730263_10213461370956103_4600766566722319650_n

Never had I read my own views back to myself so succinctly. It was like she had climbed up into my head and was ordering my thoughts in a way that made sense. At the time I was half way through my Sociology BA with a passion for gender, race and queer inequality theories. I didn’t think there was a job that would allow me to talk and research these topics to my little hearts content.

I fell in love with the ideas in On Liberty and I still am to this day. So, when my dad asked if I fancied a Sunday afternoon at the Royal Exchange to hear Shami Chakrabarti talk about her new book it was a no brainer.

Speaking about everything from feminist economics, the BBC pay gap, Trump and Weinstein, austerity and the housing crisis, Chakrabarti and the speaker Rachel Holmes deconstructed her new book ‘Of Women’.22687527_10213461371276111_2548846078201734946_n

She made me laugh, at times I despaired a little bit (simply at the state of the world we live in- it happens about once a day) and I was completely heartened listening to her anecdotes and views.

I am lucky in that I generally surround myself with strong, outspoken, fierce women who I love very much but there is something to be said for watching a women who I so admire, share how she keeps on going; getting trolled on twitter to helping her little boy deal with sexist comments at school. I am at a point where I’m not really sure what I am doing and how to move forward at a time that feels completely messed up. It is good to be reminded that it is worth pushing forward because we have so much to fight for.

‘Of Women’ is out now and I know I will be devouring it ASAP! They say that you shouldn’t meet your heroes, but they’re wrong.

22780207_10213461370996104_8173007670801027473_n

October Evenings

Autumn evenings at home might be my favourite thing about September and October. I will spare you all the other reasons I love autumn- I wrote about that a few weeks ago.

It’s starting to get darker earlier. Evenings are longer which means it is acceptable to get into pj’s earlier and hide under a blanket on the sofa. Saying no to social plans gets a little easier as there is no evening sun glaring at you through your living room window as you inform Netflix that you are very much still present and wanting to watch your sixth episode of Riverdale.

There is really only one downside I can think of for autumn. In all its wonderfulness it is getting colder. Whilst this means cosy jumpers and nights in it also means I am about 100x more tempted to drink hot drinks. While I am sat writing this I have a cappuccino to hand.

Caffeine has been very closely linked to high anxiety levels, as sad as that makes me. This is very much the case for myself and whilst giving up coffee over summer was fairly easy, I can’t say no to the pull of a coffee shop on a crisp Friday afternoon. And decaff has no place in my life- if I wanted to drink muddy water I would just go outside and find a puddle.

This has meant that I have spent most nights since I finished university, a month ago, sat up, mind racing and feeling completely worried for no reason. It doesn’t help that any sort of routine I had as a student is now gone.

During one of my 4 am ‘oh my god is the house being robbed? Why is the silence so loud?’ panics I decided it was probably time to make a little bit of a change. There was no reason why someone who spends most of her day in front of a screen should be this tired. My concealer could no longer hide the bags.

When I get into bed I am rarely tired. Realistically my days aren’t too strenuous right now. Swapping out my evening routine of TV until twelve o’clock for an hour at the gym or even better, yoga has meant that all of the things that have pissed me off in the day get left on the running machine and I can go home feeling calm.

Once I get in from the gym all I want to do is get in a very long, cold shower. Having a skin care routine that you actually look forward to doing has made a massive difference to me both mentally and physically. Swapping out a face wipe for what can only be described as the most heavenly smelling face scrub in the world feels a bit indulgent (it absolutely isn’t) which is always nice. Treat yourself.

I used to scoff when my parents would tell me that I wasn’t sleeping because I was on my phone in bed, but annoyingly they have a point. Once I get into bed I am the worst for watching youtube/Netflix/iplayer. I get to 3am wondering why I can’t sleep when I have a little box of light (my phone) two feet away from my face. Hiding my phone from myself and picking up a girly, trashy novel means I end up falling asleep earlier but I’m not bored in the process. ‘Hot Mess’ by Lucy Vine or anything Bridget Jones usually sorts me out.

Lastly, I am really messy. My dad calls my room ‘the swamp’ if that gives you any indication. But I have found that, as much as I hate tidying my room, if my clothes are put away and my draws are sorted I sleep so much better. The hour of pain is worth the good night sleep and no one really likes sleeping under their clothes.

I am not saying my anxiety has completely gone away. I am still drinking maybe a little bit too much coffee and the thought of going to the gym at eight o’clock is sometimes a little bit too much but having more of a routine has definitely left me sleeping better and feeling calmer.

I hope you’re enjoying the long autumn evenings as much as I am.