Tag Archives: humour

Reasons To Be Cheerful #62: Moving House

15 Jan

Scream-Painting

A regular high achiever on top 10 lists of most stressful things to do, moving house does not have the best of reputations. I would like to redress the balance because in amongst the arguments, broken valuables and unreliable packing tape that are so readily associated with a change of residence, there are some silver linings. Whether it’s the man that comes with your van, or the sturdy (if bottomless) banana boxes kindly donated to you by your local cornershop, there are always some reasons to be cheerful. Here are mine:

1. Lost Treasure

When sifting through the material signs of your life, you will inevitably come across some forgotten, but intrinsically valuable possessions. Naturally, when I say ‘valuable’ I don’t mean it in the cold, hard monetary sense, but in the sense that is measured by smiles and rainbows. I’m talking about that ripped tshirt from that amazing night in second year and other ‘hilarious’ mementoes such as stolen hats, Christmas elf costumes and significant shoelaces. ‘Invaluable’ if you will..

ggg

Buried treasure

2. Packing

The organiser’s dream, packing is a chance for you to test your mettle in the world of practicality and sensibleness. Marker pens and sticky labels may be at the ready. You may ‘pre-pack’ by organising things into bundles before they even reach the boxes. Alternatively you may get drunk the night before moving and pack in a hungover haze of blurry vision and sentimentality expressed at items that were yesterday too trivial to be considered.

This is (not) me

This was (not) me

3. Shredding

A surprising entry perhaps, but in my most recent move I discovered the joys of paper-shredding. Two drawers full of unopened bank statements ignored for the past three years finally made it onto my must-do list (a step up from the to-do list). You might think that the publishing company I was interning at would be in possession of a shredder, but you would be woefully wrong. Fortunately a hand-operated shredder did make its way into my possession. Queue an hour’s worth of joyful manual labour in a pre-industry fashion that gave one the same simple pleasure as would knitting a pair of striped toe socks.

Shredding: the new yoga

Shredding: the new yoga

4. Bubble Wrap

Show me a person who does not appreciate the joys of bubblewrap and I’ll show you Donald Trump.

POP!

Living the dream

(REASONS TO BE PISSED OFF: The two pairs of never-opened goggles that were packed because ‘otherwise you might have to buy them again’)

Reasons To Be Cheerful #48: Mid-Week Drinking

29 Aug

slumped

As I write this post, slumped in my chair, I can’t help but wonder if it was all worth it just for the sake of my blog, but then of course I rally: my art is all. Dedication to the cause has seen me drinking white wine at the rate of a thirsty elephant. And on a Wednesday too. Unnecessary? Probably (definitely). But there are, as always, a few reasons to be cheerful…

1. Mornings Are Fun

Singing in the shower, laughing when you bump into the door and casually talking to yourself in the morning are all signs that you are in the pre-hangover stage of the hangover. AKA, you’re still a bit drunk. It might sound good, but it’s all downhill from here. And at the bottom of the hill lies work. Because it’s a Thursday.

Today will be a GREAT day

Today will be a GREAT day

2. Learning to Appreciate The Office Bathroom

Spending inordinate amounts of time in the loo when at work is normally the result of one of three things: excessive tiredness, excessive drinking or troubles of the heart. During times like these you can really learn to appreciate a decent, nice smelling toilet. It also helps you to let go of your long-standing annoyance at the broken lights in two of the four toilet cubicles. It’s easier in the dark.

Fantastic tiling

Fantastic tiling

3. An Excuse To Be Grumpy

As you struggle to muster up a non-threatening ‘Morning’ to your colleagues you don’t have to feel bad about not being the ray  of light that they would normally encounter. Moodiness as a result of hangover is fully accepted. You simply need to communicate the state of affairs to a couple of key people and you should be left to stew for the rest of the godforsaken day.

Oh fuck off!

Oh fuck off!

4. Learning Your Lesson

‘I’m never drinking again’ is something that I never say. I’m a realist. Not getting smashed on a Wednesday night again? Much more achievable. Lesson learned.

(REASONS TO BE PISSED OFF: The head/stomach pain and the burger consumed at midnight)

Was this ever really necessary?

Was this ever really necessary?

Reasons To Be Cheerful #44: Job Hunting

20 Aug

These are hard times and where ten years ago job hunting might have seemed a tiresome task, these days it’s more akin to waterboarding.

Monster.co.uk

Monster.co.uk

What with being told that it’s perfectly acceptable to engage in internships at the age of 35 and finding that even a basic job will likely include at least three recruitment stages, it can be hard to maintain a coolly imperturbable attitude towards the procedure. So this post is written with an eye to putting a more positive spin on the task at hand. Here goes nothing.

1. You Are Not Alone

When you get that email that says ‘We had over 5,000 applicants and unfortunately there were candidates that we felt more closely matched our requirements’ you can at least feel more reasonably rejected. After all, you’re probably not in possession of credentials superior to 4,999 other jobseekers.

That personal touch makes all the difference

That personal touch makes all the difference…

2. No News is Good News

You might open up your email everyday with fresh new hopes, but if that is your attitude, I would suggest you change it. For while all publicity is good publicity, no news is good news. React to each inbox filled with emptiness and/or spam, as a sign that you may yet get an interview for that dream job. You know, the one you applied for three months ago.

3. Improved Productivity

If there is one thing – beyond the achievement of actually getting a job – that job hunting is good for, it is an increase in getting stuff done. I am of course, referring to tasks like dusting the shelves, getting up to date on Breaking Bad and powering through Tolstoy’s War and Peace. All important tasks that, while not specifically job-related, are at least quite likely to enhance your employability.

One application = one episode?

One application = one episode?

4. Widened Horizons

You may never have considered that going into the jungle to work with the hill tribes was your calling before you read an article about it whilst googling ‘career change’. But now you have, it all seems so clear. Just sort things with your spouse, obtain the flight money, let your room/house/flat, have the necessary injections, plan a going-away party and do a bit of research; and you’re there. Easy.

This could be you

This could be you

(REASONS TO BE PISSED OFF: It turns out that watching Breaking Bad and applying for jobs are actually pretty incompatible)

Reasons To Be Cheerful #43: The Fashion Pack

8 Aug

cara alone

For every generation there’s at least one fash pack that rules the roost. At present, it just so happens to be that of gurning party girl Cara Delevingne. But Caz is not the first and nor will she be the last. She’s one member of an ongoing succession of Balenciaga-clad cliques that louche and lounge about in lives that eschew 9-5 dulldom for mild eating disorders and fabulous footwear. Not that I’m jealous or anything. Here’s a divvying up of types and a few reasons to be cheerful:

1. The Young + Hot Pack

When in Zoolander, Mugatu proclaimed ‘Hansel, so hot right now’ he knew what he was talking about. But Hansel is so 2001. 2013 is for Cara Delevigne, Georgia Jagger, Pixie Geldof, Rihanna, Olivia Palermo, Alexa Chung and co. Sorry, Rita Ora, you’re not on the list. The young, hot things are the 21st century equivalent of the 1920s bright, young things. Just without the literature. But, hey, what’s a girl to do? When life is one long party, there’s not much for it but to look good in a shorts suit and this lot have got it down pat.

Oh, and Suki Waterhouse. Obvs they're all VERY different

Oh, and Suki Waterhouse. Obvs they’re all VERY different

2. Old School Cool Pack

To growing old cocaine free??

To growing old cocaine free??

This one’s for the post-teen generation and it’s led by none other than La Moss -obviously. Apart from the fact that she looks better than 99% of the population in ballet flats and skinny jeans while sporting lank hair (admit it), she continues to march ahead of her younger imitators through sheer aloofness. You won’t catch Kate gurning it up in an online cooking show. Unlike Jourdan Dunn and CDV, Kate knows better than to pretend that she eats actual meals.

Other members include Sadie Frost, Pearl Lowe, Liberty Ross, Stella McCartney 

3. The Play It Safe Pack

Gwy goes for edge with a bit of side boob

Gwyn goes for edge with a bit of side boob

This one’s for your Gwynnies, Anistons Kate Winslets and Selena Gomezs/Gomezezes (?). Yes, you might always look lovely: preened, groomed, perfectly blow-dried and exhibiting a healthy glow that is probably part-bottle and part real sun; but you’re so….. safe. These ladies would never dream of branching out unless it’s a case of going a little too sheer in the pursuit of ‘edge’. You can expect repeats of the outfit that ‘works’ – the silhouette dress, the skinny jeans and silk top with nude stilettos, the delicately-placed and highly inoffensive necklace. It all just makes you want to vomit from boredom, doesn’t it?

4. The Avant Garde Pack

Yes Tilda!

Yes Tilda!

This pack’s a little smaller than the previous three. In fact, I can only think of three truly worth a mention, so I guess it’s a trio. There’s Lady Gaga – she wore a steak. Then there’s Nicki Minaj, who while essentially being a t+a* show (of which I don’t approve), is undeniably kooky, and in possession of more wigs than your average ethnic hair shop. And last, but certainly not least, is Tilda Swinton. She accomplishes the fait accompli of pulling off avant garde with her classiness intact: all androgyny and sexiness and sharp tailoring. She’s also never subjected us to duos with Chris Brown or naked selfies where she pretends not to be wearing make-up.

*c’maaaan, it’s tits and arse!

Naomi, all is forgiven (maybe not by your assistant doe)

Naomi, all is forgiven (although I can’t speak for your assistant)

(REASONS TO BE PISSED OFF: The 90s supermodels are no longer a unified pack)

 

Reasons To Be Cheerful #42: Beauty Trends

6 Aug

When it comes to make-up I normally take a laissez-faire/can’t be fucked approach which involves blindly applying bronzer until I can actually feel the healthy glow. This has not stopped me from lusting after more high maintenance girls’ flawless looks, it’s just that I can’t quite see my purse stretching to £30+ for a decent brand of foundation. Just think of the pub losses. The point is, today I was informed that the dewy skin favoured by the Made in Chelsea crew has been replaced by matte (you know, like Boots photos) and it was this crushing blow that got me to pondering the nature of trends in beauty.

1. There’s Something For Everyone

Not all of us possess the requisite skills or base (face) for this season’s contoured cheekbones and neon pink eyeliner, but if you’re talking bushy eyebrows or going ‘au naturel’, well then, a few of us might be in with a chance. Slight problems though: 1. not everyone’s bushy brows look like Queen Cara Delevingne’s – many are more redolent of Sandy Cohen’s from the OC (I know it’s an old reference, but it works). And 2. au naturel does not indeed do what it says on the tin. But we’ll come to that in the next point.

On second viewing, Sandy's brows are actually pretty good.

On second viewing, Sandy’s brows are actually pretty good. I’ll take back the last part.

2. The Au Natch Look

Going barefaced, possessing a fresh look, having ‘just got out of bed hair’, being ‘au naturel’; all the above are just ways of saying use make-up to make it look like you don’t have any make-up on. Personally, I’m all for this look. Everyone thinks you are a glowing natural beauty, when in fact you are just an adept applier of touche eclat. Unfortunately, I do not own a touche eclat. And I’m not sure how au naturel I look when the bronzer hastily applied at 8am turns into weird blocks of bronze that occupy random parts of my face at 8pm. Still, the potential is there.

Faux naturel

Faux naturel.

3. The Repeat Effect

As with fashion and Eastenders storylines, everything comes BACK AROUND. If you were a pessimist you could see this as a sad lack of originality or a cynical ploy to keep revenues high by only introducing tried-and-tested methods – you know, like how they keep bringing out remakes and prequels of superhero films. I choose to see the good. It means time to PRACTICE. Maybe you didn’t quite get nude lips last time, your hair was all wrong. Or you didn’t hit up metallic nails ’til it was sooo last season. Well, this season you can try again. You can get it right.

4. The Sky’s The Limit

Beauty sections in Glamour and Cosmopolitan never tell you how to not look like you’ve had two hours’ sleep or to make your hair just about passable for work, or how to create a look where your eyes have almost equal amounts of eyeliner on them. They aim high. It’s all about FLAWLESS looks, and doing the PERFECT this and that. Basically, it’s empowerment. Through beauty.

Photoshop not included

Photoshop not included

(REASONS TO BE PISSED OFF: Red lips are STILL being passed off as a seasonal trend. I mean really)

 

 

 

Reasons To Be Cheerful #39: The Great British Takeaway

25 Jul

Before the spurt in culinary activity initiated by Jamie Oliver and co., Britain was seen as a nation that was almost without a mainstream food culture. I say ‘almost’ because the ever-present exception has to be the takeaway. Granted, most of the nation’s favourites – including those loved by skinheads – are confirmedly foreign, but as with Kylie Minogue, we have adopted them and made them our own. Reasons to be cheerful then…

Rice, spice and all things nice

Rice, spice and all things nice

1. Variety

is the spice of life, yes, but what of those of milder tongue? Well, not to worry because as well as the leader of the bunch (Indian, obvs) there are fish and chips, Chinese, pizza and Turkish; and that’s just the start. To live in a country where on a mere whim, you can opt between at least five types of international takeaway; well, that’s when you realise that maybe Iraq and Afghanistan weren’t such big mistakes. It’s when you feel good to live in a democracy.

2. Meal Flexibility

If you’ve never woken up with half a pizza, the best part of a saag aloo or even just naan bread and a bit of dipping masala in your fridge, then you’re either a liar or really really fat. The great news is, these leftovers are ideal breakfast or lunch fare (depending on what time you get up). Yes, you might feel a bit of self loathing as you wolf down last night’s pizza with congealed bits of pineapple flaking all over the place, but be honest. You bladdy loved it.

Brekkie

Brekkie

3. Community Links

If, like me, you have a favourite local curry house/chippie/whatever, then you will know what it is to be part of the local community. You may never have seen your neighbours, or you might be avoiding them because they have a brood of offensive children, but you do know Paz who takes your orders at the local Indian. You might even have a special relationship because of that time you called Paz every 10 minutes after an hour’s waiting to enquire on the progress of your delivery; and then when it finally arrived he let you pay just a fiver for £20’s worth of food because he’s a bit scared of hysterical, hungry women. A friend to for life.

4. Widening Horizons

Who says you have to own a Le Creuset set to be an experimental eater? Down at the kebab shop you can choose between around 30-50 options on any given night. Whether its doner kebab or shish kebab; chapati or Peshwari naan; thin crust or thick crust. THE WORLD IS YOUR OYSTER. TO EAT.

Forget Ottolenghis

A la carte. Right here

(REASONS TO BE PISSED OFF: Delhi belly)

Reasons To Be Cheerful #37: Summer Fashion Types

18 Jul

main

Causing much consternation for Australians that came here to escape the sun (and culture void), the long-awaited heatwave is making many a ripple across the fabric of the country. As always, fashion is at the forefront of all cultural and social change and it is up and down the nation’s urban catwalks (read: route to your office) that we begin to see the changes take place. Feet are out, moods are lighter and people are daring to bare; or not, as the case may be. Here are my reasons to be cheerful:

1. The All-Outs

Undoubtedly my personal favourite, the all-outs weigh in heavily on the side of dare to bare. These are the people that are actually in possession of the magazine mythical summer wardrobe. I’m talking about the colleague that spent the last eight months in a variation on low ponytail/peplum dress/ killer heels, who now swans in with summery Beyonce hair extensions, sheer, floaty dresses and jewelled sandals. You know, the one that opts for a ‘demure’ maxi with a thigh high slit and keeps her sunnies on until she hits her desk. This is your All-Out summer fashion type.

Casual Tuesday

Casual Tuesday

2. The DGAFs (Don’t give a fucks)

The polar opposite of the all-out, your standard DGAF doesn’t necessarily dislike the hot weather, he’s just indifferent to it and absolutely not willing to adapt. DGAF eschews ventilated footwear for heavy boots and thinks nothing of wearing head-to-toe black in the searing heat. Don’t be surprised to see a DGAF casually eating a hot and spicy dansak in the full glare of the sun.

Cool as a hot cucumber

Cool as a hot cucumber

3. The Reluctants

Your average reluctant is the kind of person that likes to be able to wear the same outfit fairly regularly. So, when there’s a dramatic temperature change, this type is stumped. What do you do? You’ll see the reluctant uncomfortably carrying on in winter clothes for a good couple of weeks before they accept that their wear is inappropriate. The reaction, when it happens, will inevitably be exceedingly practical and exceedingly ugly. For men, expect vests in primary colours and over-the-knee khaki shorts. For women, lightwear floral dresses that would probably flatter someone either 15 years older or 15 years ago.

Just no.

Just no.

4. The Unfortunates

These are the lepers of this post – the people that, because of work, are forced to wear highly impractical clothing and tightly-fastened ties; whose sweat glands are too responsive for even a pretence at being cool. So next time you have to stand under one of these people’s armpits on a bus or train, put yourself in their shoes. Then move away as quickly as possible.

This guy. On a train near you coming soon

This guy. Getting on a train near you soon.

(REASONS TO BE PISSED OFF: It’s hard to be compassionate when someone else’s sweat is dripping on you on the Northern Line)

Living the dream

Living the dream

Reasons To Be Cheerful #44: The End of Hols

9 Jul

back to school

God it feels great to come back from holiday. The sun on your skin, the fresh air on your face, the cool breeze at your back… Oh wait, no, that’s going on holiday. Well, whatever, haters can hate, but I’m adamant that there are reasons to be cheerful for stepping off the plane Brit-side and here they are:

1. Catching Up on Real Life

A break from home generally means a break from the excitement of day-to-day life, so good as it is to get away, it’s also nice to come back. The fabulous gossip that you’ve missed (yet another person is escaping your dreaded workplace), the emails (productivity targets) and the internet that has failed to miraculously fix itself. Welcome home.

2. Sharing Your Holiday Good Times

It’s nice, after you’ve been on holiday, being asked by friends and colleagues about the great time you’ve had. It’s also fantastic that they don’t mind hearing about your best night (Tuesday) three weeks after your return. Or how much you wish you miss the really great, new friends you made whilst away.

Holiday friends

Holiday friends

Home friends

Home friends

 

3. Getting Tan Recognition

‘Been away? Anywhere nice?’ That phrase plus the standard once-over tells you all you need to know in the tan stakes. It’s there and it’s noticeable. People are asking if you’ve been away because they’ve seen, appreciated and (hopefully) envied your golden brown skin. For some reason, however, swathes of the population are scared to comment on the tans of already-brown people. Real example: ‘Have you got a tan? Is that bad? Am I now a racist?’. No you are not a racist, and yes, I do want tan recognition.

The timeless 'tan or black' question

The timeless ‘tan or black?’ question

4. Looking Forward To Your Next Holiday

It’s always important to have something to look forward to, and with the end of one summer holiday, you can start looking forward to another. Just 12 months away.

(REASONS TO BE PISSED OFF: Lack of tan recognition)

Reasons To Be Cheerful #42: Being an Annoying Person That Went to Glastonbury

3 Jul

main

Festival haters and Radio One (who I’m pretty sure are bang on it) are trying unsuccessfully to make #giveitarestival trend. Well, I’m with the smug crew and I don’t care. A disclaimer right now: this post may be unbearably self-satisfied for those of you who wish people like me would giveitarestival. But all you need to do is get yourself a ticket and join the club for 2014. Here are a cherry-picked selection of reasons to be cheerful:

1. Facebook Nostalgia

After the initial misery of having returned to real life subsides, you can once again make room in your heart for that bit of welly-shaped festival cheer. This is thanks, by and large, to the proliferation of photos turning up on facebook to remind you of the good times. Remember that fish fritter joke? Lols for days. For you and your friends anyway. Not for everyone else. Everyone else hates you.

2. The Pretence That You Could Live Like a Hippy Forever

For a little while, even the most ardent of city folk slumming it at Glastonbury awaken to the dawning realisation that they have truly chosen the wrong path. After all, with the right yurt, a good solar shower and a relaxed attitude towards things like washing your hair, there’s no reason that you couldn’t live in teepee village forever.

3. You Can Complain About Everything

Of course it’s natural to complain about things like work. Only weird people and liars actually like their jobs. But, usually – in polite society at least – complaining about stuff like other people’s birthday parties and Wimbledon is seen as a little rude. However, in the week following Glasto, it is to be fully accepted that everything – short of being invited to spend time on a luxury yacht with Elton John – is a bit shit.

4. The Realisation That You Couldn’t Live Like a Hippy Forever

Gad, it’s great when you start to remember how good it is to be clean and how shit you feel after two hours of sleep waking up in a hot tent. This is the point when real life becomes bearable again and you stop being quite so annoying.

(REASONS TO BE PISSED OFF: A. whole. nother. year.)

Reasons To Be Cheerful #41: Working Nine to Five

19 Jun
Standard day at the office

Standard day at the office

Working nine to five – what a way to make a living. Don’t worry, I’ll stop it there (who can blame me for trying?). But seriously, the upbeat tone of this song is just about pitch perfect. What other kind of lifestyle can offer you security, friendship and simmering bitterness played out in passive aggressive emails? There’s really nowhere like the white collar workplace. Here are my reasons to be cheerful:

1. The Routine

Woohoo, it's Monday..

Woohoo, it’s Monday..

Who doesn’t love waking up to the sound of their alarm at around 7am every morning? I know that when I wake up, the first feeling is one of excitement for the day ahead. Routine gives me guaranteed weekends off, an easy life and monotony. Swings and roundabouts as they say; or maybe phones and emails is more appropriate?

2. Perks of the Job

Whenever people find out what my job is, they invariably ask ‘oh so you get loads of free stuff then?’. A resounding no, is the answer to that question. But, what they don’t ask about are the five paid (yes, paid) sick days I get per annum, the free tea and coffee – recently reinstated after a year-long moratorium – and… no, that’s it.

3. The People

Always a couple of characters

Always a couple of characters

It’s the people that make a party and nowhere is this truer than in the workplace, where you spend approximately 99.9% of your adult life (statistic based on anecdotal data). Friends for life can be made here and ‘characters’ are guaranteed. See a previous post of mine for an account of such characters. 

4. The Office Buzz

Meeting to reach out

Meeting to reach out

If like me, you’re a young and creative media type, you’ll be familiar with the bright colours and youthful jargon and ‘flat hierarchies’ and meetings on beanbags and just all-round FUN of the office. That’s not to mention the plastic cutlery, bad email jokes and hum of dynamic energy that floats on the office airwaves.

(REASONS TO BE PISSED OFF: It’s not cynicism, it’s real life).