The Catcall Chronicles

Writing

**Disclaimer  – no man, woman or dog was hurt in the making of these chronicles, this is aimed to be lighthearted and is not intending to stick the knife in further to the topics of rejection or gender roles in relationships in any way. If you are of a sensitive nature then I suggest you turn away now. And never read my blog again.

 

If you’re still reading this then I appreciate that you have identified yourself on the side of (in)sanity. And with this, let’s begin:

 

 

We are all served our fair share of unannounced and unwelcomed wacko encounters, right? Whether you are in the shops getting bread, or bending down to tie your shoelace, sooner or later you’ll find the local clown leeching onto your waist all whilst  whispering sweet nothings into your ear canal.

 

If this is a rare occurrence for you, then let me tell you I am jealous, for my daily interactions with particular members of the general public would make  even the most paranoid and parodied narratives of life look lack-lustre, let me tell you. 

 

This time, let me introduce you to just one of my many types of unsavory encounters – ‘The Cat Calls’

 

Can I just start by saying –  don’t tell me to be flattered by the offensive and obtrusive interjection of a sweaty handshake or gummy grin from a bozo pursuitor. There’s utterly nothing about banal meet and greets that get me all ‘hot and bothered’ I can assure you of that. 

 

 

So with that being said, let’s say hello to the men of my monotonous walks home from work:

 

Mr. Comedy Club – This guy made my dad look like a schoolboy, let’s just say that I never 

knew geriatrics had such taste for juveniles. 

 

Mr. Russia –  ‘We will meet this weekend. You will shag me  for dessert. Simple.’

 

Mr. Burrito – A burrito in exchange for a list of STD’s a prostitute would be proud of sounds like a fair deal, right?

 

The Copiously Copulating Co-workers – Let me serve this food real quick, and then I’ll be right back to grope you, cool?

 

Mr. Stalker – ‘It doesn’t matter if you have a boyfriend, just send me some nudes’ the stranger expels in exasperation after unnanouncingly  chasing me down the street like the predator he was. 

 

You will have plenty of time to get acquainted with each of my Mr. Wrongs, but first it’s time for Mr. Comedy Club to step up to the mic:

 

Mr Comedy Club

 

This guy made my dad look like a schoolboy, let’s just say that I never 

knew geriatrics had such good taste in juveniles and such bad taste in jokes.

 

 I don’t know what was more jarring, the outreach of sweaty hand that looked like it had spent a lifetime on his genitals doing allsorts. Or the lick of his sweaty lip as if he was about to take a chomp out of mine. Both actions, as equally unsettling as he approached me on that busy evening on the Strand, London. 

 

At first I thought he was asking for directions, and naively, 23 year old me failed to abide by the ‘stranger danger code’. Instead I  proceeded to indulge in shaking his nut-scratching hand that little too long, as he interjected my evening jaunt back to my cesspit for a night of netflix and not much else. 

 

“Hi, I’m Paul…nice to meet you, and you are….?

 

To which I obliged and answered startlingly, giving him every detail under the sun.  My full legal title, the 4-digit pin to my debit card, even the code to the safe. But before I could tell him where I was hiding the dead body he rudely interrupted to chuckle goofily and ask me if I ‘lived around here’? 

 

Fuck sake, if I lived around here, doing the maths, I would need to be doing the ‘spread eagle’ for atleast 40 sugardaddies on a daily basis. This was ‘the Strand’, not ‘Old Kent Road’. He really was as dumb as he looked, I thought internally, as I prised a wry grin from my pursed lips. 

“No, no, not far though”, I seethed through gritted teeth, in desperation that this babbling baboon who was bamboozling me would get the memo and leave me the f*ck alone. 

 

I may have given him the code to the safe, but he wasn’t getting the address to the house. Serial killers lurk amongst us, afterall. 

An awkward pause followed my icy blunt response.  Time had legitimately stopped, his beady perverted eyes twinkled as he keenly waited for me to finish my cold reply with an address of where he ultimately thought he could make love to me from dusk till dawn before hiding my wispy body in a ‘hand-luggage sized suitcase’. 

 

A ground-trembling ‘beep’ of a road-raged taxi driver’s horn from the nearby road hastily brought me and Mr Comedy club’s little love affair tumbling back to reality. No sooner had I tried to step away inconspicuously from this car-crash of a conversation  than was this geriatric proceeding  to ask me if I had any ‘hobbies in the vicinity’. The choice of wording made it feel more like an interrogation than a flirtatious fondling of phrases. 

 

I almost threw up in my mouth, but managed to keep it down as the words ‘I like comedy clubs’ spewed out in substitution. A mistake which still haunts me to this day, 2 whole years, 10 months, 28 weeks, 10 days, 23 hours, 3 seconds and 1 millisecond later (now 2 milliseconds). 

 

With the uttering of these four words from my mouth, came a stark change in this man’s behaviour, like a shark smelling blood he latched on with no mercy. In a flustered frenzy he forced up every sound somewhat synonymous to that of ‘comedy club’, and how he ‘coincidentally’ loves every single one that  I go to here in London. Go figure!

 

As he went off on his spiel about all things unfunny, I had somewhat of an outer body experience. I pictured myself flying to the moon and back on the tusk of a baby narwhal, I pondered over whether to have fajitas or fishcakes for tea. I calculated exactly how many minutes of my life I had so far lost to his gibberish gabbling before ultimately, momentarily ofcourse, expelling my soul from my body via passing-wind (everyone’s favourite method). And indulging in a quick soul-flying whizz around The National Portrait Gallery. Before checking back in with my poor self who was now standing motionless as Mr Comedy Club was passing his phone towards me for my number, a surefire way to sign my soul away to a life of pure misery and doom as his 3rd wife-to-be. Thank God I zoomed round the gallery at lightning speed, for as I came back to life I swatted his phone away like the dirty bottle-green fly it truly was. But let’s be clear, this is no fly around shite, this is a perverted paedophile droning on and on in my face about wanting to take me out to a comedy club and then have some real fun afterwards. 

 

One was not amused at this proposal. And finally, as a true woman, who can multi-task, I coupled the batting of his phone with a ‘no’ head shake any nodding Bulldog on a dashboard of a Mini-Cooper sport passing over speed ramps would be proud of. 

 

My pupils now dilated in rage, nostrils flared from smelling his bullshit for one minute too long. He got the memo. His nut-scratching hand proceeded to place his mucky mobile phone back into his very shallow back pocket as his tail tucked coincidingly inbetween his legs.

 

 I had just rejected him. 

 

And in the process gained a new lesson for myself.

 

Don’t talk to strangers. 

 

Numbness now awkwardly introduced itself, filling the void of silence that now enveloped both him and I. My irritation dissipated from my body like waves drifting out to shore, only to be replaced with an overwhelming feeling of guilt.  

 

As he beckoned away from me guising a facial expression signalling simply regret with an edge of sadness, I too had felt sorry for my actions. 

 

Nobody had the last laugh here.

 

**Next time I get sent some love from Russia. 

Being Called A C*nt By A Stranger

Writing

It’s not everyday that you can indulge in the luxury of having off-the-cuff profanities spat at you on a public street whilst on your daily commute home from work.

So given that exactly this unfolded this very evening makes me really want to count my lucky stars and thank God for all of the socially defunct individuals who scuttle through our streets, waiting to pounce unannounced on the unprepared passerby a.k.a. moi.

No matter who you are or where you are, rest assured, an ill-mannered, pale and stale son of a b*tch will force their way into your life if only for a moment to p*ss on your parade. What kind of world do we live in where you can’t even walk down a residential street without being told you’re a c*nt by a stranger? Cat calls are bad enough but to say something so vulgar such as the C-word is a total disrespect and disregard for me as a human being.

If the world p*sses you off, don’t take it out on me. Mental-illness gets a bypass, but if you are not mentally-ill and instead you are someone who quite bluntly gets a kick out of straight-up verbally insulting someone you know nothing about then  you’re someone we should feel sorry for. For your life must be in a seriously dire state for you to be so cruel.

As the hooded man in his late-thirties stared into my soul while simultaneously slating it as he spewed the expletive with such conviction, I felt a tremor of shock ripple through my body. I turned my head to ensure he wasn’t going to step up his verbal assault with a physical one.

I stopped momentarily, struck by confusion as to why someone who doesn’t know me felt so compelled to say such a thing. As I watched him fade into the darkness of the Winter evening, my thoughts of confusion followed and faded alongside him too. In exchange came one clear intrinsic thought – ‘why be an enemy to yourself when you have plenty of enemies in this world’, not to say that every stranger I encounter is an enemy but moreso it’s this idea that we are all so hard on ourselves. We can be our own worst enemies, we look at self-love as something which is either mushy or big-headed. But those who see it in these lights fail to understand the true meaning of love. Perhaps love means different things to different people, to me it is an unconditional kindness and care for someone/something. Absent of harm, and full of compassion. It’s funny how we can apply all of these to another human being yet can struggle so much to apply them to ourselves. I am notoriously hard on myself, and I’m sure there has been times in your life where you have been so too. When you reflect on the ‘stick over carrot’ model this, do you think it has led to better or worse outcomes? Better or worse moods?

Perhaps I really should be thankful for the stranger who called me the c-word. For he made me realise that self-love is more important than I may have believed previously. I’m not saying that we need to put our guards up to strangers and repeat affirmation after affirmation to ourselves in the bathroom mirror before blowing ourselves a big kiss each morning. But I do believe if we were to even pause for a moment each day and reflect on how we are feeling, how well we are looking after ourselves then really all of us would be in a better place. Maybe even the man who swore at me today, he needs some self-reflection! Some self-care.

I hope you aren’t too hard on yourself, and if you are then don’t be! Because someone may just call you a c*nt for being so!

 

neon signage

Photo by Ivan Bertolazzi on Pexels.com

The Gym – Satan’s Second Home

Writing

Not much of the athletic type, the only way you’ll get me running is in the opposite direction from you if you start going into a long-winded spiel about the weather or how you’re deeply madly in love with your cousin twice removed for that matter.

With that being said, I think my wispy body has been in desperate need of a bit of toning up, my mind continuously screaming out for a hit of dopamine, the kind only garnered after you’ve expelled every drop of blood, sweat and tears out of every orifice in thine very body. In other words – exercised.

With the intrinsic pep talk echoing in my ear one evening after I found myself binging my way into a diabetic coma, I decided to finally muster up the courage to face the embarrassment and shame of my noodle arms shaking under the tremendous pressure of a 5 lb dumbbell, (heaven forbid I tried deadlifts). I remember that first night as if it was yesterday (really it was a week ago but who’s counting), entering the gym felt more like entering an amphitheatre full of lions. Men built like bison, muscles bulging through their over-washed teeny weeny v-neck vest tops. I couldn’t place a bet on which would be first to rip, their crop tops or the vein in their thick thick necks from the gargantuan amount of strain which could have only surmounted in weight to easily 102.5 of my very self. A double take at that weight-lifting carry on was enough to have me retreat as any gym newbie does, by scuttling to the corner of the gym and onto a treadmill. From which I’m reaching for the oxygen tank like a chain smoker on death’s door, after all of 10 mins on the thing. I’ve gotten better though in my 5 days of attendance so far. I no longer use the treadmill, I attend the classes, which is the best solution if you’re like me and don’t have a clue how to use any of the gym equipment and don’t feel like losing a limb in the process of trying to use a weight machine only to find out it has a second calling as a modern day guillotine. If you don’t believe me watch the move – Final Destination 3, I’ll say no more on that front.

So far I’ve done yoga, and a spin class, which tallying it up now sounds pretty lame, but considering the most exercise I ever did prior to a week ago was holding the door open for a tailgater in my apartment block, then I’m doing quite well, don’t you think?

Next up is barre and Afrobeats, the dancer truly truly lost within me will be be buzzing for these. I better bring my sweatbands. Wish me luck………….

The Wacky Walking Race

Writing

Have you ever had a silent race on a footpath with a stranger? Where you both take it turns  to overtake one another. Steadily and surely picking up the pace in a desperate attempt to outmaneuver your opponent.

I’ve had this too, but what I haven’t had is an argument with an old lady who is desperately trying to outrun me on a  residential road on my walk home from work. Well, atleast that was the case until yesterday.

Yesterday evening it was dark, 5.30pm was fast approaching and my legs were making a speedy getaway from the workplace. On my usual route home I walk through quite a nice middle-class neighbourhood which, to my finding, can act as a quite the backdrop to some not so nice characters. As I trot down this residential road, as I do every other day, I try to overtake  a fellow commuter – a short elderly woman, who was walking at a slow pace and had a grocery bag full of red wine.  This was a maneuver I should have never attempted, no sooner am I inches ahead of her than can I see out of the corner of my eye her grey haired head bobbing straight passed me as she jogs with vigor to get ahead of me. I found this peculiar but thought nothing of it and so attempted to get passed granny once again. Yet this time, before I even had the chance to get parallel to her, she spins her head round like The Exorcist to glare at me before 1, 2 3, going at full throttle running the street to get away from me.

In shock at her antics I held back out of fear that had I somehow managed to outpace the geriatric then she’d have taken it upon herself to do me in in such classy style with a bottle of red wine to the back of the skull. And with that image quickly flashing into my head I decided to detour up a side road to avoid that rather inconvenient yet very probably possibility. And in doing so, the old doll, now an ant-like size in the distance, shouts back –  ‘good riddance, piss off’!

Now, bearing in mind I don’t know this woman from Adam or Eve, I have not bumped off her first born, taken the last red wine bottle in the supermarket or told her she’s a coffin dodger, so what is her problem? Can I not walk own the street without being hurled abuse at?

But I guess this is nothing compared to getting your hair spray painted red by an absolute stranger as you wait for bus no.24 at your local bus stop. Later do you come to realise through the city news rags that your newfound hairdresser is actually an escapee of a local London asylum. But I guess that’s a story for another time…..;)

Are You Poorer Than Me?

Writing

I’m so sick of being poor. Yes I may have a roof over my head and food in my fridge but when you can’t decorate your rooms or make meals beyond tins of soup and sweetcorn then what’s the point? I might aswell be living in The Amazon, atleast then I’ll avoid the council tax and eyewateringly long queues at the supermarket checkout. 

 

Yes I may be whinging about a first world problem but I believe this is a key reason for my upheaval in the first place. If I did infact live in a tribe in a forest then I wouldn’t know what I’m missing necessarily. How can I miss the sight of some dope dealer sporting the latest balenciaga’s, or the gluttonous geezer buying the ‘extra special’ range in Sainsbury’s when I wouldn’t have the foggiest what either two of these concepts were? You can’t miss what you’ve never witnessed I guess. I would be comfortable and content with my relationships and my tribal lifestyle. 

 

Perhaps that’s just it, in the society I live in, less emphasis is placed on the value of social relationships, instead these are sidelined for the stars of this farcical pantomime I call life – materialism and capitalism. The terrible twins. They are the children you grimace at and purposely attempt to swap at birth, only to find them crawling and clambering their way into your back pocket as you exit the hospital. 

 

My experience living in London has made me reevaluate my perspectives on numerous things, none moreso that the value I myself place on money. Putting it short and sweetly, I now understand why some people may force themselves to do things others may deem shameful. For example, we can all hold our heads high, point our noses in the air, as we scoff at the single mum shaking what God (or her surgeon)  gave her in a strip club. But you put yourself in her 6 inch stilettos for merely a second and maybe then you would begin to empathise and understand that she may have a young mouth to feed on her own. Why? Because the dad walked out as soon as he found out she was pregnant. And let’s face it city ‘living wages’ need to be rephrased as city ‘suffocating wages’. Unless you are in the finance sector or as old as time itself then I’m afraid for the rest of us, youth and inexperience comes as a pretty big financial burden. 

 

I ask myself – why did I move to this city? A question which is becoming worryingly frequent. I’m from a small town in the middle of Northern Ireland, the rent I pay in London could have me living in two places twice the size back in a rural setting, so why am I here? 

 

The old line of ‘there’s loads more opportunities’ is becoming undone, fraying and feeling further from reality. Yes, there may technically be more ‘opportunities’ but let’s face it, no one’s going to throw me a wad of £50’s to take up the opportunity to soak up a West End show, or meetings with top CEOs. Unless ofcourse I turn to sugarbabying, which is a completely different can of worms I wish not open in this moment. 

 

Today, I’m feeling sorry for myself, but I’m sure I’m not the only one who wards away threatening voices in their mind’s eye, tempting them to smash open their piggy bank into a million little pieces, only to find not much more than a hundred little pennies in the remnants of Mr piggy’s once round stomach. Financial hardship makes itself known to all of us at some stage in our lives, I have no doubt, but I say it has outstayed its welcome. So my question now is, how do I kick them out?

Rid them from my minimalist overpriced matchbox flat, where the walls lay bare out of fear that I may maim it’s clinical appearance with so much as a smudge of a marker, or stain from a sticker. Landlords in cities like London make Sherlock Holmes look like a babbling unobservant buffoon when it comes to hunting down the most miniscule of marks on a tenants leaving day, wouldn’t you agree?

 

And with this thought lingering I wonder whether I should indeed make myself scarce of it’s confinements, escaping the financial restrictions once and for all and bid this city goodbye. 

She Threatened To Smash My Face In

Writing

Who walks into a shop to buy some Christmas baubles for their tree and instead has ‘you’re a f*cking b*tch’ screamed into their face as ‘Jingle Bell’s’ plays in the distant background? Only yours truly ofcourse!

Nothing reminds me more of the season of giving than being on the receiving end of the odd curse word, tirade of insults and that all too familiar tsunami of spit. It’s never a dull moment if you’re me in the shops I can assure you of that.

Let’s rewind for a moment, it’s Friday, everyone loves a Friday (unless of course you work weekends, then it sucks to be you). And what better way to kick off the start of the weekend, and the start of your Christmas shopping, than with a wander around overpriced shops? Doing exactly this, last Friday afternoon was rather boring, yet in doing so, I was content within my mundane little bubble until it was abruptly popped by an aggressive ram to the back of my Achilles heels by a stranger’s pram. The force so strong it made the Trojan Horse look like ‘My Little Pony’. I ignore this ‘accident’ from a fellow shopper, perhaps they had a spasm, slipped on a banana peel, had a moment of utter delusionment and unknowingly forgot their manners. And thus, giving them the benefit of the doubt, I continue to rummage through the tat on the shop floor.

No sooner had the pain dissipated from my heels than had it returned again, like an unwanted smell wafting, which you somehow find yourself consistently down wind of. This time I grit my teeth, crumple a pasty paper mache angel decoration in my palm to a pulp and turn to the perpetrator of this unforgivable act.

I thought pigs couldn’t push prams? I say internally as I give the doting new mother a look like she’s just killed my family pet. No amount of make up disguises an ugly personality, with her overlined lips she seethed through gritted teeth for me to ‘not bother giving her dirty looks as she said ”sorry”. To which I blankly stated ‘I wouldn’t, if your pram push wasn’t intentional’. And to this she erupted like a flantulent St Helens. Hotheaded and rough af, she proceeded to storm around the shop like a bull in a china shop spitting verbal abuse at me from left, right and centre. ‘F*cking b*tch this, f*cking b*tch that’, I wish I’d brought my swear jar for this lovely lady.

Before I’d even had a chance to register what was even being said to me, I watched in shock as other shoppers stood from a distance with both caution and concern at the behavior of this show up. I look around me, I too am in shock at this individual’s escalation from 0 to 100, afterall she was the one who rammed me. Eager to diffuse the situation, my attention turned to try and find the shop assistant before matters truly got out of hand. I spotted the manager but on first glance thought she was a mannequin thanks to her lack of expression, concern or action for what was unfolding before her vacant eyes. I pleaded for her to call security as I truly feared for my safety as the headless chicken of a mother hen rampaged through the store, a hurricane chicaning, refusing to relent. The shop manager,  to my utter astonishment, proceeded to flat out tell me that I was making the situation worse. ‘How could a mother with a pram do you any harm? I’m not calling security’. Was her phrasing. I’m sorry but just because you’ve a pram doesn’t making you bloody Mother Theresa. You can’t judge books by their covers. With this I was truly deflated, my safety means nothing to nobody. Had this aggressive individual spoke to the manager or one of her colleagues how I was spoken to, getting up into my face at a point,  I’d like to hope she would’ve had the respect and decency to call security in that instance. But for me, just a ‘shopper’ I’m somehow the problem?

‘Well Merry Christmas to you ya filthy animal! Your shop sells cheap tat anyway!’ I should’ve said, yet with an overwhelming feeling of disappointment and sadness at the event which had just unfolded I left the shop several minutes after my aggressor stormed out at the sound yet unfortunately not the appearance of ‘security’ at my request.

Sitting on a nearby bench to the shop I reflected and wondered had my actions caused such an explosive aftermath? Or can you truly be caught up in the wrong place at the wrong time? Should I have just not turned around when she bumped into me? Was it really an accident?

How can you not turn around if you feel a thump to your legs? If it was an accident why did she do it twice and at such force? Besides from the way she reacted to my turn around said it all. She was quite simply someone with no manners. If she wanted passed, couldn’t she have said ‘excuse me’? But at the end of the day it’s not my job to teach someone manners, and unfortunately the reality is is that sometimes you may find yourself on the receiving end of this. With that aside what hurt me the most was the lack of consideration given to me by the shop manager. Whether I’m a customer who enters your shop to buy a £1 item or £1,000 item, shouldn’t I be treated with the same respect? Isn’t that what all companies looking your custom want to portray, so you shop with them? That they care for you? The takeaway message from that event is that you need to take care of yourself. Not in a  selfish way but have some respect for yourself and your own well-being. Know that how you handle difficult situations says alot about your character aswell as the others involved.

I hope you don’t have the experience I had too often, and that Santa brings you something a little better than a chorus of cussing this festive season.

Merry Christmas! x

 

 

 

Dido In Concert 2019

Writing

Is it bad that I only know two of her songs? That’s right she’s a singer not a prehistoric bird (Dodo). Although at the age of 47 years old, I wonder is her voice as strong as it use to be? Not being ageist but if Sir Paul McCartney’s croaking at the London 2012 olympics was anything to go by then let’s just say pensioner care home choirs need not audition for the X Factor anytime soon. 

 

47 is certainly by no means old, and nor does it mean you should stop singing, I mean look at Cher! But forgive me for being somewhat skeptical ahead of the hitmaker’s concert last night at The Hammersmith Apollo. Will she deliver or will her support act outshine her?

If Eminem deemed her talented enough to be the chorus belter on ‘Stan’ then she must have talent, right?

*One Moment Later

So What’s The Verdict?:

Dido’s voice is flawless, still as ethereal and controlled as it was recorded in the 90’s. The strength of her voice in addition to it’s quality was sustained throughout the full 2 hour show, it didn’t waver once. I strain my voice shouting down a taxi nevermind belting out hit records for hours on end so she gets a massive thumbs up from me on that.

Her warmth onstage shined through also, with a good sense of humour in her anecdotes coupled with context on what encouraged her to create certain songs made for  engaging stage presence.

Dido proves that women in music don’t have to necessarily perform in their underwear to appeal to the masses, afterall she’s been on a hiatus from music for 15 years and still she can command a crowd across international cities.

The evening restored my faith in the music industry (apologies in advance for the terrible quality photos):

She’s not even in this one thanks to the man’s head in the middle! But I liked the flame effect.

79378827_547540379158043_4906462087946960896_n

78155185_558269985003412_3906806804830486528_n.jpg

I told you the quality was bad!

79293956_489840581737893_1375325743101247488_n.jpg

Odid? My sister et moi.

78955011_441678170056602_8032213722606862336_n.jpg

 

What Do You Take For Granted?

Writing

I recently started volunteering at a charity for children with additional needs.  The charity provides free sports and activity sessions to give these children the opportunity to play and have fun as any child should have the right to do. 

 

Having only attended  a moderate number of session so far I can already feel that volunteering is making an impact on me. 

 

I come away from the sessions with so many feelings and questions. 

 

I asked myself on the train heading away from the venue this week – are the children trapped in their own little worlds, or have they escaped the chaos of mine?

 

They won’t experience the world in the way I do, but as my sister rightly said, they may be happy in their life. If born the way they are then they know no other way of living so how can they miss  or be annoyed at not having another way of living? A point I could not disagree with,

 

Volunteering is a humbling experience, I realise how much I may take for granted. If you can read what I’m writing right now then you are privileged as there are still 750 million illiterate adults across the world today. If you can understand these words in English then you are within 20% of the world’s population that can.

 

This is not me trying to play top trumps, I’m not saying that because you and I can read and another person cannot, this makes us better than them, not at all., I simply mean our ability to read is almost taken for granted, we think nothing of it to read signs and books, yet somewhere else in the world a person cannot do this. 

 

We live in a society of ‘I want more, more, more’, we always want more money, more friends, more holidays. And we forget to notice our most fundamental abilities, we take these privileges for granted: talking, listening, reading, writing. All taken for granted. 

 

Being a charity volunteer is a humbling experience, bringing with it an appreciation, a gratitude for many factors of my life which I may have ashamedly overlooked previous to this. Maybe our own lives would be alot happier if we focused on being thankful for the simple things instead of material things.  

Review: The Aeronaut

Writing

Not to be confused with ‘the astronaut’ this eccentric public house also doubles up as a theatrical extravaganza. From circus to stand up comedy and everything inbetween, why be on the moon when you could be poking somebody in the neck with a pickled frankfurter?

 

Atleast this is what I came to realise on my recent escapade to the Acton based watering house this Friday passed. Voted ‘best pub in west London’ by event ticketing website ‘design my night‘, I thought I’d pay it a visit to see if it really did stand up to this accolade.

 

Strolling up on that dark Friday evening with my lovely friend from university – Leo, we entered with great anticipation. Inside, it appeared to my eyes to be something similar to, if you know the scene, in Harry Potter when Professor Slughorn holds a glorious Christmas party in an outdoor tent. Well, this place, with arguably the same amount of magical enchantment donned a similar decor. With crimson and canary pinstripe material draped  throughout the walls of the main theatre area. And as if the outdoor beer garden wanted to adopt this lively pattern too, a continuation of the vividly coloured striping within each heated little cabin in the garden area took form also.

In the main bar section to the left of the theatre area was a spooktacular salute to all things Halloween. I could see clouds of cobwebs as thick as smog, so dense it put my own home’s to shame. I also spotted pumpkins carved into everything under the sun, from self-portraits to spinal cords. Stumbling further through the zany labyrinth I became aware of the volume of two mens’ voices, they were becoming distinctively louder, also equally alarming to the volume was the words they were saying with such conviction. Something like ‘shoot em’ again, shoot em’ again’ I almost froze in fear, if curiosity hadn’t got the better of me I probably would still be standing there now. With my beady eyes and increasing paranoia I turned the corner of the corridor of the pub expecting to see a crime scene infront of me, yet instead the real crime was done on my eyes as I seen before me the cumbersome movements of two grown men banging into the walls and eachother in such animated fashion. Turns out they were wearing VR (virtual reality) headsets playing what looked like some simulated version of Call of Duty.

With the investigation solved, Leo and I returned to the theatre. No sooner had we entered than were we greeted by a granny named Maggie, conversing with us in a thick brogue straight from the highlands of Scotland.. Little did I know soon Maggie would be taking to the stage to do her comedy act.

Before Maggie was to crack a few knock knock jokes, another lady came round to the table Leo and I claimed as our own for the 2 hour performance about to unfold. She asked us how exactly we were related to Maggie. At first her question bewildered me and then I realised oh it’s an interactive comedy, and that’s when the meatsweats started. Maggie the old bat, was part of the onstage comedy trio who would be performing a sketch inwhich the objective of the storyline was that some of the geriatrics would compete against eachother to be lead event organisers of their carehome, and it was our job their audience, soon to be mock family members , to take part in the ‘competition’ also on behalf of our elderly relative.

Leo naturally piped up saying with great conviction that we were to be Maggie’s grandmother, which is obviously a realistic family member to be to an 80 year old. So no sooner had we taken our seats than had the show began with the aim of the game being Maggie’s family would compete with Arthur’s family (the other old guy) in a range of interactive tasks in a bid to help their elderly relative win the coveted role of event planner.

The interactive activities included seeing who could wrap their partner up in a full roll of cellotape the fastest, guessing whether sausage or a finger poked you in the back of the neck (I had the pleasure of taking part in this one,  getting poked by some stranger’s sausage), putting tights on your partner without them using their hands the fastest and then consequently seeing how many objects you can stuff down those tights on your partner (someone got a chair leg in and suspended the chair in mid air, that must’ve hurt the crotch).

The winning team at the end got a bottle of Prosecco, and the fact that we went away empty handed is evidence that Arthur’s team won.

Would I go back again for a rematch? Definitely!

 

The only thing is, which is both good and bad about The Aeronaut is that their lineup of performance acts can vary so you may not see the same act twice. I guess what they give is a taster, an exhibition of quality talent, that if it impresses you enough you’ll go see them again wherever they perform.

I’ve booked my tickets for their upcoming comedy night, called ‘sketch n scratch’. Reminds of another saying involving scratching……

If you’re ever in Acton give them a chance to make a fool out of you, I’ve no doubt you’ll thank them for it!

 

My Michelin Star Experience

Writing

More accustomed to the taste of my mother’s burnt toast and beans combo, I was hoping and praying that a trip to a 1-Michelin starred and 4 AA Rosetted gourmet restaurant in the heart of one of  London’s most affluent hotspot’s – Green Park would be able to suppress those charcoal tasting memories of mother’s best dishes.

Team at Seven Park Place By William Drabble

Did it do the trick? Let’s find out, food critics eat your heart out at my review to follow:

73165981_983151448701887_2824833989540315136_n.jpg

Here’s me with a piece of bread.

 

Initially when I walked into the restaurant I thought I’d actually entered the wrong place, for it looked more like the Louvre in Paris than a place you’d get stuck into some lamb’s neck at. Anyhow my state of confusion quickly dissipated as I followed the overly nice and handsome waiter to the table for two beneath the beautifully painted piece of art, it was done with much ease I can assure you of that.

The menus arrived, my brother and I went for the 3 course option (as you do) and decided to go halvsies on each dish, as there was a choice of two for each course.

72647725_433260760660710_1164483788495912960_n (1).jpg

Can you guess what this was? Yes, liquid gold. A little teacup of deliciousness in the form of fish broth frothed so lightly the clouds above us were jealous. Sprinkled with crispy little croutons complimentary of the chef.

With our appetites well and truly wetted from the soup + bread pairing I was ready for the starters!

Starters

Which appeals to your more from the below choices:

72396560_472586356667250_7872593234441011200_n.jpg

Seared fillet of mackerel with spiced apple chutney, spiced apple and fennel remoulade

This had to be my favourite dish of the experience to be honest. The saltiness of the mackerel worked so well with the sweetness of the apple, and the crispy onion rings topped it all off with a little ‘crunch’. Delightful, however being carby me, I couldn’t help but think ‘where are the chips at?’

 

73395384_398948197452800_4017843941498945536_n.jpg

Open ravioli of pumpkin and aged parmesan with sage, pine nuts with nut brown butter

A tasty little parcel of pumpkin and Parmesan, the pine nuts gave it a crunch so that it wasn’t to reminiscent of baby food. But being a fan of umami flavouring, the mackerel stole my heart. But overall even though I’m not a huge pasta lover, the ravioli damn near converted me.

Mains

73248944_2540986739464615_550140058842169344_n.jpg

Roasted fillet of cod, cep mash, roasted celeriac emulsion

Cod is quite a bland fish to me, like alot of white fish but I have to say, somehow they injected some taste into this one. It wasn’t dry which is another reason I tend to give white fist a wide berth. Nice chunky piece with mash and a fishy gravy, what’s not to like?

72643924_403917777213018_4446311322056916992_n (1).jpg

Assiette of lamb with rosemary jus

Look at the shine of that sauce! You can almost see me taking the picture in it! I loved the fillet and the neck, not too fussed on the meat pie, all I could hear the waiter say was heart and liver which almost turned my stomach. Other than that, a tasty dish.

Desserts

74363285_1343978272428994_5219445782259695616_n (1).jpg

Chocolate and Hazlenut

As a fan of chocolatey desserts, I can’t lie when I say I was looking forward to this the most when I seen it on the menu. It looks great doesn’t it, apart form that chocolate smear on the bottom, can a chocolate smear ever look appetizing?

The chocolate droppings were suped up with hazlenut, the little chocolate platform was composed of smooth chocolate paneling, which encased a hybrid like texture of cake and mousse. If that even makes sense, I don’t know what it was exactly, I just know it tasted good! Finished off was the sugar work which  I accidentally snapped off and swooshed onto the floor in one fell swoop as I reached for a spoon seconds after this photo was taken (better after than before).

 

72824114_540512530057727_3235478235072430080_n.jpg

Lemon Meringue with a sable crumble and yuzu lemon sorbet

Thank goodness we didn’t have sensitive teeth, for the sorbet was as cold as the arctic, the chilled temperature mixed with the tartness made for a zesty explosion of refreshment. The only negative thing I would say was – where was the meringue?! It was so flat to the plate 😦 But anyhow I loved the flavours. Great dessert to end on, for it really cleansed the palate after the several courses of rich, intensely flavoured plates of food.

So what did we think of the food, should you give William  Drabble a go when you’re in London?

We’ll let this image be the deciding factor for you:

72609201_511409959408308_3458855266479505408_n.jpg

Change

Writing

I feel like I’m in such a weird space at present, no sooner have I moved flat than I’m trawling the jobboards of everything from Indeed.com to Craigslist (ok maybe not Craigslist).  Being a seasoned veteran on these job sites is not something I’m proud of, frequenting them so much that Google ads now pop up with ‘need a new job?’ as I’m downloading a voucher off Groupon for a pair of discounted leggings.

What’s going on with me?

I just have this inbuilt element of restlessness, like the kind you get when you sit on a computer chair for too long and your ass starts getting really itchy. I have to get up and move, find something different. I truly think there’s something not right with me, I honestly get bored of things too frequently and too quickly. Tell me I’m NOT the only one who feels this way?!

This attitude has seeped its way into every aspect of my life, from where I live to what I eat. I’m a glutenous pig for chips, but I just can’t stomach any other food item repeated more that twice in a row.

This element of ‘change’ has sprung to mind in more recent times as I think about how much change I’ve actually went through since moving to London. Change to me is like a flame to a moth, I’m attracted to it but with dangerous consequences.

Jobs, housing, hobbies, hair colour! I’ve done it all! I seriously ask myself if I’m having some sort of identity crisis, a quarter life breakdown, perhaps? But these frantic thoughts and feelings are swiftly pacified by a session of binge eating and multiple episodes of ‘Botched’. But  I guess you can only suppress your feelings for so long, sooner or later they creep back out from under the woodwork. Manifest themselves in mysterious ways. If you’ve ever found yourself getting annoyed at the checkout lady in the supermarket for not scanning through your groceries fast enough then maybe it’s actually a sign that you’re internally annoyed at yourself for something. or if you find yourself crying after impulsively ending the short life of a housefly which landed on your homemade Victoria sponge, maybe it’s time for some self-reflection.

At least this is what I’ve found in my own life, frustration in myself can wrongfully be taken out on those closest to me. One thing I get frustrated about is this sense that we have such little time on this planet and it’s as if I change what I’m doing a little too often because in some subconscious way I have massive fomo (fear of missing out). Life is short I want to try as much as I can, I guess. But is this really the best attitude to have?

There’s really no point getting worked up about time, I know that but sometimes you can’t help it. When you see people your age travelling or enjoying certain experiences you can’t help but wish you had those too, right? That’s why I think social media on the whole isn’t a good thing for people’s mental health. We are being bombarded by a plethora of photoshopped pictures, and rented out rich lifestyles. Photos and opinions are liked and disliked, all of it a facade at the end of the day.

Apologies, I feel like I’m going off on a bit of a tangent, I just wanted to share with you this element of change I’m going through currently. I wonder if I’m alone with this, or have you went through change as frequently as I?

I’ll leave this with you, the words of Greek Philosopher Heraclitus (terrible choice of name):

change is the only constant in life.”

 

 

 

 

I’m Done….

Writing

If sweating out of every orifice in your entire being is your cup of tea then you should’ve joined me in my gallivanting across the city of London with what could’ve only been described as the weight of a life-sized 10 year old on my back in the form of a gym bag and a suitcase-come bodybag with actual human weight included! Yes stunting my growth wasn’t just a choice I made in the 30 degree heat over the weekend, it was an experience which almost had me in a vegetative state by midday. Having your skeleton permanently positioned into the shape of the letter ‘C’ I’m sure has its advantages but why did this past weekend have to be my moment of awakening to this?

 

If I can momentarily pause from speaking in cryptic code (I’ve been watching alot of Sherlock Holmes these passed to days, thanks to my bed-ridden state), and indulge you in as to why I have found myself in such a mess. The reason behind my misfortune was thanks to ‘moving homes’. I move more than nomads. 4 times in 2 years, is that alot? I get bored easily.

 

If you’ve been following any of my perils this past month you will have found yourself on my bandwagon with a one stop tour of poppycock, peasantry and pettiness just as August comes to  close. From living on £30 over two weeks here in the UK’s capital, to despising the whole world and its dog on public transport, you can really tell that I want you to come to this city and have as fulfilling a time as I.

 

So just before I roll out of bed to crawl to the pissy pot in the corner of my darkened cluttered room I thought I’d keep you updated on my ‘goings ons’. 

 

Hope your life isn’t as shite as mine. 

 

 

City life

Writing

Like mice,

Trapped in the rat race.

A maze made for manipulation.

Man against man, race against race. 

 

A breath.

Of fresh air at dawn.

As futile as asking the sun to,

Rise at dusk and set in the morn.

 

Private,

A word less chosen.

Only by those of land un-citied.

Cities keep the term unspoken.

Week 1 – The Menu of A Moron

Writing

So if you’ve been anticipating this update based on the post  I made a few days ago, let’s just take a moment to celebrate that week 1 is almost up, on a scale of 1 – 10 (full to the gills) – (about to turn cannibal) my hunger level is a solid 9.987. If you’ve ever been in this position you’ll know it’s at this stage where you realise things have taken a sudden turn for the worst. When you’re sitting at your desk at work and your stomach is squealing like a pig about to be brought to slaughter. When fellow workmates start looking like personified everyday food items and when you start Googling ‘ways to fill yourself up with air alone?’ And ‘how to copy that Jesus fellow and make that picnic with the fish, bread and wine?’ . 

 

Yes hallucinations and hunger-driven questions are just the tip of my iceberg of misery as I scraped together the pennies to see me through this fortnight. You’ve heard about my public transport shenanigans to save costs. Now let me open your eyes and your mouth to the world of  eating sh*te (trust me, what I made this week I’ve no doubt tastes worse than eating real sh*te (not like I’d no first hand or anything but…..let’s just move on))!

 

If you want recipes which are bordering on inhumane then keep reading:

 

Day one was as filling as it got, with out of date eggs and bread (the cheap white kind that embodies cardboard when toasted) for breakfast.

 

Lunchtime made for a real treat with a baked potato that was indecisive as to whether it wanted to be poisonous or not, it had that green like hue which makes a person with half a brain cell lob it as far from their being as possible so to not ingest it as I did. I cut off the sprouting parts and slathered it in a slab of butter. That really elevated the dish, I must say. 

 

Dinnertime was the other greenish potato, because one a day of those things just isn’t enough.

 

Days 2 and 3 pretty much mirrored each other, unwilling to stomach another expired egg I instead chose to try and choke myself to death on a nibble of some Ryvita biscuits. Absolute deathtraps they are. Coupled with some trail mix, and this combo made for a coughing fit at 9.30am in the office for two consecutive mornings much to the enjoyment of my coworkers.

 

Lunch – I resorted to boiled rice, sweet chilli sauce and a generous scattering of onions for a treat. This  became dinner also as I struggled to east more than a measly few mouthfuls at 1pm that day.

 

Day 4 I figured I can’t take another wholegrain husk, I’ll have to for the first time this week stick my hand very deeply into my pocket for a few coins to spare on cereal. And in doing so made the whole breakfast experience somewhat more pleasant for the remainder of the week. 

 

That was ofcourse the plan if I didn’t feel like I was the host to an unwanted tapeworm. I fearfully theorise that this parasitic pest has perversely made  itself comfortable within the lining of my little intestine. Because the level of hunger I feel some days knows no bounds. Surely it’s a tapeworm, or else I’ve ate my twin in the womb who’s now doing jumping jacks in my duodenum.

 

So with cereal not quite pacifying my aggressive enfamishment, and being now £1.25 down I had to resort to desperate measures. Yes, for lunch it was time to bring out the pasta no sauce recipe. A real one for any bargain hunter out there, simply boil some spaghetti that you find in the back left of your kitchen cupboard under the tin of beans. Boil that, in some salt water, and sprinkle with pepper to serve. You’ll be crying yourself to sleep for weeks after a bowl of this trust me. Lunchtimes for day 4 was truly one of the highlights.

 

Dinner for Day 4 – my saving grace, beans on cardboard  toast.

 

Day 5 –  run of the mill cereal first thing in the morning.

 

Lunch was whatever was in the kid’s lunchbox sitting in the seat infront of me on the bus to work. Kidding, lunch was soup that looked like the declogging of a dishwasher. It was begging for another go in the blender I’ll say that much. 

 

Dinner – Nothing, I went to sleep early to try and preserve energy. 

 

After this week’s ‘meals’, if you can call them that, I truly fear for what lies ahead in week 2. Pray for me.

 

I thought I’d be feeling like this by the end of the week:

4AkiO

When actually je suis:

Just throw me in the damn spaghetti water Peter, willl you!!

voldi

The 24th of August couldn’t come any slower!!!!

I Hate Public Transport With A Passion

Writing

If you’ve happened to be following my journey on the misery train so far, you’ll know that my belief firmly holds – trying to live in London for two weeks on £30 will make climbing Mt. Everest look like a walk in the park in comparison.

 

My hands are already physically shaking as I type due to my inner yearning for anything sucrose, glucose or dextrose based before I become comatosed by the end of this post.

 

So before I’m induced into a diabetic coma, I just thought I’d update you on day 3 as I don’t know if they’ll still let me write from my prison cell once I’m taken in for stealing a loaf of wholemeal from my local Saino’s. Either that or I’ll be lying under a park bench looking like the voldemort baby I presented to you in the other post. So with that being said, I better pull my fingerS out and start typing just that little bit faster.

 

Ayway, where was I? Oh, yes, I was about to break into a song and dance about how much I deteste everything and anything to do with public transport. Speciifally the red buses here in London, as I’m too poor to use the tube I’m forced to sit reluctantly on the slow-coach bus. With the simple learning lesson being ‘money really can buy you happiness’. If the last 3 days have shown me anything, it’s shown me that my level of hatred is a bottomless pit. Yes, just when I thought I couldn’t despise something anymore, I come to the stark realisation that my hatred has a basement.

 

Let me tell you for why:

 

 

1) Buses are magnets for the people you cross the street (3 times) to avoid

 

Just when I thought the tube had the biggest share of the wannabee murders, rapists and tax evaders, the red buses of the city of London quash this idea in a heartbeat. Honestly I  would quite willingly hang off of the roof of the double decker by my hair than sit next to another person simultaneously, grinding their teeth and frothing at the mouth from their morning dose of listerine all while indulging in a sing-along of the old favourite ‘Kumbayah My Lord’ whilst rocking back and forth hugging their knees to their chest. (And there’s me thinking men can’t multitask).

 

2) The Loudly Obnoxious & The Obnoxiously Loud Phone Callers

I don’t care what you’re having for tea, that your boyfriend dumped you for your sister, that your gerbil croaked it (ok maybe this one). I don’t care, and neither does any of the other psycho passengers on  the bus. So why then do you feel the need to tell us all about your boring life at the top of your wheezy lungs? And while you’re doing that at the front of the bus we have your second cousin in the back trying to shout above your shouting on the phone, yelling to us all ‘thank Jesus that I’m a good person, no one else matters only me’. Seriously the amount of people I hear gloating and boasting about their delusioned sense of self is truly sickening. I thought this country had a problem with depression not self obsession?! Perhaps the 2 really are linked. I don’t care if you think you’re God’s gift, you certainly aren’t mine so clear off!

 

3) Petty Thieves

Why should I work my ass off all day in a 9 to 5 for some thug to hop on the bus without swiping his oyster, contactless or donating a kidney at the very least? Point being, time and time again I see these thieves jumping on the bus not paying, instead heading straight up to the top deck and not being stopped or questioned by the bus driver once? Seriously why should I pay for them to have a seat on the bus? They aren’t paying my rent, bills or travel, so why should I cough up on theirs? If I still have the moral decency to pay when I have literally nothing left at this stage, why can they not pay the fare when they are almost certainly not in as dire a place as I at this moment in time?

 

Ok,  I need to stop now, I’m getting heart palpitations. Let the story continue another night.

I Finally Did It!

Writing

If you’ve been following my quarrels and qualms in my quest to find a new humble abode here, then it may come as a surprise to both you and I that I have done the impossible and actually managed to find a place to live come September this year!

 

But before I bathe in blissful sunlight with a sigh of relief, let me remind you of the moment when I was wallowing in petty self-pity. It was the moment an estate agent tried to do me wrong! Nothing new there, you might say! It was several days ago, I had viewed a property that I’d quite liked the look of, I put in an offer literally the same day. Having heard absolutely nothing for the next two I then decided to ring up the letting agents, to which the blandest voice on the other side of the phone whispered ‘it’s been taken. But if you want you can put in an offer to the landlord.’’Ok, um …what offer did the other bidders put in’. I asked, to which he replied ‘I can’t tell you that information, just that it was higher than yours’. Well no shit Sherlock! I placed an offer higher than my original price out of pure desperation, then I hung up the phone and began sobbing in the toilets at work. Ok so maybe not sobbing but I definitely paced back and forth like a lunatic who badly needed to use the toilet but couldn’t decide which empty cubicle to use. After 5 minutes of pensive pondering I then flushed one of the loo’s randomly (and washed my hands ofcourse), and this was when I had my eureka moment. The estate agent was lying! He just said there’s been a higher offer so that I would push mine up in order for him to make  higher commission!!! 

 

This thought stuck in my mind like minty gum to the underside of a school desk, Mr Bland has tried to steal my money I internalised! I later got an email from him saying that the place was taken, that there was nothing more I could do, my offer wasn’t high enough and that was that! Not taking no for an answer, I proceeded to send him emails as a paper trail, asking for proof of the offer, one thing he did say was that this ‘higher’ offer was made on Friday, I viewed the property on Saturday so why would you show others around a property which has had an offer on it way above the original asking price? Anyway, his answers via email were more than lacklustre so I decided to take the detective measures into my own hands. Goodbye Natasha, hello Charlie! Charlie my other self, makes the odd appearance when I’m doing a bit of undercover work i.e. like when I’m sending emails to dodgy estate agents asking them if a property is still on the market! Charlie was able to get a ‘yes’ from Mr. Bland, yet Natasha somehow got a ‘no’. Conclusion – someone’s been lying! Finding this out made me even more angry but then it hit me, would I really want to have dealings with a lettings agency who lies to people like this just to line their own pockets? The short answer is ‘no’. And with that I gave up on that place I liked the look of and about a week later found, in my opinion, a place twice as good as it, for just that little bit more money. I guess the saying ‘you get what you pay for’ really does ring home in this instance.

 

Speaking of money,  because I was so desperate to get the place, I put down a holding deposit immediately to take it off the market, and now I’m broke af. 

 

Yes, I have a home, and now a new challenge arises! Survive 2 weeks in London on £30 in total! I’m not even joking this is all I have left until payday on the 24th of July. I just picture myself ending up like Voldemort baby in Harry Potter by the end of this week,nevermind the end of next. Either way, it will most certainly be the end of me! I will definitely let you know how this goes!

 

Le Moi:

4AkiO

Hunting

Writing

I’m currently looking for a new place to live here in London, having lived here for almost three years now, it’s safe to say I’ve done my fair share of moving around. From Golders Green to West Ham and places in between. I’m someone who likes change and I think as my rent will be put up even higher this year it’s time to move once again.

 

I’ve never seemed to have any luck with estate agents here in the capital, when I first moved here after graduating from university in Bristol I was quite naive and ended up turning up to places like Brick Lane and Hampstead expecting to view a property for £600 per month. Yet instead found myself stood up, the property never existed. I now have a better idea of what properties are realistic and what cowboy estate agents are trying to pull the wool over my eyes. Personally I find the rent here in London far too high, it’s pretty much extortion. But I guess with the attraction that the city has to so many of us, you’re always going to find people willing to pay eye wateringly high prices, after all competition for homes is rife here.

 

In addition to dodgy estate agents, I found myself in a rather unfortunate situation with flatmates too. I swear I’m cursed with property hunting. When I initially came to London I managed to stay with a live in landlady who was shady af. She only accepted the deposit in cash, never online (so there was no evidence that I ever paid her the money in her eyes, also she wouldn’t be taxed on it this way), I remember her also strictly enforcing that I had to deep clean the entire flat every week, if I failed to do so she would charge me a £20 fine each time. It’s not that I’m allergic to cleaning, I just don’t feel like I need to ‘deep’ clean weekly! Also I don;t know if this is legal but she said if I ever brought ‘visitors’ over she would charge me £15 per night! Hhahaa is she some pimp or seedy hotel owner? I never did bring anyone ‘over’ as she so vulgarly put it. The weirdest thing of all though was when I was awoken to the sounds of loud banging on my bedroom door one night, like after 11pm. I opened tn and to my surprise there were two men in leather coats speaking what sounded like an eastern european language. They asked me where the landlady was to which I distinctly remember her saying a few days prior that she was off for a few weeks ‘holiday’ (fitting timing). I told him this to which he replied ‘tell her I want my deposit back, I was the previous tenant of your room and she hasn’t given me my money back’. He then signalled to the apple mac which was on the table in the kitchen to which I said it wasn’t hers, it was another flatmates, which was true. He then told me  that he would’ve taken it if it was hers as a result of her refraining from returning his deposit. The scary thing here was that he did not come alone, another man was with him and that he had cut keys to gain entry into the property. Let’s remember he wasn’t standing at the front door he was inside the property. Shortly after this occurrence I left the flat and ofcourse I never got my deposit back either. This is a thing you have to look out for when renting, dodgy landlords aswell as estate agents who can try and steal your deposits.

 

After this rather frightening encounter I moved in with workmates from a media company I initially worked for when moving to london. All was fine until one of the guys came back high on cocaine with a bunch of other guys and proceeded to tear up the living at 3am in the morning, I was so scared I literally barricaded myself in my room out of fear of not knowing what they’re intentions were whilst off their heads. I was the only female in the flat at the time of this. And certainly didn’t go back to sleep once they made their presence known in the living room next to my bedroom. So you can see where this is going, I moved again. I often think to myself are my expectations too high for housing situations here in London, personally I don’t believe so, I just want somewhere which isn’t the size of a matchbox or has less light than a cave. Equally so if the flatmates weren’t trying to steal my money or peel the skin off their own faces while overdosing on class-A drugs then that would be a nice thing too. Not asking for much you know.

 

So on I go in my search for a new apartment, I’m a a seasoned veteran at flat hunting now, which is both a good and bad thing I guess. I hope you’ve never had to experience any of the things I did above, and that you’re home hunting has been smooth sailing. I think it’s time to get back on with the hunt then …wish me luck please, I’ll need it!!!!!

 

**If you ever need advice on some recommended places to live here just let me know! I’ve learned it the hard way hahah!

Have You Ever Been Afraid To Give Something Like This A Try?

Podcasts, Writing

Having embarked on my audio journey last winter in the form of a 10 week course with Reprezent radio, a youth-led community radio station here in London, as a result, I developed a bit of a love affair with making radio shows. Whether it was good audio content is questionable but nevertheless I enjoyed making it and surely that counts for something, right?!

 

On completion of this course I had two options, be a radio presenter’s assistant on a voluntary basis or make my own content. Eventually after a lot of inner self-doubt I’ve mustered up the courage to start making my own radio content. 

 

Since deciding to make my own content I’ve had many ups and downs, one of which is finding a genuinely good studio to record the radio shows in. Trust me, I’ve been around! The majority were too echoey, some allowed more sound in than welcomed, for example in one place I literally have the sound recordings of the maintenance guy burping in the background. I keep this version of my rudimentary show in a saved folder ofcourse to laugh at it on days when I feel like shit. After much trial and error, and finding no luck in cheap studios (I don’t have the budget for £50 an hour studios), I finally arrived at the stage where I was sitting on a bean bag in my cupboard insulated with pillows trying to crack jokes over and over again down the mic. Nothing is more awkward, trust me! And through this little makeshift haven I managed to thread together a pilot. I then, after much deliberation, sent it off to a local station in Shoreditch. I pretty much expected no reply, but to my surprise they actually decided to take me on and give me my own radio show ! I kept thinking to myself, they must’ve heard the wrong thing, not my show haha – if you wanna check out the pilot just click the link at the bottom of this post. 

 

Now I’m currently in the process of making my second show. I went to their recording studios yesterday and to record it in the moment. Let’s say I’ve got a long way to go but atleast I’m trying after half a year of stalling. I feel good about that, even though I’m now cringing at every badly pronounced word that comes out of my mouth on the recording ahahaa. 

 

Have you ever been afraid to give something like this a try? 

If you’re interested in checking out my first show, just click here

Silent Disco?

Writing

Always keen to try something atleast once, I thought I’d lend my supple body to a bit of shape throwing in a silent room full of strangers. Yes, the Natural History Museum in South Kensington is home to the type of event suitable for just about anybody, from dancing dads to tameful clubbers, the event I assure you, will enthuse us all.

61599367_2764509310243672_8641419563273027584_n

61769470_438046800329339_5101592957694246912_n.jpg

If you’re unfamiliar with the term ‘silent disco’, as I was weeks prior to the event, in summary it’s like a ‘one man party’ but not in the sad kind of way. On Friday night the set up was that there were 3 DJs, each playing a different genre of music: Hip-Hop, EDM and Cheesy Classics. Every person had their own headphones provided, which had special switches you used to change the song, so for example if you were sick of listening to Snoop Dogg and Pharrell’s ‘Drop It Like It’s Hot’ (as if), then you just flick a switch and suddenly you’re listening to Abba’s ‘Take A Chance On Me’.

61565615_625976031255156_3393715928452562944_n.jpg

So it really was like your own personalised party. But what made it even better was actually when you momentarily removed your headphones, it was such a bizarre experience but basically it was like some weird clashing choir. All I could hear was a mix up of three songs being sung out loud mainly by middle-aged men going gloriously off-key. Plus people were ‘dancing’ to what appeared to be no music.Weirdly enough, more people were dancing at the event than I’ve seen drunk in a club.  Yes, it looked very strange indeed. To say it was entertaining would be an understatement.

61763448_333996817293665_9086603407518597120_n.jpg

At one stage the DJ’s had us doing the macarena followed by a massive conga line before finishing foff the night with a good ol’ rendition of Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’. What a fun night out.

61687327_331407170867103_440844741865635840_n (1).jpg

To check out other fun things you could try in London or even in a city near you have a look at my other post.

Try Something Different In London

Writing

In preparation for my night of silent discoing  this weekend I wanted to keep the theme going and share with you some quirky activities you could try while here in the capital:

  1. Dans Le Noir

Fancy eating in a restaurant? Hell Yes! In complete darkness? Um…..? If you don’t fancy your date, or still do, but just don’t fancy them seeing steamed spinach sitting pretty on one of your big buck teeth then this is up our street for sure. With the aim of the night being that you devote all of your attention and senses on the food, and not any visual distractions, this should make you enjoy the act of ‘tasting’ much more. Plus it’s quite a fun experience, start a food fight, noone will ever know it was you!

Dans Le Noir, Farringdon, EC1R 0DU

silhouette of person holding glass mason jar

Photo by Rakicevic Nenad on Pexels.com

 

  1. The Clink Brixton

Would you eat a meal cooked by convicted criminals at a prison restaurant? The suspicious part of me fears they’ll poison my confit duck but obviously noone has been poisoned yet, nor have any of the diners choked to death on an overly large shard of ‘misplaced’ glass, so I guess the prisoners must be doing something right. Infact so good is the system they’re running at the Brixton joint that it’s been reviewed highly on Tripadvisor. Infact the whole ethos behind the restaurants functioning should be credited. The prison restaurant aims to rehabilitate offenders, giving them a responsibility and a goal to work towards their City & Guilds NVQs, with the aim one day for them to assimilate into society a changed person, a better person. Maybe I’ll give it a visit actually (though stick to ordering a coke, kidding).
The Clink Brixton, HM Prison Brixton, SW2 5XF

silhouette of a man in window

Photo by Donald Tong on Pexels.com

 

  1. House of Dreams Museum

Or shall we say nightmares, yes if you’ve got OCD or a sane bone in your body for that matter this place may leave you scared and scarred. For this guy’s house is like a hoarder on ‘shrooms holy grail. You visit his house and leave with tears of both joy and sadness in your eyes, flabbergasted at the thought that every inch of a house could be covered in everything from dolls heads to clown masks. All I can say is bring your camera and a loved one for some emotional support.
House of Dreams Museum, East Dulwich,  SE22 8RG

girl doll in white fur dress holding blue handkerchief

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

  1. Silent Disco Tour

You know I had to throw this one in the mix! Why make a fool of yourself in a closed confined space when you could do it in the centre of one of London’s most bustling tourist hotspots  – the West End! Yes, you and a bunch of other fun-lovers will walk in twos on a guided audio tour of theatreland, punctuating the facts and figures about the famous area will be brief yet savoured moments of ‘Simon says’, where you will have to throw some serious shapes as you gallivant past the home of Kinky Boots and Dreamgirls. Move well enough and you may even find yourself on one of their stages (or the asylum).

West End Musical Tour, London’s West End, WC2

man in gray shirt walking on pathway

Photo by Ben Herbert on Pexels.com

 

5. Be A Member of The Knitting Kittens Club

Knit Jumpers For Kittens at Battersea Cats & Dogs Home. Knit something your granny would be jealous of, like some little mittens for kittens at the adoption centre. Killing two birds with one stone – you get to learn a new skill and secondly you are putting that skill to good use. Plus you may even get to meet the kitten you knitted something for afterwards! Who doesn’t love animals, who doesn’t love little mittens? Only psychopaths. So don’t be one today and instead help a kitten in need. Remember, the best way to feel better about yourself is by helping others. If you’re ever feeling a bit down maybe give this or something similar a go.

The Knitting Kittens Club, Battersea, SW8 4AA

adorable animal cat close up

Photo by HM hmw on Pexels.com

I hope the above gave you some inspiration to try something a little different here in London!