Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Some cliched title about regrets.

A year and a half ago I was moving in with my then-boyfriend and planning a life of 7am wake-ups, a career in journalism, bills, food shopping, only drinking on the weekend, and hopefully one day marriage and children and a mortgage. I was 20-years-old, scared, excited and a bit concerned that the half of my brain shouting: “you should be spending your 20s single, living and working in London and having a generally excellent time in hipster bars and in front of the TV with an entire M&S tray-bake to yourself” was going to ruin the life plan I’d quite hastily decided on. 

It did ruin it. I left that plan, that relationship, and eventually that career. I now find myself, still only 21-years-old, single, working in London, and having so much fun I barely even notice the loneliness that settles beneath the surface.

I’ve been doing a lot of analysing recently. Trying to work out what I could or should have done differently. I look back at that time a year and a half ago and wonder whether, if I’d carried on down that path, I’d be a lot happier than I am now. I wouldn’t have had the two relationships I’ve had since. The first of which I can’t remember why I got into and can only conclude was the often-clich├ęd but ever-real “rebound” relationship. And the second was the one that tore me apart, thoroughly and very effectively, and left me utterly disappointed in humanity, trust and companionship. To be honest, that’s putting it lightly.

If I’d carried on down the path that was so safely mapped out for me, none of that would have happened. But would I be happy? I don’t think so. I’m unhappy now, yes, thanks to some unfortunate circumstances and hurts, but changing my decision (if that were even possible) would result in unhappiness for a different reason, rather than a lack of unhappiness.

So here’s the ground-breaking life advice that I’ve settled upon: don’t look back in regret, only look forward. We make decisions, people disappoint us, we disappoint ourselves, we have successes, we stay out all night drinking rum and dancing to music we hate, we feel lonely, life happens. And that brings me to something of a full circle. After leaving a relationship and an idea of life that I wasn’t ready for, I went through some shit in my attempts to find that fit, that ideal, that match, and you know what I’ve realised? There’s no such thing as “ideal”, and there’s barely such a thing as a right decision (within reason, of course – murder would be a very wrong decision). When we make a decision, hopefully, although by no means usually, we think about whether said decision will be beneficial, and then we choose. Whatever happens next, we cope, we learn and we move on.

I did make the right choice. I’m going to find a way of being happy in and by myself and I’m going to live that 20-something life that I always dreamed about – eating burgers out of paper at 3am and having openly embarrassing breakdowns with my friends when we miss our ex-boyfriends. I am certainly no closer to finding out who I am or what I want or what on earth I should be doing, but we’re all a work in progress after all, and one can only try. 

Monday, 17 March 2014

How to be sure you're not a grownup yet.

1. One time, quite recently, you were late for a doctors appointment because you couldn't get your shoes on.

2. You buy a t-shirt with all the different breeds of cat on it and wear it on a night out in Uxbridge. You then spend the entire evening asking strangers: "which one is your favourite?"

3. You spend the week before payday eating handfuls of cereal for breakfast, lunch and dinner because you've spent almost your entire pay cheque on t-shirts with cats on.

4. Sometimes people you know get married, people your age, and you get this chest-crushing fear that you can only alleviate with five consecutive episodes of The Real Housewives of New Jersey.

5. Then, god forbid, they start having babies, and you have to delete them from Facebook.

6. Even though you've got a day of meetings at work ahead, you lie in bed in the morning trying to work out whether you can get away with not showering until that evening.

7. The One Direction movie was your favourite Christmas present.

8. Even though Dominoes is literally only a two minute walk from your friend's house, you pay the extra money to have it delivered. You can also recite their menu and list of deals on command.

9. You only fancy boys who make you feel like they don't like you. And they probably don't.

10. No matter how many bundles of hairbands you buy from Primark, you will never, ever be able to respond: "yes, certainly, do you have as preferred colour? Because I have plenty" to the question: "does anyone have a hairband?"

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Burgers 101 - Bukowski Grill

I ate this burger approximately two months ago but put off writing about it due to uncomfortable life circumstances. I will now close my eyes and take myself back to this particular pop-up burger restaurant though, making whatever I'm having for dinner pail miserably in comparison to a cheese covered beef patty.

After a day out in Shoreditch and falling ever more deeply in love with Jennifer Lawrence (watching American Hustle), I ticked off my first burger from my Burgers in 2014 list. Bukowski Grill. 

The pop-up shop lies within Box Park and boasts approximately three wooden booths. The food took a while to come, considering we were the only people in there, and the staff were almost too hipster. Like, angry hipster. It was a fairly pleasant eating environment though. 

I went for The Purist, but added cheese. So essentially a cheese burger. My usual. My companion went for The Mother, I think, although it was quite a while ago now, which consisted of two patties, cheese, bacon and copious other trimmings. The chips were fancy to a fault. They were "triple cooked in beef dripping", which turned out to mean greasy with a hint of cow. I've had much better. 

I remember us both being incredibly hungry, so the burgers were gone in mere seconds. That must be a good sign, or just a sign of gluttony. 

Official rating system:

Value: 7/10 Mine was pretty reasonable, at £5.95, his was a little steeper at £12.95. Chips must be bought separately.
Food: 7.5/10 Good flavour, a little dry, not overly impressed by the chips.

Staff: 6/10 Nothing special, but no one was verbally or physically abused.
Overall: 7/10 I'd go back if I was passing, but I wouldn't make a special trip.

Unit 61 Boxpark, 4-6 Bethnal Green Road, London E1 6GY

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Burgers in 2014.

Everyone knows I've got a soft spot for a juicy patty covered in melted cheese and sandwiched in a lightly toasted brioche bun, but in 2014, I'm going to take this mother up a notch and set myself some burger-based goals. I've compiled a list of all the burger restaurants in London I haven't yet been to but want to visit with ample enthusiasm.

I went to one of them a couple of weeks ago so that review will be appearing in the coming days. The rest are future endeavors.

If you have any other suggestions of burger bars you have found to be particularly delicious, or a restaurant you would like reviewed by someone as sarcastic as they are hungry, write me a comment and I'll add it to the list.

And if you want to come eat burgers with me, please do. Just, if you wouldn't mind, don't be a rapist and/or murderer.

Red Dog Saloon - Hoxton

Burger and Lobster - Soho

MeatLiquor - Soho

Five Guys - Covent Garden

Shake Shack - Covent Garden

Bukowski Grill - Shoreditch

Lucky Chip - Bethnal Green

Friday, 17 January 2014

Metaphorical bleeding.

I didn't know whether or not to post this. I did what Ernest Hemmingway said to do and I sat down at a typewriter (Dell laptop), and bled. Metaphorical, emotional bleeding of course, no blood transfusion was necessary.

It makes some people uncomfortable when others are overly and unashamedly open. I have always shared a lot of vulnerable stuff on here though, because I like it when other people do, and, frankly, I don’t care if you think I’m weird.

Mostly because I am but also because you probably suck.

I’m sad and tired. I’ve been feeling like I’m about to break for the last three months in fact, which has been fun. It seems as though no amount of wine, doughnuts and “phew, I think it’s over now” has stopped the onslaught of seemingly never-ending misery. It’s just one thing after another. And this week it peaked.

I’ve lost friends, a boyfriend and a bit of my integrity, and I’m still reeling from a sense of injustice that I can do nothing about. I’m angry with myself and with people that I trusted and cared about, and I’ve discovered that you will always get kicked while you’re down.

Sitting at the wheel of my car the other night, sobbing so hard I was in danger of rupturing something and feeling empty in a way that seemed selfish for someone as lucky as me, I decided that rather than continuing the exhausting struggle of “putting on a brave face”, I would allow myself to wallow a bit, in the deep, dark depths of self pity and melodrama. Because you know what? Misery is subjective, and even though there are people suffering far worse than I am and probably ever will, right now my life feels hard, and I’m tired.

I know I’ll be okay, of course I will be. I’m a mother-fucking strong and independent woman for goodness sake *Beyonce face*. And with my stellar circle of family and friends surrounding and cuddling me (in moderation), I’ll be more than okay.

The last few months have taken their toll though. I feel like I wasn’t worth trying for, or sticking up for, and that’s a bit of a kick to the old self esteem - the kind of kick that will require approximately 758 power ballads to rectify. But even though sometimes people will let you down or simply won’t like you, you really have to try to like yourself. Because without that, you’re done. When you get dumped and blame yourself, or you wake up and you don’t feel beautiful, you have to keep going, moving forward, trying harder and always believing that, while flawed, you’re fucking great.

It’s hard and I’m far from over it. I’ll probably never be fully over what’s happened in the last few months, but perhaps that’s a good thing. At least that way I can do everything in my minute power to not let it happen again. We’re all just a work in progress, after all.

There’s always sponge based deserts and emotional Demi Lovato songs as well.

Over and out. 

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Do your worst, twenty fourteen.

I'm taking this month to reflect and recuperate and sit in my onesie eating jacket potatoes. January feels like a good time to do some serious introspective thinking, having just about sobered up after Christmas and with the previous year still pungent in the air (can anyone else smell burgers and broken dreams?).

Generally, I'm reflecting on what is most important to me and what I want from the upcoming year. I need to plot some plans and movements for 2014, because as much as I know we must all expect surprises, I don't want it to be as weird and confusing as the last 12 months. I want a lot of normal and a bit of amazing. And fuck-tons of pizza.

Most of the problems I've faced over the last four or five years have been anxiety and health related. And as tricky as they've been, I haven't had to cope with much job stress, money stress and people-not-being-as-nice-as-you-thought/hoped stress. In 2013 I got a whole lot of that thrown at me, right in the jugular.

I've learnt masses though, which is the silver lining to every difficult situation. I've learnt that people are not always good - they are flawed and selfish, and that I'm a pretty strong lady. I've also learned that sometimes I do bad things that end up hurting people because my judgement is poor. If I can change myself and the way I behave in any way this year, it would be to make better, kinder decisions.

Finally, I've learned that no matter how hard I try, I will not get up an hour earlier to go for a run. Ever. And I'm okay with that.

Here's some of my 2014 resolutions, for your perusal:

- Save some money. Spend less of it in Topshop.

- Clean my room more so I don't have to do a twice-yearly clear out that involves 15 trips to the tip and the inhaling of approximately 76 tons of dust.

- Bake cookies that are soft and chewy in the middle.

- Spend less time feeling sorry for myself and more time fixing things.

- Don't put up with ANY SHIT.

- Start something and finish it. 

- Keep my car clean. Or just clean enough to give lifts without being banished from society. 

- Listen to loads of music and read loads of books, because people are really talented.

- Tell the people that matter how much they matter.

- More than anything though, be completely and utterly cool with me. Like, love the shit out of myself. In a really healthy and non-egotistical way.

What are your resolutions?

Monday, 6 January 2014

Some adjectives about skiing.

I welcomed in the new year in the Swiss alps, sliding down precariously steep snow-covered hills and eating rum slush puppies from the garden. I laughed a lot, drank quite a bit of wine and hot chocolate (not mixed), and made my legs hurt from something called "exercise". After an intense and exhausting year, getting away with some excellent people was pretty dreamy and I wish I was still there. 

My younger brother's friend, Max, and my older brother's friend, Alex, joined the Maxwell family on their winter holiday. They specifically requested this blog post and asked for plenty of adjectives. I assume complimentary ones but as they didn't specify, I cannot guarantee anything. 

This New Year's Eve was one of the best New Year's Eves I've ever spent. Given that I was ill for the last three years though, the holiday party probably shouldn't be too smug about the previous sentence - you didn't have much to compete with.

New Year's Eve 2013 did mark something of a personal achievement though. You know how I have fairly severe contamination OCD and can barely even touch my own shoes without immediately washing my hands? Yes that. Well I ate snow. It was soaked in rum and I'd already been on the wines, but still, well done me. 

We played loads of games, ate fondue ("It's like fishing, but every time you get a fish." - Alex West 2013), and had a boyband-hits-duet with the chalet next door while we watched the fireworks. Stellar night. 


On New Year's Day we bathed in natural hot springs with a mountainous backdrop. As one does. 

And even though they (Jamie) said it couldn't be done with such powdery snow, we made a snowman. With a small head and very wide legs. 

Thanks team, for such a wonderful, stupendous, spectacular, groovy holiday - is that enough adjectives?

On our last morning, we woke up to this sunrise, because sometimes perfection can get even better.