Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Self-loathing/loving.


I just read this, by Michelle Thomas – the girl who went on a Tinder date, had a “Pleasant Evening” and then was told in exquisite detail why she was too fat to be sexually attractive.

Boy, it hit me right between the eyes; a big ball of hot anger and steely indignation. I really, really, really want to high five her for such a ferocious but dignified response. What I love most about Michelle’s story is that her self-loving attitude wasn’t what came first. First, came some tears and some self-doubt and then came the fire, because even the most ardent feminists/campaigners/women-with-a-little-self-esteem get sad and have to put a bit of effort into loving themselves.

I, personally, am in the midst of a turbulent battle between my sassy self-loving side and my “only baggy jumpers please” self-loathing side. I scroll through Instagram noting all the flat stomachs, tea-detoxes and calorie counting watches (I don’t even know), and think WHY GOD WHY can’t I prefer running to pizza?

The answer to that, children, is that pizza is awesome and running sucks.

And also, it’s because I’m having a LOVELY life; eating that bowl of chips with my glass (bottle) of white wine and spending my evenings binge-watching Game of Thrones instead of going to the gym. I get it… okay, I should maybe do more exercise and only eat burgers on special occasions. But only because that’s what’s best for ME. Me, me, me. It’s up to me. I will reap the benefits or hide my misdemeanours - because they’re mine.

I think this is one situation when it really is okay to be horribly narcissistic, and I love it when I read blogs and articles written by other women who are struggling and sassy and learning ALL FOR THEMSELVES. I’m trying to find a balance between having a lovely time and building the best version of myself that I can be. I’m trying to find peace with looking different to other women. I’m trying to love myself whatever my body looks like. I'm just really flawed and trying.

And there is no one that is going to tell me, or any other one of you GODDESSES, that we are not good enough or not “sexually attractive” enough, because firstly, it says more about them than it does about us, and secondly, they don’t matter... one little bit.

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Ambition, success, failure and why I need to stop thinking about whether or not I'm a bit fat.


I was going to write a post about the fact that I’m currently the fattest I’ve ever been. But then I started writing, bored myself senseless and realised it’s not worth the time and effort I’ve been spending agonising over it.

So I’m not going to devote this piece of writing to whether or not it will make me happier, healthier and more desirable in work, life and love if I just lose those 15lbs – I’m going to talk about something far more important. Ambition.

I went to the Bookseller Marketing and Publicity Conference this week and it made me feel and think a whole load of things. I’m so pleased I’m in publishing, and I’m even more pleased I’m in publicity in publishing. It is dynamic, exciting, ever-evolving and I would encourage anyone considering it as a possible career venture to make the jump. Having said that, its excitement, evolving nature and dynamism can sometimes make one feel a little overwhelmed and underachieving.

Basically, everyone is doing so many incredible things it can be difficult to keep up.

I would regard myself as a fairly ambitious person. Actually, very ambitious – as well a heady mixture of a control-freak-cum-perfectionist – but with ambition comes success and/or failure. I learned a lot about that from some of the conference speakers this week.

It can be difficult when everyone around you seems to be succeeding, and you’re left behind wallowing in a sea of small triumphs and seemingly huge failures. But what I’m learning is that while our own failures seem infinite, everyone else’s are invisible, shrouded in a cloak of our own self-doubt. And not only that, but failure is absolutely necessary. How else will we learn, grow and succeed? If you don’t try, you don’t fail. And not trying is really not an option.

I’m in a strange head-space at the moment – I feel dissatisfied, frustrated and inspired all at the same time. There’s a lot I want to change in many areas of my life and work but I’m feeling okay about that. This is when things get exciting. There's a lot I want to do in the next 5 years, a lot of ambitions pulsing through my veins, most of which I will not write down here for fear that they will not come true (I’m rubbish at taking my own advice), and I’m quietly confident that I’m going to go and do some pretty cool things.

(And whether or not I lose 15lbs is going to make absolutely no difference to whether or not I’m a good publicist).

Just have faith in yourself, or no one else will. 

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Tasting London.


The very best of the city's restaurants gathered in Regents Park for Taste of London this weekend, and last night we sampled as many of them as possible. 

I love free samples, and I especially love it when those free samples are of Lindt chocolate, ravioli, wine and mojitos. We spent our evening wandering around the stalls in the drizzling rain, getting drunk on both free and extortionately-priced drinks and desperately trying to decide which delicious smell to follow. We tasted burgers, bruschetta, chicken liver pate, polenta, mushroom ragu and hummus bowls, and then we bought a big bag of pastries for our Sunday morning breakfast. 

It was great. All my favourite things. Regents Park has never been so appealing. And it's always been above-average. 

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Never apologise for how you feel.


It’s funny how the very next post I want to write after confessing how optimistic and lucky I feel is one about how scared I am.

Sometimes I worry. Actually, all the time I worry. But sometimes that worry is so specific and acute that all I want to do is run.

I’m not talking about my usual anxieties about contamination and cleanliness, I’m talking about a more deeply rooted fear of being alone and an innate inability to accept love. Occasionally, and I do mean occasionally, I get really scared of losing everything. My parents are going to die, my friends are going to get bored of me, my boyfriend is going to run off with someone else – because why wouldn’t they? Why would I get to be happy? Why would they want to stick around?

So my urge is to pre-empt the inevitable. I want to run and hide.

And that’s how I’m feeling right now. I’m writing about it because that’s how I cope, but I do apologise for being so narcissistic.

I’m extreme. Things are either wonderful and the sun shines every day or life is terrifying. And that’s okay, it makes life pretty colourful. Somehow though, I need to find a way to trust. To trust what people say, to trust that things aren’t going to crumble and to trust that I am okay.

I read a quote today that I liked. I don’t know who said it but it’s pretty cool. It made me feel a bit better.


Never apologize for how you feel. No one can control how they feel. The sun doesn’t apologize for being the sun. The rain doesn’t say sorry for falling. Feelings just are.

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Excellent - I'm another year older.


I’m still not quite at the age my head and my heart think I am, but year on year I’m getting there. As the rules of time dictate.

I turned 23 this month and feel more optimistic than I have ever done before. That’s not because things are perfect – I think ‘perfect’ might actually be a lie – and it’s not because I can cope with anything – I need a lot of wine to cope with most things – but I think it’s because I am lucky, and I know I’m very lucky. I am thankful for that every single bloody day in this beautiful but painful world.

When I was growing up - a slightly chubby teenager with eyebrows I didn’t yet know how to tame - I couldn’t wait to be an adult. Everyone told me not to wish my childhood away, that I “didn’t know how good [I’d] got it” and that life was never going to be as easy as it was right at that moment. That was a scary thought. Life didn’t feel easy. It felt like a monotonous and draining battle between desperately trying to be like everyone else and wanting to be intrinsically unique and find my own way. Bring on responsibility, financial worries and cooking my own dinner, I thought, at least then I can just be me. And they were wrong, at least in my case, being an adult is so much better.

As I said, I’m still not as old as I feel; I suspect I’ll peak at 30, when all my friends have got babies so it’ll be a viable and attractive option for us to stay in with a bottle of wine and a blazing fire going.

But even so, I’m 23, I’m in a career that inspires me, I’ve honed my friendships into a group of only the very best people, I’ve suddenly/finally realised how completely great my family are, and I’m in a relationship that is so easy and fun I don’t know where on earth the last year has gone.

I’m grateful, you see.

And I think it’s extra easy to be grateful when you consider the bad bits, too, which are ever present and ever nagging and hopefully only sometimes overwhelming. My OCD and anxiety makes doing normal things difficult, my dad still has a poorly heart and is on medication that makes his face puffy, and work can be very frustrating and demotivating at times. We’ve all got the bad bits. Let’s not dwell.

My birthday weekend was a joyous occasion. All my favourite people gathered at my parents’ house on the Friday evening for a BBQ, beers and table tennis, we had a family birthday day on the Saturday with a big breakfast, dinner out and a fancy cinema trip, and then on my ACTUAL birthday Tim took me out for a gorgeous lunch on a rooftop in East London (wild black bream for the lady) and then we went to see Billy Elliot in the West End. We started drinking at 9am and didn’t stop all day. It was spectacular.


I’m excited to be 23. I have no idea what this year holds. I suspect there will be a lot of reading and eating and drinking, but the rest is up for grabs. 


Thursday, 14 May 2015

Defined by my mental health.


I’ve spent the last six years trying not to be defined by my mental health. I try hard to appear strong and confident and I’ve retreated slightly from my old ways of bearing all online.

It’s Mental Health Awareness Week though, so I’m going to write some words, because while deeply detrimental to a sufferer’s quality of life, poor mental health often goes undiagnosed or simply dismissed, and that’s not good enough.

When I was 16 I was diagnosed with OCD and a severe anxiety disorder, triggered by a prolonged period of illness. I left school, left any possibility of a conventional method of higher education behind, and embarked upon an eye-opening, turbulent and fucking terrifying journey to some kind of normality. Whatever normality is.

I try to steer clear of words like “battle” and “struggle” because, while it was and is those things, I am not a victim.  

There were times when my hands and arms were raw and scabbed from endless washing, I hadn’t eaten a thing all day because all food, cutlery and crockery were contaminated, I couldn’t walk 100 metres down the road without having an almighty panic attack, and I’d lost over two stone in weight and my body was no longer functioning how it should be. Naturally, I was pretty angry. I felt like the life I should have had was being swiped from under my feet, but ultimately, I knew that the only person that could save that was me. It was my responsibility and it was within my power to do so.

I’m not a victim. I have always had a wonderful life, incredible support and access to the NHS. I tried counselling, medication, homeopathic remedies, CBT and a really weird holistic therapy where I had to walk around the room with my eyes closed and shout random words. Some worked better than others, and along with the support of my family and friends, an ambitious sensibility and sheer determination, I’m doing okay now.

It turned out that A Levels and university weren’t the be all and end all and when I left school at 16 I wasn’t throwing my life away like I was led to believe.

It’s fine to feel sad and to wallow for a while, but at some point you have to decide that the state of your mental health is not going to define who you are.

I think that can start with being unashamedly open. Telling your story and listening to others’. Not being afraid to be who you are at your most ugly and weak self.

I’m not ashamed of the problems I’ve faced, whether people understand them or not, and I am not a victim. This Mental Health Awareness Week I want more people to open up, enlist the help that is available to them (the CBT I received under the NHS was far better than my experience of private therapy), and understand that it’s okay not to be the finished product. Don’t judge people for what they’re going through and don’t judge yourself similarly.


I will continue to work through my issues, knowing that while I’m weak in some ways and wash my hands far too much, I’m also strong and determined and really fucking great. 

Monday, 11 May 2015

Doing London.


London is the only place I've ever wanted to live. 

It is overwhelming and thrilling I'm not sure I'll ever fall out of love with it.

People call it smelly, rude, dirty and crowded, and it is all those things... but it's also dynamic, exciting, beautiful and alive. And let's be honest, there is no better place to eat sourdough pizza. (Apart from Italy, obviously, I was being antagonising on purpose). 

Summer is (kind of) upon us, in short, sharp bursts of blue skies and frozen yoghurt in Regents Park, and I'm so grateful to be here. It's worth the extortionate renting costs, I promise.

I want to eat bread and cheese in one London's many parks or drink coffee on a bench on the bank of the Regent's Canal. I want to submerge myself in the vibrancy of Soho: watch plays in the West End and walk the cobbled streets after a bottle, or six, of wine. I want to eat on a terrace in Covent Garden and watch street performers entertain the tourists. I want to visit museums and galleries and pretend to be clever, and I want to watch my fellow Londoners go by, while I sit in the window of a cosy coffee shop, appreciating every minute I get to spend in this wonderful city.

I know that one day I might want to retreat to the quiet of say, Hampstead or Richmond (winning the lottery permitting), but I'll just have to make damn sure I'm still within tube distance of a bar that serves cocktails in mason jars.