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As of 2006, ambitious women the world over watched as a Meryl Streep type Anna Wintour invaded their screens, reminding them that a modern day love story, can be just as much about a job as it can be about a man.
Girls are no longer raised to polish oven doors, we’re here to work. Don’t get me wrong, I know my way around a turkey baster as well as the next Nigella Lawson, but I was brought up knowing I had to work, and since statistically we spend 99,117 hours of our lives doing just that, I figured I might as well get the job that I want. Unfortunately for me, so did everyone else.
Everyone seems to be looking for a job, yet no one seems to know what wins in the battle between industry experience and education. Take it from me, who has tried both, having the right contacts wins hands down every time. Instead of complaining about it, you just accept the hierarchy of the working world, and start from the bottom. The bottom of course, being unpaid.
The chances are life will throw you a lifeline eventually, even if it is a minimum wage one. You take it of course, because let’s face it, a few thousand a year, is better than no thousand at all.
Before you disagree with me, I must admit it’s not just the career aspect of ’The Devil Wears Prada’ that caught my interest. It’s was the Chanel. And the Prada of course. Definitely the Prada. I need shoes, and not just for my own vanity, no, I need them to make a good impression on that next job interview, waiting just around the corner.
Also if like myself, being able to afford to move out before the age of forty seems an appealing prospect, you must embrace the jobs which pay badly, just as much as the ones which pay well.
As for my soul. That was sold a long time ago. I could blame the companies which take us in under their umbrella, fully qualified, yet working for free. One volunteer after the other, all of them getting the job done, not one asking for a penny, because having the experience on the CV is payment enough.
I could even blame the boss, who pays you too little despite demanding so much. Yes, they definitely deserve a mention.
Not because they are the reason I will soon be purchasing from the very charity shops I once donated to. Or for the lines around my eyes which no Sainsbury’s brought home facial can seem to eradicate. But because they gave me the first taste of what success could taste like, and I kind of liked it.
Another February 14th has come and gone with nothing left to show for it but a Facebook timeline filled with artsy photos of teddies and roses.
To card companies it is the first flourish after the post Christmas-card buying lull. To women it is a competition titled ‘who is least likely to die alone’ and to men it is the only day of the year where buying flowers and taking your misses out to dinner isn’t deemed romantic but ‘the least you could do’.
Women in relationships wish to fall in love, single women wish to fall in chocolate and I simply wish to fall into a well of some sort, where my overly Greek grandmother can’t find me to remind me for the twentieth time, that at my age she was married with 5 children.
It’s not that I have a problem with romance and I’m all for having an excuse to receive presents outside of the Christmas and Birthday bracket. It’s just the idea of Valentine’s day that I’ve never managed to sink my teeth into.
I have always been of the belief that flowers on a random Monday or chocolates on a Sunday afternoon, for no particular reason at all, are much sweeter gestures than when done on the 14th. I’m just not so sure if it’s romantic to buy your girlfriend a present, on national get-your-woman-a-present-so-she-doesn’t-dump-you day.
Though to be fair, while myself, a handful of single people and most men would agree it is a stupid tradition, it isn’t an entirely flawed concept. I bet the gents aren’t complaining about having to spend £12 per rose when their wife or girlfriend turns up, legs shaved (for the first time in a month) with a push up bra on and clothes instead of her usual tracksuit and “I’m comfortable like this” speech.
As for single people, well after a two hour rant about the very large possibility of having to marry a second cousin so as not to die alone, you remember what a fabulous excuse this is to meet up with other single friends. You drink wine, discuss the cute guy you met last Friday night and moan about your instagram news-feed looking like something Cupid threw up.
Before you know it you’re back at work and people are asking you… what day was it yesterday? And you reply “Thursday” because Valentine’s has stopped being a big deal again; for another 364 days at least.
No one likes a liar. The problem is that no one likes the truth very much either; not the whole truth anyway, not all the time. We’re told from a young age that lying is bad, but what would happen in a world where you could only tell the truth?
In theory a truthful world seems like a better one, but is it one you would want to live in? Dishonesty can be a terrible thing, marriages fall apart, friendships are lost and others get hurt. That being said, every liar reading this, is in good dishonest company, because while we all say we hate lies, none of us can actually help but tell them.
Various psychology tests tell me that the average person lies about 4 times per day; then again I could be lying. In a society where the lies blend so well with the truth, how do we know where to draw the line?
Mothers tell their children that a hurtful truth is better than a comforting lie; 18 years later however when that very same mother is asking her daughter if she thinks her diet’s been working, she isn’t asking for truth (the scales could tell her that) she’s seeking reassurance. It’s not so much that we don’t want to hear the truth, it’s that we are so used to the political correct answer “no you don’t look fat in that” “yes I like your new hair cut” “sorry I only just saw your missed call” that we become affronted and offended if we don’t receive it.
People ask for honesty, they ask for other peoples opinions, but what they’re really looking for is their own opinion mirrored back to them. Not all of the time, I don’t like to generalize, but some of the time at least. So what is the big deal if I tell my friend’s mum that her lasagna is ‘really nice’ or if I tell my sister that ‘she was out of his league anyway’?
I suppose the problem is that some of us don’t know where to draw the line and we continue justifying each lie as it happens. Since no one can tell us which lies are for the greater good and which are not, people who want to lie, will always find a way to excuse it. Because the most convincing liars are the ones which learn to lie to themselves a little too.
The problem is, once you have been caught in one lie, everything else you have ever said, gets thrown into dispute. Jeremy Kyle’s made a whole career out of it; as I’m sure have several top end divorce lawyers. So what’s the solution?
Do we chose moral clarity and run the risk of offending or upsetting someone, or even worse getting dumped or fired before clocking our first lie-free 168 hours? Or do we accept that not all lies are such terrible deceits?
“Oh this isn’t new, I’ve had it ages” “I’m fine” “I’m on my way” “I only had one glass of wine” “I didn’t have any signal” and my personal favorite ”it was in the sale” surely aren’t such terrible lies.
So far my personal approach on the truth has been: I’ll save it for when it matters. And I don’t think that’s a half bad plan.
There’s never been any doubt in my mind that my family is a little bit country.
Easter Sunday was spent chasing the chickens away from the BBQ hoping they wouldn’t make the connection between themselves and their not so distant herb covered cousins.
Some cultures dye their Easter eggs red, others mould them out of chocolate but my family decided all that was far too main stream. We weren’t having any of it, we were going back to basics and making our eggs from scratch.
I’m not talking Nigella Lawson here, I mean straight up Old MacDonald type stuff; 18 fertilized eggs, 1 incubator and a 22 day wait. I can safely say it is by far the longest I’ve ever had to wait for eggs. I am only left to hope that it is culturally acceptable to give live chicks to people for Easter because 18 children is somewhat more than I planned on having.
The first beak came through while I was at work and apparently “I’m about to be a mum” wasn’t enough to get me out of work for the afternoon. I should have definitely used the “surrogate” excuse as opposed to the “one of my eggs have cracked” explanation I went with.
It turns out it wasn’t an issue, these babies brought a whole new meaning to the term ‘slow cooked chicken’; they weren’t ready to come out and so they didn’t.
I even tried to Google how long it takes for a chick to hatch (incidentally the number 1 suggested search when I started typing was “how long does it usually take for chicks to text back” reminding me that the days of rearing your own chickens at home are well and truly coming to an end).
As for the birth of my first chick. Well I missed it.
You know those men whose wives are in labour for hours? They sit next to a heavily breathing woman for what seems like forever, then the poor sods pop out for 3 minutes to get a sandwich and end up missing the entire birth. Well today I reach out to poorly timed men the world over and express my understanding. From this day forth “but I got hungry” will be accepted as an excuse for being absent at the birth, because missing that final moment… apparently is not that hard to do!
That being said of course I did have 17 more chicks to follow.
As for this one, well he needed a name that proclaimed ‘first born’ and so I named him Adam. A stroke of genius on my (the internet’s) behalf.
Ruined only by the fact there’s still a 50% chance it turns out to be a girl.
Once upon a dysfunctional relationship ago, women would determine unfaithfulness based on the obvious tale tell signs. The lipstick on the shirt, a sudden interest in aftershave and those curious receipts Whitney Huston sung about all those years ago.
Now we have entered the information age however, women no longer need to wait for signs; they can simply dig them up themselves; a love excavation if you will, because no one does research quite like a suspicious woman with unlimited broadband. Which means alongside online dating and we have created the evolution of digital tears and online break ups.
A few years back, women’s biggest techno-dating-phobe was sending a drunken text to someone after two dates and scaring them off completely. Now we long for such simple days, where a basic “I didn’t text you, the wine did” can fix it all.
With constant access to our dates, boyfriends, husbands and lovers every move can be analysed under a magnifying glass and we all know that too much of that, can start fires.
Years ago it was said that when you date a woman you date her family too, these days an even more uncomfortable type of threesome has arisen and when it comes to dating it’s ‘him’ ‘her’ and ‘the internet’. An explosion of social technologies (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat and whatever else out there I have yet to discover) has caused an explosion in sanity too. Just because you can keep tabs on someone throughout the day, doesn’t mean you should.
It starts off innocently, he messages a girl on Twitter and you check to see if she’s attractive. He has his “read receipts” on and you notice he saw your message but took an hour to reply. A picture was uploaded on to Facebook and his female co-worker ‘liked’ it. Completely innocent occurrences to everyone but the girlfriend who has convinced herself that Donell Jones isn’t the only one who knows what’s up.
Trusting someone in a relationship can be hard enough without purposely looking for evidence of unfaithfulness. Whatever your current use for Google is, checking up on your other half probably shouldn’t be it. Go buy a dress, reply to those work emails you’ve been ignoring for two weeks or look up old friends to see if they’ve gotten fat… anything that doesn’t involve obsessing over the online footprint of your partner.
You should also note that it’s not just his online activity you have to worry about. While you’re walking around with your phone in your hand like it’s puppy you can’t leave unattended, he might be wondering what’s so interesting that you can’t put it down. You might be on Facebook looking at the same photo of your friend’s new hair cut from 17 different angles, but he’s probably trying to work out who you might be texting and if they’re the reason you password protect your phone.
If you ask me, it’s time for a break up; or a break at the very least. Break up with your smart phone before it’s a real break up on the cards. I’m not suggesting you dig out your old Nokia 3210; perhaps just learn to leave it in your pocket or bag every once in a while. Maybe one day you can even pop to the shops without it and let the rest of us know if the world doesn’t end.
After all, we already live in an age where people get broken up with on Facebook, let’s not let it become the age where people break up because of it too.
It’s here, whether we like it or not the season of ear muffs and grandma type jumpers is upon us. To some it’s the season to be jolly, but to most it’s the season to wake up at 7am and chisel ice off your windshield in minus temperatures.
The days are shorter, working hours seem longer and if the sun ever does decide to make an appearance, most of us miss it as we’re chained to the confines of our office until past sunset. As if being pale from sun deprivation wasn’t depressing enough, most of us also have to deal with weight gain and increased lethargy.
Hibernation being the obvious solution to this chilly problem, it’s a shame taking a 3 month nap-break from work isn’t an acceptable way to deal with winter.
When it comes to advice on dealing with the winter months I’ve heard it all: buy a vitamin D supplement, take up ice skating, invest in some cosy mittens and my personal favourite… invest in a light box which simulates the suns natural rays and trick your body into thinking it’s day light when it’s not.
If you ask me it seems like a lot of effort with minimal results. No amount of sitting under a really bright light bulb is going to make me forget that summer is another 240 days away.
So other than moaning about it (which granted is a mini therapy in itself) is there anything that can make us warm to winter? These are my tips: tried, tested and not yet rejected.
1. Invest in a heated blanket. It’s a given that during winter you’re more and more drawn to your bed and since we’ve already accepted we’re spending most of the live long winter there, optimizing duvet time is sure to increase happiness levels.
Throughout summer people speak of how amazing it is to get into a nice cool bed… that feeling of crisp sheets and cold pillows. In the winter that sounds about as appealing as getting a face full of rain on your way out your front door in the morning. Warm and snug is the way forward, ditch the hot water bottle and heat your bed up with the click of a button before you jump in and re-think that hibernation idea.
2. Use your gym membership (you know… the one you signed up to four months ago and used twice in the week leading up to your summer holiday). It’s a common misconception that summer is the season of working out and winter is the season of food. Well, not a total misinterpretation, the latter is true, but the season of food comes at a heavy cost (heavy being the operative word).
Two consecutive months of baggy jumper and legging combos and the weight creeps on without you or your skinny jeans being any the wiser. I’m just saying, the person with the biggest belly at your work Christmas party should technically be the guy in the corner who came dressed as Santa. Don’t pass up on those mince pies just yet however; there’s nothing a few work outs won’t work off.
3. Go Out. If I can still make it to the pub in 6 inch stilettos over a floor full of ice, you can too (the 6 inch part is optional, but the socializing part is not). I often find as soon as the temperature plummets below 10 degrees, people will find any excuse to stay in on a Friday and Saturday night.
Don’t get me wrong; when they invent a bar which I can shuffle on down to in my onesie and bath robe, I will be the first one there. Until that day comes however, putting on (three layers) of real clothes and going out with your friends really is the most effective way of forgetting we’re only half way through what feels like an ice age.
Plus, nothing warms you up mid-winter like a large glass of wine.
It’s here, whether we like it or not the season of ear muffs and grandma style jumpers is upon us. The prospect of chiselling ice off our windshields at 7am is only slightly counterbalanced by the thought of two things: gingerbread lattes and Christmas day over-eating.
That being said we all know it’s not officially the festive season until the Coca-Cola ‘holidays are coming’ advert hits our screens.
Christmas tree and presents aside, it’s the little things that really get us in the festive mood. Here are my top 5:
1. The battle of the ‘festive flavour’ coffee commences. From Eggnog Latte to Black Forrest hot chocolate, this is what Christmas tastes like and it would be rude not to taste it all.
2. Fashion comes in reindeer form. It doesn’t matter how much of a fashionista you are, reindeer print jumpers and Santa hats are not only acceptable but stylish too. By rule of thumb if you see someone in a jumper embellished with: polar bears, penguins or Christmas puddings (and not in the ‘how embarrassing my grandma made me wear this’ kind of way) then the holiday season is here.
3. Staying in is the new going out. Who needs to venture into the cold when you have all the entertainment you could need playing out the box in your living room? Aside from the Christmas themed adverts playing at quarter of an hour intervals (the John Lewis and Marks and Spenser holiday adverts truly giving Coca-Cola a run for their money this year) we also have Christmas 24 and a whole array of other deliciously terribly Christmas channels waiting for you. Truly terrible films… I must have watched 8 already.
4. Stuffing is back on the menu. You know it’s almost Christmas when every lunchtime menu has at least 3 stuffing-based options on it. Turkey and stuffing sandwiches (come to mamma) chicken and stuffing crisps (I think so). In fact everything begins to taste better around Christmas. With so much festive food porn, it’s no wonder we put on so much weight in the holiday period!
5. Every shopping spree comes with its own Christmas themed backing track. You can’t walk past a single shop on Oxford Street without your ears being greeted by a complication of “Santa Claus is coming to town” and “Do they know it’s Christmas” (which admittedly is a welcome pick-me-up from the obscene money spending on other people).
Music and the act of overbuying go hand in hand in the lead up to Christmas and even the Amazon spending sprees in your lunch break at work seem to be coupled with Mariah Carey’s “All I want for Christmas”.
The worst part? No one even bats an eye.
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