Determination gives you the resolve to keep going in spite of the roadblocks that lay before you.

Dennis Waitley

I’ve done it! I’ve stressed and strived and have finally landed myself a real-life job, in my preferred field, utilising my degree. To say that I’m over the moon is an understatement. I am bursting with energy and happiness. I am so appreciative of all of the people who have supported me during my search, and who have kept me going when I got low. I start in a week. My own desk – a nice pantsuit – a LUNCHBOX!

I’ll keep you posted.


Why Do I Love True Crime?

My partner and I have an ongoing disagreement over my obsession with true crime documentaries and books. I can’t count the amount of times he’s given me a ‘look’ after hearing, once again,  the dramatic voiceover of the latest real murder documentary I’m watching. Or a sly: “Oh, are you reading another death book?”.

I get it. It’s morbid. Why would I immerse myself in someone else’s misery? Why don’t I read a nice chick-lit, or even just a good classic?

Since I’ve had my Kindle, I’ve been able to gain access to a huge amount of different genre of book. I’ve found I enjoy memoirs and true accounts most of all, so true crime was an easy transition to make.

I’ve read dozens of true crime and true account books, as well as multiple documentaries. A lot of these are well known crimes like The Soham Murders, Jaycee Lee Dugard and the mystery of the murder of JonBenet Ramsey. Others are less well-known – a serial killer in a tiny American town, or a poor Nigerian girl forced into a marriage with an older man. I find all equally fascinating, but am always aware that I am not ‘enjoying’ reading about horrific acts that have happened to others.

According to author Gary Provost (1991) the essence of true crime is ‘…normal people, who commit abnormal acts’ and readers of the genre constantly question their own potential for such behaviour.

This is something that makes perfect sense to me. Many times have I pondered over someone’s character after reading/watching their horrific act. Did they know they were going to commit that crime? At what point did they lose it? Could I ever, in a million years, get so messed up that I’d feel like stabbing someone? Or kidnapping a child?

Researchers conducted studies to try to determine why women are attracted to true crime.  Their conclusion was that women are drawn to true crime books out of their own fears of becoming a victim of violent crime.

According to the researchers, women are drawn to true crime books for these reasons:

  •  To learn how to prevent becoming a victim
  • To learn how to survive being a victim.
  • To learn warning signs to watch for.
  • To learn escape tips and survival strategies.

In 2012, crime lecturer Judith Yates compared reading true crime books to riding a roller coaster, suggesting that we find both experiences equally titillating and thrilling, albeit slightly scary. She concluded: ‘Crime is real, guttural, and nasty – but perfectly safe when you are curled up in a chair reading’.

It’s the age old misconception of ‘that will never happen to me’. Have I been reading these books and watching these programs, densensitised? Focusing on the hard-hitting story but forgetting about the people, real people who were affected. Someone’s mother, daughter, father, son. If something happened to me or my family, I’m not sure I’d want to be on someone’s reading list for the reader  to plow through before moving onto the next exciting murder mystery.





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True Life Is Lived When Tiny Changes Occur

It’s 8:45am: I’m sitting in a coffee shop bumming off the free wi-fi.

Even when I’m sitting down, I feel like I’m still spinning from the changes that have occurred in my life over the last couple of months. I don’t think I’ve exhaled yet. Breathe.

Today is a new day. Hiding from your history only shackles you to it. We can’t undo a single thing we have ever done, but we can make decisions today that propel us to the life we want and towards the healing we need.

Steve Mariboli

I’m not one for airing my dirty laundry for all and sundry, (although more than a few people may have seen my knickers from my falling over on a drunken night out!), but I’m inspired today to share a little bit. Not too much, just enough.

From the outside looking in, I may look like a girl who knew where she was going in life, and threw it all away. I had the friends, the guy, and very almost the new life in the sun with a job, home and car.

This, however, is not the case. It may be June in London and I’m sitting with a coat on trying not to freeze when someone opens the door. I may be serving people to pay my rent (still), not ribs anymore, but a waitress nonetheless. I may have come no closer to achieving my five year plan – but there’s nowhere else I’d rather be. I didn’t throw anything away.

I’m starting again, and I finally feel 21 again.

People often say this when they are a lot older, and have experienced a moment which takes them back – a new lease of life to remind them of how they used to be.

I am 21 years old. However, I have felt weary for too long, like I’ve already lived a much older life. Now, I’m being dragged backwards through time – stripping off the wrinkles and worries of the middle-aged life I was living previously. I feel ‘dragging’ has negative connotations. Dancing back through life to how I used to be, perhaps. Some kind of time-warp Moonwalk.

I don’t really know what I’m getting at.

Yes I do. I feel that my life had stopped and slowed to a trickle. The road was set out for me. And I couldn’t handle it. Now, I’m not one of those Pocahontas types; a free spirit who goes where the wind takes me. No, I write lists about the lists I need to make. I absolutely have to know the plan for a night out. How are we getting home? Who’s staying where? What are we having for tea? What am I going to wear on the 15th March 2018? However, this plan I couldn’t go through with.

I can’t say I wasn’t happy. Parts of this period were deliriously happy times for me. And most of the time, I was sure that was the road I wanted to take, I was positive. The worst thing about writing this post is that certain people may read it and might try and read between the lines of what I’m saying. Please, please don’t. I was happy and don’t regret a single second of my life. However, it took some time alone to give me some clarity: to take a step back and get some perspective.

I know I’m the bad guy. I know it will take certain people a long time, if ever, to forgive me. However, I’m not looking for forgiveness, because that would suggest intent to hurt; a wrongdoing. If people should be punished for being honest, then I’ve been taught wrong all my life. If people want to punish me for being honest, then so be it. I’ve learned to let go of anger and hurt and understand why humans act the way they do.

I’ve also learned that I don’t need to justify myself to anyone. I’ve spent too long making excuses, going along with things for an easy life, smiling blandly as I watch my life take shape. No more. I haven’t made myself number one priority for years. It’s my time now. That sounds incredibly selfish written down, but anyone reading this who has gone through a similar period may comprehend what I’m saying.

There’s a lot more I want to say, but I’m aware of the risks of going too far.

I’m happy. I’m living with my best friend in a little flat we’ve made our own. I may be serving people for a living still, yes, but I tell you what, it’s bloody fun, and my German is coming along spectacularly. I haven’t given up my dream of Journalism, and I’m well on my way to achieving it. Just need to sell a few more bratwurst first.

Most of all, I feel like a new person. My skin in brighter, I’ve lost weight, I’m nicer to myself and everyone around me. The aches and pains of the elderly life I was living are falling away day by day. I’m learning to be myself again.

Although I’ve said I don’t need to justify myself, let me reiterate that my intent is not to hurt anyone. Anyone who knows me well can well understand that. I just don’t have to capacity to maliciously affect someone. However, hurt is a factor in many situations in life, and unfortunately it has featured very prominently in this one.

It’s the argument of the greater good. Should I have carried on with the way I was, inevitably hurting multiple people in the future? Or hurt one person now? To me the answer is clear.

I’m closing this book now. Yes, I’m not merely starting a new chapter, but a brand new book.

Wish me luck.


On What Ella Has Learned

Since I left the horror and embarrassment of high school behind; left my mum, my home, and began an independent life, I’ve learned an awful lot. A hell of a lot.

I think back to the girl who was dropped off in a new town on 19th September 2009, shake my head and wonder how I’ve got this far. As well as learning how to make an appointment at the doctors (yes mum, really), and how to do a delicate wash on my washing machine, I’ve learned a range of ‘life’ skills.

Don’t get me wrong – although this advice comes from me, don’t think that I follow it all to a T 24/7. I lose my mind sometimes, have a meltdown, scream and shout, and eat an entire large Texas BBQ Domino’s pizza in one sitting (2,300+ calories if you wondered…).The best way I find to follow my own advice is to take a deep breath and remind myself of the person I want to be. I’d say I follow my own advice 80% of the time, but sometimes the calling for a hot, greasy pizza is too damn strong.

Here goes:

1.     Calm yourself.

Losing my s*** before the s*** even hits the fan is something I still struggle with, but I know that it is pointless. Don’t worry if there is not a problem. Have the foresight to spot potential issues, but having a fit as if the issue is happening RIGHTNOWTHISINSTANTOMFG doesn’t help a jot. Chill, Winston.

2. It’s okay to cry.

But don’t let the person who has upset you see you cry. I’m talking rude work colleagues, bitchy girls, and people that seemingly go out of their way to ruin someone’s day. They do exist; trust me. Many a toilet cubicle has been rushed to before Niagara Falls erupts from my eyes. In theory, seeing you cry should make the person who made you cry question their actions, and wonder what the hell kind of nasty person they are, and what they’re doing with their life. In reality, I feel, it gives them a kind of ‘one-upmanship’, that you couldn’t handle it; you’re weak. Release the waterfall in private, and be satisfied that they don’t know they cracked you. Also, carry concealer.

 3.     Everything is okay in moderation.

 A bit contradictory, considering my Domino’s confession. But seriously. All things are okay if you know your limits. Eating, drinking, maybe even smoking. A girl once laughed at me and made me feel small, as I had no carbs on my plate at Thanksgiving dinner (you know who you are). I wasn’t trying to be all pretentious, ‘no carbs, you seen this body giiiiirl?’ I’d had toast for breakfast, and pizza for lunch. So ha.

4.     Always take your make-up off before bed.

Just do it.

5. If in doubt, pamper.

My close friends will agree. Nothing can make you feel better than just taking an hour out, and pampering yourself. Whether it’s doing your nails, busting out the fake tan, or even just taking a bath, you’re guaranteed to feel just that little bit brighter.

6. Drink water, and always carry some with you.

We insist on these huge bags to lug about, we may as well fill them with goodness. Drinking water regularly is something I’ve only figured out in the last year or so. It just makes you feel good.

 7. Doing a ridiculous dance in your room can make everything okay for a good while.

Mine is Kate Bush, ‘Wuthering Heights’. I’m serious. It’s energetic as well as elegant and floaty, and it’s something that I’d never re-enact in front of another person. After I do it, I always pray I’m not in some kind of Ella-Truman Show

8. Lose the ‘tude, dude.

I generally try to surround myself with kind, polite people. And I try to be polite 100% of the time. However, working in a restaurant really opened my eyes to how rude some people are. And I’m not even talking just customers. Remember the people from tip #2 who seemingly go out of their way to ruin peoples days? Being polite, I feel, takes no effort at all. As soon as you’re rude to me, you go on my list of blacklisted RUDIES, and unless you convince me otherwise, you’re not getting off it. Be nice.

9.     Stand up for others, and most importantly, yourself.

I never used to. I’d sit and stew in my bad luck, and get angrier at the situation. A situation I could have taken control of, had I stood my ground and said “Hey, you’re in the wrong here, not me/them” or “You were rude to me/that person and I don’t think that’s particularly fair”. The issue here is confidence. It takes a lot to go up to some lofty manager or silly self-righteous prat (interchangeable?), and tell them that they are wrong. Remember to form your argument. You can stand up for yourself firmly, without being rude or unprofessional.

10.  Speak clearly and confidently.

This could potentially lead on from the previous point. There’s nothing worse than trying to write down an order from someone who wants a ‘sfmmfmffuffleplease’. Gosh, I’m a waitress, not your favourite film star. I’m not important, but I am if you want your food correct. Speaking clearly and with confidence is advantageous at all times, just be sure to not confuse confidence with arrogance.

11. Never hit someone.

Be the bigger person. Even if they hit you, walk away. Report it, do whatever: just don’t sink to their level. Yes, they’ll call you a coward. But using verbal judo against someone is a lot more effective than blacking their eye. They’re clearly just too caveman to think that deeply.

12.  Leave at least ten minutes before you need to.

You’ll be on time for being on time. Touchdown.

13. Don’t take things so personally.

This is a big one for me. The slightest comment used to have me running for the nearest toilet to wipe my tears before someone saw how weak I was. I had a fat comment the other day. Seriously: “Oh don’t worry. Loads of people are fatter than you.”

Double-edged sword or what? Before, that would twist and turn in my consciousness until I felt nauseous, and have me ballooning myself up in my mind until no WAY, no way I can fit into my size 10 party dress tonight. Yeah, size 10. Someone once convinced me that my size 10 butt was obese. This time, I thought: wow lady, you’ve tried to knock my confidence. Fine. At least I have boobs. I’m a boobilcious whale next to your rakey-rakeyness. It’s immature, but it works. Say it in in your head though – remember the whole politeness thing?

14.  Take something with you to parties.

 Anything, just don’t show up empty-handed. Usually, booze and food are preferable. I took a jelly to a party the other day. It was lame but the only thing I had to hand. But then I was the girl who brought dessert.

15.  Do more things alone.

I used to have this thing where I felt embarrassed to do things alone. Shopping, swimming, or even going to the library alone to study. Now, I would think nothing of going to a restaurant to ask for a table for one. It boosts your confidence like no one’s business. 

16.  Cheat the system, not people.

I’ve lost count of the people I’ve met who I just know would think nothing of stepping all over me in their sharp pointy heels on their way to the top. At university, I had this great article about counterfeit alcohol I was in the process of writing. Unfortunately it never came to fruition in the time I had. A few weeks later, a girl had shamelessly stolen my whole goddamn idea start to finish (you also know who you are). If she’d asked, I may have given her my blessing on the story, maybe even given her a few tips. But, it was MY idea, and now someone else has taken the credit. This was at a time when my confidence was lower, so unfortunately I didn’t stand up for myself. It still burns me today, but I feel saying something now seems petty – what do you think?

My point is, take shortcuts, by all means. We all want the best. Just make sure you’re not cutting anyone down in the process.

17. Record your life.

It’s a great way to look back on the way things were. Granted, I squirm with embarrassment at some of my old diaries, but it happened, and I wrote it down.

Create a blog. Vlog on Youtube. Twitter, Instagram, hell, even Facebook. These are all great ways to remind yourself of your former self. You’ll thank yourself one day.

Don’t forget though, there’s always room for improvement.

If you got this far, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

E x

On being jobless, hopeless and getting desperate

I feel like a big fat failure.

I’m still working 40 hours a week explaining the differences between rib sauces, and rolling my eyes to high heaven when someone orders a succulent filet mignon ‘well done’.

“No blood, yeah, love? Can’t be doin’ wiv no blood. CREMATE it yeah?”

I’ve got myself stuck in a nasty rut, and I know it’s not where I am supposed to be, but I simply can’t quite climb out, the edges are too slippery. One step forward, two steps back.

Selfish as it seems, because I know that many are unfortunate enough to not have jobs at all, but I just know that my calling isn’t in scraping ketchup off plates. With each rejection, each patronisingly polite phonecall telling me why I didn’t get the job, and what a shame it is because they loved me so much, I fall deeper into a sick depression where I torment myself with telling myself I’m not good enough, and gosh look at all these people who graduated with me, look how well they’re doing.

In the beginning I’d tell myself ‘onwards and upwards’ and that there are plenty more job-fishes in the sea. Recently I’ve been saying it through a frozen smile to other people who ask “How’s the job-hunt going?”, whilst feeling ill with embarrassment that they can now see what a failure I am.

Oh, the job hunt is going fine, I can find the jobs perfectly well, there’s thousands. I just can’t secure one.

I sometimes feel melodramatic as well, in the sense that almost everyone is in the same boat. There are a few success stories of people I have graduated with, but most of my friends are going from internship to internship being paid expenses, or working a mediocre job, like me. There’s nothing wrong with having a mediocre job in the service industry, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with internships, gathering experience and making a name for yourself, but we all want more than that.

This post is a rant, but a rant many can hopefully identify with. It’s also very one-sided, focusing on my problems, what I want, and what I’m not getting. Sometimes companies just don’t have the roles, resources or time to look over your CV.

Sometimes, the person got the job over you because they were simply better than you.

I won’t stop looking, and I won’t stop trying. Onwards and upwards. I meant it that time.

E x