commuterOh my god, I hate commuting. I got away with it for so long, living and working in Kingston-upon-Thames for nearly four years. How I’d relish the secret thrill of thinking ‘haaaaaasucka’, when my poor colleagues got stuck waiting for delayed trains or told me their wake-up times, like 6am what even is that bro.

Alas, it could not continue. I knew that eventually I’d have to get a grip and get out of my Surrey bubble. I mean, I wouldn’t actually move out of Surrey for god’s sake, who do you think I am – but the time had come to stop pissing about and join the masses.

When I joined my new agency, based in Euston, I got to Twickers station bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, no big deal right? Oh nah. I felt like the whole of bloody Twickenham wanted to get on that train and I ended up under a man’s armpit and up against a lady’s derriere – it was verging on perverted (I could feel the cheeks).

Over the next few weeks I nearly fainted twice, dropped a bunch of stuff like hair clips, pens and other things never to be retrieved, cursed and tutted my friggin’ brain out and arrived at the office looking less slick than I wanted.

It’s alright, it’s not forever – ONLY 40 YEARS TO GO. No but seriously, people do this every day for years – I don’t even have it that bad. I come in twice or three times a week max and work from home the rest of the time (nothing like slamming a journalist with a hard-hitting pitch when you’re sat in your PJs eating Rich Tea biscuits for breakfast – I mean WHAT, who’d even do that?)

I thought I’d put together a few tips of how I make it through the ghastly London rat-race of a morning.

It’s really hot, don’t even bother wearing a coat ever
Unless you want the disgusting feeling of a trickle of sweat running gently down your back, lay off the layers. Take one with you if you must. Winter, if anything, is worse. I remember one disgusting journey when a guy was sweating so badly inside his full suit and puffa jacket that sweat was dripping of his head in a stream, onto his phone, into his coffee, on the floor, almost on to us. Embarrassing mate, can you not.

Don’t you DARE bring a massive backpack
Don’t be bloody selfish to the handbag/briefcase people getting peak trains to get into the office between 8-9. I mean, how very dare. Take your ridiculously over-sized luggage and get an off-peak train when we’re all ensconced in our offices, having not been assaulted by your life in a bag. Or walk. You’re CLEARLY going on a hike, Bag-Man.

Literally no one wants to hear your phone conversation
Nothing worse than hearing half a conversation, especially as I am so nosy. Everyone’s listening, don’t be so narcissistic.

Prepare to be judo-flipped, pole hogger
You know who you are. Leaning nonchalantly against the middle pole like it ain’t no thing, when we’re all flying across the carriage because we’d rather do that than either ask you to move or actually *shudder* touch you. It’s a British thing.

Reading material = god send
All the better to ignore you with, my dear.

Club together, tut as a mass
Might be mob mentality, but once commuters have something to be pissed off about, we get pissed off TOGETHER. AS A UNIT. Muted ‘for Christ’s sakes’, shared shakes of heads, tapping feet and fingers, unite.

If you even think about standing on the left side of the escalator, I swear to GOD
Just be fucking sensible alright?

Good luck, fellow commuters. I’m sure we’ll all be ignoring each other together shortly.

 

Screen Shot 2016-08-23 at 10.10.42Hi,

God, you really think you’re the shit, don’t you? You’re not, by the way. You’ll look back in a few years and cringe. Hard. The way you type is REALLY bad as well, putting spaces between punctuation , like , this , really isn’t cool ! You’ve also got a shit hair cut.

I know you don’t really think you’re the shit, though. You’re a emotional ball of anxiety, constantly on the verge of tears, hidden by a choppy bleached blonde cut and a short skirt. I’m really sorry to tell you, I know you think that that feeling will go away when you go to uni and start your ‘real’ life, but it doesn’t. You’re still going to feel that way at 25. It’s just you’ll have better ways to hide it. The trick is to pretend not to give a shit – and if you do it enough you can kind of kid yourself that you don’t.

Your self-confidence is at an all time low, I know. I remember your lowest ebb and what you thought of doing and unfortunately, it still brings me to tears thinking about it at 25. The people who made you feel that way will slip into obscurity, I promise you. You will feel better. It does get better. It’s not perfect, but it’ll do. You learn to cope.

Stop worrying about the boys at school. They are fucking lame.

Stop worrying about the girls at school. You will never speak to most of them again once you get out of Stratford-upon-Avon. You know, you never felt like you really fitted in, anyway.

You pass your exams well, and yes, you’re going to Kingston.

Unfortunately, it’s not together forever for you and L. But it’s okay! It ends amicably and you will meet someone else. And you will want to, even though you say you don’t.

Be nice to your mother please. You don’t move back home and this is the last few months you’ll spend together properly before you start adulting. She misses you and loves you more than you know – you’re not looking properly yet. Let her be happy in her own way, too. Stop telling her she is ‘lame’, she ain’t. You’d do well to be a mother like her (no, it hasn’t happened yet, much to her chagrin).

Your brother is bloody awesome, and you can’t see that yet either. Don’t pester, let him grow. It all comes right.

Stop worrying about Daisy. She’s got plenty of time left and she won’t hate you for leaving. You even get to take her to the beach, like you always wanted!

I guess what I’m trying to say is, stop worrying so much. I mean, yeah you’re always going to worry, but stop taking yourself so seriously!

It’s supposed to be fun! The best is yet to come.

Ella x

 

3588234437_caab2c0924_oYour friend is pregnant and you’re over the moon! You want to hug and jump around with her (but you don’t because all of a sudden you feel your friend is like this fragile sacred vessel carrying the body of a new angel) and get pissed (but you can’t anymore so you buy a celebratory bottle of Schloer to pretend).

It’s not all growing baby bumps and little booties though – pregnancy is HARD – and you’re not even the one going through it!

Here are my tips on how to get through your friend’s pregnancy without a hiccup.

Be there

Okay, Captain Obvious. You’ve been there for her before but now things are different and she needs you in a different way. Sometimes she can’t complain to her husband or mother about new stretch marks and other odd-goings-on the way she can with you. Sometimes she’ll want to talk for ages about how crap she feels, how much her bloody bloody husband is pissing her off, how she can’t sleep. It’s best just to listen. There’s not much in the way of advice to give, so just being an outlet for a rant can be very conducive for her mood. It’s not all bad either. Sometimes you can talk for hours about names and bedding little babygros and was that a foot? It’s all super exciting.

Offer to help

But not too much. She’s not an invalid. Offer to go shopping with her, or to antenatal classes to support her if she needs it. Don’t be surprised if you’re turned down, a lot of this stuff is husband/wife/mother/in law territory – but it’s good for her to know you’ll be there if she needed you.

She might be bitchy

And hot. And stubborn. And annoyed. And ratty. I’d keep quiet if I were you. She’s not pissed of with you, she’s pissed off that she can’t cool down and that she’s put on half a stone and she had no control over it. It’ll soon pass when the miracle of life feeling passes over her again. But do expect the mood swings.

Don’t tell her how big or small her bump is

This is a big one and one I’d not have considered. Apparently it’s a huge deal. This lady even went to the papers because she was so annoyed with people telling her she was ‘huge’ at 24 weeks. From what I can gather, telling a woman how big the bump is makes her immediately feel all fat and gross, whilst telling her how small it is only makes her anxious that something might be wrong with the baby. Don’t do it. If you have to tell her anything, tell her how bloody good she looks.

Don’t rush into seeing her when the baby is born

You might be best-friends-do-everything-together-love-you-millions, but when the baby is born, the priorities go like this: the baby, the mother, then the father/other mother, then the immediate family. You are wayyyy down that list of priorities, sorry. Some women do allow friends to visit in hospital, but it can be a bit overwheliming, and often they don’t keep new mothers in long enough now for several visitations. Some women only allow immediate family to visit, and then go home with their husband or boyfriend (or wife or girlfriend) to start their lives as a threesome before allowing other people in. It takes a lot of getting used to, you know! Ask your friend way in advance what she thinks she might want, but be aware that this may change when the baby is born (even if she said she wanted to see you straight away). And no matter what, under any circumstances, do NOT arrive unexpectedly, no matter how much you want to squeeze new chubby cheeks!

 

Do you have or have you had an expecting friend? How much of this do you identify with?

 

 

shut-up-re-some-more-sx-197393-e1425907835474*Name changed to protect the bitchy.

Dear Miss Simpson,

I don’t know what it was about you, or why I felt you had it in for me. But you did. You were one of my favourite teachers throughout school, fun and interesting and one we could be ourselves around. Come Sixth Form, you’d been promoted (?) and were all of a sudden a ‘force to be reckoned with’. Why? What changed? Did you feel like you had to ‘play a part’?

Remember when you called a meeting with my mother to try to convince me to drop my fourth A Level and carry on with three, as you didn’t feel ‘it was the best direction’ for me? Remember how I cried and you sat there smugly?

Remember when you came into the common room at lunchtime and screamed at me in front of all of my peers because I was wearing ‘skinny trousers’? I was constantly called out and made to feel embarrassed, although looking around the room you could have pointed out another five or ten people who weren’t in the uniform that was up to your ‘standard’. Ugg boots, hoodies, trainers everywhere – but my black business trousers had to go, didn’t they?

Remember when I got my A Level results, and you’d drawn a big star on the front of my envelope? You took me away from all my peers who were celebrating their results and made me open my envelope in a room ‘in case I hadn’t got the results I wanted’. Well, I did. I got into my first choice university, onto the degree I wanted. I wish I could have taken a picture of your face when I came out of that office beaming. Your mask slipped and in that moment I realised you actually had wanted me to fail. You made it so obvious. I went back to my friends and celebrated, just the way I was supposed to.

Speaking with peers who knew how I felt at that time, I realised you affected more people than just me. That’s awful. You could have been awesome and supportive and helpful, but you turned into this angry, stomping tornado who felt the need to bring people up to your ‘standard’ – which you tried to tell us was what we had to get used to if we were to go and work in a normal ‘business environment’. You were SO wrong. I was terrified to start my first real job in case I encountered people like you. Not once have I – and I believe someone behaving the way you behaved wouldn’t have lasted long either.

Have you ever heard that saying: ‘a boss inspires fear, a leader generates enthusiam’? No? Probably best you look it up.

I think you felt very important in your role and perhaps because of this, very under pressure. Maybe you were exerting your ‘power’ because you yourself were feeling nervous that you couldn’t live up to what was expected of you. The part you played has affected me for years. You made me feel like what I wore or said or did wasn’t good enough, something I struggle with to this day, comparing myself to other people and worrying about what others think.

However, you also affected me in a good way. You made me feel so crap about myself that I was determined not to fail and to be the very best I could, if anything, just to prove you wrong. I’m sitting here in my own flat, with my own money and my own bloody awesome job. Making a massive headway up the career and property ladder – MY way. The way everyone should do things – something you must have forgotten along the way.

I hope you found your peace and never made anyone feel the way you made me feel again. And yeah, I’m still wearing skinny trousers.

Ella.

 

 

I do love a new product and am a self-confessed impulse buyer! Adverts know what they’re doing, and all it takes is a quick stroll around Boots or Superdrug for me to come out with a whole hoard of bits and pieces (how did this happen, I only went in to buy one thing etc etc). I’m generally pretty happy with my purchases and am continually buying those cute little storage boxes from IKEA to keep them all in. However, there’s a few that don’t live up to the hype. All that excitement of a new product for something which doesn’t work for me.

When finding a product like this, I try my best to give them away to friends and family to ensure they don’t go to waste – I’m not saying they won’t work for everyone!

Here are the top five products I regret buying.

Max Factor Masterpiece Eyeliner

This one really annoyed me! I tried it on my hand in Boots and out came this wonderful jet-black liquid which dried exactly the way I like it. The nib was also really interesting and I thought it’d really help the construction of my cat-liner. No such luck. As soon as I did practically one swipe on my lids, the nib dried up and I ended up dragging it across dry, which really hurt! It seems to not work on top of eyeshadow which is rubbish. I tried to give it the benefit of the doubt by pressing the nib on paper to ensure it was damp with liner before going in on my lid. This took ages though and I ended up using my usual liner over the top. Banished to the storage box, my friend!

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Rimmel Instaflawless Primer

No. Just no. I think I got distracted by the pretty packaging. I was excited about this one, because who doesn’t want to be bloody flawless? The slightly orange liquid slid around my skin and would barely absorb – it didn’t feel like a primer AT ALL. I tried different applications on different days – brush, fingers, beauty blender – and none of them seemed to work. Even worse, when trying to apply my expensive Dior foundation on top of this ‘primer’ it just smeared even worse – and I had to take it off! I’m sticking to my All-in-One BB Cream from BodyShop.

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Real Techniques Sculpting Brush

Ooh, controversial. I LOVE Real Techniques brushes, don’t know where I’d be without them. But this one…meh! It just doesn’t work for me. I’ve tried different products, techniques and areas of my face to use it on and just can’t seem to find a way to use it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s lovely and the bristles are nice and dense – I’m just not a fan. One of my friends LOVES this one, though.

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Mane ‘n’ Tail Shampoo

Often described as having a ‘cult following’, this shampoo was originally made for horses before someone decided it worked quite well on their own hair too. Oh no. Not for me. It practically made my hair feel like straw, no matter how much conditioner I used afterwards! However, another of my friends swears by it!

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Scünci Perfect Pony

Who doesn’t like an extra bit of volume for their hair without unecessary backbrushing? But unfortunately…this thing just does not work. It comes with a piece of plastic to kind of push up your hair when it’s in it’s pony tail. I’ll stick to my trusty backcombing brush!

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Are there any products you regret spending the money on?