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In defence of being a ‘fangirl’.

As a grown up- which I am, broadly, depending on who you ask and how much toothpaste I’ve spilt on my shirt- it can be a little bit embarrassing to be such a fangirl.

I’m plagued by enthusiasm for bloggers and vloggers, which is an odd problem for someone masquerading as a functioning adult. But today, instead of chastising myself, I’m here to reclaim fangirling. Reclaim it for the adults, for the over twenties, for professionals. Fangirling is ours too.

The stereotype of the fangirl is usually this: emotional pre-teen, surrounded by Zoella merchandise, weeping over Zayn and forming a Twitter army against anyone who says a sponsored post was lame. Neurotic, naive and gullible.

Feminist side note time! Isn’t it super cute how we mock and lambast young girl’s passion? It’s a good job young boys don’t get into Twitter fights over football matches, or spend their money on celeb-endorsed products, otherwise we’d have to bemoan their interests and passions too!

But here I am. With bills to pay, a nine to five, having had a serious conversation about pensions already, flushed with excitement because a blogger RT-d my tweet. Is this pathetic? Am I doling out undue attention to narcissists?

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No. No I am not. I refuse to have my excitement and enthusiasm crushed. Unlike the tween Belieber, the #Zalfie screenshotter, I am an adult. And the good thing about being an adult is that I can look anyone who is too-cool-for-school about everything square in the eye and say ‘Fuck off. I don’t care’.

Bring me your faves. Tell me your OTPs. Show me your edits. Send me your screenshots of your tweets being faved. Join me in a chorus of ‘I love your work!’. I want it all.

Let’s lose the attitude that showing nerd-like enthusiasm for anything, being excited, squeeling, or eagerness is a negative. Firstly, it devalues the work, creativity and effort bloggers and vloggers put in- a damnsite more than various ‘real’ celebrities. Secondly, please stop treating joy as lame.

I contend that ‘fangirling’ is joy in action. Joy, and being joyful, is supposed to be uncontainable. It’s supposed to be happy. It’s fucking joy for god’s sake. And just because I’m past sixteen doesn’t mean I can’t revel in it- even if it’s over meeting someone with a million Instagram followers.

I recently met two bloggers I have been reading for years at The Quarter Club: Satisfaction Salon. When I spotted them- and this is no exaggeration- my heart jumped. I’m not ashamed of that- two women I admire and had never spoken to before were yards away from me, ripe for my giddy hugging, and I fangirled.

In all honestly, I was made up- but I wouldn’t have been if I hadn’t accepted the joy offered to me by fangirling- and I’ll be damned if that was denied to be for the sake of being ‘cool’. That ship has sailed, sonny.

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Childhood revisited

Earlier this month, I bundled myself and my boyfriend up to fly over the Irish Sea to County Wicklow to celebrate my grandad’s 70th birthday.

Jonathan, as yet unconvinced of the charms of a cold little coastal town and (fairly so) nervous of the impending doom in the shape of having to meet and impress every Irish person related to his girlfirend (i.e. everyone in the village), was a little wary at the start of the trip.

I, however, pushed through the motions of being outrageously ripped off by my airline and running for delayed trains to Gatwick without much anticipation. this trip had been planned so long and talked about so frequently that I wasn’t as excited as I normally would be for a quick overnighter abroad. Besides, I knew this town like the back of my hand- there was nothing new to shout about.

After a fair few bumps in the road (entire family was supposed to join- all their flights got cancelled- big emotional display, etc), we pulled up to my aunt and uncles house in the little village of Kilcoole. Kilcoole, while beautiful, has never had much tourism, so it might need a little introducing.

A quiet town not far from better known places like Bray or Greystones, Kilcoole has two main roads-the first being the Sea Road, which leads to the- you guessed it- sea and pebbled beach. The second, which I am sure has a name but I just can’t recall it ever being used, has three pubs, respectively the ‘top’, ‘middle’ and the ‘bottom’. They’re not the only identifiers of the town, but they’re the most loved. I’m just going to the bottom for a quick drink. The girls went to the middle last night, did you see them? And so on. It’s lovely.

 This little village is where my grandad grew up. He was born and raised in the house across the street from where I was staying. Relatives of mine live side by side. Brothers and sisters are neighbours. From a very young age, we’d come to stay with them over summers and for special occasions- never quite remembering all the names of the hands reaching down to give us pocket money or to straighten our clothes.

We’d badger to be taken to the beach to collect the best looking pebbles, build dens in front rooms we barely knew and squirrel away sweets and treats you can’t get in England. It was the nineties, so no mobiles to distract us and no video games to bicker over. It’s difficult not to romanticise a time like this, because it does feel so young and simple. I’m sure in reality there was lots of sulking and strops, as defined most of my childhood, but my stand out memories are of playing ‘just pretend’ in front gardens with cousins and of falling asleep in the back of cars back from trips to nearby sand beaches.

I stopped going when I was around thirteen. As a teenager, I’m sure I had much cooler things to be doing than hanging out with toddler relatives (most likely untrue- let’s not dwell).

Fastforward back to today, ten years later, and I’m walking down these streets that had gained near mythical status in my mind. I couldn’t believe that they were still here- almost like I was never really sure if they’d existed, or if I’d just made up this idyllic little place for me to store my childhood memories. The sound of a doorbell I’d forgotten I’d ever heard before, the feel of a stone wall I would sit on, the smell of a garden we’d steal flowers from, all rocketing me back to eight years old. Muscle memory taking round corners I hadn’t seen in a decade. Comforting and odd and the same time.

Here I am as an adult. I have a house, a job, I’ve travelled, I’ve moved to a new city, I’ve graduated. Stood here, in this little town I used to know. Every memory I didn’t realise I still held onto, dotting past like a glint of sun in the corner of my eye. Hello, first crush. Hello, scary neighbour’s house. Hello, grazed knees. Hello.

My room- the one that used to be a pile of toys and books, now has a full length mirror inside. When I look in, for the shortest of moments, I’m there, eight years old, in a corduroy pinafore and glitter-clip tied hair, running past to go play outside with my sister.

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2015.

I’m a bit of a sucker for owt New-Years themed. All those programmes you watch, comatose in a food-baby-stupor, that review the year are my favourite. Top ten music videos of 2015? I’ll give it a watch. Big Fat Quiz of the Year? I’ll shout the answers from underneath my piles of chocolate. Charlie Booker’s Year Wipe- it’ll have me cackling manically through my hangover.

I’m also a staunch advocate for resolutions- and for calling people who hate resolutions: miserable gits. So, in light of the earth’s safe passing (more or less) into a fresh new year, I’ve whipped up some best bits.

Best night out: Our first night in Thailand might be a blur- but what an almighty blur that is. I’d even go so far as to say this is the best night out partying I’ve ever had- drinking cocktails from buckets in neon lit rooms, playing jenga with Thai bartenders, speeding around on a tuk tuk in ways that sober Farrah would never have approved of. That night reminds me of noise, laughter and dramatic hangover stories.

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Best show: I saw a lot of theatre this year, and I fully intend to do the same again in 2016. Despite the number (and breadth) of show I set eyes on, it’s easy to pick out Kinky Boots the Musical as my ultimate favourite. The story, the cast, and the genuine feeling of warmth are all worth front row seats. Go see it.

Career highlight: I’ve worked at Sauce for exactly a year now- and although I always set my sights pretty high when it comes to work achievements, it still came as a surprise when I got a great promotion within 8 months of joining the team. I have great clients, there’s always someone wanting to go for a G&T on a Friday, and I’ve got big plans for 2016 there. I’m actually quite proud of what I’ve done there already, so I’m looking forward to seeing what this new year brings- presumably even more burgers.

Best photo: No make up, windy beach in Ireland, feeling very happy.

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Best gig: Obviously, Tayday 2016. I broke my rule of never attempting to carry a tune in public and scream-sang the whole album.

Best date: Feeling particularly loved up on Valentine’s Day, Jonathan and I booked a last minute overnight trip to Copenhagen. I spent just under 24 hours strolling around cafes and bars and parks with the man I love (n’awww) in an uber cool city with coffee in one hand and camera in the other. Best date ever.

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Best blog: In the year I’ve probably done the least blog-writing, I probably did my most blog-reading. My top two favourites would be Adventurous Kate for her monthly recaps, keeping it real, and snort-out-loud Snapchat stories, and InTheFrow for the attention-to-detail-goals it gave me, and for some of the most beautiful travel posts I’ve ever seen. Other favourites have been this post from scarphelia, which made me want to runaway to New York and live on a boat, this post from Fashion Mumblr which made me want to buy all the A-line midi skirts, and these Lily Melrose moving house vlogs that made me want to have my own lil nest to decorate.

Best restaurant: Dirty Bones. I’ve taken a few people along to Dirty Bones this year, and it still ranks as one of my favourite restaurants in London.

Best travel experience: In Positano, Sacre D’Oro, eating fresh pasta & seafood in the glinting sun, with sweet white wine carafe to hand & my lovely, lovely boyfriend cracking jokes about the Italian singing waiters. I don’t throw words like ‘bliss’ around much, but I can guarantee my paradise will have little restaurants hidden in nooks overlooking the sea with idly singing waiters and fresh food.

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Best family moment: My grandad’s face at his 70th birthday- he had no idea we’d flown out to Ireland to join his surprise party, and despite a hell of a lot of stress getting there, his expression and the joy it gave me made it worth it.

Best personal moment: This year I moved out of a flat that was really getting me down (hello poo-shower) and into a little flat with my boyfriend- big step in our relationship (toot toot!) and with a much nicer kitchen that feels so homely. Much better for my state of mind and dinner parties.

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I plan on writing a lot more this year. With hundreds of blog posts saved in draft folders, notepads scribble-filled with ideas, stories I’ve worked on perfecting at pubs and round dinner tables,I really need to start publishing more, so I intend to. I want to listen more to people, grow closer and build stronger friendships, nest, eat, and see more this year. I hope you’ll join me :) Have a wonderful 2016

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Pinch punch!

Hello! Let’s have a catch up then shall we.

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I’ve had a really busy month for heading out on nights out with friends. Most recently, I whizzed up to hometown Manchester for a night of over frantic dancing to Disclosure with the guys- Red Bull in one hand and rose wine in the other- how else?.

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I got glammed up for the Hope Charity Gala at the gorgeous Cafe de Paris. Hope for Children turned 21 this year- a grand old age for a charity to make it to. It was a pretty emotional night, showcasing the incredible work they do, and being swiftly outbid on the silent auction. Do donate if you can.

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Mary and I went to Boston 68 to get chatting to Denise about her incredible wine collection and to get photography tips from the cocktail bartenders, finishing up with late night sushi in Eat Tokyo, proving that a late night maki is ten times the man a late night Maccies will ever be.

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I lucked out and scored a lunch at the Michelin starred Peruvian extravaganza that is LIMA. I’d been to baby sister LIMA Floral before for a brunch of dreams, so to go to the more grown up version was a proper treat. I tried a little of everything, and the ceviche blew my mind in ways I never knew raw fish could. Top marks.

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Life-wise, things are going pretty smoothly. I’m well settled into my new flat, and my only complaint here is my bed is wedged between my neighbours staircase and bathroom so I’m treated to live updates of his every step and have invested shares in an earplug company. If I didn’t have something to whine about it wouldn’t be fun, anyways…

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See you next month then!