Saturday, 28 December 2013

Annual Appraisal

It shouldn't really have taken a horrid cold to get round to reading a book. I watched the last two Harry Potter films, some of The Office, and two episodes of Game of Thrones, and for whatever reason I'm reading again and it feels good. It's JPod by Douglas Coupland, a book I borrowed from Rob when I visited him before Christmas, and he made me feel bad about how much prep he put into the Christmas card he got me, and then on Christmas morning he made me feel bad again because he made me an amazing present and I just got him a Moleskine. Saying that, he's the Creative. I'm the Suit. I gave him the gift of practicality, he gave me magic and whimsy.

I keep looking over at my dressing table and thinking it doesn't look like it belongs to me, as it's currently decorated with lots of pretty costume jewelry I've acquired over recent weeks and it's actually tidy for once. I'm not very good with jewelry, but I picked out some beauts the other week, and I got a gorgeous necklace in Secret Santa at work.

I'm feeling incredibly cliche and reflective at the moment due to the time of year, but it's been a big year. This time twelve months ago I was on the cusp of a fairly obviously imminent break up and I dealt with that much better than I thought I would. There were a couple of other break ups, these ones with friends, and they were pretty necessary. It's difficult to see how destructive certain relationships are until you take a step back from them.

This was the year I learned how and when to be selfish. I pushed myself a lot, and I got something valuable to show for it. Next year I want to move out. It's a goal but if it's not achieved it's not the end of the world because living with my Mum is a really sweet deal. I'm completely spoiled. Mum does my washing and cooks my tea for me. She's currently forcing medicine for my cold down my throat three times a day because the taste reminds me of sambuca and I hate sambuca. This has just reminded me of tequila shots at the Christmas party with my manager, I'd completely forgotten!

I'm so busy all the time these days and I find it difficult to switch off from work. When I go back in the New Year I'm aiming to work harder than I ever have before. I've never been one for New Year resolutions. Thinking about it I think it's because I was complacent, I wasn't aware of my capabilities, and it's difficult to think about improving your life when you already think things are good. On reflection, last year things were barely okay. I could have settled for that but I would have always been disappointed. I'm not a believer of New Year magically fixing things, but I think making resolutions this time round is appropriate. I'm not going to be self-destructive anymore.

Sunday, 1 December 2013


I really love driving, and long sessions on the open road are ideal. Especially those wherein I'm not sat in traffic and I'm not in a rush because I'm running late. (I'm going to throw it out there right now that I am a terrible driver. Just awful.)

My love for driving probably stems from the (faux) privacy of the car. It's a personal little booth where I can belt out some Britney, and it's where I do most of my thinking. I used to drive back to Lancaster every Sunday night after an emotionally pent up weekend working this frustrating unrewarding job, and sing my heart out and just blow off the steam that had collected since the week before. (Not only am I terrible driver, but my singing would upset you.) When I'd get back to my flat I'd usually be exhausted, and I would have re-evaluated my life and how I'd handled things and feel bad that this was how I felt about my life.

Every evening on the way home from my current work, this 45-or-so minute drive, I think back over the events of the day. There are these perfect little eureka moments when it comes to understanding myself, and for a lot of other people these usually come in the shower. For me it's when I'm behind the wheel. These days the drives are a lot more positive.

A few weeks ago I wrote a post gushing about how much happier I am now, and it's true, but I don't feel I really got into it in the writing. My 2014 goal was achieved in 2013. This is such an undeniably huge deal for me, because I didn't honestly imagine that it would happen. 2013 was a useless year for many reasons, but my career wasn't one of them. What's even more unbelievable is that going from the feedback I've had so far from my colleagues, I actually seem fairly capable. I guess I'm trying hard and they can see it, and I'm having fun while doing it. I've been there for two months now and I've noticed my commute home consists of 'so this went well today' or 'I learned something new - how am I actually going to put it into practice?' or 'wow, I'm actually doing this.'

I am still one of those bores that has become consumed by her job, but at least it's an interesting job, and this habit will diminish in time. It's refreshing though to be able to say how happy I am, and I'm not going to stop.

On perhaps a less meaningful note, last night I put a quilt on my bed as a mattress topper and good lord. I slept like a baby, which only highlighted how badly I've been sleeping for all this time. My joints haven't cracked once all day!

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Paul Smith - Underwear Autumn/Winter 2013 ad

I'm a massive fan of this. Turn it up, stick HD on and enjoy the views (both kinds).


Jinkies, it's been a while since I posted on here. It's not because I forgot about it or anything, I've just had a lot going on. It's a particularly busy time for me at the moment, but it's for good reasons!

You might remember that I wrote this in August. I don't mind admitting that when I finished my work experience, I was absolutely gutted. On the Friday night I went to the pub with my temporary colleagues and I didn't want to leave, because I knew that as soon as I did it would be over. When I got home I sulked. Mum wanted me to discuss my last day with her, but I was in no mood.

On the 10th September, I got a call telling me that TBWA\Manchester wanted me as a permanent member of staff. I've now been working there for just shy of a fortnight and I can honestly say I couldn't be happier right now! The past few weeks, however, have been insanely busy. I get up earlier and spend an hour in traffic each morning, and I don't get home til gone 7 usually, and that's with only just starting out.

But yeah, everything's all systems go at the moment. I'm so happy though, and I did feel it was necessary to address my sudden uselessness to friends who I used to be in touch with constantly. But I;m too busy to do it individually, so here guys, now you know.

Aside from my cracking new job and being a thousand times happier than I was this time last year, nothing's new. But it's an interesting thought, this time last year. I was so fucking miserable. I'd just started a job that I knew I wasn't going to like and relationships with people in my life were nose-diving (not because of the job, just because of life). I just can't even explain how much more positive things are for me now. Everything feels right in the world.

Monday, 9 September 2013

My First Kiss

I thought that tonight, I would tell you a story.

Let me take you back to 2007.

I'm geeky, skinny, and I've got a perm because I don't know how to do my hair and took some exceptionally bad advice from my hairdresser. Because I'm an ugly duckling, I've never kissed a boy. I was an awful teenager, I didn't grow up well at all. I was stuck in that awkward 'still a child phase' until I was about seventeen.

In this story I'm fifteen years old, but it's the night before my sixteenth birthday and it's also Valentine's Day. Got it? Good.

I'm visiting my family who live in Biddulph, and my cousin Jade (who is nine months younger than me, but already by this point has bigger boobs than I will ever have in my adult life) wants us to go to Liquid, the under-eighteens 'club' in Hanley. A Coca-Cola fueled Valentine's special. I'm wearing my favourite party outfit cream shorts, cream heels (which are still knocking about somewhere!) and a cream and gold strapless and backless top from Jane Norman. Perhaps tonight will be the night when I kiss someone! I think, and I imagine meeting a fit boy who will fall in love with me. (As well as being a bit of a minger, I was also a bit of a moron.)

At some point I meet one of Jade's friends, 'Jonesy', although I think he spelled it with a Z. He was really tall and from what I remember, actually quite fit in that 'fifteen year old, bleached hair spiked up with too much gel' kinda way. You know the type. There's some teenage flirting (including him demonstrating his youthful strength by picking me up. When he put me back down, I stood on his toes in my heels), and we discover his birthday is also the next day. It's meant to be, surely! Without warning, he looms in for a snog. Here it is!

He thrusts his tongue in and out of my mouth rapidly, completely taking over my oral space. I can't move. It's pretty much like he's simulating sex with my mouth with his tongue, creating this nausea inducing 'in and out' motion. I didn't know tongues were that big or could move that quickly. At the first opportunity I break away and make for the loos, where I'm a little bit shaky at my first kiss feeling like such a violation of my human rights. A girl says 'you're the one getting off with Jonesy, aren't you?' and I'm amazed that she actually sounds a bit jealous. I nod, trying not to throw up.

When I leave the loos I try and sneak out as inconspicuously as possible, and thank god, Jonesy (I'm sorry, I can't use the Z) is distracted by a friend. They're in deep conversation and I thank my lucky stars he hasn't noticed me - until I see his mate pass him some chewing gum, and Jonesy nudges him and points straight at me grinning. His mate nudges him back approvingly as my heart sinks and Jonesy makes his way back over to me. The tongue thrusting continues.

At the end of the evening I escape once again, ten minutes before everybody is kicked out. There's a nice doorway outside that's preferable to Jonesy's ape-like clutches, so I wait there for Jade to come out. When she and her friends do leave, Jonesy's with her, telling her enthusiastically 'your cousin's WELL FIT!' just as they pass the doorway I'm lurking in. Everyone laughs and I grimace.

The girls and I pile into my uncle's car, who makes jokes about us finding romance on the dancefloor, while I hang my head out the car window on the way home like a dog as the thought of Jonesy's tongue in my mouth is still making my stomach churn. When we finally get home, it's twenty past midnight. My sixteenth birthday. I run straight upstairs and vomit like I'm eighteen and it's A-level results night.

Happy Birthday Emma!

(A side note: I once demonstrated just how bad this snogging was on an ex. He physically pushed me off him. Can't blame him really. Ben: I'm sorry.)

Friday, 23 August 2013

On Biscuits to Briefs: My Week with TBWA

This piece originally appeared on on 23/08/2013

I know a lot of people who’ve undertaken work experience, but I don’t know many people that use a week of annual leave from a role they’re already in in order to immerse themselves in their ideal industry. My family laughed at first. ‘You’re taking a week holiday from work… to go and work somewhere else?’

They say a change is as good as a rest though, and even though the beautiful TBWA offices in Manchester don’t have a beach (they do have table football though, amongst other toys), I feel perfectly content here. There’s such a complimentary vibe; by which I mean everything just seems to flow perfectly. All the processes and communications between the teams appear to be seamless, and that’s because this is an agency that knows what to do. It’s easy to see how clients feel reassured by the service TBWA provide.

I was told on my first day that I was going to be challenged. In addition to adapting to a completely new environment (I’ve never experienced agency life before), I explored how briefs work and how to write one of my own. A lot of my time was spent learning how internal communications work, and what different teams need to know, as well as learning how to understand client requests to translate the information they provide into a satisfactory brief.

Perhaps the most challenging aspect though was being able to keep track of what exactly was going on a lot of the time. My own career history covers environments ruled by strict guidelines and with clear cut conclusions, and considering the work ethic here as an outsider, at TBWA there seems to be an almost effortless fluidity to how work progresses. It (sometimes deceptively!) comes across as a stress free environment, but this is testament to the ease of the relationships between the teams.

Learning how much effort goes into perfecting different projects really added to how mentally invested I’ve become in the clients I’ve been introduced to. I’ve found myself calling into shops I wouldn’t normally go in, and purposefully looking out for products TBWA worked on when I’m shopping, just see how the final products look to the rest of the world. Do people realise how much thought goes into the placement of a logo on packaging?

From half hour discussions about custard creams to learning which programs are used for creating artwork (something I’m admittedly a complete novice about), my time here has been a completely new experience for me. I’ve loved every minute.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Reasons to be Cheerful

I'm cuddling in bed with the snuggliest pussycat ever.
I have work experience next week and I couldn't be more excited! Amazing company and lovely people.
I'm going to Knowesley Safari Park next weekend (it's true I'm going with Ste, but you can't have it all I suppose.)
My body confidence is on a high point at the moment.
I have lots of lovely new clothes in my wardrobe! As well as my Mean Girls tshirt that is yet to be delivered.
Speaking of deliveries, I have a new book being delivered tomorrow.
I've been a bit poorly recently but I think I'm over it now!
I have the house to myself until Monday. Yeeeeeeeeeah!

Reasons to be sad:
Left the Jaffa Cakes downstairs.