Friday, 31 August 2012

What I Wore To Work 3: the technicolour dreamcoat

No FDF today .... still trying to get myself together. Here is a nice dress instead:

Definitely getting braver now. I wore a salmon pink shirt dress on last week and now this! No disciplinary as yet.

I'm currently storing my zebra boots in my desk drawer at work to whip on if I'm feeling brave. They'd look good with this graphic print dress I reckon. Make their eyes ache, that's what I say. Maybe I'll even borrow Ken's snazzy feather boa next time.

Gold tooth necklace: Miss Selfridge
Graphic print dress: Monsoon (sale)
Green bow pumps: Faith
Blue jumper and  feather boa : model's own

Have a great weekend all.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

It Finally Happened!

I broke. I got ill.

You could blame the air conditioned bacterial heaven that is the interior of an office, you could blame a very late, boozy Saturday night, you could blame the fact that I've been pushing things just a little too hard for the last few months and it was all sort of inevitable...

Still, I haven't had so much as a cold for at least 18 months and I'm feeling a little put out about the whole thing.

I am having a little rest now, when my brain feels a bit less fuzzy I'll come out from under my duvet and see you.

Back soon

In the meantime you could go and take a peek at what I did with my weekend over on Olive Dragonfly. Warning: may contain pictures of me looking slightly ridiculous in a bright blue sleeping bag suit.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

People Of Leeds!*

The rotation curation thing is just a bit of a lark really - different people in different cities/countries all over the world taking over Twitter to give the world a glimpse of what it's like in their lives for a whole week.

I used to chuckle to myself about the fact that most of the PoLs so far have worked in PR or marketing. "Not me!" I thought.

Oh well.

ANYWAY, I am People Of Leeds this week! So if you want to stalk me a bit, you should add that account @PeopleOfLeeds, as I won't be on my normal @tokaipenny nun-with-a-gun account until next Sunday evening.

Marvel at my duplicity as I stop swearing as much and start being super-interested in local independent businesses and events.

*if you're not on, or have no interest in Twitter, the entirety of this post may as well be in Swahili.

Friday, 24 August 2012

First Dance Friday: What's Your Song House?

I read this article on AV Club a while ago about Song Houses.

Song Houses are basically songs you want to live inside. Songs that give you a special sort of feeling (NO not a sexy one, a special one, put your trousers back on), a feeling maybe like you've heard them somewhere before, or maybe that they've always existed somewhere in your brain and one day you found a secret door behind a hedge and you opened it and there it was, it was there all along.

Song Houses are not necessarily the greatest songs, or the most exciting, or the coolest. But they are songs that evoke an emotional response in you that's quite profound, and you just have no idea why.

This is my Song House at the moment:

M83 are one of those bands whose songs are a patchwork of nostalgic references that you can't quite put your finger on, so they are a good place to find a Song House for me. Listening to this song in particular seems to take me away to the 1980s, sitting in the back of the car, watching trees whizz by on a sunny day. It makes me think of twilight in the city, lights on in the windows of houses, people safe and warm inside. It might be because it sounds like the sort of song that would be on the football results on telly on a Sunday afternoon when I was little, and that makes me think of dusk and being in my Dad's front room getting ready to go back to my Mum's house.

Other Song Houses I have include Blowout by Radiohead, Let It Come by Hot Snakes, Pools In Eyes by Throwing Muses, Stinkfist by Tool and, bizarrely, Black Velvet by Alannah Miles. Mean and moody for me, but Song Houses can be jolly too - most of the AV staff writers choices involve deliriously happy songs.

What's your Song House?

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Naf Naf Jumpers Are Retro

Oh yes they are. You can buy this one on ASOS Marketplace. Look at this young model working that retro style.
Buy the vintage item that you still have in the bottom of your wardrobe from first time round HERE

I resisted the lure of the Naf Naf branded jumper for a really long time. Somebody got me one for Christmas in the end. It was a very demure navy blue and I probably only wore a handful of times before it went the way of my Hi-Tec trainers and shell-suit (ie. dramatically out of style and if you were seen wearing one you were sooooo saaaaad). My friends had more vividly coloured ones with "snazzy" letters. There were jackets too, and bags, remember?

And pencil cases and folders and everything. I wonder what Naf Naf are doing now.

I also wonder what will be deemed "vintage" by the kids next. Will I ever be vindicated for holding onto my treasured Global Hypercolour t-shirt because "it'll come back round". Has it yet?

What was your Naf Naf jumper like?

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

What I Wore To Work 2: who let the zebras out?

OK I'm hiding them under long, loose-fit black trousers. And this is just another riff on the dark bottom/pale top combination that I seem so far tied to. BUT they are there, and this is a start. I am going to drip my personality into this office, one jazzy shoe at a time.

Seriously though, how do you tell if your office is a super-strict formal dress culture, or if your colleagues are just really boring at fashion?

Anyway. I like this trend for metal-tipped collars, and I really like my new shirt, even though it's cream. I had originally tried it on with a wine-coloured pleat skirt (also from New Look) but, again, too casual. Never mind - even with the blacks trews I feel a bit like a cowboy, which has got to cheer anyone up.

Cream shirt with metal tips- Tokyo Doll for New Look
Wide leg trousers - M&S
Zebra ankle boots - Irregular Choice

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

On With My Bad Self

One of the best things about getting married to Sam was gaining three amazing Wakefield lass sisters-in-law. And the nicest bit of all is that the Smyth siblings are so happy to have their scruffy punk brother finally ending up with a girl who's like them.

And by that, I mean a bit townie. Somebody who reads shit magazines and watches Celebrity Big Brother and looks like a dolly bird. And, at the heart of it, that's me. Just because a girl owns limited edition Mission of Burma vinyls doesn't mean she can't wear 6" stack wedges and rock a bubblegum lip-gloss, yeah?

Anyway, a few years ago at around this time I asked middle-souer Lucie what she wanted for her birthday, and she said the best thing I could possibly give her was a mix CD. She was giddy as a kipper to get it, and it was on constant rotation for months. So I'm doing her another one. Mostly because I came across this song and KNEW how much she'd love it:

Juice just loves a good tune and isn't fussy about where it comes from.  This is a blinder. I have woken it up with it in my head at least three times since I first heard it, and you just know when you dream an earworm it's solid gold.

What a chorus. Yeah!

Monday, 20 August 2012

Feet Under The Table

First week done and dusted. I have sent my first ever meeting request, tried to understand the concept of a conference call (they're all on the phone at once! although I'm still not sure how they know who's talking when), have sort of grasped the concept of underwriting although not really and last but not least have finally found an industry that writes in even longer sentences than I do.

 Oh, and that thing I said last week about making things I don't understand sound pretty and no matter the consequence? WELL I quickly got a very angry email about that from a man I was rewriting an article about. Turns out I inverted the entire meaning of the original document, turning his business victory into a business disaster and then posted it all over the intranet. Oops. I'm so glad my supervisor hadn't let me carry out my hilarious suggestion of photoshopping his face onto a background of the Olympic stadium for the article picture. One (wo)man's comedy is (probably) another man's salt in the wound.

The other new girl is still doing my head in, banging on about how the job is a massive pay cut for her and ohhhh London was so much more exciting and she's so tired all the time, and she likes to complain and to talk about herself a lot. But everybody else is super nice, although somebody needs to tell insurance people how to DRESS. Black, white, grey.....that's it. Even nudes and creams are reserved for edgy members of staff. I'm now not sure how far I can push it - are they all just safe dressers? Dress down Friday revealed a style desert - most people didn't look much different to how they look the rest of the week, just with jeans. Surely (providing no serious meetings are afoot) you can risk a splash of colour, providing it's structured and neat?

If anyone wants to start a sweepstake on how long it's going to take me to get a disciplinary on my outfit, maybe start this week.

Bring on the zebra print!

Friday, 17 August 2012

First Dance Friday: I Hate The Sixties

Not ALL of the Sixties. Just the pop music.

Look at them all with their mop-tops, swinging their pants and singing about their babies "oooh-oooh yeah!". I don't like the Kinks, I don't like the Beatles, and I definitely don't like Build Me Up bloody Buttercup. I don't like semi-acoustic guitars or matching outfits, I don't like trips to India to find yourself (up your bum, in case you were wondering). I don't like psychedelic songs about underwater creatures because, in spite of drug culture influencing a lot of excellent music, LSD is only responsible for making people believe that kid's TV storylines are valid poetry, and that is BAD NEWS. Do you hear about anyone asking for Button Moon to be played at their funeral? Of course you don't. That's because it's silly.

Anyone who was alive in the 60s will tell you it was great. But was it really about the pop music, or was it just about the era? An era of political and social change, of amazing fashion and culture, all blinding people to the fact that Herman's Hermits were absolutely fucking awful? Was it really the greatest era for popular music ever? Really?*

*disclaimer: I may or may not be willingly performing the hits of the Beatles and the Monkees in a twee fashion on a bandstand in a model village this Sunday afternoon. But also the hits of Phil Collins and Lady Gaga. Totally cancels out.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

First Day

This is what I look like now:


  • My new team are very nice
  • There is a new girl starting at the same time who sits next to me
  • She likes to tell me about how much better her last job was
  • I'm not sure how long she'll stay here for
  • I got to do some writing-y things already which was quite creative but-
  • -insurance is incredibly dull and I don't understand it yet
  • I fear the more I understand, the duller it will become
  • However I'm still managing to write about insurance that I don't understand and nobody seems to notice or mind that I'm making it up
  • Apparently making it up is still better than how it was before, because now it sounds pretty
  • Not sure how long I'll get away with that then
  • And I forgot my brolly and had to walk home in the rain with one shoe


Wednesday, 15 August 2012

What I Wore To Work 1:playing it safe

Today is my first day! And first day means nothing offensive.

I wanted to wear this with my amazing Irregular Choice zebra boots , but they were too bold. Sad face. I am having to temper my love of the scruffy, the print of animal variety and the eye-wateringly brightly coloured. Neutrals, neutrals, neutrals. You are not in Little Mix anymore, Penny.

Trying to stand like MJ behind me. Failing.

The blazer/skinny trousers/ballet flats combination is as old as the hills, but it still works. With my glasses on and hair up it's about as smart as I get without starting to feel uncomfortable. Hopefully once I've got my feet under the table I might be able to get my zebra back on.

Boyfriend blazer: Topshop
Blush pink sleeveless top: Jigsaw sale (worn with a white vest underneath)
Skinny black trousers: H&M
Green ballet flats: Faith

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Axe Women

Gratuitous picture of Carrie Brownstein

We all know that since time immemorial it has mostly been men with guitars, writing songs about women. Cheating women, gorgeous women, confusing women. Putting them into handy soundbites for everyone to pick up, sing along to and carry through the years until they're embedded as part of pop culture history. Women always the object, and never the I. The more often these legends are repeated "I Saw Her Standing There" "Foxy Lady" "When You're In Love With A Beautiful Woman" (oh how I HATE that song) rah rah rah rah... the more we develop this idea that cultural narrative has a largely male voice.

Come back! I'm not going sociology essay on you, I'm not. You know it's true.

Even when we were teenagers in the 90s they didn't have any ladies on the front of the NME. Because there weren't any, apart from Sonia from Echobelly and Louise from Sleeper.

But now things are starting to change. Now there are lots of women in popular music, and the number is growing all the time. And this is great and I am excited by it every day.

And yet there are still very few women standing up and really playing lead guitar. For some strange reason, it remains pretty rare. There is no anatomical or evolutionary reason why women can't shred - we have hands and fingers and we love to rock just as much as the boys. It's just that spending time sitting in a room and learning, going over that Van Halen lick until your fingers bleed... not many girls do that. I think that'll change though. I hope it will be soon.

Anyway. Here is a great new band called Nife. Frontwoman Nicky has clearly spent thousands of hours sitting in her room callousing her fingers on a fretboard, and manages to be both a roof-rattling vocalist and a powerhouse of a lead guitarist all at the same time - no mean feat in a three piece. This is proper brilliant 90s stadium-sounding bluesy guitar rock that sounds like nothing else out at the moment. I love it. Here they are rocking out in some manky pub and making it sound like Madison Square Gardens...

My new hero, fact. Their debut album Chemicals is out this week and it's proper ace. Hear more on their Soundcloud here.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Work Wardrobe Pontification

So this Helmut Lang lovely might be a little excessive, but I would definitely invest in something a bit flashier than H&M for a classic blazer.Where's good for quality and minimal frump? Reiss? Zara?
Pleated skirts! I finally have an excuse to buy one. And then I tried one on and realised they make my hips look matronly. Help me girls - do you need to be a stick to carry off the pleats?
I'm also after smart cream tops and shirts with a bit of quirk and personality.  Love the metal tips on the collar on this one from Hearts & Bows for ASOS. I always struggle with buying shirts - they need to be reasonably well cut or I end up popping out of the front. Not a good look for your first day at work.
Finally - yellow brogues! I have fallen in love with these puppies from J-Shoe and they seem to be sold out everywhere. Devo'd. If you see any like this out and about, let me know....

Friday, 10 August 2012

First Dance Friday: The Crying Games

Maybe it's just that my brain is set to Triumphant at the moment, but all this normal-people-achieving-their-wildest-dreams stuff all over my telly is making me quite embarrassing to be around. You (almost) literally cannot take me anywhere (where the Olympics is on) without me bursting into tears.

The most embarrassing incident so far was yesterday afternoon. In my defence, I had just had my first run of tearful goodbyes with members at the gym (last shift on Monday is going to leave me in a mess) and had escaped to my own gym in Leeds to run it out on the treadmill. "Ooh the dancing horses are on!" thought me, eagerly plugging my earphones out of Pat Benatar and into the telly, "that'll be a lark!"

It only took one look at the pretty neddy and Laura Bechtolscheimer clapping her hand over her mouth to stop herself crying at the end of the routine...I was off, roaring away as I ran.  

Then the BBC only go and make it worse by interviewing her and she loves her horsie so much he did so well and she can't actually speak because she's so choked up by what a good horsie he is.  Then the commentators stop  being able to commentate because it's too tense and they can't actually breathe anymore. Then Charlotte DuJardin (the inexperienced one! the underdog!) wins the gold, and you see her live as she finds out, as the scores come in and the crowd erupt at twenty zillion decibels and it finally sinks in she's won the whole thing, even beating the awesome poised and immaculate Dutch lady ... oh BOOHOOO. I canned it  at 5k. I was in bits. I hope nobody could tell the difference between the sweat and the tears.

All this and I don't even like or understand the dressage.
I could give you a story like this for more or less every day in the last  two weeks.

Anyway, I noticed that Bechtolscheimer and her horse were dancing to this track from The Lion King:

Which is one of those bizarre pieces of music that makes me cry for absolutely no reason anyway, so I really was on a hiding to nothing yesterday. WHY do I cry at the beginning of the Lion King? At no other point during that film - or any other Disney film for that matter, even Bambi - do I cry.  It's just rousing, that's all it is, and that's the problem with the Olympics, they're just too rousing for me to cope with. My emotions have a low Rousing Threshold. An LRT, if you will.

I am frequently found sobbing at gigs thanks to my LRT. Very loud and bombastic post-rock seems to be the worst offender, although I also cried at the Afghan Whigs when I saw them at Primavera, and I admitted earlier in the year to crying at a First Aid Kit gig.

Yes I cried at this when I saw them at Reading 1998. When it goes really loud. It is SO INTENSE. 

It's down to an atmosphere, it's down to emotion, I don't know what it is, but I'm sure the Olympics, music, crowds, emotion, all these things are inextricably linked. They all push the same giant button in my brain. A button marked BAWL YOUR BLOODY EYES OUT NOT BECAUSE IT'S SAD, BECAUSE - OH IT'S JUST TOO MUCH SOMETHING I DON'T KNOW BOO HOO (it's a big button, OK).

So. Did you cry at the Olympics? Do you have an LRT? What songs push your massive button?

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Music Writing For Girls Part Two

Ever since I ranted about music writing for girls, I haven't been able to stop thinking about doing a music blog.

Plain fact is, I didn't have the time before, and now I'm going to be a proper desk jockey with nice clean shoes and hair that has been brushed I'm pretty sure I'll have even less. I'm not even sure if I'll have the time or energy to continue being this awesome, even. I might  turn into a total wanker and start ignoring you in the street and screening my phone-calls and stuff.

Anyway. I think I'm just going to write about music on here a bit more. Sorry about that. I really want to though. I think about new music all the time, and sometimes I want to burst with needing to tell you all about the things I'm listening to, even though I know you're not that arsed.

Anyway. I have been listening to this song quite a lot recently, and it makes me want to move my bottom. Are you an 80s electric boogaloo-fetishist? (no I don't know what that means, and I just made it up). OK, well, DO YOU LIKE TO BE FUNKY? Maybe you will like it too.

Check out this hipster with long hair! Doesn't he look a bit like Olly off Made In Chelsea? He's called Kindness (I'm guessing that's not really his name) and I did like him before (even though I sacked off queueing to go and see him at Optimus Primavera because I wanted to get drunk in trendy Portuguese bars) BUT THIS SONG IS THE NUTS.

Click play, then hold on til 1'09". That's when it gets serious.

Are you dancing yet? Are you in an 1980s breakdancing film in your mind?

Good. I think I will like writing a bit more about music on here. Also, I am going to enjoy writing about what I'm going to wear to work as I have taken a sledgehammer to my clothing ban and gone serious sales shopping. Watch me flounder as I spend the next few weeks try to navigate dressing for the office without selling my personality down the river.

I still can't imagine myself in a pencil skirt. Unless it's a tie-dye one.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

I (Don't) Love A Man Me In Uniform

 Just two more shifts in the den of hell to go before I start my gainful new employment. So far I have been stunned by the bizarre reactions from my superiors (one started quoting Paul Simon lyrics at me, the other refuses to believe I am leaving and keeps texting me trying to get me to cover my own shifts after my leaving date). I've also already been reduced to tears by comments from the gym members, who seem genuinely really upset that I'm leaving and are all telling me how I've helped them and how much they'll miss me. I had no idea, I am floored and a bit humbled.

I tell you what though, I can't wait to not wear their horrible uniform. looked at my manky pink fleece on Monday and thought "I could stop wearing you now if I wanted. I could go naked! I could sit on this leg press machine with my sweaty naked bottom! What are they going to do, fire me?" and it was probably the most liberating bit of all. I have a whole wardrobe full of logo tops and ill-fitting vests, and they're all going back. Every last one.

What is it about low-wage employment that they feel the need to dress you like a complete chump? I genuinely think it's deliberately designed to take your self esteem down a peg so you don't fight back when they trim your wages and guilt you into doing overtime. I've "lost" every name tag they've ever given me because I'm convinced other people knowing your name when you don't know theirs means they own your soul.

To be fair, the only really intolerable bit about the gym uniform is the frumpy fleece. It's not a patch on when I used to work at Asda in the uni holidays. Not only did they make us wear a fleece so green it looked positively radioactive, they also had these awful nylon trousers that pinched in at the waist, ballooned out over the hips and stopped an inch short of your ankle. I often wondered who had designed such hideous trews, imagining myself busting into the Asda uniform design HQ to find an army of tiny fashion designers, each with a sixteen inch waist and a disproportionately massive bottom.

Anyway, although everyone keeps saying "oh you've never had to dress before a corporate office before! It'll take some getting used to!" I'm pretty sure I'll still manage to swing a bit of personality in there. No more fleeces for me until I'm at least 52.

Go on then, I bet you've got some corkers -what's been your most hideous work uniform?

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Bletherings, Giving Notice And A New Working Wardrobe

Today I have not one but TWO posts coming up elsewhere on the internet, and you should go and read them.

Firstly I'm talking about how sporty is not a swear-word over on Any Other Woman. I wrote this on Sunday whilst watching Andy Murray trounce the smooth Swiss cheese to get gold in the tennis, and I'm pretty sure I missed most of the match because I was getting so het up about my feelings towards sport and people's hang-ups/hidden potential. So you have to go and read it, just to make all that worthwhile.

Secondly, after 2pm my latest music ramblings will be up on Florence Finds which this month was really hard to whittle down to just four because there seems to be so much amazing music around this summer. Lots to get stuck into this month. And on that (musical) note, I will have more soon...

In other news, I am now into my final week of "old life" work, having handed my notice in pretty much everywhere (that's quite a lot of places when you're freelance). People's reactions have varied wildly, I can honestly say that only one person sounded genuinely pleased and excited for me.  Perhaps I should just be pleased that my contributions are valued, even if it's a slightly back-handed compliment.

So! A week tomorrow it all begins.... time to start thinking about my working wardrobe too. My sewing lesson has left me with one very nice and work-appropriate dress but I have little else, and zero experience of dressing for a formal environment. What do you office-workers throw on in the morning? I already have my eye on this Zara bag for starters....

Monday, 6 August 2012

Teaching Pilates To The Yoga-Monsters

I turned up to cover a Pilates class at a new gym the other week. The studio manager welcomed me in warmly before yelling over her shoulder "Good luck - they think it's going to be Yoga!" Then she ran. She knew. She wasn't running from me. She was running from them. Or maybe she was just running to bolt the door so I couldn't make a break for it.

Have you ever been to a Yoga class? Yoga students have their own mats. They have their own spots in the class that they like to sit. They sweep into the room, lay down their special mat, talk to the same people they talk to every week, wait for Panpipe Moods to start playing, at which point they launch into some crazy sequence designed to turn themselves into a human pretzel and completely intimidate everyone around them. Sometimes they even scare the teacher. I know. I've seen it with my own eyes.

Yoga students are.... very particular. And there's nothing wrong with that. Unless you're the one trying to teach them Pilates. I had two people walk out of my class. I have never ever  had anyone leave my class before, and let me tell you it took every ounce of self-control not to flip them the bird on the way out.

Do they think that fitness instructors are really the gung-ho, lycra-clad energiser bunnies with evil cyborg hearts that we pretend to be? Do they think we don't go home and cry?

I didn't go home and cry, just in case you were wondering.

I went home and cemented my highly prejudiced feeling about Yoga students instead. 

(apart from the eight people who stayed and enjoyed my class enough to thank me at the end, anyway. But they're probably just Pilates students waiting to be discovered).

Friday, 3 August 2012

First Dance Friday: Idlewild

Falling in love with your first band. It feels dangerous, euphoric, a little bit like you might throw up. Palms sweat, heart races, pupils dilate.

You write their name on your folder, on your bag in fabric paint, on your arm in French lessons. You write their lyrics in the margins. You try to imagine anything sounding more perfect, and you can't. You buy everything they ever did, even if they've only done two things and both on vinyl only and your record player doesn't have any speakers. You sit cross-legged by the turntable anyway, ear craned down to hear the sound of the needle hitting the wax. It sounds like fizzy heaven.

The first time I heard Chandelier by Idlewild, I fell in love.  When the Captain EP came out it sounded so perfect I could only imagine it had been forged in heaven. I'd always been into music, but I'd never realised that such a gorgeous noise was possible. The clouds parted. Angels sang. It was almost unbearably good. I became obsessed. I told everyone about them. I became a street preacher for this odd, noisy little Scottish band.

When they finally came to play in my hometown (third on the bill on a Midget headline tour) I stood eagerly at the front of a group of roughly ten people and watched Roddy Woomble flinging himself on the floor. "WOW" I thought. "WOW. This man does NOT give a shit. This is the coolest thing I have EVER seen". Then I took it upon myself to write a review of it for a free music paper, in my bid to spread the word about these revolutionaries. I had to post it, IN THE ACTUAL POST, because that's how long ago we're talking.

 The review got printed. "Idlewood At Rock City!" it said. I was furious.

I don't think anything will ever top the feeling of discovery I felt when I found Idlewild during their "flight of stairs falling down a flight of stairs" phase. No band has really matched it since.... not even Idlewild themselves (I promptly got bored when they finally got round to releasing their first album, and ever since they've just sounded more and more like REM, shame).

I sometimes wonder if my fascination with all new music is just me chasing the Idlewild dragon. I don't think I'll ever match the buzz of that incendiary first time. But still I always click play on the next Soundcloud clip. Just in case. Just in case.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Sew Sew

I'd like to go on record now and say I was absolutely phenomenal at pretty much every subject at school, pretty much every single one oh yes I was.  I was like Jason Schwartzmann in Rushmore. I watched that film and I was all like "the pain of being brilliant! I totally GET IT! Having to keep up with all your extra-curriculars at that young and tender age...having to maintain positive relationships with peers.... whilst dealing with the fact that everything you touch turns to solid gold..." I was misunderstood at school, as it happens. Misunderstood and extremely annoying. I only had friends because I was in a band.

There was one subject I was terrible at (if you don't count PE and Maths, which I don't).

Home Economics.

Food Technology was bad enough, but Textiles was my nemesis. What is up with sewing machines? Why hasn't somebody figured out a way to make it easy yet? You have to put the thread up in here, and then wind it down there, and for God's sake, is it all necessary? Can't we just staple that shit together?

I don't think I ever got the thing to work for more than a second before some internal gremlin tied the whole thing into impossible scrunchy-knots and I started screeching bloody murder at it. My best friend (she of the spectacular hen party and wedding cake hat) was useless as well. In the end we just got Lisa Bradley to do all of ours for us. Lisa Bradley's work was immaculate and she did it all three times faster than everybody else, you could see in her FACE she was loving every second, I SWEAR you could, so what was the harm? Everyone wins.

I never learned. The acres of beautifully double-stitched bunting at our wedding? My husband did it all. He's another bloody Lisa Bradley, everything's so neat. I find it infuriating. Mostly because I can't do it. I avoid things I can't do. They make me feel small and humble, like a normal person. Fuck that shit.

Anyway, in April I took on my six month clothing ban, in the wake of buying Charlene my leather jacket. This has trundled on more or less OK, bar a few covetous looks at other people's pretty things and the one time I strayed into H&M with my guard down. Recently I've started to feel a bit twitchy though, like I might like a new thing to wear. So when my friend Lizzie of awesome hipster clothing line Antiform/fabdabulous studio Remade In Leeds suggested swapping a PT session for a sewing lesson, I punched the air.

Then I remembered that when I sew I am vulnerable. I am weak. Like a tiger with one eye. Or a massive awesome bird of prey with a hurty wing.

So my sewing lesson is today and I am proper bricking myself. I am taking lots of upcycle-able things with me, and an actual sewing machine that Sam bought for five pounds of eBay and is totally shite.

Wonder if Lisa Bradley's busy....

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

New Job!

I did it!

Finally finally finally.

Three years, two months and one day since I was made redundant from YTV, I finally have a full-time job, a stable salary, a chance at a new and exciting career doing something that makes my brain tick.

I've learned so much and developed my skill-set enormously during the last few years working in the fitness industry. But (aside from a few evenings and the odd weekend) it's time to move on. It's time to be a grown up! Wear proper shoes and trousers that aren't always leggings! Not have to worry about doing a horrible tax return (errr....apart from this year's. and last year's, which I still haven't done.). Time to go and do what I want at the gym, instead of what my clients want.

Thanks to you all who have been lovely and supported me. It's been such a slog to get to this point, and I'm aware I've been quite hard work at times. Thanks to everyone who has given me advice (particularly my guardian angel Vic) and checked my grammar. To my Mum (who will be reading this) and to Sam (who won't) for being unfailingly supportive and picking me up when I was on the floor. I will never take a stable salary for granted again. EVER.

Anyway. Now it's time for some new adventures..... adventures in marketing and communications!

Who's with me?