Tag Archives: love

My Life Soundtrack [Part One]

Everyone has that one particularly defining moment within their lifetime, when music suddenly begins to make sense. When it finally went beyond the point of listening to music, enjoying music and maybe dancing to music because everyone else was; at some point in everyone’s life, music truly begins to resonate and becomes more than just a song. And, as life progresses, they will reach more moments in life where a song can encapsulate a feeling, or a moment or become the defining shape of a memory. Music is one of life’s biggest passions, or at least it definitely is for me, which is why I’ve decided to share it on the blog today!

If you took a look at any of my Spotify playlists, or took a journey through the extensive collection my iPod has to offer, you’ll soon realise that my taste in music could potentially be described as eclectic. It can go from being something relatively cool, to something so uncool that it would make mental health professionals question my sanity. I’m unashamed of my music tastes, regardless, but do air caution as to when I play the stuff that I secretly love. If I’m home alone, the blinds remain closed and my earphones remain permanently in my ears and I spend the day listening to music of varying genre, so I can bounce around the flat, singing at the top of my voice, with no one witnessing my horrendousness but me (and maybe the neighbours who hear me sing). Sober me has a relatively awesome taste in music, but drunk me becomes a bit of a lunatic and eventually, at some point in any evening, I will hijack any playlist with the Beauty and the Beast soundtrack and scream along. That’s just who I am!

I’m not going to write a blog specifically about the songs that I like, because we could be on for hours and all that would do is show you how bloody ridiculous it is watching me make a playlist. These are the songs that I can pinpoint to a specific point in my history and remember why I love it so much; it can be triggered by a memory, an event, a feeling or even a person and then suddenly that song is all about those feelings. With the exception of a few songs, none of mine are inspired by people other than my best friends and times we’ve had together, but there are a few songs that remind me of Brain, which he amazingly thought to put into a soundtrack of his own by finding a bespoke company that creates custom made vinyl music – it took him a long time and a lot of effort and money, but on my birthday I received songs that encapsulated our entire relationship. On Valentine’s Day we listened to this vinyl whilst cooking and we kept laughing at the fact that we remembered the first time we heard each song and which specific memory we had in mind; they were all pretty much matching, which is pretty much the dorkiest thing you can imagine, but I also find it pretty important.

The Rolling Stones – Like a Rolling Stone

Long before my obsession with Bob Dylan began, an obsession with Mick Jagger began festering in my tiny mind. I can’t remember how old I was when I first heard this song, however, I do remember the exact moment I first heard it and when it became more. It was the early nineties and we’d only just had SKY TV installed, back when it wasn’t the extensive crap-fest of horrendously bad TV shows and adverts it is now. My parents listened to a lot of VH1 and I remember sitting in our living room one afternoon when the intro to the song began playing. It wasn’t an epiphany style moment that made me realise I love The Stones or anything, but it was a moment that I’m taken back to every time I hear the song. I think the fact that my parents both loved it at the time, too, makes a big difference.

Mike and the Mechanics – Looking Back, Over My Shoulder

This song is without a doubt the song of our family. When my sister and I were little, we would make up dances to everything that we liked and whenever my dad took this cassette out of the case and placed it in the cassette player, we would sing our little heads off and, very literally, look back over our shoulders whenever the chorus plays. It has been a firm favourite in every family playlist we’ve created and now, whenever we descend upon my parents house for the evening, my dad puts this on for us all to sing along to.

Bob Dylan – I Want You

I knew who Dylan was before I’d really listened to his music, but this was during a time where I was desperately obsessed with Andy Warhol, his factory and his super star, Edie Sedgwick. I was besotted with this entire decade and the fashion of the 1960s to the point where I would wear shapeless dresses with contrasting peter pan collars and wore nothing but dramatic black eye make up with flicks and a perpetual red pout. I began buying Edie Sedgwick inspired, enormous chandelier earrings and contemplated cutting my hair off and dying it blonde. Not much has really changed, because every time I see her beautiful little face, I want do to it all over again. As a result, I was looking online and happened upon an article that coincided with a piece I read about Edie and Bob Dylan being together at some point in the sixties. This article suggested that Dylan wrote Blonde on Blonde about Edie, so I decided to download it and see if it was true. This song in particular is supposed to capture the moment when Dylan met Warhol and I became obsessed with it. I’m a total sucker for gossip, but I’m an even bigger sucker for songs about people and to this day, every time I think about it, I remember sitting in my bedroom wearing ridiculously enormous chandelier earrings, red pout pursed and heavily eyeliner’d eyes squinting, trying to decipher Dylan’s poetry. Not much has changed, except the earrings, except now it means so much more because Brain is obsessed with him too. One of the first things my parents said about him was to express their surprise that he liked Dylan too. My mam said, WHAT? You’ve got to be kidding! But you LOVE Dylan! 

The Weepies – World Spins Madly On

This song is potentially one of my favourite songs of all time and whilst I can’t remember, really, what made me love it so much, I do remember that when I was going through a really tough time, I would listen to this song and I’d feel a sense of clarity that other songs didn’t make me feel. I guess because, in spite of the lyrics, the music and the singing is beautiful and relatively uplifting. Either way, it’s still one of my favourite songs, except again, the meaning has changed.

A Fine Frenzy – Ashes and Wine

For a very long time, I wanted to learn the piano and write songs, not necessarily to sing to people, but just because I liked the idea of being a musician. I had loads of friends who did exactly the same thing, so they were inspirational to me. Turns out, I didn’t really have the patience to learn the piano and I’m rubbish at writing songs, so that fell through. I had red hair at the time and was pretty obsessed with looking up pictures of women with red hair for style inspiration and this is how I found A Fine Frenzy. At the time, I was going through a really shitty time. I was in a ridiculously toxic relationship that made me miserable on a daily basis, but wasn’t brave enough to end things, because at this point in time, I wasn’t really smart enough to realise that my self-worth meant more than a relationship (turns out it would take me another four years to realise this permanently!) it’s such a silly thing to say, but this song made me wish that I was in a situation like this; it made me wish that I was so in love with someone that if someone didn’t love me anymore, that I would love them so much that I would want to fight for the relationship. Sounds a little fucked up, but I guess because I was in such a horrendous place, relationship wise, I guess I wanted more. Passion, maybe. Or even just to be loved, I guess? I’m not sure, but this song reminds me of wanting to be in love and wanting to feel passionate about someone other than Mick Jagger, maybe!

Michelle Branch – Everywhere

This song reminds me of being a teenager and spending endless amounts of time downloading music and making CDs for me to take into my bedroom and listen to on repeat. I think throughout my teenage years, I’d make a new CD every single day, because my music tastes would change so rapidly. I remember I went through a stage where I only wanted to listen to music written and performed by women and decided to look up a lot of new artists that I’d never heard of and whilst I discovered the likes of Sleater Kinney and other riot girl bands, I also discovered this song and whilst I’ve never heard anything else she’s written, I fell for this song immediately and would bounce around my room, singing at the top of my voice, presumably hoping I would be discovered by a music exec just wandering through the countryside one day. Ha.

Liz Phair – Why Can’t I?

This was also discovered during my obsession with female artists, but also because of the 13 Going on 30 soundtrack, a film I was obsessed with when I was a kid. I also put this song on one of the millions of CDs I made and I remember whenever I listened to it, I would make up these really ridiculously dramatic concepts of me falling in love with someone. As you can probably tell by now, a lot of my music tastes evolved due to my sheer adoration for romance. I am a total and utter cliché, and I fucking love it.

The Distillers – Young, Crazed Peeling

My obsession with Brody Dalle begun when I first saw this video during my early years watching PRock, because my mother didn’t want us watching any of the mainstream channels like MTV because, as she said, it was full of misogynist rhetoric that would encourage us to feel like we needed to take our clothes off and loosen our morals in order to get a man, which is something we should NEVER do. But punk music that encouraged us to become raging feminists was something she was fully supportive of. My obsession with Brody developed to the point where my entire bedroom wall was covered in pictures of her. One time my mam asked me if I still fancied boys and I’m assuming she was wishing that I would maybe take my clothes off and loosen my morals to ascertain my heterosexuality, but those are things she’d never say…

Okay, well, I’m bored now so I’ve decided to stop. I might post more, which is why I’ve called it Part One. Maybe I should have structured it better and included the genre surfing I’ve done over the years, but then again, maybe I will just do what I want and you’ll enjoy it, because I tell you too. Have a good day!

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Rear Windowing The Neighbours:

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The view from my flat… Missing the river, of course! 🙂

Not many of you may know that I live in a block of flats. They’re not a block of flats in the traditional sense; it’s three stories high and boasts six flats in total, including mine. Mine is ground floor and the patio doors boast a truly phenomenal view, to the point where I like to sit in the rocking chairs outside in the summer and watch the river idle by. Where I live is really quiet, idyllic and peaceful and I love it. I’m not the type of person who craves drama or intrigue, I like to keep myself to myself and living somewhere that is as quiet as my flat is truly amazing.

Even though I live in a block of flats, I very rarely see my neighbours. I sometimes see the family who live above with their tiny little girl who as of late has been screaming for hours on end, breaking her little heart over something that is troubling her. I see the man who lives with his partner opposite who ignores me all the time and sometimes drives in and out of the estate for no reason, before standing outside and smoking for ages. I am also pretty obsessed with the old lady who lives at the very top of the building; I’m not sure if she’s in a same sex relationship with the lady I see around often, but either way, I think she’s the type of person who likes to get drunk on gin and tell inappropriately filthy jokes, which basically makes her my soul mate and I long to pluck up the courage to ask her or happen to accidently drop a bottle of Hendrick’s one night as she wanders past, hoping to strike up a conversation that allows her to be my best friend forever more. There’s another couple that I don’t really know much about; I’ve said hello to them both separately and I very rarely see them… until recently. Recently, dear readers, Brain and I have developed a Rear Window situation, which basically means I am the Grace Kelly in the situation and he is the wheelchair bound James Stewart… we are obsessed with one of our neighbours.

Clearly I am Grace Kelly, look at the glass of wine, man!

Clearly I am Grace Kelly, look at the glass of wine, man!

They’re a young couple like Brain and myself, which means I have often thought about them and wondered what they’re like. I do this with people who are in relationships, because relationship dynamics intrigue me to no end; I like to wonder if all couples are the same and if their concept of love is the same as mine, for example. Like, I wonder if couples behind closed doors spend as much time cuddling on the sofa, or if they like to cook together or if they chase each other round playing stupid games like Brain and I do. I’m obsessed with the closeness that couples share and if it feels the same. This sounds entirely mental, I totally appreciate that, but either way, I have wondered about this couple.

They are both young, they’re both pale and they’re both very polite, prim and I think quite proper. She is very quiet and I haven’t really spoken to her and he only says hello in passing, so I haven’t managed to strike up a friendship with them yet, to be able to outright ask them what I am dying to ask them. So instead, I have to spy. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t shimmy up the side of the building and Spiderman my way along until I can spy in their windows, and I don’t hang out in front of their door waiting or anything, it’s not that bad. Really, my spying is entirely accidental and I think that’s what makes the situation worse.

You see, every evening if I or Brain leave the house, or if we go out to our family’s house and return later on at night, or whatever, this couple are sitting in their car. The engine is running, the lights are on and they don’t do anything. They just sit there. And I am foaming about it.

Last night, we went out quite early because it was my dad’s birthday and we had gifts to take him, so we left at about six o clock and didn’t return until about half ten. When we left the house and I helped Brain put my dad’s presents in the car, the male human from this car couple was standing outside of the car putting his coat on. We exchanged pleasantries, as we always do and Brain and I got in the car. Immediately, as we do, we wondered out loud what they were doing sitting in the car, again. I mentioned that it was pretty weird and put it out of my mind, opting to bother Brain in the car by pushing all of the pushable buttons in the car and laughing wickedly as he clicks them all off, cursing me and calling me a nightmare, then we drove off, not to think of it again.

We had a lovely  night with my parents and after watching the Newcastle match, we came home. We got home at about half past ten and when I stepped out of the car, I realised that the couple were still in the car!! WHY, WHY ARE THEY IN THE CAR!!!!! I immediately started grinning, as I do when I’m excited and nervous and desperate to tell Brain some gossip and as soon as we got in the flat, we began wondering aloud what the fuck they could possibly be doing STILL SAT IN THE CAR. I’ve never known couples who do this, especially when they have a flat of their own to go into and do whatever it is they want to do. So I’m at a loss and I am so excited for night time to fall so I can watch them again…

Why are they in the car?

What are they doing?

Are they planning a murder?

Are they playing Mexican music loudly to mask the sound of them arguing?

What the fuck are they doing in the car?!

Stay tuned, because I will eventually find out. Until next time, Grace Kelly OUT!

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Valentine’s Day Romance Tips

Valentine’s day, regardless of relationships status, causes internal woes within the mind grapes of so many people. Admittedly, this most romantic of days was created with women in mind. Let’s face it, masculine men don’t appreciate red and pink hearts, greetings cards and/or balloons, so if you’re reading this and wondering how you can be romantic on Valentine’s Day, you probably own a dick and are terrified of having it unsexed on Valentine’s Day by being less romantic than your lady friend deserves. So, here I have compiled a small list of sure fire ways to get your dick sucked on Valentine’s Day. You’re welcome!

Before I begin, I should probably make it abundantly clear: This list was compiled with independence and maturity in mind. If you don’t have your own place and in spite of having a full time job and a butt load of savings in the bank still live with your mother, then you should probably leave right now. Nothing screams ‘I breastfed until I was fifteen!’ like a man who thinks it’s okay to take a Valentine, or someone he wants to fuck, to his childhood bedroom whilst his mam sleeps down the hall. I mean, what’s wrong with you?

With this in mind, let’s continue to the list:

Décor:

Women love a wonderfully decorated room. If you look on Pinterest, there are so many pins and images dedicated to soft lighting, candles, fluffy pillows etc. that the entire concept is becoming a little tiresome; it’s white noise and doesn’t really scream romance any more. Plus, if you’re living in a masculine space it’s pretty hard to get fairy lights and candles inside without someone accusing you of being gay, which is definitely NOT what you want someone you want to stick your dick in to feel like. So, I have the best solution: Balloons. Specifically, balloons that allow you to share what’s in your heart, but you’re too afraid to say:

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Love Bites Balloons, Firebox, £5.99

My favourite is the one that says ‘LET’S FUCK’ because it encapsulates the true essence of Valentine’s Day, in my opinion.

Entertainment:

Let’s face it, Valentine’s Day is awkward for an abundance of reasons. The expectation of sex is pretty much the only reason you’ve gone to all of that effort with the balloons and the anticipation of having sex may be too much for your Valentine to comprehend, without distracting themselves with some light hearted entertainment, such as the following:

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The Big Book Of Penises 3D, Firebox, £24.99

This book comes with 3D glasses so that your Valentine can be fully acquainted with a variety of penis shapes and sizes, so that when your penis is out on the table (please not literally), there won’t be any nasty or unwelcome surprises.

Hors d’Oeuvres:

I’m going to assume that, if you’re inviting your Valentine to your pad, you’ll be cooking, because let’s face it, who wants to openly admit that the only reason you’re inviting them to yours is because your house mate is out and you haven’t been laid in ages. So, under the guise of appearing romantic, you’ll cook. If you want to impress her even more, you will have some hors d’oeuvres for her to have a nibble on and, courtesy of Firebox, you’ll need to look no further!

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Edible Anus, Firebox, £6.99

The tagline is ‘eat out this Valentine’s Day’, which is, really, all you need to know.

Gifts:

The ultimate goal for any girl on Valentine’s Day is receiving gifts. If she tells you otherwise she’s lying, because she doesn’t want to seem like a bitch, but if you know women as well as I do, women are all lying bitches and only say they don’t want presents so that they can call you out for being shit and cause a really big argument on what is supposed to be a really romantic day. So don’t let her get one over on you this Valentine’s Day! Give her a gift that she’ll enjoy. Like crabs! Or Syphillis! Or The Clap!

STDS

Giant STDs, Firebox, £8.99

If you follow my guide to romance on Valentine’s, I can guarantee you that by the end of the night, the only seat you will need in your house is your face. You’re welcome, internet.

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Happy Birthday, Doris Daze!

This time last year, I spent an inordinate amount of time alone; I would wake up alone, lie and stare blankly at the ceiling, wondering how many hours I would have to be awake before I could get hammered. If it was longer than ‘a few’, I would roll over and go back to sleep. During the week, I didn’t see a soul and the monotony of waking up and waiting to get drunk so I could feel something was my routine. My sister would come and see me and not see anything wrong with me, so would retreat back into her brand new relationship, telling my parents they were being paranoid for suggesting that I was depressed. I wasn’t depressed, though… I didn’t really feel anything in order to feel depressed.

From the space between September 2013 and May 2014, I saw my best friend once, a friend I had never met once and my other best friend twice. Other than that, I spent it alone. I hung out with my sister maybe four times. On a Friday, my dad would insist on picking me up and buying me wine so that I would spend the weekend with him and my mam. Neither of them liked the idea of me being alone, because they were frightened of what I would do. I would then spend the weekend staring blankly into space, locking myself in the spare bedroom or crying. I appreciated the effort my parents went to and I would sometimes put on my game face and pretend I was okay for their benefit, but I wasn’t. I wasn’t at all.

I was living in a house that was too big and too expensive to heat, so I didn’t heat it and wore blankets, trying to keep the winter chill from getting to me. Sometimes, I could see my breath when I lay in bed, it was that cold. It was a house where electricity was too expensive to light, so I didn’t light it and kept all of my energy for my laptop, so I could use Facebook and chat to my mam and my friend Sarah online. I had no job, I had no money and every day I received threatening letters about pay-day loans and other things that my ex had signed up for in my name – he had committed fraud, but I was being left to sort them out myself. My bank balance read £0.45 and I wasn’t eligible for any form of governmental help, so I had to rely on graciously accepting familial donations of £10 here and £20 there… I ate one meal per day, unless it was a special occasion (like, my sister came to visit, or my dad took me shopping) and that usually consisted of lettuce or cucumber, bread and the occasional tin of mackerel. I also used a lot of that money to buy wine, so that my nights weren’t spent cold and lonely, terrified of sleeping, of my environment, living in constant fear that my landlord was going to break in and be horrible to me. I hated my life; I hated waking up and feeling the way that I did, so I used a lot of the money that my family donated in good will, to getting wasted and self-harming so that it didn’t hurt as much anymore.

Then, one day, I decided to start a blog. I was at my parents’ house, as it was my dad’s birthday the following day and I was staying in my sister’s bedroom as she wasn’t home. I used her PC to play Skyrim on, which was my perpetual comfort blanket, when suddenly, for the first time in a long time, I decided I wanted to write. My family, particularly my beloved grandma, were panicking about Valentine’s Day, given that it was my first one as a single lady in a long time, but, as I told her, I didn’t celebrate Valentine’s Day – I’d made the effort over the years, because I felt that it was right to do, but even to this day, I’ve only received two Valentine’s Day presents and they were both off my sister; An Audrey Hepburn print and a vintage-style champagne flute with some pug socks. So Valentine’s Day doesn’t really represent ‘love’ in my opinion. Then again, nothing I had experienced, really represented ‘love’. Convenience, maybe. Sex, maybe. But, love? No way… anyway, my first post was about Valentine’s Day. It was an entirely creative piece, but it was funny, I thought and that’s what I decided I wanted to do: I wanted to make myself laugh. I wanted to use life experiences to pull myself out of the perpetual slump I was in, because I wanted to move on. I didn’t want to be sad any more. And that’s how Doris Daze was born.

The happiness that I’ve been able to feel through writing this blog knows no bounds; it has been my constant, amazing best friend for a whole year now, and continues to be something I love to be a part of. Blogging helped bring me back to life again and allowed me to discover who I really am. Through this blog, I have managed to communicate with some amazing people, including some of the best friends in the world: Mungle, Sian, Emilie, Rachel, Amy, Marie, Leona and Becky. I rediscovered friendship and what it feels like to be loved and appreciated by people I get to call friends. I haven’t been a part of their lives much recently and I realise how much I miss them all; they are my lady humans and when I met them and began using social media to chat to them hundreds of times a day, waking up didn’t seem as bad anymore, because they were there to laugh and to play with. They were my company and slowly made the sting of loneliness disappear. Through these girls, particularly through Emilie, I rediscovered feminism and I embraced the movement like an old friend, which in turn helped me become newly self-assured, confident and respectful of myself. I began to write cathartically about bad things that happened to me and used feminist ideals to progressively feel better about those bad things so that they weren’t making me cry any more. I became an overall healthier person, intent on living life for ME and not for anyone else. I owe all of that to the opportunities that blogging has given me.

Moreover, and perhaps the most important gift my blog has given me, is the fact that it was Doris Daze that brought Brain and I together. Initially, I’d made an active decision that I would never be in a relationship again, that I would never allow another person to diminish my character and make me ashamed of who I was; I didn’t need a relationship and I didn’t want one – I didn’t believe in what people could do to you and the power they could exert over you when you were in a relationship. They were dangerous, I thought, and the words my ex and his mother had imprinted on my consciousness was that I didn’t deserve happiness. That I wasn’t good enough. So, it genuinely upset me that I was smitten with Brain from the moment I was introduced to him (Bob Dylan t-shirt, blue eyes and a beard? I mean, come on, I didn’t stand a chance) and we became friends. We became best friends, actually, on our first day of meeting and it only got better – those days where I was getting to know him will forever be etched into my memories as the best time ever – I’d made friends with the male version of myself and it was awesome. Brain was also the first person I actively gave my blog link to; it was the closest and most personal thing that I could share with someone and before then, I’d never felt secure enough to do so. It made me feel vulnerable, but for some reason I also felt like he was the only person I could trust with something as special as this. I have the link to him one Friday afternoon and by Monday he had read it in its entirety, from beginning to end, just like that. His reaction was, you should show more people, I think it will make them like you more. And that’s when I knew that Brain would remain the most important person in my life for as long as I could possibly try to do so; he didn’t see the bad things that happened to me as a black mark on my character and he didn’t besmirch me as some kind of terrible human who was to blame for all of the things that happened to her; he liked me more. Which means more to me than he could ever possibly know… well until now, because he still reads my blog 🙂 hiya!

I couldn’t be more grateful of the people who have taken time out to read my blog, because it means everything to me. Without my blog, I really don’t think I’d be in the position I am now. I’d probably be living at my parents, hooked on anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medication, living in a perpetual state of unhappiness and regret. Instead, I am head over heels in love with the most amazingly sweet and genuinely best human I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing and, better than that, I feel that I deserve the love he has to offer me. We live in an amazing little flat, overlooking the water, filled with belongings and paintings and posters that encapsulate our personalities (which are basically mirrored in one another) and our relationship… everything is so important because everything here I have experienced with him. I feel so safe, content and I feel happier than I have ever felt in my life and, more importantly, I feel that I am deserving of all of these nice things. I’ve genuinely forgotten what it feels like to be truly sad and when reading back through my old blogs, I really don’t know why I allowed myself to be so manipulated or so abused, or so sad as I felt about someone who was never worthy of my time.

It’s funny what blogging can do for people, but I’m really glad that my blog helped me discover who I really am. Thank you, all of you, who’ve taken time to read my blog over the past year… Here’s to you all. And here’s to you Doris Daze, happy birthday, my love.

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Chapter Two – Family

Family:
Noun
A group consisting of two parents and their children living together as a unit.

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In short, you could say that my birth was a success. My parents wanted a baby and they received me, so I guess you could call that a success. Then again, unless my mother gave birth to a smart car and audibly wailed at the sight of my four wheels instead of human limbs, I guess their expectations were bound to be met… anyway, suffice it to say, I enjoyed being a baby as far as photographs can tell me, but then again, tiny humans lead the best lives ever and unless they’re hungry, or tired or have just defecated themselves, they pretty much live a really cool, non-stressful lifestyle, which I am sure all new mothers will attest to, quite happily. I was also a very cute baby, which I say without a degree of narcissism; I had those chunky big baby arms and legs that you can’t help but want to sink your teeth into and enormously round blue eyes that I still own now, funnily enough. The only thing, when I look back at photographs of myself as a baby, as something I really dislike is the fact that I had an absolutely enormous head. Now, I’ve been told that I have a really small head, but back then it was huge – I think I might have been born with an adult head instead of a baby head and my body has just grown round it, lest it grew further and I was bullied throughout life for not being able to fit through doors. Anyway, I was a pretty cute baby and generally not one of those babies that parents say are cute, but when you look at them and recoil in horror, guessing that this particular baby is a face only a mother could love – I was an all-round adorable winner.

In spite of all this, my parents decided to have another pop at procreation and whilst I guess it would have been fun for all involved to have a tiny human of a different gender, they lucked out and got another female human and that, my friends, is how my sister was born as far as I know. I guess because it wasn’t about me, I never took the time to ask. Other than hearing about my dad exclaiming ‘IT’S A BOY!’ only to be told by the nurses that no, sir, that’s just the umbilical cord, I don’t know anything else, and really, after that story, what else is there you need to know? We were introduced in the hospital where she was born. My grandparents led me into the room and I walked over to my mam, who was cradling the brand new, tiny human in her arms and my response was to walk away and run up and down the corridors for the remainder of the visit. I was no longer the medical marvel, or the centre of attention; there was a new adorable human in town. I think if I’d known I was going to be meeting my very first and very best life-long friend, I probably would have made more of an effort, but seriously, what do you want from me?  I was one!

My sister and I have always been close and I honestly do consider her to be one of the greatest humans who has ever graced the planet and what makes her even more amazing is the fact that she doesn’t even know. She’s a really slight, petite and thin human which makes the tall and naturally curvaceous with bits of padding here and there part of my personality want to stab her every time I see her. She has these enormous dark chocolate, almost black eyes, stupendously high cheek bones and everything about her is just perfect and small; she’s like a doll who has just stepped out of a children’s fairytale or a masterpiece of some sort. In my eyes, she’s perfect and her hair, her gloriously long, down to her waist; curly, shiny hair is the thing I most covet in life. If she wasn’t my sister I would hate her guts.

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In a pretty brilliant move, my parents nipped the ever popular concept of ‘sibling rivalry’ in the bud before it had time to grow and be nourished as our bitterness for each other grew and as a result, my friendship with my sister has been persistently rock solid for almost twenty five years. They instilled in us from a young age that when you had a sister, you always had a friend and part of me makes me think that my parents stole this from a sickly sweet sit-com they watched growing up, or they had some kind of cheesy parental handbook filled with corny one liners, but either way, it was pretty good advice, if not a bit vomit inducing for the non-saccharin amongst us. There was also another snippet of advice given from one of the parental units that has been said so many times, I can’t remember which one said it and the sentence I am about to write is paraphrased with some intense emotional intent for dramatic purposes, so just be warned, but anyway, either the man or the woman said: There is nothing in life more important than the four of us, whether you’re happy or sad, rich or poor, near or far, we will always be there for each other and there will always be a home for you with mam and dad. Which is pretty amazing advice, really. Or, depending on how you read it and if we’d decided to choose a life of crime, it could sound pretty much like a pact that is relatively tantamount to saying: If we get caught, murder suicide pact, who’s in?! But I don’t think my mother’s catholic roots would allow it. I joke, but it’s something that I genuinely wear as a badge of honour; there’s nothing more important in life than the closeness of one’s family!

Over the years we did some amazing stuff together and whilst we haven’t had a lifestyle that saw us travelling to certain places on the globe and we only really had three holidays abroad during childhood, we still managed to have an amazing life. My dad’s career took us to Holland for three years and my sister and I can speak fluent Dutch and played the national sport for our local village. I did end up getting bullied and hated my life for a while, but I try not to blame my dad for that, I tend now just to blame the entire country of Holland for a few shit kids instead! As a result, my sister and I didn’t suffer some kind of childhood traumatic event that affected us well into our adulthood, but when you’re writing about your childhood you’re supposed to write about something that could potentially be construed as poor parenting, so I guess I’ll try my best to conform:

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That’s a small me sitting on the sofa of our first family home. Don’t I look adorable drinking from my can of Stone’s lager? My mam is not a lager drinker, but my dad is, so it’s pretty clear to see that we can place the blame entirely on my dad and let him know that it’s his fault that I’m such an alcoholic now. Except that I don’t drink lager and I drink wine, but really it’s just lady beer, so he’s still in the wrong. I am sure that both of my parents would like me to tell you all that it was EMPTY when I put my face against it, but they were young and probably also liars, so I’ll just let you guys decide whether or not they inadvertently fed alcohol to their small human or not, were mortified, but not mortified enough to carry out a photo-shoot. This is what happens when you have kids in your twenties.

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One time I hurt my leg and had to wear a cast for weeks. It was an itchy, hot cast that I can’t really remember anyone asking to write on, which is pretty upsetting. It had a heel so that I didn’t walk with a limp and when the doctor said that I’d be okay to do all the things that I could do before I had my accident, like pour myself a glass of juice, I’d be fine and my parents weren’t to mollycoddle me. Which would have been fine if I’d ever poured myself a glass of juice in my life, so when I asked for one and my dad piped up with ‘Now, now, Doris, the doctor said you could pour your own drinks!’ and I spilled it all over the bench, we really have no one but him to blame there, really, do we? For shame, father. The reason I wore the cast, you ask? Well, I fell off an apparatus at school during PE, where I’d apparently told one of my classmates that I could fly and when he didn’t’ believe me, I thought I’d teach him a lesson in both listening and believing everything I said because I was superior. Turns out I couldn’t fly and was brandished a liar (probably) in the eyes of my infant school class. I think another lesson I could have probably learned here is not to lie to people and also that my parents shouldn’t have been so supportive of my creative mind or active imagination, because look what happened!

For Christmas, roughly twenty years ago, I received my very first PlayStation. I had no idea what it was. I can’t remember asking Santa Claus for it and I didn’t know what it did. Turns out that my dad knew how to work it just fine and I guess it was the ideal gift for a twenty four year old father of two, who knew?! I didn’t know how to play games such as Tomb Raider because I was six and it was scary, I mean there were WOLVES and a DINOSAUR, so my dad played on my behalf, which was really convenient and helpful. I mean, let’s forget the fact that the PlayStation turned out to be the greatest gift our family could have received, because we would all huddle around and watch my dad play games and just remember the fact that I didn’t ask for a PlayStation and also didn’t know how to play the PlayStation – that’s the most important part. Equally so, a few years later, I asked for an All Saints CD for Christmas and received a Dave Pearce remix thereof. There was only one person in our family who listened to Dave Pearce on Radio One after the chart show countdown on a Sunday and it certainly wasn’t me, my mam or my sister… the lesson that I’ve taken from these Christmas gifts is that you can’t always get what you want. In a lot of cases, you get what your dad wants and you just have to like it or lump it.

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Introduction: Confessions of a Twenty Something.

Writing about yourself is supposed to be a really difficult process, but because I am so inherently narcissistic, I found it quite easy. Also because I’m really smart.  It just goes to show that if you have a generally elevated sense of self-worth, you can accomplish pretty much anything and that it is, in fact, insecurity and a lack of faith in yourself that breeds misery and stunts any form of creative process and talents in the process… The Harlot!

In a far more realistic sense, it was actually pretty difficult and spending so much time planning pieces and not wanting to include things that would make family members disown me, it meant that I spent a long time pensively staring into the distance, wondering if I could feasibly lie throughout the whole biographical process and get away with it. Turns out that I can, which is very pleasing (not really). I had many working titles for this series of posts. One title, which I wrote about pretty much at the start of my blogging journey, when I decided that I would one day write a biographical piece that would sell millions and make me rich beyond my wildest nightmares would be: The History of Dildos: Confessions of a Wine Addict, because I thought it was a really great, historical play on words – like, some people would think that I would be discussing dildos at some point (which, let’s face it, is always a possibility) and others would think that ‘dildo’ is actually a metaphor for me as a person, which is far more correct and if you guessed that you’re probably really smart and/or went to university. I also thought about the title Be Mediocre! Because I was reading Hadley Freeman’s Be Awesome at the time and thought I was burgeoning on being a comedic genius. I finally settled on Mad About the Brain: My Journey from There to Here because it has multiple meanings (again, I’m really showing off my mad skills, here): Mostly I’m talking about the things that go on in my brain and how life has shaped me and made me the adult I am today, but, also, because my nickname for the love of my life, male human shape I adore, is Brain and it was conceived when I first met him following the little avatar he uses at work to chat to people and because, if you choose to read further (which you might not) there are certain life events that took place that, I feel, wouldn’t have made me as available, I guess, to fall in love with Brain as quickly as I did, so I guess there’s always that. I’m sickening, I know.

There will also be helpful tips and anecdotes throughout the series so that you can feel inspired by the inner workings of my mind and revere me as some kind of Geordie Goddess (move over, Cheryl!) it will, also, hopefully try to conclude in a manner that is far more successful than the current conclusion you’re reading (see, you didn’t even know, did you?) and maybe inform you all what I think that I’ve learned in my twenty six years on earth. If you’ve read my Series of Lamentations which was a half-hearted attempt before I got bored and decided to do this, then you’ll know what I’m hoping to achieve (and if you do please tell me, because I have no idea).

I hope you enjoy it, if you get through to the end, let me know and I’ll buy you a congratulatory beer. Thank you in advance. Doris xx

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Doris and Her Festive Period

Don’t worry, this is not going to be a post regarding the menstrual cycle of a red wine addict at Christmas time. In fact, it isn’t about the menstrual cycle of anyone and if you thought it was, you have either misread or are following my menstrual cycle far too closely for anyone to feel at all comfortable with. Back off. No, this blog is about what happened during my absence at Christmas time! I didn’t blog at all during the festive period, I very rarely tweeted either, so I feel the need to catch up with some of my internet friends and, quite frankly, brag at how amazing my Christmas has been and how very lucky I am to have the people in my life that I do.

Not many people knew that my birthday was on Christmas Eve too, so the excitement around December is somewhat doubled and I am, generally, quite unbearable and this year was no different. It was my first Christmas in my new home, it was my first Christmas that I was actually looking forward to for many years and it was my first Christmas with my beloved, Brain. Before the festive period had even begun, I had a lot to be happy and grateful about, so I went into Christmas with the biggest smile on my face.

I woke up on my birthday at 6.30, upon realising Brain was no longer in bed and was pottering about the house. Being inherently nosey, I instantly wondered what he was doing, before realising he wanted to put my banners and balloons up that his mam bought for him (because he freaked out at the idea of having to do it, which, honestly, I am foaming about because when he turned 29, me and my manager arranged banners and massive helium filled balloons reading ‘45’ and also One Direction ones, so I thought it only polite to reciprocate that excellent effort), I also woke up realising that I’d moved them and he wouldn’t be able to find them, so when he came back to bed in a huff, I had to fully acknowledge my awake state and let him know where they were. I also decided that I would open presents at this time too. It was my birthday, I made up the rules.

Brain has bought me a lot of presents over the past few months we’ve been together and generally he’s a very good present buyer, but he totally out did himself with my birthday gifts. I received Nora Ephron’s book, I Feel Bad About My Neck, which I happened to tell him about when we were watching When Harry met Sally back in the summer and he remembered, which I found astounding and super thoughtful. He also bought me a mini Dwight (US Office) bobble head, which I can’t help but laugh hysterically at every time it moves – I have wanted one of these for an absolute eternity and it is one of my favourite things of all time. His main present was something absolutely astounding and it genuinely took my breath away and brought an abundance of tears to my eyes, so much so that it is getting a paragraph of its own:

It was a large square that I thought was either a calendar (which I’d have been a bit dejected by if I’m honest) or a vinyl. I thought it might have been a Rolling Stones vinyl, seen as neither of us own one and they’re my favourite band, but when I read the card, I realised it wasn’t that at all. It read “Sunday 1st June” and my heart stopped in my chest. It was the day after our first date and he came to mine so I could cook him some food and we could hang out / listen to music and it turned out to be potentially the best day of our relationship; it was very, very weird and absolutely amazing. We listened to a lot of Explosions in the Sky, so I assumed it was one of their albums on vinyl, which I was SO excited about. But when I opened it, I realised it wasn’t that at all and again, my heart stopped in my chest. What it was, was actually a custom made vinyl with all of the songs he thought best described our relationship from that day until now. I can’t quite remember the tracklisting but it featured so many songs that mean so much to us both and each of us have actual instances when we can remember first listening to songs together. The first track is Semisonic’s Secret Smile which is undeniably our song and naturally, as is our way, it features a few Bob Dylan tracks too. It is by far the most thoughtful gift I’ve ever received and listening to it brings me nothing but joy. It also featured a photograph one of my best friends took of him at a wedding they were both at, so it was even more special: My favourite photograph, taken of my favourite person, by one of my best friends. Very cool and very thoughtful.

I received some other amazing gifts and drank wine, spent time with friends and family and curled up in Brain’s nook and felt pretty damned lucky to have such a mint lad in my life!

The next day was obviously Christmas day and we had to get up even earlier, because we were both spending the day a part, with our families and I wouldn’t see him until the night time, so we got up and opened our gifts together. I never wrote here what I was buying Brain for Christmas because he reads the blog and I didn’t want to ban him from reading it, purely for the sake of essentially screaming LOOK LOOK LOOK. But I got him a lot of Marvel & Dragon Ball Z related stuff, which he really loved, I think, so I’m pleased! He went out of his way to spoil me rotten again and knock me off my feet again and overwhelm me again and make me cry again… It’s like he has magic powers.

The first thing I opened was something that I have been longing for since I was about fourteen; a DSLR camera. Naturally, I know absolutely nothing about it other than it is amazing, but I am happily learning how to take photographs and become better than someone who just snaps shit on her phone and posts it on Instagram. I find it pretty impersonal and that kind of stuff you can’t put in photo albums and create proper memories with, so naturally, I am overjoyed with his gift. Since Christmas, I’ve been practicing snapping photos every day and I’m starting to get the hang of it and have taken some really awesome photos, so watch this space as I might share some in the future. I thought this would be my main present, but it really wasn’t…

I also received a baby Groot who was hand made by someone on Etsy, I do believe and he is so cute, I love him so much that I put him next to my bed so when I wake up I can say shit like ‘I AM GROOT’ and not be strange. I also received an amazing Game of Thrones necklace, which basically means I am Mother of Dragons as it is the Targaryean house banner. I wore it a few times over Christmas because I love it, but the other day when I was taking my scarf off, it got caught and broke so I am irate and need a new chain.

The last present I opened, I thought it was a joke, because all Christmas he had been harping on about getting me some kind of stupid graphics card for HIS PC, so when I opened it and saw a motherboard, I think it was, for a laptop, I was a bit stony faced and like ‘what the fuck is this, bro?’ so poor Brain had to practically shout ‘IT’S A JOKE!’ and tell me to open it. So I did and inside were envelopes:

1. Train tickets departing from Newcastle and arriving in London’s Kings Cross.
2. A Menu for Maze, one of Gordon Ramsay’s restaurants.
3. A hotel booking at the Raddison Blu
4. Boarding passes for the London Eye
5. Two tickets to see Les Miserables

Needless to say, my breath was gone and tears were flowing from my eyes. Secretly, I was FOAMING that he had out done himself again, meaning that he wins Christmas and birthday, but mostly I was absolutely blown away by yet another amazingly thoughtful, sweet and generous thing he had done for me. He really is my favourite human.

So, in eleven days, I will be spending the weekend with the love of my life in London and I can’t wait. I had to share with you all because it really is an amazing thing that he’s done and I am so, so happy to have such an amazing man in my life.

Normal posting resumes tomorrow, including a breakdown of the general theme of my blog over the coming months. Stay tuned, folks! xxx

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A Series of Lamentations: My Granddad

Thirteen years ago today, my family and I lived in the south of Holland and had done for a while. We lived in tiny village, beautifully picturesque and small enough that you knew all the nooks and crannies. I was in my first year of comprehensive school, which was in a city to the south of us and the manner in which we got there as kids was to meet all of the other kids in the village and bike there; we were advised not to go it alone, because predators lay waiting in the bushes, so all of the other kids would meet at the dirt track road on a morning and bike there together. I never enjoyed it because I always had to ride at the back and no one talked to me, but I never expected them to simply leave me one day… but they did. Eventually, my dad had to drive me there and pick me up, because, as the kids explained when I dared to ask them why they left me, I was English and obviously a whore, thus didn’t belong in Holland.

That day was like most – boring. I was alone all of the time and when people did speak to me, it was usually to laugh at me or judge what I was wearing, or laughing at my sandwiches of choice that I’d taken that day. I remember one day some girls found a tampon that I had in my bag, after rooting through my purse, and parading it around like I was some kind of monster. They assumed because I was twelve (not quite thirteen), on my period and using tampons, that I must also be having sex, which made me an even bigger English whore than before. Fun, right? Yeah I know, buzzed off school, me. Anyway, this day was a non-day, as far as I was concerned. It was the day that I had history class, learning about the riveting history of Dutch farm life with a supply teacher. The children started bullying me; I was stupid, English and the reason that wars started and the sole reason why everyone hates the English. My mother was a whore too, because only whores gave birth to whore children like me…you know, basic bullying that builds character? Well, the supply teacher, naturally, sat down in front of my desk and joined in the bullying, which is always the way; professional and providing the duty of care that any parent would expect their child to receive. I stormed off, because I was going to leave school and never go back, but I forgot my coat and thought my mam would go insane if I came home without a coat, so had to wait like an idiot and have each of them walk past me as I tried to go back in, shouting Dutch obscenities, making me wish I had enough fists to punch them all, fighting back tears. This was also the day I found bubble gum in my locker, so I couldn’t get my key in, which added to the awesomeness of my day. At the end of the day, I waited for my dad to pull up in his car (a black Citroen Picasso, which I still miss to this day, it was like a bullet and I got to sit in the front because no one else was with him and I felt super cool in it) and he was a little later than usual. I got in the car, he didn’t speak much, but then again, neither did I and we drove home. My favourite part of the day.

When we arrived, something seemed decidedly off. I remember walking in and everything feeling cloudy; the house wasn’t as tidy as it usually was, the dogs weren’t excitable, my mam wasn’t cooking our evening meal in the kitchen. A half-eaten bowl of cereal lay on the breakfast bar… I looked into the living room and there lay my mam, still in her pyjamas and dressing gown. She looked pale, crestfallen, sad. My sister sat next to her, grinning at me, which confused matters slightly. I sat down beside her, my dad sat down beside me and she told me… she told me that my beloved granddad, her dad, had died. I instantly looked at my sister, who sat grinning like a Cheshire cat, prompting me to instantly question my mam and tell her to stop joking (turns out, when faced with tragedy or any form of emotion, my sister grins. It’s awful and we tell her to stop, mostly because we can never figure out if she’s happy or sad at certain news). My mam told me that she wasn’t joking and my sister was chastised for being insensitive and then told me that she had been contacted by a family member, either my grandma or one of her brothers, I think, to say that he’d passed away in the night. That’s it, just gone.

Today marks thirteen years since my granddad died and it still hurts just as much as it did then. In fact, that’s a lie; it hurts more now. I still miss him more than I ever have done and coming to term with his absence doesn’t get any easier. He was such a funny, amazing and brilliant man; I adored him so, so much and he adored me right back. He was my favourite person in the whole world, I idolised him. When I stayed at my grandparents, my seat of choice was either opposite him, so I could look at him at all times, or right next to him, so close that I touched him with all of my right side. He was so smart, stoic and handsome; he looked like a proper granddad and his wit, playful nature and attitude so full of joy made him an absolute pleasure to be around; he adored his children and grandchildren and we all adored him in equal amounts, if not more. His absence in our family, at Christmas time, birthdays, father’s day, is palpable; his empty seat filled by another person’s body hurts.

I’m so sad today. I’m sad because so much stuff has happened in my life that he hasn’t been able to be a part of. He loved hearing the stories that I wrote growing up, or receiving letters when I lived away (I once wrote an incredibly insightful and detailed letter telling him that I’d been suffering from diarrhoea, which he laughed at to no end, apparently!) and I think he would have enjoyed seeing me grow up, to see me as an adult and have conversations with me. My mam tells me that he would have been so proud of me, loved me so much and cracked up laughing at all my stupid jokes, that have all my other family members in fits of giggles whenever I’m with them. I’m not the success story of my family, I haven’t really done much other than become a writer with a wine habit; I’m not married, or doing a job like nursing or having babies, or going off on holidays whenever I can. I just live my life, writing away. But I think he would have liked that.

I miss him so much. It still hurts so much. I still grieve for him whenever I see his photographs on my fridge, I still remember the games we played and I just wish that I’d been able to see him before he died. Give him a cuddle and tell him I love him one more time. I can’t even remember what the last words I said to him were, presumably because they were so nonchalant, because as a child, I just assumed I’d speak to him again. I miss him. I miss how he smelled and I miss how he had an afternoon changing time, where he’d go into the kitchen and change from his morning pants to his afternoon pants. I miss the drawers in my grandma’s kitchen that were full of shirts and cardigans and trousers, because he liked to dress in the kitchen. I miss the scramble we had as kids to pick all of our toys out of the way on a Saturday morning, when he’d put off hoovering until midday and then run our toys over, laughing heartily as we shouted NO, GRANDDAD, NOT BARBIE!! I miss his smile, I can still hear his laugh and I ache, because I want to hear it again. I miss him. I love him. I wish he was here.

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Watching Explosions in the Sky:

When I was younger, my family and I would go to a council run bonfire event every year – usually in Durham, sometimes in Newcastle: there would be food stalls serving an abundance of gluttonous, sugary snacks – huge lollipops in bright colours, baked goods slathered in sticky sugar, burgers with sloppy sauces and questionable meat sources. There’d be the occasional ridiculously overpriced stall where you could throw balls at poorly placed targets, where if you were amongst the very rare and lucky to win, you could find yourself the brand new owner of an enormous stuffed toy that would be beloved until the moment it became too arduous to carry. They were family affairs that, despite the bitter cold, helped you feel the comforting warmth of being enveloped in layers both physical and emotional, keeping the harsh sting of winter away, despite standing in an open field, watching explosions in the sky. I remember those events fondly, but now that I’m older, they don’t have the same resonance as they should – it was just a firework display with food stalls… nothing special, not like what fireworks should mean, what you longed for them to mean.

As I got older, I would become slightly addicted to people watching; so much so that I would walk into people, or lose my group because I would stop dead in my tracks to watch a small family: Mother and father, with a small child perched happily on their dad’s shoulders, or an elderly couple holding hands, standing so close together for warmth that it seemed they were enclosed in a bubble no one else could become a part of. To me, the older I became, the less bonfire night meant to me. I didn’t want to stand in a cold field, covered in mud, shivering despite many layers, shuffling from side to side waiting for five minutes of mediocre fireworks, before I join an enormous queue and shuffle impatiently back to the car, before sitting in a traffic jam, bored, tired and desperate for a cup of tea. You see, Bonfire night now bores me. Fireworks hold no resonance for me. Displays make me feel impatient and indignant; I don’t want to be a part of a crowd of people, listening to some locally known, predominantly failed DJ talk in that annoying accent only DJs know how to speak in; playing chart hits I don’t want to hear, standing alone, cold, wet and bored.

Yet, despite all of this, I love fireworks. I love standing so close to a bonfire that you can feel the soft kiss of its heat touching your skin, smelling the air, thick with smoke and fire, mixed with an abundance of different food smells. I love tilting my head to the sky and watching it light up with primary colours and hearing the generic ‘ooohs’ and ‘aaahs’ of parents and children alike. You see, I don’t hate bonfire night. I don’t hate the tradition of standing in a dark field, watching the skies. As an avid people watcher, I became obsessed with my idea of an ideal bonfire night; one that evoked in me the feelings I got when watching other people – I wanted bonfire night to mean something to me. I wanted to be snuggled inside of a thick layer of wool and scarves, wearing mittens and leaning in a casually absent minded fashion into the side of someone tall and solid, someone who would wrap one of their gloved arms around me, clutching onto my shoulder or my hips, tilting their head into mine; unable to feel them, but feeling the pressure of our woollen hats touching each other – a distinct intimacy that I always thought was an unattainable desire, something movies created to make us believe that romance isn’t something that everyone can achieve or experience, but that only people who are truly in the know, people who feel the irrevocable bliss of true and comfortable monogamy, truly know. Our heads focused on the sky, watching fireworks explode, both of us occasionally sneaking glances at the other, watching the other’s eyes light up, a small smile tracing their lips as the explosion booms throughout the sky, the soft glistening of their eyes as they squint, enjoying the moment for themselves. A pair of lips touching my hat covered head in a manner that screams I love you even though the contact period is less than a second… the intimacy that standing in a group of hundreds of people can truly illicit in two people when love is their only thought.

It’s such a silly desire, because I have that every single day. I get kisses on my forehead often. When he wakes up before me, I am awoken with soft kisses all over my face; I am looked at constantly when I’m in my own little world, smiling at nothing or crying at something ridiculously sentimental on TV, having tears wiped from my face, for no other reason that me crying is upsetting to him. I don’t need to see fireworks to know that I am irrevocably adored, yet the selfish and childish person in my longs for the Hollywood style romantic situations: Spending national holidays and events together. Doing the whole ‘standing in a freezing field smiling at the sky screaming at us’, snuggling into one another, smug in the knowledge that no one in that giant field staring at a giant fire full of old furniture know just how in love we are. I want to be the inspiration for some dorky, introverted, lanky human who let her dad choose her practical and warming blue, peg buttoned winter coat that despite it’s terrible fashion choices, kept me warm and it’s practicality is still displayed daily by the mother who walks her dog wearing said coat ten years later, who wears glasses and has spots all over her face, who doesn’t quite fit anywhere, but longs to be a part of a team that consists of two people; who wants to be loved, adored and cherished in spite of all her blatant flaws… I want her to be able to look at us and think yep… that’s what I want. That is a blatant example of two people who will adore each other until they’re elderly, decrepit by a life well lived, holding mittened hands, foaming that the winter made their bonfire night so cold, wishing they were back home, but unable to because their grandchildren are just SO excited by the explosions in the sky, far superior than what they were when they were younger… I want that. I want a life and a love inspirational to others and events like bonfire night; the true romanticism of it to be an aspiration to anyone who believes in love. Bonfire night isn’t just a night of glutton and cold, heat and fireworks, an event steeped in a bizarre and crazy tradition (terrorism, let’s not forget that), it’s a night where romance is alive and that’s how I feel about the evening. Which makes it all the more bittersweet: I have my ideal human… he’s just watching the St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra… So I am sat alone drinking wine. Sad that I didn’t get my picture perfect bonfire night with the love of my life, but so proud that he’s such an interesting, intelligent and well educated individual. He’s awesome and even though I didn’t get fireworks, I am still irrevocably in love and aware that I’m adored just as much, if not more, in return. Love you, Brain.

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An Affair to Remember

 “Winter must be cold for those with no warm memories, and we’ve already missed the spring…”

An Affair To Remember is one of my favourite films. Whenever I feel sad or lonely, or even when I feel inexplicably happy or nostalgic, it’s the first thing I go to. When I talk about it, or even think about it, the tears pool in my eyes even if I just happen to think of just how happy that film makes me. It is one of the most important films in my life, something I always think of with warm, fond memories.

The first time I watched it was one ridiculously early Sunday morning, when I, still living at home, meandered downstairs, expecting to find remnants of the drunken night before that desperately needed cleaning up, but which I would happily ignore. Instead, I would curl up on the sofa, inviting both dogs: Homer and Arthur, my amazing old boxer men who are now no longer with us, up on the sofa for a forbidden cuddle (they weren’t allowed on the sofa unless mama was very drunk and feeling soft), which they both relished in. Homer would only cuddle on his terms, so I would have to invite him up onto my seat and I would have to sit next to him, burying my head into his soft, silky fur; he’d place a paw over my hand and drift off into a slumber that elicited soft, comforting snores in my ear. Arthur, desperate for any kind of affection, at any given time, would clamber onto me and fit in any spare part of the sofa, draping himself over me and burying his head into my nook or a body part that was particularly soft (usually my stomach) and we would lie there, happily, in silence, until someone else in the house woke up and disturbed our peaceful snuggles. This morning, however, it was my mama, who I found watching the end of a film I can’t remember; the living room was tidy and both dogs were laying on the floor in front of her snoring happily. They both lifted their handsome heads when I walked in, in a manner which I like to think of as disappointment, that their snuggles on the sofa weren’t going to happen this weekend… Sorry boys…

Both my mama and I made our way to the kitchen, where she made us both a cup of tea and I raided the cupboards for some kind of unhealthy, biscuit type snack, before making our way back to the living room. My mother and I, ever since I was little, have always shared a sofa, whilst my dad and sister always had their own seats. It’s not something I minded, because when I was younger, I would snuggle up beside her and lie on her tummy whilst watching television and as I got older, the tummy snuggles would only happen if I was feeling sad or very sorry for myself. Usually we’d both sit with our feet up, mine pushed against her thighs because of my lanky legs and hers sitting comfortably in front of me, because she’s tiny and perfect. This morning, we were sitting in this usual spot, drinking tea and absent mindedly watching the news when she turns and asks me if I fancy watching one of the Cary Grant films that I’d bought her as part of her birthday presents. We decided on An Affair to Remember and my love affair with this movie was encapsulated forever.

We sat in silence throughout the whole film, until the very end and the credits rolled; we turned to each other, emotions built up inside of us, desperate to escape and as our eyes made contact, we burst into tears.

“That was one of the best things I’ve ever seen in my life…” I sobbed.

I’m not sure if it was because of my love for Cary Grant, or my general obsession with great, dramatic love stories or even the fact that I’d watched it one Sunday morning with my mother; something we both shared and will always share together, but it has remained the most important movie in my life ever since.

Years later, I would be sitting in a cold house that bore no warm memories; somewhere I hated, but simply resided and I would turn to the person I’d been seeing for a couple of weeks and I’d say,

“I’ve always wanted this, look. It’s from one of my favourite movies, but it’s just so expensive!”

He would respond with something relatively nonchalant, presumably what is this monstrosity, it’s a picture of two people kissing… what’s so great about that?

And a few weeks later, when I’d moved into my brand new flat with the help of said human, I’d be sitting at his parent’s house and in he’d walk with a delivery from somewhere, which he had bought me, as a house warming gift.

It was what I’d told him I’d wanted. A vintage film poster of An Affair to Remember, the film that brings me to tears at the very thought of it. Naturally, I cried my eyes out; I’d never received a present so thoughtful, or so important. I had already fallen in love with him at this point, because it’s pretty hard not to, but I think that moment in particular made me realise that I never want to be a part from him. It’s just a poster, get a life… Yeah, I know, but it’s pretty indescribable; I had longed for that movie poster in my life for years and years and in one moment of simple internet browsing, during the stages in our relationship where we were just getting to know each other, he remembered and bought me it.

If you haven’t seen the movie, it’s about two people who shouldn’t have met. They met per chance one evening when she’d found his cigarette case and after that they spent their entire cruise back to America with one another. It wasn’t sexual, it wasn’t even romantic, nor did it elude to romance… it was two people who were getting to know each other. They met by chance, by a simple mistake and then they got to know each other more than anyone else had gotten to know them before; it’s love in its most simple and important form and I think that’s why it resonates so deeply with me.

It’s no secret that I am a raging lover of romance; I love romance. Flowers, chocolates, being wined and dined, things I’d never experienced until Brain came into my life, but things I desperately wanted – I just wanted to be loved and for me, that movie encapsulates exactly what love is about. It’s not about what you look like or how much you weigh, or if you have the right boobs or clothes… it’s about getting to know someone inside and out, it’s spending eight hours on the sofa, doing nothing but staring into each other’s eyes. It’s corny, it’s simple and it’s beautiful.

I wasn’t supposed to meet Brain. I’d accepted a job somewhere I can’t even remember when I received a phone call inviting me for an interview one Tuesday morning. I didn’t know if I could accept, because I was supposed to start a job on Monday, but I did any way… just in case. Turns out, my first day on this job was awful, so awful that my dad text me half way through and said ‘Get up out of your chair and just walk out. Say anything you want, just go.’ And I did. The next day I went to an interview and a few weeks later, after an email I’d sent thanking them for an interview (an email I can’t remember sending), I received a phone call inviting me to start the next day. And on my first day, my managers introduced me to people in the office and then introduced me to Brain; he was wearing a Bob Dylan t-shirt and shook my hand, looking all tall and shy (and bearded) and I thought to myself ‘shit…’ and well… I guess the rest is history, as they say.

So now, as you may have guessed An Affair to Remember reminds me of Brain. He reminded me that love is so important and that it’s not just as simple as being with someone for a long period of time and eventually saying it because you feel you have to, but not really feeling it. After my first date with Brain, I closed my door and I actually swooned because I’d totally fallen head over heels in love with him. And when I opened that poster and I realised that he’d remembered something I said completely innocuously, not at all expecting him to even remember, never mind buy me it… It just made me realise that I am going to be with this person for the rest of my life. He loves me and every time I look at the poster, pride of place in my living room, I remember just how he was looking at me when I opened that present. He’s the love of my life and I am so lucky that I accidentally found him too.

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