Saturday, 12 April 2014

One day, we will be dead

I'm not sure what the protocol is in terms of writing a piece about death. Let's start with this simple and forthright message; we are all going to dieYup, there will come a day when every human being who currently inhabits this earth, including me, and you (sorry), will invade an unceasing state of total oblivion. There too will come a time when everything we ever thought and said and did and discovered will be forgotten. Even my amazing cartwheels.

It sounds bizarre, doesn't it, that it should feel necessary to promote such information when its sentiment is the most intrinsic part of our human experience. We have all loved people who no longer exist. We all know those hideous feelings of devastation and grief and the pain of desperately missing somebody who is no longer physically present. Yet still, there's a makeshift social umbrella of fear and taboo that attaches itself to the word 'death', leading us to either brazenly ignore it, or even to vilify the concept. We rarely talk about it. If ever it allows itself into our active cognition, we try to bat it away with thoughts of rainbows and unicorns and what we're having for dinner tonight. Of course, that's a very natural human approach, because 'shit, argh, we're actually going to die,' is quite the damning realisation, but really, it's the only definite realisation that we can ever have about our future. All that was once different will become eternally the same.

It's all too easy to revel in the assumption that we'll have the privilege of growing old and wrinkly and sprouting silver hair and reminiscing about those raunchy things that we got up to fifty years ago (did anyone ever actually indulge in a little tomfoolery behind the bike sheds?!), but unfortunately there's no guarantee of such luck. There is vibrant injustice and overwhelming fragility in our existence; if you get to experience the marvel of a maturing body and a bus pass, embrace it, I dare you.

Most of all, I dare you to do the following; accept that you are going to die. Don't dwell on the reality of it or cry about it or start letting your assiduous mind invent scenarios as to how it might happen,  just accept it and use it to live your life better. Seek inspiration from it when times are good, take comfort in it when times are terrible. Say it out loud every now and again. Think it and realise how extraordinary it is to have consciousness and the ability to think it. Look at your naked body and know that one day it won't be blessed with the inhabitancy of your bizarre, beautiful mind and a bunch of useful organs that allowed you to wake up this morning.

The explicit acceptance of our own mortality is all we need to see life differently; to know that most of the things we stress about aren't important, to understand that adventures need to be pursued now, that there really is no time like the present, and that sometimes having 'too much to lose' is an invalid excuse because through the simple art of respiratory success we're already at our most stripped and vulnerable. It sounds terrifying, and it is terrifying, but it's true.

Appreciate that however different we may be as individuals, we live in a whirlwind of specical* sameness. No matter how funny or smart or awesome we are, the universe, quite frankly, does not give a shit. It it not here to please us. It has no sense of obligation to us; no favourites, no special rules, no conceivable consideration towards our plight. Our only true significance on this earth lays in the eyes of those who love or look up to us. We owe those people everything for making us matter in a world where really we do not matter at all. Let's cherish those people and make them laugh with our terrible jokes and do our best to make their voyage into oblivion, as well as our own, as gratifying as possible.

As human beings, we are unquestionably brilliant and insanely imaginative and ridiculously capable and irreparably flawed and perpetually fascinating. We are all of those things but we are not wizards nor superheroes. We are entirely mortal. I can't promise you much but I can promise you this, that this moment, right now; this exquisite and terrible pocket of precious time in which we can all share in the pleasure and awfulness of our prevailing survival, in which you read this that I wrote for you, will one day become nothing more than, well, just that. Nothing. Carpe that diem whilst you still can. Live your life as well as possible. Chase your dreams. Tell the folk you love that you love them. Eat pizza. Enjoy ravenous intercourse. Laugh so hard you do a little wee. Be nice. Have hearty chinwags. Ride unicorns. Do the macarena. Pay compliments. Help people. Don't have a breakdown when you spill gravy on your best shirt. Be awesome. And do cartwheels, lots of them. They won't be as good as mine, but the universe won't hold it against you.

*This is a word that I invented for the sake of this post. Pronounced 'speesh-ic-all', it is an adjective derived from the noun 'species', which describes our mutual state of existence as human beings. I think. It made sense in my head. Carp'ed that diem, yes I did. 

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Dear Men, RE: Girly nights in...

(*Image sourced from and credited to*)

Dear Men, 

RE: Girly nights in.

All too often, when I tell a man that I'm having a 'girly night in', whether a friend, a romantic interest, or even just a colleague I'm making small talk with, I can't help but notice the subtle cognitive ignition of devilish expectation. Yup, those 3 insignificant words seem to conjure up an entire world of foolish misconception. Is it not about time that you were cruelly welcomed to the reality of what happens when us ladyfolk dedicate an entire evening to the celebration of our mutual vaginaship? Yes, it is. You're welcome.

Contrary to concupiscent fantasy, girly nights in are not erotic events. Sorry. There's no skimpy lingerie, no flirtatious pillow fights, and absolutely no sudden realisation that we are in fact ravenous lesbians who conveniently fancy all of our best friends. There's no ripping of each other's minimal clothing, no enthusiastic snogging, and no raunchy 'spin the bottle'. At all. Ever. 

Whilst you're optimistically fantasising about a photo opportunity for the Ann Summers catalogue, or the opening scenes to a dodgy amateur movie, we've actually rocked up looking entirely shit. And by shit, I also mean ridiculous. Toss those thoughts of provocative undercrackers aside; we're probably all wearing onesies or snowman patterned pyjamas or old, comfy tees that are at least four years old and playing host to last Autumn's onion gravy. And we haven't brushed our hair. Or washed it. Our eyebrows are dishevelled. Our make up is smudged. Our calf hair is so long you could knit a jumper out of it. Is anybody else feeling the warming crest of arousal? Still want us to send you a 'cheeky snap'? (You do? Get help. Go. Go now. Talk to Frank or something.)

We may have told you that we were going to detox, and we did have genuine intention of doing so, I promise. We planned to take a gentle meander through the aisles of an upmarket food store and stock up on face packs, marinated salmon, expensive salad and green smoothies. As it turns out, we took one step into that food store and turned into overexcited woman-beasts with an insatiable desire to line our stomachs with all of the saturated fat and sugar that we could get our hands on. We actually ended up buying an entire caseload of wine, six greasy pizzas, garlic bread, chips, a massive chocolate cake, and of course a barrel of ice cream to dip it in. Girly nights in make us insanely hungry, hangry in fact. If we're not eating for the duration of the evening, something is very wrong indeed. Would you like us to bring you back a slice of pizza? You would? Oh, you delirious soul. 

We crack open the wine, which usually corresponds with the start of a a film in which stars an actor whom we would all happily ravish; a film that we will have no recollection of come dawn, a film that will be watched for no longer than the opening scene before one of us makes a hideous, animalistic mind thrust towards said actor and the conversational tidal wave begins. We tend to start off with a few pointless toasts just because we like how sophisticated the sound of clinking glasses makes us feel. 'Ohhhhh Hannah, you fell down the stairs and only broke one of your toes? That is AH-MAY-ZING, cheers gals!!'

We always tell you that we're not talking about you, but that's a firm fabrication of the truth. Have you ever actually believed that? (You haven't? Right?) Of course we're talking about you! Even if we presented you with the jolly 'nooooo, don't be silly, all I bring to the conversation are book reviews and thrilling political debate' cabaret, we're definitely talking about you. If you have caught our fancy, taken us on a date, confused us, aggravated us, or tried to sleep with us within the recent past, be certain that you are undergoing some animated group analysis at the hormonal house party; terrible, heavily exaggerated impressions and all. (If you are Irish, we have a particular knack of making you sound Indian.) We are trying to work out why you're so bloody cryptic, we are swapping dating stories, and we are occasionally taking a group vote to determine whether or not you'd be a hit with our nan/whether your naked body could cheer us up during a nuclear war. We also talk about your genitals, sometimes. Sorry.  

As for us getting naked, I'd be lying if I said we went the entire evening without the revealing of any flesh, but if we are taking our clothes off, it's only to show each other our eternally advancing love handles, to admire our impressive food babies, or to remove an irritating pizza crust crumb that's somehow ended up wedged within our cleavage on the inside of our onesie. One cannot even begin to describe the intense degree of irritation that a stray, spiky crumb can bring to an undeserving breast. I know, that warm crest of arousal is back, isn't it? Who wants to go on a date with me?

By the end of the evening, a satisfied silence has descended upon us; a silence that indicates that we are at least twice as drunk as we anticipated we were going to get tonight, and definitely in no fit state to talk to you. Or acknowledge you. It's not you, it's me. Or is it me? Who am I? 

I hope you are now as aroused as I wasn't whilst writing this spoiler. I'm off to make a jumper out of my calf hair.

Love always,

Kathy B 

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Things that I am rubbish at

We live in a world where narcissism prevails. We'd never upload an Instagram selfie where we have uncombed eyebrows, an unruly barnet and a 'what-the-f*ck-am-I-doing-with-my-life' expression, we're encouraged, naturally of course, to exercise and promote the things that we're good at, and we often find it difficult or embarrassing to accept our shortcomings. I, however, entirely champion that it is essential to do so. Being crap is a side effect of being human, and being human is the most liberating and wonderful and terrible and hilarious experience that we shall ever encounter. We are perpetually fascinating creatures and we should take pleasure in exploring the colourful spectrum of our own existence. Preach it. Be rubbish at something, I dare you.

Here are some things that I am rubbish at.

Singing. I love to sing. I do it at every opportunity, which I perceive as pretty much every single moment of my life. You name it, I've got a song for it. Once upon a time, whilst getting a pizza out of the oven, I even sang 'crispy, everything about you so crispy', to the tune of Liberty X's 'just a little.' You're welcome. My life is a theatre of lyrical ingenuity. Unfortunately for those within a certain radius, such lyrical prowess is compromised by my atrocious singing voice. If you imagine the most hideous rendition of everything, my version is decidedly worse. I am the operatic lovechild of Justin Bieber and a cat in labour. In fact, one of my dearest chums once told me that they'd rather eat a spoonful of their own faeces than ever hear me sing again. I told her that everybody hurts, sometimes.

Lying. Honestly is undoubtedly the best policy. I've never really seen the point in telling massive porkies (who even brought pork into this?...Mmm, pork), but sometimes, it is inevitable that I will release my inner criminal and tell a little rascal white lie. Some people are brilliant at it. I am absolutely not one of those people. If I tell a friend that she looks 'ah-mazing in that dress', she instantly knows that she looks like a farm animal. 

Being on time. I am an Olympic medallist in being late. Somehow, the perfectly adequate window of time that I have to get ready for something mysteriously flitters away from me. By this, I mean that I get distracted by my bed, or my furry son, or marmite toast, or The Jeremy Kyle show, or by doing an unplanned Macarena. Time-to-leave o'clock becomes half-naked-insane-fluster-shit-shit-shit o'clock. Tick tock. Bernard, get your watch out.

Brushing my hair. My hair tells a story. It tells a story that I slept in a bush, even though I didn't actually sleep in a bush. (Unless of course I'm taking a selfie, in which case my hair tells a different story. It tells a story that I slept with Charles Worthington, even though I didn't actually sleep with Charles Worthington.)

Waving. I don't know if it's because my hands are so small and podgy and pathetic, or simply because I've overthought the matter so much, but I am the world's worst waver. Seeing someone I know at distance always fills me with nauseating dread. What constitutes as a socially acceptable wave? Side to side? Up and down? A static palm? How high should I lift my arm? Life is full of mysteries.

Comforting crying people. I love those deep, poignant conversations during which somebody reveals a certain depth or layer that you'd never previously had the pleasure of seeing or knowing. I'm good at having emotional brain sex, at least, until somebody cries. What does one do? If I offer a sympathetic smile, I might look like I'm enjoying their pain. If I adopt my own sad expression, I may only fuel their weeping fire and turn us into a bundle of inconsolable chaos. If I do nothing, I'll look rude and uninterested. And my body, what do I do with its many limbs?! Do I lean in to deliver an awkward pat? Do I hug them? Do I rest my hand upon theirs? Why does doing that always make me feel like a pervert? Such situations thrust upon me an overwhelming degree of inner panic. Regrettably, inner panic makes me laugh, awkwardly, for a substantial period of time. I always end up looking like I'm laughing at the crying person, which is definitely the worst outcome for everybody involved.

Being sexy. I once got so nervous about talking to an attractive man at a bar (does anyone else struggle with so-attractive-that-I-turn-into-a-creep syndrome?), that the first question he asked me was whether I was having a hot flush. Similarly, whilst under the influence of far too much gin, I went wild and gave a guy I was dating what I assumed was a suggestive wink. He thought I had lime cordial in my eye.

Having a concise shower. I make the most definitive life decisions whilst massaging my foamy 'pits in the shower. Yes, I do. I've probably got to be somewhere to be in half an hour. I definitely won't be there in half an hour.

Using my telescope. I've always been insatiably curious about space, particularly the night sky. It's a mad, awesome scattering of stars and planets and darkness and the unknown and natural epic, and it absolutely blows my tiny mind every time I look at it. A couple of summers ago, I decided to go all out and invest in a telescope. Since having my telescope, I have seen the craters of the moon for a magical 10 seconds. The remaining hours have been spent gazing at the house guttering, endless tree branches, 44 take-offs from Gatwick, and at least two of my neighbours getting changed. I am astronomically useless. 

Controlling laughter. Farewell, kind readers. I'm too busy ROFLing and LOLing and LMFAO. Chuckle, chuckle. Did somebody cry? 

What are YOU rubbish at? Tweet me your thoughts: @kathyb5710

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Funny things I have heard in the office: part 2

(*Image sourced from and credited to*)

I have worked in an office environment for almost 3 years now. In other words, I have spent almost 3 years of my sacred youth attempting to establish some kind of socially acceptable existence as an 'adult' and failing miserably. It turns out that formality never was my forte, and as professional and knowledgeable and helpful as I can try to convince people that I am, the truth is that I am just awkward and juvenile, spending my working days masking my ill-preparation for adult life with a pencil skirt and a 'wow, that is a truly fascinating flow process' facial expression. How did this happen? Why have we, as a society, introduced such tedious constraints on our time and wellbeing that we must immerse ourselves in regular, and potentially mundane employment, in order to adhere to and fund an 'appropriate' course of existence? Why do people get so aroused over flow processes?!

There is however, one marvellous thing about potentially mundane employment in an office. Offices are filled with human beings. Offices offer vibrant, comedic snapshots of the perpetually fascinating spectrum of human creation. Offices are conversational playgrounds within which personalities never stay suppressed for long. People are not naturally creatures of formal habit. Last year, I came up with an awesome project and started writing a list. Though colleagues have come and gone, I have since been relegated to the 'naughty' desk in the corner, and the team fridge has started growling, one thing remains the same. People in offices say funny things. You're welcome, world.

Most intellectual culinary insight

'You can put mustard in gravy!'
'Doesn't that make it taste of mustard?'

Most intellectual culinary insight, part 2

'Mars Bars in the freezer are delicious.'
'Doesn't that make them freeze though?'

Honesty is the best policy

'Are you all there?'
'I don't think so. I ask myself the same question everyday.'

Getting in the Christmas spirit

(Whilst watching the office premiere of a Christmas TV advert) 'OOOOOOOOOH, BELLS, I LOVE BELLS!!!'

Where perfume companies missed a trick

'Mmmmm, this elastic band smells really nice. It's kind of like rubbery petrol, ahhhh...'

The office English class

'Okay- clauses. So you have independent and subordinate clauses.'
'And Santa Clauses.'

Rachel Riley, eat your heart out

'Mindblank! What's 52 minus 3?'

Getting in the Christmas spirit, part 2

(sings) 'Little donkey, little donkey, on the duuuusty road... Shit, that's a tune! That's definitely my favourite Christmas song of all time.'

The most pointless statement ever

'I'm so related to my brother it's unreal.'

The office French class 

'French numbers are pathetic! Why can't they just be in English or something?'

The diminishing of hearing at 5pm

'I need to get home and find my tickets!'
'You need to get home and fold your knickers?!'

Getting in the Christmas spirit, part 3

'I'm actually making something for the Christmas party this year!'
'Animal noises don't count, you know.'

On the eve of being eternally single

'I've joined the B and Q club!'

The art of urinating

'I love a calming wee.'
'Oh right, what's that then?'
'Oh, it's just a wee you have when you need to calm down...'
'What other types of wees are there then?'
'Erm, there's probably like, an actual about to wee yourself wee, and maybe a wee you have when you don't really need a wee but just want to contemplate your existence on the planet or whether you should eat straight or crinkly chips tonight.'

The awkward compliment

'You don't really wear many actual colours, do you? You kind of suit black and grey.'

The awkward medical advice

'Ah man, it really, really hurts! You got any Ibuprofen?'
'Yeah of course, I've got some you can have. But I do know something else that might work! When you get home, sit in a dark room, shut your eyes, and pop a syringe in it. It might feel a bit weird but it should flush it all out!'

The awkward selfie

'Woah, look at your profile picture! Do you want to get your cleavage out anymore?! You slut!'
'Oh shh! Is it really that bad? You're making me so paranoid! I'm going to have to change it!'
'Oh hang on, can you just wait until I've saved it?'

Wishful thinking

'You can't burn calories from thinking, can you?'

Most optimistic observation of the human race

"Gosh, people; they're really quite dim aren't they?"

How to be a novelist

'I'm thinking of writing a book!'
'Oh wow, that's awesome!'
'Yeah, you'll have to write it though.'

How to be supportive

'I'm so nervous, but I guess the only thing that matters is that I'm not last... But if I am, you've still got to cheer me up by clapping and cheering, yeah?'
'I'll laugh.'

When colleagues become friends

'We put a frozen potato dolphin in her wine at the weekend and told her it was an ice cube. Then the bits started flaking off and she had a breakdown.'

Monday afternoons

'What does this say?'
'It says...Up yours!'

The most pointless apology ever

'I'm sorry to interrupt. I'm not sorry to interrupt.'

A moment of scientific enlightenment 

"Do we have inner eyelids?" (blinks rapidly) "No, we don't. We just have one, don't we?"

Most intellectual culinary insight part 3

'What actually is a banana though? Is it like, a flower, or the reproductive organ of the plant or something?'

Monday afternoons, part 2

'You know where it says perking parmit only?'

Too much information

'Sometimes it's nice a bit of sexytime, but sometimes it's just a pain in the ass.'

You can check out part 1 right here!

Do you work in an office? Do you hear funny things too? Tweet me your thoughts: @KathyB5710

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Frederick Albus

I am a mother. Don't look so alarmed. I am not with child, as such. No human being has, nor will, until I have learnt to truly appreciate the marvel of human reproduction, boisterously slide his way into this world via my love canal. Nope. No way. That kind of thing just isn't for me.

I have, however, become a mother to a furry little son. Yup, on Saturday 15th February 2014, my life changed. Family, chums, readers, fellow humans alike; allow me to introduce you to Frederick Albus. I know, 'cracking name', I hear you. Have you noted the literary, wizardly connotations? Do you think it's the most awesome dog name in the whole wide world? (Don't answer that.) Shall we all just call him Fred/Freddie for short? Yes, okay, let's do that.

There are cat people and dog people in this world. According to the wave of great uneasiness that I feel when a cat so much as darts a sultry glance in my direction, it's safe to say that I've always been a 'doggy person'. I've always had strong faith in the power of canine companionship and I can't imagine a life without it. When we lost our family dog Annie before Christmas, I could do nothing but drink cheap wine and weep (and I mean tears-snot-boo-hoo-I'm-a-drunk-sad-raving-mess weep) for an entire week. I was absolutely heartbroken, but having had the opportunity to reflect on just how extraordinary every moment with Annie had been, I knew then more than ever that I wanted my own dog.

And hurray, now I have him. I have a Freddie. He is an 8 week old Bichon Frise/Yorkshire Terrier cross. He is small and bear-like and chubby and funny and loud and irritating and awful and wonderful and disgracefully cute. After just 4 days together, I'm almost certain that he loves me more than anything else in this world has ever loved me. (I know, the boy has issues.) And despite the fact that I am covered in scratches and urine and wearing chewed shoes, and that I have forgotten what it feels to actually sleep of a night time, oh, sweet SLEEP, where art thou, and that I have asked myself at least twice-daily why the devil I ever thought this was a good idea, I am completely, head over heels in love with him, and I am so excited for the adventure ahead of us. Perhaps one day he'll even write his own feature on this blog. It will be pawfect. Chuckle, chuckle. (Do excuse me, I am exhausted and delirious.)

What do you think of Freddie? Do you think he's cute? When I sent a photo of him to a particularly brutal manfriend of mine, aka the world's worst local comedian, his response was, 'he looks like a scruffy, unappealing little shit. They do say dogs look like their owners lol.' I was all set to fight my corner, and then I remembered that I'm covered in scratches and urine and am wearing chewed shoes, and that my under-eye skin could be sold by Tesco to carry groceries, and that I haven't brushed my hair in 4 days. Oh, the joys of puppy parenthood. Perhaps, we'll save that debate for a different day.

Tweet me your puppy tips, pretty please, or if you want me to irritate you by posting a zillion photos of Freddie a week, you can also stalk us on Instagram. @kathyb5710

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

You were 'bone' a hero

What does it mean to be a hero?

Every 20 minutes, somebody in the UK is told that they have a blood cancer. Once upon a world-changing moment in 2012, that somebody was one of my best friends Emily. She never saw it coming. None of us saw it coming.

We live our lives in bubbles. It doesn't mean that we're naive about the risks associated with living; we know how cruel the world can be. We witness terrible things happening around us and we see the pain of other people. But by nature, for the sake of our own sanity, we just don't live our lives with the expectation that such terrible things will affect us personally. And then they do, and suddenly that bubble bursts and we're welcomed to the explicit dreadfulness of the human experience. We are immune to nothing, and that includes blood cancer. It could happen to our mum, our dad, our brother, our sister, our son, our daughter, our neighbour, our best friend, anyone. It could happen to me. It could happen to you. It could happen to the person you love most in this world. One day, any one of us could find ourselves sat before a consultant, being told the news that will change everything. 'You've got blood cancer.'

On Friday, thanks to the extraordinary work of the Anthony Nolan charity, Emily underwent a bone marrow transplant. A 34 year old man from Germany, a total stranger to us all, became one of the most important people that has ever walked this earth. He became one of my heroes, and he will never know the significance of my gratitude. There are never guarantees with blood cancer, but this transplant has given Emily the best possible opportunity at kicking the hideous ass of this disease once and for all. And this remarkable stranger has given her so much more than just his awesome bone marrow. He's given her a chance, hope, a future, the opportunity to chase more sunsets and get out in the world and live the life that a 23 year old should be living. He's given her the most invaluable gift of all; time. I never knew it was possible to love a stranger so much.

Unfortunately, there are not enough people on the register to provide a match for everyone. As it stands, there are many people in need of transplants who will never get them. Emily was one of the lucky ones.

What does it mean to be a hero?

You don't need a superpower, outright fearlessness, or cheese-grater abs to be a hero. You don't need an insane, fictional lifestyle or viral media coverage. You don't need the expert skill of kissing passionately whilst upside down. You don't even need a funky, skin-hugging costume and cape. Nope, the truest of heroes are the people who walk among us; the people who can give a mother their daughter back or a daughter their life back, or a life its future back. The truest of heroes are those who don't even think of themselves as heroes, but who become heroes in the hearts of others during pain and adversity, just like this 34 year old German stranger has to me. By existing, we all have the potential to become one of those heroes and to do something absolutely extraordinary. It's in your bones, quite literally.

I am the cure for blood cancer. You are the cure for blood cancer. Make a difference, I dare you. And if you're not inspired to do it for Emily, or for me,  or even for yourself, then do it for those people who matter to you, the people that you love, the same people who one day may need their own hero.

We are fortunate enough that most lifetimes are made up of lots of 20 minute intervals, but we are unfortunate in that we will never know when that world-changing moment may be ours.

You can read more about Emily here, and can find out more information via the links below:

Tweet me your thoughts: @kathyb5710

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Hello. I am single, and I am not depressed!

When you're single, a particular breed of people become slightly irritating; those people, whether single like me or coupled up like, erm, not me, who believe that being single is the most shameful and awful state that one could possibly ever experience. It's those people who send you mournful glances and furrow their brow when you rock up to a wedding without a plus one; the people who firmly believe that you must be wallowing in the misery of your relationship-less life, the people who instantly say 'oohhhh, it must be hard, you'll find somebody soon I'm sure!', when you tell them that you don't have a date for Valentine's Day. I don't? Shit. How will I ever come to terms with such gruelling misfortune?

Here's the deal; when I'm dating someone, or I'm in a relationship, I enjoy it, of course I do. I'm a big fan of that awesome, inexplicable magnetism that can arise between two people. I love love, and how it can make a fellow, insignificant human seem like the most significant and extraordinary presence on the planet. I'm also a big fan of the heart shaped chucklefests and the spoonfests and the general merriments that accompany good relationships. If I find someone worth being with, who's peculiar enough and willing enough to want a girlfriend who has constant marmite breath, the sense of humour of a 12 year old, and a tendency to bang on about space, then of course I'll carpe that diem. I'll go with it and I'll be happy.

But guess what furrowed-brow folk? I'm happy about this too. I consider both in equal favour. This is also awesome. I am revelling in my oneness. I am happy about being single, and that's a bloody a-okay thing to feel content about. Does this require an empowered finger click and head wiggle?

We live in a world where society's cultural fetishisation of romance and marriage and 'sex, sex, sex, sex, sexy, sex, sex' has the potential to overlook the charms of singularity, but I promise you; there are many. I don't have to check in with anyone. I don't feel compelled to pick the deliciously greasy pepperoni from my pizza and share it with my far too attractive, far too hungry looking boyfriend. Every last inch of the duvet cover is snug around my porky limbs. There are no 'all I want to do is be with you/sleep with you' distractions. I can be absolutely attentive to my family and my chums and my writing and my naked Macarena and everything else that matters to me. I can do what I want, whenever the devil I fancy doing it, and decisions are mine, all mine for the making. There's nobody else's sh*t getting all muddled and mixed up in my brainspace.

 I also have more time to meet new people than I would otherwise. I am immersing myself in the perpetually fascinating spectrum of human creation (that's a fancy way of saying 'talking to lots of interesting/not interesting people'), and through that I'm increasing my depth of human understanding. And more importantly than that, I'm increasing my depth of my own understanding. I have an uncompromised opportunity to be thoroughly selfish; to nurture the most important relationship that any one of us can ever have: the one that we have with ourself. Hurraaay for self friendship. Does anyone else laugh at their own jokes? No? Just me? Oh.

Of course, there have been times where being single hasn't been quite such a jolly affair. I've felt the bizarre, consuming loneliness that occurs only when you desperately want to be with somebody who would much prefer to spend their time not being with you. I've probably had a quality weep into my pillow once or twice. But loneliness is a side effect of being human, not of being single, and right now, there's no such palava on my horizon anyway.

I don't wear knickers the size of Egypt (that may or may not be a lie), I don't nickname myself Bridget, and I do not spend each night staring glumly at the empty patch of bedsheet beside me. I'm not a creepy cat lady, I don't watch rom-coms and howl at the TV screen, and I won't even spend Valentine's Day weeping and drunk-texting my exes, I promise. Maybe I'll take selfies and laugh at my own jokes instead.

Also, I had a cracking time at that plus-one-less wedding, thank you very much. Never under-estimate the grandeur of using the 'okaaaaay folks, let's have all you loved up couples up on the dancefloooooooor!' Celine Dion number to demolish the unattended buffet. I had a particularly fulfilling relationship with 12 pork pies that night.

Click, click, head wiggle.

Tweet me your thoughts: @kathyb5710

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

'Do penises infect personalities?' and other inspirational diary quotes

Last week, I mentioned my 2006 diary. This week, I'm writing a whole post about it. Uh-oh.

Language is my creative playground. Writing has always been an integral part of my existence and it's always mattered to me as a craft and a hobby and a potential career path. I've always been quite good at it too. At least, I thought I had been until I stumbled across my 2006 diary. Helloooo freshly-turned-14 year old mass of hormones and hopelessness and apparent literary ridiculousness. I can barely believe that I was actually responsible for the creation of such a humiliating/so-awful-it-has-to-be-funny documentation of life. Me? There was a time in my life where I didn't feel nauseous about writing 'dat' instead of 'that'? And the dat/that dilemma was just the tip of a mammoth 'breasts and hormones, ARG, somebody help me' iceberg?

It leaves me asking one question and one question only. Why did other human beings associate with me? Some people are brilliant at being teenagers. I was absolutely not one of those people. Yup, my young-teen diary is quite the literary investment.

Here you go... Let's all have a mighty chuckle at my pubescent expense. Oh, hi dad, good day to you. Is that the phone I can hear ringing?

No.1 advice for parents-to-be/those tasked with running the Country:

'OMG, then in RE we had a new teacher and he called me bloody Mildred! The name Mildred should be banned! If I was Prime Minister that would be the first thing I would do.'

Education champion:

'Got to miss lesson 4 and come home at 2.50 cos of fire in school. Yippee! Best Tuesday EVER!'

Simple things...:

'Oh well, da hug yesterday was total BLISS!'

Most inspirational piece of life advice ever:

'I was kinda embarrassed but I'm getting over the whole shynesss thing. Life's too short to piss about and all that. If ya want somethin you have to get it!!'

Most optimistic observation of love:

'Ohmigod I really like him and I wanna get over him so badly. Love can be a load of shit sometimes lol.'

Most inspirational demonstration of friendship ever:

'Both Tan and Kirst were off skl so I had to walk on my bill but saw a MEGA fit guy on da way so forgot about them after 5 mins, dey missed out.'

Advice for the education system:

'Got Maths results bk- I did crap. 75/150! Oh well, being clever isn't everything and Maths is pointless anyway. Who invented Maths?'

A remedy for heartbreak:

'I felt so heartbroken. Mind you de funny thing was dat he did a headstand on my floor and fell bk. Doube LOL! I hope it hurt too and he was so embarrassed. I wish I didn't fancy him. Asswipe.'

A love affair begins: 

'Me, Tan and Kirsty watched a skating DVD with the boys. Skaters are SO FIT and awesome!'

The 'I'm not sure he deserves a compliment' compliment:

'Ohmigod he is so fit! If I didn't have supsicions he is a peedo I'd actually talk to him.'

A love affair ends:

'I don't reckon I should go for sk8ers nemore. They're full of shit.'

Reasons I didn't go into nursing: 

'OMG bless. Found out that Luke is really ill. He's been puking up and pooing himself but even that doesn't put me off him. I want to kiss him better lol.'

When Apple was only a fruit:

'Dad got a new phone. It's sooooo kl- it's got colour screen and vid and everything!'

The most unsuccessful assembly ever:

'Had a laugh @ skl cos we had this assembly about savin sex. One of da guys presenting it was so hot!!!!!! O M G.'

The most pointless piece of information ever received and recorded:

'Omg, Luke told me his kn*b hangs to da left, he's soooooo funny!'

The most unwarranted use of the word 'serious': 

'They've been having text sex. Even though they live so far away they really want this to work which is sweet. It shows how serious they are about each other. Bless 'em.'

Intellectual conversation with friends:

'We had a really funny chat about twins. Han bless her was saying how weird it is that twins dnt forget their names lol.'

Some things never change:

'Got some English and Science awards at skl today, fell down the stairs whilst getting em. Sometimes I wonder if clumsiness is genetic lol.'

Some things never change, part 2:

'Saw Luke in da sk8park and was so busy staring at him I walked into a tree lol.'

Romance is dead:

'Luke was round. I like him sooo much but he's pissed me off so was being off wit him. Den he pulled my trousers down in front of everyone for a laugh!!!!! Shame he was da only one laughing. I hate him.'

Education champion, part 2:

'Went bk to skl today. Bk into that shitty place. Mind you it was gd to catch up with everyone again. Apart from that it was all shit.'

Romance is alive:

'Saw Luke at skl. He said 'alriiite' in a kinda high pitched jokey way. He usually ignores me at skl so was well sweet LOL. I luv that boy sooo much.'

Education champion, part 3:

'Today me and Ash shook hands for 45 minutes at skl cos we were bored in lesson. It was sooooo funny and we were so sweaty after lol.'

Reasons I didn't go into nursing, part 2: 

'Still so pissed off with both of 'em! Dey said they weren't feeling that well, so we offered to make them tea and spat in em LOL.'

A marketing pitch for online dating: 

'Seriously, I know online relationships are really stupid but it's not like I can pull anyone over here so you know LOL, might as well. So today I'm happeeeeeee cos I have a bf! He's so wicked! And a bit weird, but mainly wicked. Luv him 2 bits!'

Most optimistic observation of the male species: 

'Boys are just so confusing and horrible and just soooo shit!! Do penises infect personalities?'

Every cloud...: 

'I drank 3 bottles of beer and a glass of champagne and got completely pissed lol. I was sick twice and fell over in the garden and da galz had to carry me home, LOL, hilarious! Did feel a bit bad but I can see why people drink now, was soooo fun.'

Did you keep a diary as a teenager? Do you have any awful quotes to share to make me feel better? Tweet me: @KathyB5710.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Kathy B's Book Club #2: Q and A a day 5-year journal

Hello. And welcome back to book club. Last time, we established that my book club is practically a nightclub, but with silence and beds and onesies, and absolutely no tequila slammers. Hurraaaay. We also established that I am in love with Emma Morley and Dexter Mayhew, and that reading in general is the perfect kind of solace. Yup, we well and truly planted the seeds of our virtual book garden, in which we are all worms who get excited over words and pages and fictitious worlds. Thank you for being a part of it. Would you like a cup of tea? Crumpets?

This time, I'd like to tell you about something a little different. We're rustling the bushes a little. (Not a euphemism, I promise.) The book I'm sharing with you today is different because it's about you; your life, your thoughts, your adventure.

When I stumbled across the 'Q and A a day: 5-year journal', I immediately fell in love with the concept and have since bought it for myself and most of my social circle. If you read my most recent post about a certain pubescent cataclysm (aka my 14 year old self), you will know that I've always been a fan of documenting my life. We are, after all, continually evolving, perpetually fascinating human beings, creating our own individual history. We do things. We feel things. We have opinions. We have plans for our futures. All of the latter are subject to change, and more than often do change. And as embarrassing or confusing or bizarre I might find it to look back, I love doing it. I love being reminded of what once was and seeing how my feelings or opinions or plans evolved or disintegrated from that moment to now.

I've always loved the idea of keeping a daily journal, and during the height of puberty, I actually managed it for a good year or so. Granted, its primary theme seemed to be my inhibited urges to touch male genitalia, but still, I got a particularly humiliating and awkward year of my life captured on paper, ready for us all to cackle over in years to come. Keeping a daily journal as an adult however, is a pursuit that I had always deemed impossible. There are a million other things that we need to be doing, such as drinking gin and watching Harry Potter and touching male genitalia. (Isn't it amazing how life changes?)(Just kidding, I don't do that kind of thing.)

And then I found it; the 'Q and A a day: 5-year journal', and suddenly the art of journal-keeping is easy-peasy-capture-it-squeezy. Each page is dated and presents a question; sometimes emotionally provocative, sometimes quirky, sometimes a little bit witty; inevitably interesting. Best of all, although it allows the opportunity for you to explore a particular part of your mind or existence, all of the questions can be answered within a couple of sentences, meaning that you can still manage to write it whilst under the influence of gin. Hurraaaay. Upon each page also lays 5 separate spaces in which to write your answer each year, so that you can see how your answers have changed or not changed, so that you have an eternal keepsake of your evolvement as a perpetually fascinating human being. If that's not a bloody brilliant idea, then I don't know what is. (Here you go, see for yourself.)

I started my journal on 8th October 2013 and so far it's been an absolute pleasure, one that I would like to bestow on you. Yes, you. I have a 'Q and A a day' journal to give away. If you'd like to get your hands on it, all you need to do is retweet my tweet about this post, or simply just tweet me the word 'cataclysm'. I'll pick a worm at random from the virtual garden next Sunday and get it posted.

I love the word 'cataclysm' at the moment, it's the word of the week. I'll get over it in a minute and stop banging on about it, I promise.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Luke, I loved you!

This morning I stumbled across a crumpled, once loved photograph that I hadn't seen for a while.

I was greeted with a wave of warm nostalgia, followed closely by the tenacious grip of mild horror. I had just turned 14 when the photograph was taken. Rarely do we look upon our 14 year old selves and think 'puberty did me so many favours, I look f*cking awesome', but my 14 year old self really is quite the aesthetic disaster. I am wearing a thigh-high denim skirt, knee high pink and black stripy socks, and a hot pink vest top. Oh hello excessive mammary spillage, good day to you. My hair, which by the way, is circa 7ft long, is the staple of youth, scraped so tightly into high, scalp-chafing bunches that I'm surprised I've escaped my teen years without appearing eternally startled. I recall the moment, on that night, when I'd posed and pouted into my mirror and concluded that I looked f*cking awesome. Not for a single second did the reality hit me that I looked completely tarty and ridiculous and misguided; a 14 year old clueless cataclysm, blinded by the most weird and awkward hormonal-house-party I've ever had. 'Breasts, arrrrrgh. What do I doooo with them?'

Sat next to me in the photograph, looking straight into the camera with those same blue eyes that used to bare straight into my innocent soul, is Luke, the first guy that I ever had 'proper' feelings for. Of course, I'd had crushes in the years before that point; 'let's hold hands in the playground', or 'omg, he's sooooo fit, if I was sexually cognitive I'd probably want to touch his genitals' kind of crushes. Luke, however, was the game changer. He was the result of the transition from pre-pubescent, to plethoric 'I have emotions and I definitely want to touch his genitals' pubescent. I was delirious and confused and hopeful and hopeless. And the awkward pose that's more 'have you got any deep heat?' than 'please be my boyfriend', makes me realise something that 14 year old me would have insisted was 'absolute bullshit.' Oh, when swearing was the ultimate thrill...

The blistering naivety and hilarity of the first teen 'fixation' is one of the most perpetually wonderful things that we will ever experience. Yes, it was frequently awful, but it was also new and fresh and bursting with delightful, pointless optimism. The night Luke gave me a sympathetic Valentine's Day kiss, I scrawled about the whole evening from start to finish until about 3am, my untarnished heart ready to jump out of my chest and do the Macarena. And I didn't just write about our hopeless non-affair in my diary, I wrote it in my nan's too. One evening, when he said, 'you're actually quite fit, you know' (clearly I looked slightly less ridiculous that night), I almost urinated with excitement and proceeded to wildly celebrate with 'ma gaaaaaaaalllz!' and a sneaky bottle of WKD blue. Classy o'clock. And when I heard that he'd gone on a date with a girl in his year, I spent a dream-shattering, agonising night violently sobbing to Neyo's 'So Sick' on repeat. The whole love story (because let's face it, we were totez sooooo in love), was a fairytale one minute, and a Friday night Eastenders 'dun, dun' the next.

It's sad, isn't it, that those heart-bursting, soul-crushing days are over? Never again will I be able to stalk a man for an entire day and be regarded as 'cute' instead of decidedly creepy. Never again will I earn a sympathetic Valentine's day kiss for looking absolutely horrific. Never again will I aim to seduce with scalp-chafing bunches and be deemed a socially acceptable human being. Granted, we grow up, and our feelings become deeper and less inhibited, and we gain a better understanding of our sexual urges and yes, if we please, we can touch genitals with less insane trepidation, but none of that will ever come close to matching the bizarre excitement of pubescent desire. The euphoria of (actual 2006 diary quote) 'OMG, Luke told me his knob hangs 2 da left, he's soooo funny!' will never again be recreated.

Fortunately, neither will the tarty and ridiculous and misguided 14 year old, clueless, awkward, excessive mammary spillage cataclysm, but that defeats the point. Luke, I loved you. I wonder if anyone else has stalked you since.

Who was the first person you had proper feelings for? Were you ridiculous too? I'd love to hear your stories. Leave me a comment below or tweet me! @kathyb5710

Saturday, 4 January 2014


Hello. And a very happy new year to you all! I hope it brings you fine things such as love and happiness and insane moments of hysterical laughter during which it suddenly dawns on you that you may have actually urinated.

Did you enjoy the festivities? Did you put on three stone? Did you catch the annual showing of Matilda on TV and prance around your living room, willing the blinds to shoot up and down with one enthusiastic point of your index finger? Did you consume a little too much mulled wine at the Christmas party and get a little too acquainted with that colleague? Did you? Did you? (If you did do the latter, try not to panic. It's okaaaaay. Eat biscuits. Or perhaps wear a paper bag on your head until June to hide your shamed expression).

As we begin a brand-spanking, shiny New Year, there's one fundamental conversation that we all seem to be having. In fact, I'm almost certain that at this time of year, we're strangely devoid of all other topics. Yup, you've got it. The big 'R' word. Resolutions.

This time last year, after the resolution apocalypse more fondly known as 2012, I invented an, ahemingenious theory about how to make resolutions. You should read it. It will change your life.*

Using my ingenious theory about how to make resolutions, I decided to make a couple for 2014. After all, I fully champion the prospect of positive change, and I fully believe that it is within us to better ourselves and our existence as human beings. Preach it. I also can't help but feel like I'm being judged if people ask me what my resolutions are and I say I don't have any. 'Seriously, that giiiiiirl, thinking she doesn't need a resolution, is she del-uuuusional?' Calm your shit, resolution junkies. I sorted it.

Study something/learn something new. I like to learn, I do, I do. Every day's a school day and all that jazz. And so I want to jump on that bandwagon properly and actually study something. At the moment, I'm torn between a social science course, Vietnamese, and how to play ukelele. Maybe I'll go wild and learn all three. Then I can be Vietnamese singing, ukelele-playing social scientist. Is anybody else aroused yet?

Travel to a minimum of 1 country outside of England. During 2013, I didn't leave the Country once. Gulp. I can't be dealing with that again. I want an adventure abroad, and I'm going to have one.

Blog every single week. Yup. You read it right. Last year I was the world's most useless and inconsistent online wordsmith. This year I aim to be better. This year, I will be better. Good luck to you all.

Exercise a minimum of 3 times weekly. Exercise is good for the soul. And the body, of course. Once upon a time, it was one of my favourite things to do. At the moment, our relationship isn't so grand. I will however, rekindle the love affair. Somehow. Once I've finished this pack of biscuits.

Be a do-gooder. I'm a pretty good citizen, I think. I do however also think that there is always so much more that we can be doing for other people and for the little piece of world around us. Coming up with the 'Cuffed for Cancer' initiative, (cue the sexy snap), was one of the most rewarding things that I have ever done. If I can make that bigger and better this year, I'll be giving myself one hearty pat on the back. I'll also be weeping, I expect. Being stuck to another human being for 24 hours was only fun for about 4 hours.

So there we have it. Here's to 2014, and to all of the beautiful and terrible moments it may bring.

What are your resolutions? Will you be wearing a paper bag on your head until June? Tweet me, I'd love to know. @kathyb5710

*I lied. It won't.

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