Just a girl, standing in front of a boy – book review

I’ll be the first to admit it – I always judge books by their covers.

I don’t even mean this in a metaphorical sense. I literally judge books by their covers.

And I really shouldn’t – because this is one of the occasions where I was wrong.

I had a big clearout of my bedroom recently. Re-organised all the cupboards and clothes and threw a lot away. In the process I found a lot of books. A lot, a lot. And I had barely read any of them. So I neatly stored them in a box on top of my wardrobe and ever since I have been trying to read through them in the hopes that I can then recycle them afterwards.

This was my first book of the challenge – ‘Just a girl, standing in front of a boy by Lucy-Anne Holmes

As I mentioned- first impressions weren’t great. I think I actually got given this book as a Christmas present from my mum, looked at the cover, read the blurb, thought ‘nah’ and left it hidden.

First impressions from the cover, title and blurb were that this was just another cringey romance novel. Punctuated by sickly romance, a far too good looking male lead, a wilting flower of a protagonist, who is plain, but in the sort of ‘size 6 Hollywood actress plain’ that can easily be translated into a tv movie.

Wrong.

I’ll admit, in the first few pages I was still under this impression. But I pretty quickly realised I was barking up the wrong tree. We are introduced to the protagonist, Jenny Taylor, aka Fanny (long story) a 27 year old doctor’s surgery receptionist with a ‘history of depression.’ In order to quell said depression, her best friend, Phillipa wrote a list of ten things she ‘must do every day or she shall burn all her clothes!’ A.K.A ‘The Smiling Manifesto’

Weird start I’ll admit. At this point I was still thinking this whole thing was utterly cringey. Bit like the Spice Girls movie but in written form. But then as we are very speedily introduced to Phillipa – who gives her bizarre Friday work outfits, such as ‘Budget Airline hostess’ and ‘Yoga Teacher with Penchant for Tantric Sex’, her housemate Al – who she drunkenly met while ordering cheesy chips and beans on a night out (always a good idea) and her mother, albeit by telephone.

And with that, I was absorbed in the mad world of Fanny Taylor.

The pace of this novel was incredible, within the first few pages we are also introduced to Fanny’s very-nice-but-a-bit-dull boyfriend Matt, who met her due to one of her Smiling Manifesto tasks – ‘9) do a good deed’

Her and Phillipa decided the girl he was on a date with looked like she’d rather be elsewhere, they slipped her a note to cheer her up, he thought they’d stolen from her bag, shouting ensued. Not the most romantic meeting. After bumping into him several times, one thing let to another, turns out neither of them were as bad as they’d thought, and they became one. Oh, but Phillipa does not approve. At all.

The next thing we know, Fanny’s mum (who hardly sees her) turns up at her work, tells her that her nasty dad has had an affair and left, and dumps herself on Fanny. Only Fanny is going out for dinner with Boyfriend Matt that night. So mum is awkwardly dumped at Fanny’s flat, while Fanny goes out with Matt.

Who then proposes.

In a pod on the London Eye. Although she’s afraid of heights. And has her eyes shut. And when she opens them she voms. She says yes. But she’s vommed.

See. They’re a match made in heaven.

And then all of a sudden we meet Joe King. Yep, real name. And he is hot. If they did a remake of Love Actually he would defo be in it. Messy hair, slight muscles, funny, charming, slightly flirty, skinny jeans. So Love Actually.

And we keep meeting him. He just seems to keep appearing. And he seems so much better suited to Fanny than Matt does. Which is pretty obvious to everyone.

But Fanny has bigger things to think about. Like the fact that her mum has just got dumped and is suddenly having the life she was never allowed. She’s going slightly wild to be honest. Getting with people half her age, having mad nights out, asking for drugs, doing drugs. She does the whole getting dumped for you mate Sue thing very very well. And although her and Fan never really had a great relationship (blame the aggressive father, it always is) they start to develop a new relationship. Which is really, really endearing.

But while that relationship flourishes, her relationship with Matt is not as expected for newly engaged couples. Especially when your best friend so despises said couple.

In truth, you can’t blame her. Matt is a low-key arsehole. One of those guys who seems nice and well put together and a bit out of your league to be honest, but is actually like a scratchcard you think you’ve earnt the jackpot on. Except when you scratch away the foil surface you realise you didn’t even get the £4 booby prize.

He’s a faux nice-guy. One who will ever so condescendingly tell you that you are wrong, that his way is right and proper and correct and that, bless you, it’s nice that you’ve tried but we just don’t do that sort of thing. The sort of guy who gets embarrassed over you all the time. The one who doesn’t invite you to his work dos. We’ve all dated them and we all know they suck. And he is one of them. So you kind of can’t blame Phillipa at all for hating him. She knows.

She knows quite a lot actually. She’s the sort of friend you want to have, but also definitely want to be. And her relationship with Fanny is great. Because they’re not cool like all the romance book friendships seem to be. They don’t take themselves too seriously, and they’re super cringey and they say it how it is but it just works so well. And she gives great advice. Albeit somewhat blunt. But she’s good. They’re all great. Except Matt, who is still an areshole.

And so, the books continues you take you on a wild journey through Fanny’s life. You also meet her favourite patient, Doris, who is a wild O.A.P and full of energy, and Marge, her co-receptionist, among others. It’s a rollercoaster, that seemed way more about romance than it was. Fair enough, there is some romance, but it’s not nearly as cringey as I was expecting. It’s lovely and endearing and complicated and confusing and actually just seems pretty real. And Fanny is a flawed character. Which is so refreshing. She’s not pretentious or weirdly mysterious. She makes the sort of mistakes that we all think we know better than but we all end up making any how.

She does stupid stuff and says stupid stuff and thinks stupid stuff. And so do her friends and her mother and her other half.

And towards the end of this book I got really scared.

I haven’t mentioned yet that I started reading it at 10pm and continued until I finished at 3am. There were a lot of twists and turns towards the end and I was getting very scared that I was running out of pages and things hadn’t turned out right. A lot of the ending was very expected. But it was amazing. It made sense. It didn’t seem like it was added for shock factor or just to be different. It all make sense, and provoked a lot of ‘aha!’ moments.

And I didn’t run out of pages. The thing that you end up rooting for does happen. But it happens in a realistic way. It’s not forced, it’s not fake, it’s not cringey. It’s real. So’s the whole book.

I laughed, I cried, and I heaved a huge sigh of relief when it all came together.

And on the last page I gasped in shock.

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ive hit a lul

ever played pooh sticks? where you throw sticks off a bridge into water and see which appears first on the other side? sometimes one emerges successfully, othertimes both, and sometimes the scrawnier of the sticks ends up matted in some weeds, desperately trying to catch the current but hopelessly failing? well at the moment im the weed stick and i feel like all the other sticks are floating rapidly past me.
i turned 22 yesterday. being stuck at my fucking parents’ house with a part time job is not where i thought i’d be at 22.

everything seems so stuck.

all technology i own is crashing around me, im fatter than ever and i’m skint.
mum and i are looking at buying a tearoom but i feel like it’s so far away from possibility at the moment. i need a job and money and im holding out for this to happen. i know i could make it fuckinf great if i did but for the moment im wasting time waiting. which means im not earning much. but i dont want to get a full time job and then be needed to help do this.
living at home is killing me. i desperately miss my own space. i need uninterrupted alone time and that just doesn’t happen with my family. it’s imfuriating.
everything just feels so disappointing and stagnant at the moment and im feeling a bit blue. 

Phew!

What a summer I’ve just had.

My goal this summer was to write a little blog post about everything I did – every event I worked, every new friend I made, every historical site I visited, every weekend I spent. But pretty quickly I realised this was a marathon mission.

So, in brief, over this summer I have…

worked 3 cricket matches

ran 7 bars

attended 2 boxing matches

erected 2 merchandise tents

been on 1 TV show

worked 2 vintage festivals

attended 2 weddings

met 6 old friends

slept in 3 tents

served over 5000 alcoholic drinks

attended 1 baby shower

and met 7 celebrities

wow.

I don’t even know where to begin or where to end or even if this summer had a middle. I haven’t had a weekend off in over 8 weeks, i’ve met hundreds of crazy new people, and I’ve laughed like mad. This summer has been one of the best of my life. I now have a much clearer idea of what I want to do in the future (events – can you tell?!) how I want to live my life, and what I want to do for the near future. I even have a business plan (eek!)

Things are feeling pretty smug and peachy.

My weekends have usually been Monday – Wednesday. Typically I’ve been working Thursday – Sunday with wild shifts and crazy early starts. I’ve had shifts where I’ve had to crawl upstairs afterwards and my mum’s given me a 45 minute foot rub. But I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

I even got tweeted by Dick n Dom!

Yep, that’s right.

Early 2000s kids TV heros Dick n Dom. They became regulars at our cocktail shack in Jamie Oliver’s Big Feastival.

cqzdtwbxgaauifp
bogies!!

And yes we met the big man Jamie too! A few weeks later I got to meet him again when Tash and I went to the showing of Jamie’s Friday Night Feast. It was amazing! We ate food that I would never have tried in a million years, and got it served to us by Jamie, Jimmy and the celebrity guest who we aren’t allowed to mention until January. Exclusive or what! Jamie O even liked one of my tweets. At this point I’m pretty much a B lister. Celebrity Big Brother here I come!

I’ve had evenings where my feet are so swollen I can’t take my shoes off, shifts so wild I’m running on empty with two hours to go, and rain so heavy that my camp bed has been flooded beyond belief. But it’s been everything I could want and more. I’ve had a face covered in glitter, then woken up and covered myself in it again. I’ve had showers where I’ve had to straddle the floor and dead insects. I’ve danced with strangers, had nights out in bar uniform, acquired hundreds of event tshirts, served my dream guy Pimms (hi Radio 1’s Greg James) and even hosted a stage and managed to create a dance off and wheelbarrow race (with prizes!) for the crowd.

I still don’t have any of the money back I’m owed, I’m still moving all my apartment stuff back into my parent’s house and I’m still completely overwhelmed by all the crazy stuff that’s happened to me this year.

But I made it, and I’ve had the most fun I’ve had in absolutely ages.

And I’ve got so much to look forward to!

It’s my birthday in less than a month (and I’m terrified!), I’m going on two birthday weekends, I’ve got more events to do, Mum and I are looking at a new business idea and I’m spending my new years in Edinburgh seeing Paolo Nutini. Life is gonna be so bloody awesome!

This weekend alone I’m going to be erecting a mercandise tent and selling clothes to wild spartan athletes. Then I’m attending a ball pit party (!) on Friday night with my best pal, and earning some serious dollar. Life is pretty good.

Cheers to Summer 2016, you’ve been a blast!

streetwise soccer

this weekend was so fun.

usually with the events i’m doing i’m behind a bar. or on a racetrack. this was totally different.

we were spending four days on inflatable soccer games in a shopping centre in solihull.

it was a bit weird for me, with my old job in sales we would sometimes be inside shopping centres – except usually we were only allowed in a certain area and would be pitching people all day. this was completely different – we’d be on an inflatable all day, chatting to kids, helping them play certain football games and trying not to get sunburnt.

it was so much fun. day one i was on the penalty shootout thing – you get certain points for kicking the ball through certain holes. it was pretty steady all day but i certainly had my favourites. two little brothers who were uber talented, but really cute and cheeky. i loved them so much. considering they were no more than ten they did the best out of anyone all day – even the dads! they’d dissapear to another inflatable and then come scurrying back a few hours later and they were honestly lovely. even when we did a little championship between a few other boths they still both won. i was so secretly proud!

day two was even more fun. i was on the inflatable 1 v 1 football pitch. first to 5 points wins – 1 point for a goal and 2 points for a nutmeg. it was so impressive to see such little boys be so talented. not only talented but so fair. we ended up doing another championship, winner stays on after each game, but even when they’re parents weren’t telling them to these little 7 and 8 year olds were shaking hands at the end of the match, and congratulating each other. it was honestly so so lovely to see, my cold, hard heart was warmed.

day three i was on the speedometer. basically you boot the ball as hard as you bloody can and it tells you how many mph it goes. pretty simple but my god do dads get competitive! so many dads came back for extra goes, or spent ages trying to beat the top score – it was crazy! the top score for kids that day was 49mph, and dads made it up to 62mph. i was so impressed!

sunday, day four, was so chilled. obviously shops were less busy on sunday, so we were chilling for a lot of the time, or playing catch with the footballs.

my two favourite kids came back too! and of course they were amazing. but i made another new friend. this lovely little girl wasn’t quite capable of kicking the balls through the holes on the penalty shoot out, so i was helping her throw them through and dancing around together. she came back a little later with what i’m assuming were a huge amount of her extended family. at least 4 kids and 6 adults. i asked her to move out of the way, so she came over and held my hand, and a couple minutes later she was in my arms, laughing and playing with me. it was adorable. she kept telling me ‘your flower is beautiful’ while playing with my nose stud, telling me she loves me and kissing me. it was adorable. her parents were laughing at how cute she was being it was fab. eventually they had to go but she kept telling me ‘i must go to a party but i will miss you so much! i love you so much!’ it was adorable. i could have played with her for hours!

and so concluded my lovely weekend. i’m actually pretty tannned (for me!), i made so many cute little friends, and i got paid good dollar for having fun in the sun.

honestly, i love event staffing.

good girls deserve treats

today was a wonderful day.

i discovered i had more money in my account than i’d thought

so, naturally, i spent it.

to be fair i’ve spent the majority of the day doing absolutely nothing.

cooked myself a hairy biker’s breakfast, watched gordon ramsay shows, had a fritatta and tidied my bedroom a teeny tiny little bit.

i was meant to walk into town but i just couldn’t be arsed. i drove instead at 3pm.

i’ve been pretty productive though. i had a list of things i wanted to do in town and i managed to do all of them except pay a cheque in. which means i’m going to have to force myself to walk/bike into town tomorrow. #healthkick

number one on the list was to get my iphone fixed. i may have accidentally dropped it in the toilet at a recent wedding and up until today i haven’t had the time/funds to fix it. but things are looking up!

then i wandered into town to replace the eyebrow pencil i’ve run out of and get my eyebrows done.

let me just say i love a good bargain in boots.

they had a half price sale on real techniques brushes and i’ve been lusting after them for a while. so i decided after my hectic week of work i definitely deserved them.

i’d initially just gone in for the eyebrow pencil i’m in love with. it’s the soap and glory archery pencil. i’m no mua, i know pretty much nothing about make up, but this eyebrow pencil is the love of my life. the colour matches my eyebrows perfectly, it draws on so gently and softly, and it blends so well. honestly this is one of my desert island products.

but of course soap and glory had a buy one get on half price deal on, and i’m a sucker for a bargain. i’ve recently bought the 5th avenude nude lipstick and fallen in love. not only is it utterly gorgeous but it smells of fucking icing! i know! it is delicious.

the last time i went into boots i tried on of the soap and glory plumping lip glosses so guess what i bought today? and it fucking smells of chocolate! i don’t know how they do it but any product that can make me look good and smell scrummy is a big tick in my book. i went for the shade pink-out-loud and i’m already starting to love it. the tube is nice and chunky, the colour is fab and it does that wonderfully addictive tingly thing on your lips. mamma likey!

the last thing i bought from boots was an own brand beauty blender. i haven’t got one yet and i’m all about that hype so we shall see how it goes.

but guess what bellend forgot her boots card 😦 thank god for on-receipt points.

 

right outside boots is an eyebrow bar, so i got mine threaded straight after. thank god for very big sunglasses to hide the classic redness. forward thinking thank you very much.

finally i treated myself to some nose studs. i had to change one the other week for work and ended up washing it down the sink because i am an idiot. the tattoo parlour in town does 3 nose studs for £2 so i treated myself. one boring filler for if i need to hide it at work, and two pretty ones. right now i’m rocking my floral stud and loving it.

so that was my day today. i’m going back to town tomorrow and i’m scared i might get over-excited in boots again. but what’s the point of grafting if you can’t treat yourself once in a while?!

over and out

x

 

edgbaston cricket

what a week!

girl has been grafting let me tell you.

i’ve just spent the past five days grafting at the england V pakistan test match at edgbaston and oh my god. what a week.

we started on wednesday and worked all the way through until sunday. the first two days were pretty dull – nobody really needs to drink Pimms midweek and get wrecked. we had such a laugh though. on wednesday i was working with two girls & running the pimms tent (obviously). but because it was dead we started a game of bingo. first person to spot different types of people win. bit like where’s wally but ultra competitive. we also played the tick game – basically whenever you see someone you think is hot you shout ‘tick’ and the other two rate them. sadly, wednesday and thursday were pretty dry on the tick front, but we did slam bingo.

you’d get points for certain things – people wearing baseball caps backward, groups of fancy dress, shit shirts, picnics, anyone who looks like the KFC colonel. you get the idea. the list was pretty extensive and we didn’t even work out who won. (it was probably me)

so that was wednesday. thursday was pretty much the same except it was me and a different girl – so sadly not much bingo or bants. cry cry.

friday, however, was madness. i got my girl Credo back and The Pimms Angels were ready to take on the world. the garden area we were in was pretty quiet from wed-thurs until about midday or 1, but on friday it was slammed from 9am.

the morning we coped well.we were very busy but we were on top of everything. but the tea break killed us. we were expecting it at 4pm, so at 3 we started prepping. oranges and lemons sliced for each cup and pluck the mint. not difficult but time consuming. we’d be done by about half three, and then we could both eat and be ready for the 4pm rush. how wrong we were. the tea break got called at 3:15 and we were not ready for the oncoming storm. when the queue was about 25 people deep we started to run out of everything. even pimms. fortunately our mate scott on logistics was walking by and legged it over to help but we were swamped. we only had one guy being an utter bellend but apart from that we managed well considering we weren’t ready. we even had to go from pimms on tap to getting in bottles of pimms and 7up and using that. crazy.

i crawled into bed that night.

genuinely.

couldn’t even make it up the stairs my feet were in so much pain. perks of being home though – my brother brought me up pizza in bed and my mum gave me a foot rub for a good 45 minutes. a bit gross but i was feeling fab.

saturday was fun too. we were steadily busy – not rushed, not knackered, but constant. and we got to play bingo and flirt. we also started a new game – trying to make as many people as possible say the phrase ‘pimms angels’. it worked too! we got loads! we also managed to spot way more ticks and fall in love with a few people, so all good by me.

saturday night i was a bit naughty. some guys we’d served during the day got talking to us and offered to take us for a drink. they said they’d come back between 6/7 but i doubted they would, wasn’t too bothered, and so started tidying the tent up and getting ready to go home. but lo and behold they returned! although it was only because one of them lost their bag full of diabetes stuff.

i then had to close the tent up and sign up. i was expecting a quiet night at home – i was knackered. but on the way to the toilet guess who i bumped into. i blame fate.

and so i ended up going for a pint across the road with them. and then another. and then another. and then a few in town. but it was fucking hilarious. i love a good spontaneous night out and this was one of them. i don’t know where we ended up but when you spend the whole night dancing to 80s cheese, drinking free cider and slightly falling in love you know it’s been a good one. even if you only get 3 hours sleep.

whoops.

i think i deserved it though.

(the night out not the lack of sleep)

sunday was dead, but it was fun. we played bingo, we chilled, we saw some ticks – the usual. i wish it’d been busier so i could ride the hangover out, but i got 4 free meals so i was pretty happy.

and so with that i drove home absolutely knackered. i just about made it – had a glorious bath and spent the evening chilling with tash. we slept from midnight until 9am, she went home, and i went back to bed at midday and slept until 4pm. looks like saturday night finally caught up with me. whoops.

and so here we are. i just played netball, my feet are killing me, but i’ve earnt some hefty dollar (made £40 in tips on friday!) made some pals, had a great night out, aaaaaand i’ve been asked to come back and work for the company at the next edgbaston event.

and yet i still know nothing about cricket.

9g8om

CLA games fair

this weekend was a very weird one.

i was bar staffing at a massive country fair in ragley hall, warwickshire.

i was expecting to be rushed off my feet, but alas, i was not.

we started at 7am prepping the bar and learning the cocktails etc.

our first day we were expected to work from 7am until 10:30pm. but we closed at half 8. because in over 12 hours we’d sold a grand total of..

11 cocktails.

yes, 11.

eleven.

thank god the guy i was working with enjoyed endless hours of would you rather. i think we would have given up if not.

fortunately the evening was fun. i ended up drinking for a bit with two of the staff i was with. then i made friends with two older guys who lived about 20 minutes from me. got them playing would you rather as well, obviously.

the rest of the night is a bit of a blur. i made two new pals (who weren’t 20 years my senior) and went a bit mad. next thing i remember is being inside a tent belting out songs on top of a table with some more random people. then we ended up in a bar dancing on haybales and on top of the bar. it wasn’t what i’d expected of my weekend i’ll be honest  – but it was such a good laugh.

i also got taken on a magical mystery tour after. my tent and my car (with my bag in it) were in totally seperate locations so an on-site buggy tried to help my find both. but with no success.

we found my car (which i was convinced had been nicked) but the tent was a no-show. so i slept in the car. and by slept i mean i tossed and turned for about 2 hours and then had to start my next shift. classic me.

saturday was a lot better sales wise than friday. we’d swapped over with our other bar and this time we were in the street food section. although we weren’t rushed off our feet all day we managed to make about £700 which for us was a significant improvement.

the best thing was definitely the location though. we were allowed to do trades for food and drink with the stalls around us and so that day we feasted like kings.

breakfast was a huge bacon baguette. mid-morning snacks were the nicest sweet potato fries i’ve ever had. lunch was curly fries topped with chilli con carne, cheese and garlic mayo. i had some of an amazing burger from the indian stall next to us and then finally i had a cheese burger pie (i know) from the pie shop opposite us. i’m pretty sure i gained about half a stone that day but it was so worth it!

the evening was pretty good too. weirdly i managed to bump into the guys i was drinking with on friday night – plus a few more of the staff i’d met. this evening was a bit more chilled – a few pints, a circle of people, a guitar and some busking. it got a little bit messier later on – more bad singing, but this time in a motor home. obviously.

and so with 30 minutes to get ready and get onto shift sunday was the same.

we were back in the same location as friday and it was just a little busier. and by just a little we went from 11 cocktails to about 30. at least we got free pasties.

and so that was my weekend.

i’m aching from standing up for so long doing nothing. i don’t think i had a vegetable all weekend and my voice sounds like i’ve smoked 100 a day.

a good weekend for meeting nice people but thank god i get my own bed again.

let’s hope my next event is 100x busier. bring it on.