St. Lucia Day 7: low-flying bananas

Today we check out of Sugar Beach resort, leaving behind any chance of meeting and befriending The Cloon. We didn’t make much use of our 24-hour butler service, but I’m going to miss Dwight The Butler very much. It was nice to have the option of not having to do anything yourself, ya know? If I’d wanted to, I could have called “Dwight Dwight Dwight” and had him come and run me a bath, had I been so inclined, or called him to come and rescue me from that wall I got stuck on the other day, or even to climb the wall for me. But I didn’t, mainly just because I feel awkward about getting people to do things for me that I can defs do myself… where do you look when they’re doing these things for you? If someone’s running a bath for you, do you just sit there on your phone, not making eye contact? Because that seems rude? Or do you engage them in conversation whilst they’re running your bath for you? Will they get annoyed because you’re interrupting their work? Who knows?

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A couple of evenings ago I got myself in to a situation with the other butler (not Dwight). She’d come to do something inside – no idea what it was, I think it may have been to turn down the bed. Anyway, she was inside, we were outside on the balcony, and I was discussing with my companion how awful it must be if you get people staying here who are madly racist and make racist comments. She let us know she was leaving and I, still making my point about the fictitious wild racists, continue proving my point, by verbalising racist comments that a racist may make, just as she was exiting our place downstairs. Great timing! Now, it has been recently drawn to my attention that I can be quite a loud person (this came as a huge shock to me as I’ve never identified as a loud person) and I’m still not 100% convinced of the truth of this, but everyone else I’ve subsequently spoken to has agreed that I can, on the odd occasion, be a tad on the loud side. So, that means she definitely heard me. And that means she definitely thinks I’m wildly racist.

We’re going to the capital city of St. Lucia today – Castries. Apparently, there is a market there and a few bits to do, so we hop in the car. We’re in a Suzuki Jimny which doesn’t seem to be the biggest fan of the steep and winding roads of St. Lucia (either that or its the driver who isn’t a big fan). Either way, there were some points where I think we could’ve been easily out-paced by a tortoise, as we were juddering up the hill, violently jerking between first and second gear, the engine whining constantly in protest (which I don’t blame it for at all, as I’d have been exactly the same, in fact I probably was).

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We’ve noticed that if you know someone in St. Lucia, when you pass them in the car, you give them a little toot of the horn and a wave, so we decide to do a little experiment. Our aim is to find out whether people just wave when they hear the horn toot, assuming they know the tooter and the tooter knows the tootee, or, whether they actually recognise who is tooting and will only wave if the tootee knows the tooter. You get me?

We give it a try and the first attempt falls flat on its face – we drive past someone, realise we have our first opportunity, scrabble for a toot on the horn and make precisely no sound. There is no toot. Okay, we’ll put that one down to experience. Our next opportunity arises; we pass a woman walking up the hill and give her what we think is going to be a toot. It is, in fact, a loud blast of the horn. I think we over-compensated on account of our last failed attempt and instead managed to give the poor woman a heart attack. Attempt two ends in failure. It’s time for round three. Attempt three is the one for us, we can feel it. We pass a guy on the side of the road, execute what can only be referred to as the ‘perfect St. Lucian toot’, we wait, expectant of the turn and wave from the man. We get nothing. NOTHING. Wow. Well, it seems as if the tooter and tootee do need to know one another. Interesting.

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We eventually make it to Castries after what seems like an absolute eternity. It takes an oddly long time to get there, I will say that much. I’ll be honest with you, because I’m clearly not here to rose-tint my holidays; Castries was not worth the drive. As much as I would have loved it to be, it really wasn’t. There wasn’t much there, the market was full of souvenirs (and a particularly amusing set of ‘Bob Marly’ merch), there wasn’t much to look at and there seemed to be a lot of homeless people. We tried our best, but there just wasn’t anything going on there, unless we missed the great attractions of Castries… but I don’t think we did.

On the way back we stopped at Marigot Bay – supposedly one of the beauty spots of St. Lucia. Again, I felt it left something to be desired. It was essentially a bay populated by stonkingly rich people with yachts. Yachts so posh, that the fenders had little jackets on to keep them looking smart. Yes, it was pretty, but it wasn’t THAT pretty, and I fail to understand why it is rated quite so highly. We are on our way out of the Marigot Bay area when we come across a man selling fruit – we are getting peckish at this point, so we think we will grab some bananas. A couple of bunches of fairly battered looking bananas greet us – suspiciously battered bananas. But what have we got to lose? I’m convinced that they’ve been stolen from the neighbouring banana plantation, but you have to do something to make a living and I’m happy to reward resourcefulness.

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Marigot Bay

These are HANDS DOWN THE BEST BANANAS I HAVE EVER EATEN. They were SO good. So sweet, so ripe, so yummy. YASSS! There’s nothing worse than the smell of sweating banana skin in the car, so as we pass a bit of rainforest, I chuck my banana skins out of the window and in to the greenery. The driver thinks this is an excellent game to play and insists on me winding up the window most of the way, as he’s 100% sure he can get his out of this small crack of window. I on the other hand, am 100% sure he will not be able to get his out of this small crack of window. He winds up for the throw, keeping one eye and one hand on the wheel. I see the banana skin come sailing by, almost as if in slow motion. I turn to watch it as it hits the inside of the window, rebounds and promptly smacks me in the face. This was quickly responded to with booming laughter from the driver’s seat, as the banana skin slides off my face and into my lap. I just took a banana skin to the face. A BANANA SKIN TO THE FACE. Am I actually a character in a cartoon and I just don’t know about it?????

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We arrive at our final hotel – Ladera resort. Ladera is situated between the two pitons, with a great view between the two. Our room is open to the elements, so we’re never without the amazing view. We have our very own pool, complete with a very Instagrammable swing chair and we’re greeted with a bottle of bubbles on arrival. It didn’t take me long to polish this off and start swimming tipsy circuits around the pool. I had to do something to help me recover from the banana skin to the face.

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Bonnie

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Burgundy be bringing me fame (maybe)

Aight, so, here’s the thing. I actually properly love burgundy as a clothing colour. I like it because it always goes with my skin tone and the colour of my hair, and not everything is matchy matchy when you are ginge, I tell you. It’s a strong colour, which always look way better on me than wishy-washy colours; I’m too pale for them (I think) and I just become a wishy-washy person, ya know? I don’t even just love it for Autumn either, I just generally love it as a colour and bust it out whenever I can, but without looking like I only own burgundy garms.

I’m trying to get back on the Insta hype, but I’m finding it hard, I’m not going to lie. Like, how do you become Insta-famous when you legit have nothing interesting to take pics of in your life? How???? Urgh. Anyway, one of my top girls suggested that I come up with some sort of theme for it, or at the very least, some form of plan. The word ‘theme’ and ‘plan’ made me audibly sigh as I consumed them via ear hole, and as much as I hate theming and planning, I have to admit that she is right. She is correct. Correctamundo. As much as it pains me to admit it.

that jumper tho

I couldn’t embrace the theme life – I chop and change too much and I have -38% chance of sticking with anything I decide upon, so I elected to colour-coordinate it. The whole thing isn’t going to be the same colour (don’t worry, that would end me), but every line of 3 tiles is going to have a colour theme. Which brings me back to the whole burgundy thing. This weeks’ set are all having a burgundy theme, whether you like it or not.

I’m hoping that having a colour theme is going to make it easier for me to post, whether that actually becomes a reality, is another matter. The last time I attempted to reach for Insta fame, I lasted for about 2 weeks before I crumbled, having gained about 1 follower. It’s too hard work, like, it’s really hard work and I don’t know how people do it. The second I post something, I’m staring at the screen like “WHY HASN’T ANYONE LIKED IT???? IT’S BEEN 2 SECONDS!!!!!!!!”. I find myself unbearable, and that really is saying something.

Rambling… bring it in Bonnie… Right, I’m going to aim for 3 or 4 posts a week (probably more like 3) because there is just no way I can post on a daily basis. Some people are out there posting like 3 times a day – whose life is that interesting? Because mine certainly isn’t! I don’t do enough cool stuff, eat enough cool stuff or wear enough cool stuff to post that damn regularly. I’m getting hot under the collar trying to choose a colour for next weeks’ tiles (check me out on the vernacular) because I’m just not sure that I have enough yellow items to keep me on the straight and narrow.

This post started out with me wanting to get you to follow my Insta, but the whole ‘pushing the content’ thing didn’t really happen – I just ended up having a bit of a rant about how hard it is to the Insta thing and basically moaned about not being cool enough. But, well, if you happen to come across my Insta, if you just happen to happen by it, give me a follow? And if you are feeling exceptionally friv, how about you like my 2 burgundy themed posts? Treat me, you know you want to.

Bonnie

Another day, another slice o’ pie

23rd June

Heading back to Moresby island today in preparation for our boat expedition the following day. We had to go back through Queen Charlotte to get there, meaning we HAD to stop at Queen B’s café, we really didn’t have a choice. First, however, we went for a little mooch around the town. We treated ourselves to another totem pole viewing and saw a truck load of bald eagles circling around above us and chilling on the beach.

Couple of baldies

As well as a row of ravens sitting next to the kid’s park. I think they wanted to have a go on the slide but thought we’d judge them if they hopped on (I would have FYI).

I had an enchilada at Queen B’s, which was scrummy and topped it off with a slice of pumpkin and pecan pie, which beat that enchilada hands down, even though it was a pretty good enchilada. But ain’t no enchilada as good as no pie. U get me?

We got to our hotel on Moresby Island, which was The Sandspit Inn. My door didn’t really shut, but that was easily overcome by using my total bodyweight to yank it shut after me. If you think about it, it’s pretty much an additional safety feature – no one is going to waltz in and steal my things if the door is too big for the frame and they can’t open it, are they? No, they aren’t. After battling with that for a while, I laid on the bed and vegetated for a while/the rest of the evening.

The evening was turning into night and I was looking forward to bedding down and getting in a good night’s sleep before we started exploring via boat the next day. No sooner than my head rested upon the pillow, did the hotel bar turn into some sort of club and start pumping out all of the bass. I don’t mind a bit of loud music, but it really is a surprise when your hotel turns out to be an absolute slave to the sesh and not the least bit interested in their guests getting a decent amount of shut eye. I can only imagine how loud the music would have been if my door wasn’t quite so snug in the door frame. Silver linings and all that.

Bonnie

A sweaty selfie looks less than healthy

21st June

The day started off well with a breakfast of pancakes, streaky bacon and maple syrup. I feel like I haven’t really eaten that much maple since I’ve been in Canada, which is sad, because it is the land of maple syrup. I’d always thought that every single Canadian drank maple syrup like water… maybe I’m wrong… but if I lived in Canada where the maple be good and the maple be cheap, I would not be having the good stuff on a rare occasion.

We headed to Tow Hill (which I naively had thought was ‘Toe’ hill), I don’t know why, but toe on your foot just made more sense to me than towing your car, ya know? Anyway, we headed down there. Down there? Up there? Who knows, but we headed there. We were expressly told not to drive our hire car down any gravel roads, so, naturally, we headed off down a gravel road to this toe place. Once you get there, you have a bit of a hike up the trail to get to Toe Hill. At points, this gets pretty steep, but it’s all on a board walk, so there is no risk of falling to death or anything like that.

We headed to the beach first to have a look at the hill from there, and there is also a ‘blowhole’ on the beach too – but you can only see this do its thing when the tide is midway in, there’s a fair swell, Jupiter is in rising and the North star has combusted.

I decide that merely viewing the blowhole from afar is simply not good enough, one must in fact, climb atop the blowhole to truly experience it. So, I did.

The rock formations here are pretty cool, ngl. It was good to have a mooch around and have a look in the rock pools and scramble around very un-elegantly on various bits of rock I came across.

Next on the list was to hike up the actual hill. Now, this was the steep bit. To say I got a bit of a sweat on would be a gross understatement of the facts. I tried to take a selfie where I didn’t look too hideously warm, but I’m not quite decided on whether that panned out or not – I’ll let you decide on that one.

Once you get up to the top of the hill, it’s a pretty decent view. You can see out across the beach, and see people catching crabs, fishing and digging for clams.

We popped back down the hill (which was distinctly easier than the heart attack inducing haul up) and headed to Agate beach, aptly named, because there’s a tonne of agate to be found on there.

I can’t really say whether this was agate or not, but it looks kinda like it, so we will say it is, just so I can feel pleased with myself.

Dinner was swiftly becoming a priority, so we headed back down the gravel road we shouldn’t have been driving down, hit up the B&B for a change of clothes and bounced out again. We went for dinner at a place one of the women we had met at the top of Toe Hill had suggested. She said you have to look past what you see on the outside, because it essentially looks like a rough old petrol station – which turned out to be the entire truth.

Anyway, it was called Sherri’s Gas Bar & Grill, and it genuinely does look like a run-down old gas station from the outside, but I promise you it is worth going in there – the food there is one of the best meals we had on this trip, if not THE best. I had crab cakes for dinner and the crab was fresh caught that day, and it was DELISH. I can’t even rave about it enough; this crab cake was the best crab cake I’ve ever eaten in my life.

Swiftly followed by a slice of rhubarb and strawberry pie, which had been made by one of the local ladies, which was again, DELISH.

That first slice of pie seemed to open up the floodgates, and much pie was consumed after that point. Much to the detriment of my waistline upon my return home (the scales groaned under the additional weight, I’ll tell you that now).

Bonnie

A lazy day and school bus suppers

13th June

You may have noticed that I missed a day out, if you did – then thank you for religiously reading this – you and the one other person who isn’t my mum should probably get married or something. Anyway, the reason I missed a day out, is because on that day I did literally nothing. I didn’t wake up until about 1pm, and for a couple of reasons; firstly, because the sun is up here until about 1am, and secondly, because all the driving had knackered me.

When I did wake up, I sat in bed and read my book, replied to a bunch of messages and emails, progressed to watching re-runs of Friends, Will & Grace and 2 and a Half Men and then ate a fat bag of granola and drank about a gallon of coffee. All in all, a pretty productive day, wouldn’t you say? I needed a break in all honesty – holidays are tiring when you are on the move constantly, never sleeping in the same place for more than a couple of nights, driving and straining your eyes looking for the non-existent wildlife of British Columbia.

The next day I managed to rise from my coffin at a slightly more reasonable time, but in all honesty, achieved about as little. What I did achieve, however, was the consumption of food. There aren’t many places to eat in Inuvik, in fact, the only options you have are a couple of hotels and one family-run restaurant. If I were you, I wouldn’t bother with the hotels and I’d stick with the family-run, which is called Alestine’s, if you’re interested.

Alestine’s is only open from 5pm-8pm in the evenings, so make sure you get there on time. This place is a cute little shack on Franklin Road, where they do all their cooking out of the back of a bright yellow school bus.

The service is friendly, and you’re served by the wife of the family, who is rushed off her feet constantly because of the popularity of this place. They have about 5 main course options on the menu and one dessert, which are given to change as and when things are in and out of season, or when the chef fancies something different. We entered in and who else did we see sitting in there, but Susan and Michael! We promptly park ourselves down on their table and ask them what’s good on the menu. After taking that in, I order the fish tacos at the recommendation of Susan. I’ve never had fish tacos, but when in Rome and all that…

My fish tacos soon arrived, and boy did I enjoy them. They came with fries (as does everything in Canada) and they were filled with fried white fish, mango salsa and a light coleslaw. YUM!! I wolfed those down in about 8 seconds flat, got my hands covered in sauce and ended up with chutney all round my face – so it was a good meal for sure. It took all my mental strength to try and not wipe my hands on my trousers. I’ll leave you to decide for yourselves whether I managed that or not.

I’m so bad with wiping my hands on my trousers. I KNOW I shouldn’t be doing it, but I literally cannot help myself – the desire is too overwhelming. It’s clearly much more ladylike and polite to wipe ones’ hands upon a napkin of a serviette, but I just feel like my trousers really do the job better, and it’s obviously way better for the environment if I shun all serviettes and refuse to use them. That practically makes me an eco-warrior, doesn’t it? Doesn’t it??????

Bonnie

The Holiday Begins: Canada

I’ve actually been in Canada for 2 weeks now… scratchy wifi and equally scratchy motivation have led to my lack of posts about my holiday. But, currently staying in a chalet in the middle of nowhere, has motivated me to start writing about it. Whether that’s because I want to tell you about my holiday, or it’s a result of pure boredom, we’ll never know.

 2nd June

I’m boarding a 10-hour flight to Vancouver, Canada, after an evening celebrating my best friend finishing her Uni work for the year. We celebrated with beer, wine and prosecco. These celebrations resulted in a terrifying hangover and a tour of the toilets in Heathrow Terminal 2. Much retching was done during the tour. After sleeping off said hangover with a couple of hours sleep on the plane, I managed to amuse myself with a few films on the plane (not that I can remember what any of them were now). I’m not a big film watcher, but the binge watch was necessitated by the fact that I couldn’t read, on account of all the lines being wobbly in my book – must have been some problem with the printing.

I haven’t been to Canada since I was a kid – I was maybe 10 or 11 when I was last here. So, I’m quite excited to come back! I’m not going to any of the places I went as a kid, but I remember it being a beautiful and relaxed country, so I’m hoping it is something like I remember.

Anyway, we get to Vancouver and it’s about lunchtime. We had to queue for years ‘n’ years to get through passport control, then queue for a bit longer to get out of the door. A lot of queuing, a lot of queuing. We get outside, and we’re waiting for my mums’ cousin to come and get us. To cut a long story short, we waited for a while (yes, more waiting) and after some reuniting hugs, we set out on our way to Coquitlam. My mums’ cousin has an interesting driving technique, let’s just say that. Not once did we slow to a stop, it seems that screeching to a halt at stop signs and red lights and blasting through amber lights are the only options – hair raising doesn’t even cover it.

We topped the night of with a surprisingly nice burger from White Spot. They do this really amusing thing here, where even if they blatantly have a restaurant full of tables available to seat you at, they make you wait 5 mins and then call your name (like there are tonnes of other people waiting) and tell you they are ready to seat you – what is with all of that? So, we eventually get our table in the super busy restaurant (super busy it was not) and sit down for this burger. Now, I don’t know if it was hella tasty due to the fact that I hadn’t eaten much since the night before, or whether it was just a genuinely good burger – but I can tell you now, I’ve never enjoyed a burger more. Good meat to sauce to accompaniment ratio; minimal bottom bun slip; nice ‘n’ juicy (they say it’s not a good burger unless it’s messy). I was so hungry, I didn’t even manage to take a photo of said burger. Hope you don’t mind a photo-less blog post…

Bonnie

Let me talk to you about chorizo.

Nothing aggravates me more than people saying chorizo with the Spanish lisp. Each time I hear it, rage boils up inside me. It boils up inside me so much, so much, that I actually get red in the face when I hear it said. So red, that I resemble chorizo. But chorizo without the lisp, on account of me hating the false Spanish lisp. Do not mock my chorizo sausage self with your pretend lisp. Do not.

I am as fired up about this as the spicy chorizo sausage itself. I am the flaming spice of anger. Just, why do it? We all know you are not Spanish – we all know, it is clear to us. Never has a thing been clearer, really, has it? You are not Spanish, and you do not have a lisp, therefore, I conclude you are not entitled to say chorizo in such a manner.

You just sound poncey (there, I said it). You sound like you are trying to be something you are not, which is exactly what you are trying to do – you are trying to be a Spaniard. Just say it like every other British person has said it since the dawn of time. Say it how it is, say it like you have no culture and have never heard it said another way. Just say it how it looks, please, with a “z”, not an “th”. I beg of you.

Never has someone sounded more of a loon, than when they try to pronounce something in a language they do not speak. You have never sounded more of a nob than when you do this. But, sure, if you want to sound like a complete and utter nob, then carry on. Carry on lisping over your chorizo. Like the second people mention the use of a haricot bean, they all of a sudden become a Parisian and it becomes an “aricot” bean. Christ.

Why do you have to put on the accent? It’s like the entire sentence starts off in your rough East London accent, and then all of a sudden you become some sort of Spanish prince mid-sentence, only return to your quite blatantly not Spanish prince accent directly after. Who are you kidding? Who do you genuinely think you are kidding? Precisely no one, that’s who.

No one believes you know your stuff. No one is suddenly under the impression that you are world class chef. No one is thinking you are some kind of well-travelled, cosmopolitan individual. They all know the only reason you are even talking about chorizo is because you’ve seen it on Masterchef. It’s not like you wandered past the artisan sausage stall and saw it hanging on a hook, was it? All that happened, was that you saw it was in the reduced section in Tesco and thought “ooh, I’ll give that a go, I saw it on the telly last week, John Torode mentioned it”.

I reckon it was Jamie Oliver who started it. He seems like the kinda guy to start this kinda  thing. He’s the sort to say chorizo with a “th”. Now I’m writing this, I do seem to recall that Jamie Oliver had a lisp. I say “had”, because now I’m thinking about it, the lisp does actually seem to have disappeared somewhat. I won’t dwell on this, however, as I feel I am treading on thin ice with the Jamie Oliver lovers of the world and one doesn’t wish to be accused of being horrid about him.

Anyway, you chorizo people are not who you report to be. You are a lie. You are lying to us, and you are lying to yourself. You are no more Spanish than I am, and to be quite frank you sound like a monstrous arse when you say is. ChoriZo!!

Bonnie

Thanks mum, I owe you one

Mother’s Day. You have to do something for Mother’s Day, don’t you? You have to, to show you care to display your love. It’s not that you love your mum any more on Mother’s Day, or that you love them less on other days, it’s just a way to show it, a day to encourage you to say thank you to your mum.

So, I’m going to say thank you, and I’m going to say it here because I know you’ll read this. And sometimes, a public thank you is better than a private thank you. It proves that you want everyone else to know that you’re saying thank you. It might sound a bit backward from the start, and it might not sound like your usual Mother’s Day thank you (I can guarantee that, in fact). In fact, you might even think it doesn’t sound like a ‘thank you’ at all, but it will, by the end. I promise – so stay with me.

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I still have that towel… and you still have those glasses…

My mum doesn’t really cook (in fact, she burns a lot of things), and she doesn’t really clean, she never has done, much. She was never a stay at home mum; she went back to work relatively quickly. I didn’t grow up in what I’ll call a ‘traditional’ household. It wasn’t mummy at home and daddy at work household. It wasn’t old fashioned at all, in that sense. You might be thinking this makes her a bad mum, you might be thinking it wasn’t the ‘right’ way to do it. And, yeah, sometimes I found it a bit difficult, sometimes I wondered why my mummy didn’t do the laundry like other mummies did, or why my mummy often burnt dinner and no one else’s did. Maybe it was a bit different, a bit odd. Sometimes I felt like things weren’t done right. And maybe they weren’t, maybe they were – I’ve no idea.

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Anyone else think we look super related?

But what this did do, and what she did do, was teach me how to do things for myself and a lot of valuable lessons. She taught me that a woman wasn’t defined by cooking and cleaning, and she taught me that a man wasn’t defined by going to work and providing for the family. She taught me that jobs should be split. Household chores should be fair, everyone can do something, everyone can do everything. Work should be fair; everyone can go to work. Women aren’t limited to the home and men aren’t limited to the workplace. The family should be equal. An equal and fair place, where there weren’t ‘blue and pink’ jobs, where if you hated hoovering or cleaning the lime scale in the bathroom, that didn’t make you any less of a woman.

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Good job mum! 

We had fun, so much fun when I was a kid. Hosting tea parties, making tents out of blankets in the front room, having picnics on the floor inside. You don’t forget things like that. Ever. Those memories stay with you forever and ever. My mum taught me it was alright to be silly and just a little bit weird. She taught me it was alright to be myself, that it was good to be myself. That I was good, just right, just the way I am. Even though I worried a lot as a kid, and I still do now, that’s alright. It was always alright. How I was, was how I should be, and I learned that from her.

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And, when you think about it, these are good lessons to have learned, even if you didn’t realise you were learning them at the time. So, thanks mum, I owe you one. You’re the best. Oh, and happy Mother’s Day.

Bonnie

Oh snow, how I love you so

Snow today! Snow, snow, snow snow! Not gonna lie, I was praying for a snow storm all day I could go home, and I bet you were too, weren’t you? I know you were, so that question is mighty irrelevant.

I know people love to moan about the snow, but it’s really not that hard to deal with. If you can go out in it, go out in it, and if you can’t, you can’t – so stop stressin’ people. In fact, let it snow so much that the whole country comes to a grinding halt and we can just stay at home and have snowball fights in the street. And I don’t mean the kind of ‘grinding halt’ where a few trains are cancelled and delayed and we all feel like we are living in the war… I mean COMPLETE GRINDING HALT. How wonderful would that be? It would be wonderfully wonderful unless you are one of those people who hates having a free day off (weirdos).

Before I went to work I took a shameless selfie of me in the garden wearing my teddy bear hat – you can’t pass up a snow selfie, it’s not like it snows every day is it?!

I made it to work with limited trouble this morning, apart from a slightly dramatic slide over a hidden mini roundabout, which I found terribly fun despite the clear risk to life on the completely empty street. I did have a real life near death experience when I got to the car park however. I got out of the car in all the snow related regalia (teddy hat and mittens), threw my rucksack over my shoulder and started heading towards the stairs. I walked over painted white line, sneakily concealed by the snow. As my boot made contact with the hidden line, my right foot shot out in front of me. I had no control. All control was lost. I was now in some sort of lunging situation in the car park, which was embarrassing in itself, as I am certainly no seasoned lunger. I could feel the strain on my right leg. The muscles in my right thigh were screaming, and I could feel intense pressure on my knee.

Mitz

If someone came now, it would possibly be too mortifying for words, and I probably wouldn’t be able to make it through the door to work and show my face. It wouldn’t be long before someone else comes into the car park and sees me in this horrifying display of lunge. No one shall see this! No one! With Herculean effort, I managed to get my right leg back under the power of my being. I willed it back from the point of no return, to the point of safety under my body. How I did this, I will never know. It was touch and go for a while there. I saved myself from the full fall – a slip is more than enough to shit you up.

Bonnie

Sorry, and some other things

URGH!! I’m sorry I’ve posted a grand total of nothing in the last few months. I’m sorry, but it simply has not been possible, I’ve had loads on. On the other hand, I’ve also has like minus 10 motivation. So, there it is, I’ve been honest with you and I am sorry, but such is life. Some days one has the motivation, some days one doesn’t. Some days, one refers to oneself as “one”.

Anyway, I’ve had loads on at work and I’m in the process of trying to own an abode. Which is a distinctly long and dreary process. It’s also stressful, because you have no idea what any of the words mean that people are saying to you, and because you don’t want to sound like a complete idiot, you nod along knowingly when estate agents are talking to you about square footage and the like, whilst secretly having precisely no idea what any of this means. What does a square foot look like? I have no idea. Each time I try and envisage said square foot, all I end up doing is picturing a particularly square foot. Why does my brain do this to me? Sigh.

What I am trying to say here, in a roundabout way, is that I have been very busy with other things and my mind has been very busy with other things. This has resulted in me not really having time for other things, or space for other things in my brain, for that matter. But I’m back now and that’s all we really need to worry about, isn’t it? You’ll have missed me, of course you will, but I’m here now and you don’t need to worry any longer. Your mind may rest. It may rest assured, that for at least another few months I will be here. And if I am not here, you will at least know I am trying my best to be here, even if I am failing to achieve that. That will be a comfort to you, I’m sure.

Also, I’m writing a book! I’m not 100% sure what it is about yet, or where it is going or if I will finish it, or if I will really start it in all honesty. But I have some words on a page and I can now say I am writing a book, which makes me sound a lot more impressive than I actually am. AND it gives me something else to talk about, other than the usual nonsensical rubbish I usually talk about, so we can all be glad about that, can’t we?

Bonnie

When is a hill not a hill, and actually a mountain? When it’s Box Hill, that’s when.

We went for a walk up Box Hill this weekend – turns out it isn’t a hill and it’s actually a mountain, but that’s another matter and far be it from me to email the National Trust and ask them if “hill” is really an accurate representation of the facts. But walking up Box Hill is one of the top things to do in Surrey (apparently), and you should do these things at least once, shouldn’t you? It was my turn to drive and I was weirdly nervous about it. I say “weirdly” like I never get nervous about anything and it’s totally out of the ordinary for me to worry unnecessarily about things (it’s not, as you know). But, WEIRDLY I was really nervy about driving and I kept worrying I was going to forget how to do it because that does happen sometimes. I feel this is on account of driving being a learned skill. It’s not like creativity, you can’t forget how to be creative, you are just a creative person. But you can forget how to drive, because you aren’t a car. So there. It’s a thing and it happens and I definitely can’t be the only one this happens to. It probably happens to Lewis Hamilton as well. Probably.

As it turns out, I didn’t forget how to drive and all my driving was impeccable I’d say, and I didn’t struggle too much with the sat-nav and managed to follow it quite capably. I seem to find it hard to have both the verbal directions and the screen directions, and I can’t concentrate with them both and I end up paying zero attention to the road, which isn’t ideal, so I tend to mute the woman and just look at where I am supposed to be going. Also, I don’t really like her telling me what to do and I feel I should be able to make my own decisions, and that by muting her, I am taking back some ownership.

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Wait. Let’s back track for a moment. I said “we” went to Box Hill. “We” as in two people, two people as in a couple and half of this couple isn’t one of my weird selection of friends, for once. The other half of this couple is a real boy! Well, man really, but I am just trying to assure you he is a real person and not a cardboard cut out (he isn’t, I promise), but I’m now worried that I have promised when I didn’t need to and now you don’t believe me. ACK! Oh well, believe what you want, but he’s real, I promise… Christ. Oh, and not only is he real, but he is hella handsome. So step back bitches – he’s mine. Don’t make me hurt you.

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Anywho; we (yasss!!) got to Box Hill in one piece and started on our (yay!!) merry way along the stepping stones walk. Our “merry” way lasted for approximately 6 seconds before the path turned into a treacherous set of steps, slick with mud and the souls of those who had fallen. Seriously, I have slipped about less on an ice rink. The situation was diabolical and I am genuinely surprised I didn’t end up on my arse, caked in mud, next to the skeleton of the last girl who slipped as a result of her inappropriate footwear and never made it out alive. Some of us ended up on our arses, but it wasn’t me… HEH.

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Watching people slip and slide around activated my inner cringe gauge and I genuinely have aching abs from all the internal cringing I was doing, plus all the laughing I was doing at people falling over. I did a lot of laughing. I laughed until my face hurt and I couldn’t really breathe much and I lost the ability to walk (see, the learned skills just escape me).

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We got to the stepping stones and I was silently willing someone to fall in. I know it’s not right to will people to make a fool of themselves, but I genuinely can’t help it and I couldn’t stop my mind urging them to make a fatal error and slip into the water. Alas, no one did, and I know I shouldn’t say it’s a shame, but it’s a shame. I posed for a quick photo on the stepping stones, which turned out to be the only in-focus pic of me from the entire day (thanks hun, the next David Bailey you are not).

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Rocking the nerdy camera-clad look
Finally, we were on firmer ground. To have grass beneath my feet was for the world to be right again. I was living the dream. There was a cute little footbridge, upon which I challenged my masculine company to a game of Pooh sticks. The masculine company didn’t know what that was, so I graciously explained the rules of Pooh sticks to the obvious newcomer to the field, then selected my stick. I released my stick from my grasp, sure that I was going to win (considering I had experience on my side) then dashed over to the other side of the bridge to await my sweet victory. Shit. I lost. Can you even believe I lost? I lost!!!!!!! I hate losing. I’m convinced it was a fix, there is no other explanation. How did he win????????????????

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After the Pooh stick fiasco, we headed on up the hill. Oh wait, not the hill, the mountain, and not just any mountain, it was akin to trekking up Mount Everest. I was half expecting Sherpa Tensing to pop up and offer to carry the bags. If only he had, it may have reduced the amount of sweating that was done. I had to take my coat off half way up. I had to stop and take a photo of some cows, not because I wanted photos of cows, but purely so I had an excuse to catch my breath.

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I give you: cows
I’d got to the point where I couldn’t really get a decent lungful of air. Every breath hurt, and I was 99% sure I was close to a lung collapsing. To our shame, as we got to the top of the hill, we were met by a literal granny, who was bounding up the hill, assisted merely by the arm of a woman I assume to be her daughter. If I can get up a hill with breathing apparatus at that age, I will be impressed, let alone walking unaided – which I struggle with now to be honest.

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photo credit @notdavidbailey
Bonnie

I’m having a quarter-life crisis

A quarter-life crisis. Who even knew that was a thing?! Well, it turns out it is, and I am having one. I want to change my job, I want to stop doing stuff, I want to start doing different stuff. I’m not sure what is happening. I thought this was only supposed to happen when you were about 50 and you went out and bought a convertible car and got your nipples pierced. I’m not going to buy a convertible, because quite frankly I can’t afford one, and I’m not going to get my nipples pierced (although I did consider doing so when I was 16).

But this is weird right? Has anyone else experienced the quarter-life crisis? Is it just me? Or is this actually a really normal thing for a 23-year-old to experience? If it is, then I am wondering why I haven’t heard about it before. But here I am, sitting in front of Strictly Come Dancing with my cat, alone on a Saturday night, watching Aston Merrygold do a spooky Halloween themed paso doble, criticising his leg extensions, accompanied by a cup of tea, pretty much questioning my entire life. Maybe this is a mid-life thing? I shouldn’t be so concerned as to whether Anton Du Beke has had a face-lift, should I? No other people my age are worried about things like that, are they?

But anyway, back to my quarter-life crisis. I want to quit my job, mainly because I hate it, but also because I feel like it’s just not creative enough for me. But I also don’t want to quit, because I have no idea what other jobs to look at, let alone actually apply for. Is there anything else I can do? What skills do I have? Will anyone want to employ me? What can I actually do? I genuinely have no idea. Will I be able to make any friends at my fictitious new job? Or will I end up having lunch in my car because no one likes me? Because that is a definite possibility.

I’m in on a Saturday night, looking like a complete crazy cat lady. Sitting in my jim jams on the sofa, blanket tucked around me, with panda eyes so dark, that I’m not even sure I look human anymore, and I may have actually started morphing into a panda. I’m 23 and I am in on a Saturday night. This shouldn’t be happening. Why aren’t I one of those popular people who have a tonne of superficial friends they can call in times like these?

I’d like to learn a new skill. I really want to learn how to sew, like proper sewing with a sewing machine so I can make my own clothes and alter stuff. But when is there time to learn how to sew? I feel like I don’t even have enough time to go to sleep, let alone learn a new skill. There are so many things I want to do and learn and see, but when is there time to do all these things? I can’t do all this, have a social life, go to work, go to the gym, eat and sleep, can I? There is simply not enough time in the day.

Urgh. My mind went spinning out of control so I thought I would go for a nap. I laid there for a bit hoping I would fall asleep. Obviously, I didn’t. What actually happened was I laid there for an hour staring at the ceiling, singing my own version of Calvin Harris’s “Feels”, where I replaced the word “feels” with “ceilings”. I can promise you now, that “don’t be afraid to catch ceilings”, will be top of the charts in the not too distant future.

Anyway, so I haven’t really solved my quarter-life crisis. All I’ve done is watch Strictly, stare at the ceiling and change one word in a song to make it my own. So… yeah, that was my evening. Productive eh?

 

Bonnie

South Africa Day 9: Tangled in the Jungle

It rained here last night, not just a little bit but a properly torrential downpour. It rained all day, from about 6pm, and it was still raining when I woke up and carried on until mid-morning. It was tipping it down and it was so, so loud. I was still awake at 4 o’clock in the morning because it was keeping me up, it was that noisy. I spose I shouldn’t complain because they have a major drought issue here at the moment and they really need the rain (this was the first time it had rained in months really). But, the lack of sleep was a killer and I was shattered by about 10 am and I could barely concentrate on my breakfast.

 

I decided I needed a proper relaxing brain break day. We had been pretty full on, travelling around and sightseeing and whatnot, so I think a day of nothing was deserved. Plus, I was getting to the point where I didn’t have much brain space left and I needed to defrag a bit. I had a really chilled day; I had a bath, dozed for a bit and read my book, which is Jungle by Yossi Ghinsberg. Then I watched Tangled on Netflix (not afraid to admit I’ve watched that more times than I can count). I chose it because I didn’t want to concentrate on anything too much and I didn’t want to have to really listen in and follow a major plot. It was nice to sit and watching something where I knew what was coming, and that was uplifting and made me giggle a bit.

 

I felt kinda guilty not doing anything, but it was worth it to have a day of pure relaxation and sit there and do precisely nothing. As a result of me doing a whole load of nothing, I don’t even have a single photo to share with you. Nope, not even one. Nada. Zero. Zilch. It was good to no worry about social media for a day, and I didn’t bother checking any of my emails or messages or anything really. I enjoyed having a day purely for myself, where I wasn’t worrying about anything or anyone else at all. Pure bliss. I’ll be back to the usual holiday madness again tomorrow I’m sure. But I feel a lot better today after having a kind of “healing” day. Hopefully I’ll have a tonne of energy now and I won’t feel quite as lethargic as I have been feeling.

 

Bonnie

Dates Not Mates: the one with the regrettable boots

After having been in a very long relationship for a very long time, it would be safe to say that my dating experience was limited. And when I say limited, I actually mean non-existent. Until recently, I had never, ever been on a date. How mad is that – I had made it to 22 without ever having been on a date. Needless to say, I have certainly rectified that now, but it meant that I had absolutely zero idea what to expect when it came to the dating game.

After the breakup, I got myself on Tinder and started merrily swiping away. This guy was one of the very first people that messaged me on there actually, and the very first person that I went on a date with. Having no idea how to do any of this at all, I agreed to travel to Fulham to meet this guy and get a drink. Obviously, because I had never been on a date before, I had no idea what to wear and I thought that looking sexy was key. So I donned a pair of black skinny jeans, a top showing a bit of cleavage, a full face of makeup and to top the whole look off; black, high heeled, over the knee boots. Looking back, I clearly looked like a complete and utter tart, and for any of you that know a single thing about me, you will know that this look is very un-me.

I totter up to Fulham in my ridiculously high heels, thinking I am the most glamorous girl going. I get to Fulham and get a message saying he is running a bit late and asking me to walk towards him. So, I start teetering towards him in my inappropriate attire, stumbling on the odd occasion and working up quite a sweat from the exertion. I spot the guy and head towards him. Having no idea how to greet a bloke you are meeting for the first time, I blindly go in for a hug and kind of get smooshed into his armpit – winner!

After our awkward first encounter, we head to a bar for a couple of drinks. We sit outside at a table, mainly because I was so hot from all the walking in my stilts, and we get chatting. When I look back on it, this conversation was probably THE dullest conversation I have ever had. But, because I was so nervous on account of it being my first date, I don’t think I realised this guy wasn’t wowing me conversationally. The night went on and it was time for another drink. Out of pure politeness, I offered to get the next drink in, never expecting in a million years that he was going to take me up on it. But, by Christ, he practically twisted my arm off for this drink, so I begrudgingly obliged.

I then spent the rest of the night feeling very hard done by, that I had somehow manged to select a man who wasn’t willing to run with the “guy pays for the first date” thing, and I spent the rest of the evening turning this over in my head. Fortunately he managed to redeem himself somewhat by walking me back to the station. On the walk back to the station, obviously I turn my ankle in my utterly ridiculous shoes and he has to catch me before I face plant into the front of a Tesco metro. I am absolutely mortified and my face goes entirely red. And obviously I get that awful sweat on, that you get when you have had a near death experience, like when you slip on a patch of ice.

We finally make it to the station in one piece and we sit and wait for my train to come along. He keeps touching my knee and I come to the realisation that this bloke is expecting a kiss. I somehow manage to avoid having to kiss him for the whole time we are waiting for my train, but, when my train arrives, utter horror ensues. I get onto the train and turn around to say goodbye, at which point he gets all up in my face with his face. He pulls me towards him for a kiss, all the while people are herding onto the train around me. I’m getting pushed and shoved as people edge round me to get to their seats, whilst I’m latched onto this blokes face. Fortunately the doors start to close and the whole ordeal is over.

It will amuse you to know, that I went on another few dates with this guy. It wasn’t until much later, that I realised that I actually really didn’t enjoy the dates or like this guy in the slightest. It just goes to show how crazy we can be when we get a bit of male attention, especially when you haven’t really experienced male attention before. I look back on this now, and I am genuinely mortified that I went on these dates and thought that’s how they should go. Thank goodness I am more date savvy now and I’m not stupid enough to offer to buy a drink on the first date. As for the boots, I don’t think I’ve worn them since.

 

Bonnie

It’s Friday Night and the Lights are Low

My girl Tara invited me out on Friday night, so we did the usual; we went to Kingston… Old habits die hard right?! She’d just been dumped by perhaps the fuckiest of fuckboys, so this was prime time for her to let her hair down. Oh how I love the breakup sesh.

The outfit: burgundy dungaree dress, light pink/peach coloured tee and black clumpy boots.

The makeup: mascara, neutral tri-tone eye makeup, minimal brow, smidge of foundation, concealer and blusher.

I would normally wear trainers when I was going to Kingston, but because my outfit was already super casual I thought I would go for a proper shoe and opted for some black boots with a chunky heel. I am not ashamed to say that I wore these with a pair of cat socks (you will not change me!).

The Uber arrived and it was perhaps THE most gangsta BMW possible, complete with the driver reclined impossibly far back in the drivers seat. How he could see where he was going I will never know. But we made it to Spoons in one piece, so I shan’t complain. We get into the pub and get ourselves a drink, mines a double voddy, lime and soda and Tara’s is a double voddy and lemonade.

We assume our usual position (in front of the bar watching the dance floor) and we drink up, waiting until we feel merry enough to get on the floor. Time for a second drink, we turn round to the bar and promptly get a couple of drinks thrown all over us. WTF?! Where did that come from? Turns out, these two blokes were having an argument, one of them goes to chuck his two drinks over the other bloke and the other bloke swiftly steps out of the way and we are in the firing line. Only we could get swilled during someone else’s fight.  Anyway, that descended into flying fists so we backed away and grabbed some serviettes to dry off.

Clearly enjoying the loo too much

Eventually drunk enough to throw some shapes on the dance floor, we head into the mass of bodies and bust out our best moves (I legit have no moves). Tara gets a Snapchat from a couple of the lads and we tell them to come on down and meet us there. So until they arrive we dance, drink, dance, repeat. The lads finally turn up and we drag them onto the dance floor (there’s a few more of them than we expected and a couple of them are army lads). We decide we need to venture to DA CLUB, but shock horror. One of them is banned from Pryzm (our usual haunt). Christ, what are we going to do? Oh my life we are going to have to go somewhere different. I don’t know if I can cope.

Apparently one of the lads is banned from Pryzm because he got into a fight. Apparently we were there. Neither of us remember it, so as far as I am concerned we have nothing to do with it. Someone decides we are going to Hippodrome, so we begin to drunkenly meander our way there, being led by a couple of army lads who have no idea where they are going. I am excellent at leading from behind.

We manage to navigate the entry and I manage to get nothing confiscated from me. I normally end up having something taken off me, be it gum or tweezers (many a pack Extra has gone to waste at the door to the club). Now, if you have ever gone to Hippodrome, you will know it it the grottiest place around. There is literally gaffa tape holding the floor together and more carpet than there should be in a club. But, the music was on point. The perfect mix of current, old school club tunes and a bit of cheese thrown into the mix. The DREAM.

We dance the night away and only venture to the smoking area for some not so fresh, fresh air, once. The photographer definitely took a group pic of us, but I can only assume we cracked the lens because it is nowhere to be seen on their Facebook page. But, however, we did manage to secure a glorious Snap of our faces, in what is my all time favorite club pic of 2K17 so far.

We stumble out of the club just before 4 in the morning and manage to squeeze our way into the chicken shop moments before it closes. We lean against the wall outside with out chicken and chips and watch multiple fights ensue, resulting in multiple arrests. Because, is it even a night out in Kingston if you don’t see someone get arrested? I certainly think not.

Bonnie