Things People Don’t Tell You About Leaving Home

It’s a year ago this week since I moved into our flat. A year since I left the busom of the earth mother herself, Sue Irwin.This week I’ve finally mustered up the courage to go halves on a sofa and finally set up some direct debits. Whilst battling with the washing machine drawer yesterday and getting covered in old fabric softener, I realised there are so many things people don’t tell you about leaving home.

In the coming weeks, thousands of students will embark on the journey of a lifetime, living on their own for the first time ever and I think it’s time to share some wisdom.
So here are the things people don’t tell you about leaving home.
– First things first, cleaning out the drawer in the washing machine is hands down one of the rankest things you’ll ever do. Who knew water could hum so bad?
– Surprisingly, that big white box in the corner of your kitchen doesn’t fill itself up automatically. In fact, it costs a small bloody fortune to fill up.
– TV license is the biggest rip know to man kind.
– Funnily enough, if you don’t clean, nobody else will and before you know it you are living in a dust castle. 
– You’ll get a bit obsessed with cleaning products. You’ll have a favourite brand of Pledge in less than 6 weeks. 
– If you sleep through your alarm, your fucked. Your mum won’t just arrive with tea and a gentle nudge. You’ll be late & sacked.
– Flats don’t just come with a magic cupboard that contains every light bulb under the sun. When they go, you have to track down the right one. And risk your life changing it on a rickety old chair. Because your super long Dad doesn’t live in your living room anymore.
– You begin to appreciate how hard your Mum worked at keeping a cupboard of snacks at home. Because on a Sunday morning, when you’re dying of a hangover, you just need to know that there is a variety of crisps in the kitchen. Instead, when you live alone, you have to dress yourself to go out and buy them. Heartbreaking.
– You’ll learn to really like black coffee. Because you’ll constantly forget to buy any milk.
– You’ll go weeks without a roast dinner. They are such headache to even consider making for yourself. And joints of meat cost the earth.
– Cleaning out a plug hole is horrifying. World ending amounts of hair and manky soap. Vom.
– Sometimes you’ll just have wine for dinner, cos you don’t have a cupboard full of ingredients to “rustle something up”, so you just don’t bother.
– Rent is an actual thing. Like, if you don’t pay it, you will be a full on tramp.
& last but not least 
– you’ll wake up in the night to the smallest noise…cos your Dad ain’t there anymore to protect you from the bloody boogie man.

Things That Happen In Lille

My lovely mate Ben turned 30 on Monday. He had, what can only be described as a world ending Hula party on Saturday. It was that good I wore a coconut bra. Don’t believe me…here it comes.

And then he invited a few of us to join him on a little few days away to France to celebrate.
Great idea we thought. What a treat, we said. 
Where are we going, we asked. Lille he said. 
Well. Well.
Here’s some things to know before you book your trip of a lifetime to French’s fine city.
1. It rains. Pretty much all of the time. And when it doesn’t rain. It’s really quite windy. 
2. Their local dish is basically cheese on toast. Except there’s only one slice of really thin bread in it. And about 700 grams of cheese. So basically their local dish is a bowl of melted cheese. Ever so rich. 
3. They stop serving lunch everywhere at 2pm. So if you want to eat, don’t have breakfast and just go for lunch at 11.30am. It’s safer that way. Don’t ask anyone if their kitchen is open past 2pm. They will look at you with the glare of the devil. 
4. The Cathedral is actually beautiful. Unless it’s raining. Which it probably will be. Then it’s just a bit of a grey old building.
5. The architecture is half French and half Flemish and ever so pretty. If it stops raining, you might even get enough time to take a photo of it. Below.

6. The beer out there will Fuck. You. Up. They feel no way about selling lagers that are 12%. Yep, you heard me. 12%. Dead. On. The. Floor. 
7. Even when you speak to the locals in French, they don’t understand you because they speak a local dialect which is a mixture of French and Flemmish. They’ll either ignore you if you speak to them in French or just reply in English. So just stick with what you know. 
8. They sell incredible Pina Coladas. Random but true. 
9.  Learn to read French before you go. Because when in a hurry, and ordering on the quick, you may think you have ordered a chicken and frites dish and in fact what you end up with is this…yep, that’s just bits of rancid pork in some jelly. Poor Jamie.

10. Red wine basically comes out of the taps. It’s like a pisshead’s dream. Hence why Ben ‘loves it’ everso. 

11. Taxis don’t exist. So either learn to walk. Or. Well. Don’t go. Transport options are ever so limited. 
12. They know how to cook steak good. Real good. 
13. After two nights you won’t sleep very well. Because you’ve eaten so much cheese that you’ve started having really horrendous nightmares. Just a warning. 
14. Don’t take flip flops. Did I mention how much it rains? 
15. If you ask for shots expect one of the following to arrive. A) Jager, Vodka and Melon Liquor in a glass. B) Mouthwash. Really, really boozy mouthwash.
16. The pastries are out of the this world. Like, world ending. 
17. The coffee is that strong, you often need to use a knife to drink it. Which is handy, because you will have got so pissed waiting for the rain to stop, you’ll need your heart starting again. 
18. And last but not least, don’t go with Ben. Because he gets really drunk, pretends he knows the way home, and leads you on a 45 minute badly guided tour of the rough parts of town. 


The Internet’s Going To Kill Us.

Where are you reading this blog? On the train, on the bus, whilst you’re waiting for the kettle to boil?

If you are on the train, look around you. How many people are looking out of the window? 1, maybe 2?
And why are they looking out of the window?
Because of the view? To get some head space from the day? Because actually there is something really relaxing about watching rain hit a window?
I’ll bet you a fiver now that it’s because their phone died before they boarded the train. 
If you took the time to look up now you would be surrounded by people, hinge in neck, staring down at a white illuminated screen, scrolling away with their thumbs. 
We live in an age where nobody is never more than 5cms away from a device that will provide them with instant access to a world of information. We sit in front of them all day at work, they are in our hands the minute we leave the office and we sleep with them right near our heads. I am convinced, that without some enforced self control, the internet is going to kill our brains a  little bit and in ten year’s time the world is gonna be a real different place. Want to hear my predictions? Of course you bloody do…
Here they come….
We will work 7 day weeks. No job will be 9-5, Monday-Friday. It’s already going that way, but as a standard, you will be provided with a work phone that means you can check in at all times and by 2025 I can see us dialing into conference calls whilst having a poo. Holidays will no longer be a proper break and our sleep patterns will be interrupted by late night emails about those things that really aren’t important. 
It in turn will affect our relationships, because we will become practically married to our jobs and our wives and husbands will hate us. However, it won’t be so bad if our love stories end because in about 25 seconds we will download one of 750 apps at our disposal to provide us with access to the nearest single person in our area, or in our block of flats, or in our office. In fact, one will be installed as a default to every iPhone. Like the AppleWatch app…AppleOfMyEye perhaps?
 With little to no effort, we will organise dates with people we have no life like chemistry with and hope for the best. And if it doesn’t go well, who cares, because when they go to the loo we will just logon and find a new one. We will become even more brutal than we are already and it will be common practise to know the name, age and occupation of everyone on our daily commute, not because we speak to them, but because our location based app tells us. Or because we’ve already chatted to them online. Mystery will go. As will the art of conversation. 
Brave one liners and pick up lines will become even more a thing of the past and when we make our speeches at our weddings they will start with ‘well he sent me a love heart eyed emoji, and the rest is history’.
 Not that we will probably bother with the speeches, we will just send them out via email the day before because everyone will be in a 2025 rush and will have four weddings to go to that day because social media has meant they’ve ‘kept in touch’ with a hundred more people than they would have done 20 years ago, therefore having more invites than you can shake a stick at and also making it difficult to decline one invite and accept another in case you get ‘tagged’ and caught out.
 Our grandkids will be told that Nanny and Pops fell in love at first swipe and that will be the end of what we all hoped would be the greatest love story on earth. There will be no chase, no months of dating & chivalry. No butterflies. Just pictures on screens, and speedy dates in bars before you rush off to the next one. It will become common practice to date two people, in the same evening, in the same bar.
Stalking will become a nationwide epidemic and people will become scared to check a Whats’app or logon to their Facebook incase the girl or guy their avoiding can instantly find out where they are, come round, and hide in their bloody bin. This a genuine, irratic, concern of mine.
Our enjoyment of things will begin to dwindle, because rather than looking & enjoying what’s around us, we will be emailing work, or checking Tinder or uploading an image of the thing we are looking at to social media (just to prove to everyone that we went to secondary school with, that we are having a nice time). Our eyes will only grow accustomed to see historical landmarks through the screen on a phone.
Then, rather than sitting back and enjoying the view, we will continually check how many people ‘liked’ what we were doing, and our choice of filter. 
This is already happening. We went to the pub after work on Friday and out of a table of six, four people were on their phone at the same time. Nobody was talking, everyone was just looking down. Depressing. PUT IT IN YOUR POCKET.

 Conversations with old friends will start with ‘So…..I read your timeline before you got here so I’m all caught up’. You’ll then just probably sit in silence whilst you both look at your phones some more before digitially turning on your heating indoors so it’s warm enough for when you get dropped off by your digitally ordered cab.

 Shopping will stop and we will do everything from our sofa or from the train. Even interaction with a shopkeeper will be a thing of the past. They’ll all shut because rather than running out of milk, Asda will have automatically taped into our fridge and replenish what we need before we have a chance to forget. Everything will be delivered by android so we won’t even get to talk to the postman anymore and we’ll become some impatient with life in general because same day delivery will become normality.

Ok, ok, I’m ranting now but you get where I’m coming from?

However…if we’re not careful, can you imagine what our kids lives will be like…
We will have to teach them about books and what we used them for and that there were these amazing places called libraries back in the day but now they are just flats because Kindle put them all out of business.
 They will look at us blankly when we tell them that there are other ways to find out historical facts without typing in a long white box. We’ll have to teach them how to write, not just touch a screen to draft a letter. They will never know the amazing thing that is bubble writing….they’ll just choose a fancy font. 
They will never experience the joy of sending or receiving a postcard. They will Google how to build a den. GOD! Them accessing porn at the age of 8 will be an actual concern of ours. They will have to get their eyes checked more often because small humans weren’t made to stare at white light, they were made to play in mud, and play pretend and BE OUTSIDE! 
Ok. This rant is making me tired but it’s scary.
We need to really watch it, before we become a nation of cotton wool headed knobs who can’t function without 4G. 
As such, for the next week, I am going as internet free as humanly possible in this day and age. From the minute this blog posts, I am not going to buy anything online, I’m going to buy newspapers, I will not spend all of my lunch hour on BuzzFeed and I will not check social media. I will still be online at work sadly, because as much as I love this blog, it don’t pay the bills. 
I will try my up most to only old school text or call. No What’sApp or FB messenger for a week. 
Watch. This. Space.
In a week’s time I will reappear with my findings. And if by some miracle, I haven’t self combusted or jumped off of Waterloo Bridge, I am going to ask you all to join me in having an ‘Internet Free Day’ and spending some time looking out of the bloody window.
Wish me luck! 
See you in a week .
LL x

The 26 Things That Happen When You Turn 26.

There’s me on my 26th birthday. This year we all turned 26. We all took it a variety of ways. Some of us buggered off traveling to “find ourselves”, some walked away from what was no longer making us happy, some of us had engagement parties.
Sarah had a full on breakdown. 
Today the girls & I had a chat about what happens when you turn 26.
Here was the outcome. 
The 26 Things That Happen When You Turn 26.
1. You halfheartedly begin to think a little bit more about your finances. Let’s not mess about & pretend that on the morning of your 26th birthday, you’re down the bank getting an ISA, but you do start to consider, potentially, perhaps, maybe putting a bit to one side each month.
2. Your metabolism will bite you on the arse. You may well have once been (this doesn’t apply to me) the size 8 bird that could eat like Britain’s Strongest Man, but now it’s catching up with you…and the first time in your life you have a little roll when you sit down.  So long McDonald’s for dinner every night. Hello avocado….
3. Your ability to ‘lay-in’ dwindles. Remember them days you would sleep til like 2pm and not bat an eyelid? Not now. 8am you say? On a Sunday? Well of course you’re wide awake. What. Is. Life.
4. All of a sudden your Facebook news feed is full of school friend’s weddings and children’s first birthdays. And you’re  sitting there going on one date a month thinking ‘soon come’.
Whilst also secretly still being scared of long term commitment. Cos 26 is still basically adolescence.
5. You start giving ‘advice’ to younger people in your office.
 Like you’re ever so sorted and got your life together.
6. You start seeing the appeal in buying home furnishings and making your flat not look like student digs. God knows where it comes from but out of nowhere you’re like Little Miss Scatter Cushion running round TK Maxx like it’s some pimped up version of Supermarket Sweep.
7. You no longer can be arsed with ‘the game’. Any remotely aloof bloke, who you would have previously pursued, just gets jogged on. 
Cos you’re busy buying scatter cushions and ain’t got time for this white noise. 
8. In a long-term relationship? 26 is what is affectionately known as ‘shit-or-bust’ age. If you’ve been together 4 years plus, at this age, you’re either getting a ring on it immiently or your heading for a split. 
I’m sorry boys & girls. 
It’s fact.
9. You finally come to terms with the fact that you’re never going to be famous. It’s tough. But you’ve got there eventually.
10. Somehow you earn more & more money but yet you have less & less of it. Maybe it’s due to gas price increases?  Or because you don’t drink house wine anymore?  Who knows? It’s a mystery. 
11. You genuinely look into moving abroad because you’re old enough to handle it but young enough that if it goes tits up the wrong way, you can still move back to your Mum’s and nobody would massively judge you. 
12. You have to listen to your parents saying ‘I was married at your age’ and your grandparents saying ‘I had your Mum at your age’ and the voice in your head saying ‘but I still want to spend all my money in the pub’.
13. You’re of the age of getting plus ones to a wedding. Annnnd I’ll be RSVP’ing for just me then.
14. Clubbing is for children. You do not line up to get in anywhere. And if there’s no seats in the bar you go to, you more often than not leave. Immediately. 
15. Your job becomes half serious & calling in sick on a hangover is no longer the done thing. Take me back to my receptionist days of one phone call an hour and clocking off at 4.30pm. School hours mate. School hours.
16. You are no longer down with words that the kids use. Any idea how long I’ve spent googling ‘fleek’ to find if my eyebrows are? Or ‘trap queen’ to find out if I count as one? It would transpire that they neither are and I neither am. 
17. You actually begin to understand the benefits of going to the gym and drinking green tea and basically just not plugging every hole in your body with white bread. Eating pizza & never moving becomes a bit old hat and out of nowhere you are all over the gym like a tramp on hot chips.
18. You forget how old you are to an extent…’Oh she’s 24, my age’ No mate. 
Well that’s until someone, normally who’s attempting to flirt with you, asks how old you are. You say ‘guess’ (standard pub chat) and they say ‘Hmmm 28, 29?’. 
Then you fucking remember how old you are. Quick sharp. 
19. Smear tests are an actual thing in your life.  Kill. Me. Now. 

20. You stop looking for ‘the guy’. If they show up then marvellous. If not, you and your flat mate are totally OK with buying a dog and living a long, sexless life together. You’ve had the chat.  Your both bored of idiots and you find each other hilarious. It’s done.
21.You have them Sunday’s when you sit there and think ‘SHITTTTT WHAT AM I DOING WITH MY LIFE’. Hours of self depriciation can pass, anxiety that you’re not living a life that is fulfilled enough or that you will die wrinkly and alone. You Google evening classes, speed dating nights and Hot Spin Yoga Kill You In 20 Minutes sessions.
Then you just go buy a pizza and get over yourself because you realise you’re just a bit hungover and being dramatic. 
22. You realise the five year plan you had at 21 was complete and utter bullocks.
23. You realise that the chances of you making new ‘real’ mates is slim. You’ve got what you’ve got & on the whole they’re pretty awesome. If you’ve put up with them for over ten years just put up & shut up. 
24. You begin to get over your hang ups. Remember when you nearly chopped your nose of at 17 because it had a bump in it? Or when you nearly knocked all your teeth out because your reflection made you hurl? Now you’re just like ‘I don’t look like Susan Boyle today. Sweet’
25. You begin to do exactly what you want. Because you have the money to. And the freedom to. And you haven’t got any kids to feed so it’s absolutely acceptable to blow a month’s money on two new pairs of shoes & a long weekend booze cruise to France. #augusthappenings
& last but not least
26. You stop crying as much as you did when you were younger. You stop crying over boys and feelings and arguments and getting your ‘heart broken’. You save it for the real important shit.
 Like when someone dies. 
Or you run out of Nivea. 

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