By Aislinn De'Ath

By Aislinn De'Ath
Click on my face to link to my vlog!

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Washing equations...

Reader, washing is a very exact science. Obviously, washing every day is a must (unless you're in Eastbourne on a gung ho girls weekend with a broken shower, in which case a midnight dip in the sea will do just fine), but things have to be considered. For example, I can't wash my hair every day, because it gets too dry. But if I leave it too long, it gets greasy. But I also have to consider events like birthday celebrations (birthday weekend starts Friday if you want to get me an enormous pressie, just so you know) and date nights. Then there's exfoliating. Which, let's face it, can only be done in the shower, because otherwise you'll be in a bath with loads of bits of broken apricot shell or sea salt, and no one wants that. You have to do that three times a week. Preferably when you're washing your hair so you don't end up with bits of exfoliant in your hairline looking like dandruff. Shaving is pretty important. More so if someone is regularly going to see you in your pants, less so if it's winter and your only form of insulation other than clothes and blubbery blubbery Terry's chocolate orange fat. If you forget and it's summer, it's far worse, because then you end up fully dressed in a summer mini, trying not to cut yourself as you shave into a cold sink. Which is fine for men, given that it's their chin, less so for underarms and legs. In this kind of instance, you usually end up with Saw-esque legs, like some kind of Damien Hirst piece on femininity. But at least there's no stubble.

If you're really hardcore, you might also like to do a face and hair pack once a week. Which involves getting out of the shower, sitting on the bog (lid down) with a copy of heat for 2 and a half minutes (no one ever does the full ten, surely?) before you get cold and bored and jump back in.

Even showers and baths where you don't do any of that crap are lessons in gymnastics, as to have a shower without washing your hair, you have to pile it up in a bun like something dreadful that crawled out of the eighties and do a mad head-back-breasts-forward-staring-at-the-shower-head-so-it-doesn't-super-soak-you kind of a thing, and in the bath, you have to do the hair/nipple challenge where your boobs have to be just over halfway submerged but not one strand of hair can touch the bath's surface (especially if, like me, you fill your bath with oils and unctions and things which will be sure to make your skin gorgeously silky, but your hair look like a meth addict who washes in the deep fat fryers of a wood green chicken shop).

Is this why teenagers stop washing? I remember a few months when I was 15 where I didn't wash my hair because I wanted to pay homage to Kurt Cobain, but that was less out of laziness and more out of a wish to look as pretty as him (it didn't work, in case you wondered). I don't think I'll be doing it again any time soon, especially since I have to be in a play in which I stand very close to people. I don't think the rest of the cast would approve. Also, I slightly want to see in my 24th birthday smelling like a rose!

And on that note, I'm off to have a shower, make sure you wash behind your ears reader!

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Sweetness and light

Reader, I am one of those people that stockpiles naughty things to eat on long journeys. I'm not ashamed, in fact, I'm quite proud. There's something wonderfully sinful about creating a cosy little corner of Rocky road bites, brie and cranberry sarnies on white bread so processed it sticks to your teeth and share size packets of skips. It's slightly disgusting, like a little piggie munching away and ending up with food on it's cheeks and ears, but I meter out the treats so that the journey (whether it be by coach, train or plane) is interdispersed with my own personal tasting menu, and frankly I've always been a pig fan.

I just can't understand the travellers that are able to go long distances with just dried fruit (surely the unhappiest of foods? No one can take pleasure from a manic depressive dried mango. You can imagine the poor thing trying to sell itself 'I don't taste very good, but I'm healthy! Oh...well, yes, I am quite full of sugar, I won't fill you up for longer than ten minutes. Ok. I'll just sit at the bottom of your handbag, chatting to your tampons and snotty tissues then.') And those that claim simply not to be hungry have clearly never experienced the joy of journey-munching. It's not about hunger. I don't think I've ever been hungry on a coach, or a train or a plane. I always have a good breakfast. But that's not the point! It's not about filling a hole, It's about decadence, enjoying something slightly wrong and sordid, because yes, eating junk food on a coach going to Yorkshire is vaguely sordid. Sitting there, hunch backed, your arm rounded so that no one can see just how trashy your magazine is while you shovel cheese and pringle sarnies into your gob, and the size 4 stick insect a few seats ahead looks horrified as she talks to her travelling companion about her very small dog and how they're both on a diet of celery and lime juice. It's like watching Jeremy Kyle when a documentary on women in politics is on the other channel. Yes, it makes you a chav, but it's so much more fun.

When you leave the coach, the aim should be to feel sticky, fat, a litttle nauseous but also a little smug. Because what could have been a very dull journey was a culinary delight. And yes, you might have to have a bowl of leaves for dinner that night so you don't develop diabetes or have a sugar based brain explosion, but as you grin, bread teethed at skinny girl, you can at least be assured that your quality of life on that journey was a great deal better than hers.

Today, I am feasting on chocolate raisins and salty popcorn, mixed together in a savoury/sweet swirl of goodness whilst listening to the Abba Gold album. And you know what? I wouldn't exchange it for dried mango and reading the financial times for the world.

Right, time to hit the trashy mags,

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Ding dong the bells are going to chime!

Reader, for the second time in my life, I am going to be a bridesmaid. And this time round, I'm old enough to drink at the reception. Delightful! Let's face it, weddings are basically just a big party anyway, so being the only sober one there is hardly delightful. Even for an eight year old.

I may, however, get kicked out of the bridal party pretty early on. I keep threatening to get ideas from My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding for the hen do. Especially ideas involving glow in the dark tutus and dogs in costumes. Sadly, the bride to be is a stylish sort of lady, who doesn't like the idea of drinking games or willies left right and centre. She does not appreciate the finer things in life, like bodyshots and rude scavenger hunts. Such a shame. She hasn't yet vetoed the cake in the shape of a caravan, but I'm pretty sure it's only a matter of time.

*le sigh* my creative genius is so misunderstood...

Ah well. I suppose I should be grateful. I don't have the figure to be able to pull off a sequinned crop top. Only Keira Knightly and the dancers on strictly come dancing can get away with that.

In other news, it's an utterly gorgeous day today. Not quite warm enough for picnics and cones of ice cream, but warm enough to ditch at least one layer from my winter wardrobe. How exciting! Spring is on its way! Oh  god, suddenly thinking about swimsuit season, having to regularly shave my legs and the inevitable freckles and prickly heat that all pale people are doomed to suffer..hellfire.

I'm off to stockpile suncream Reader,

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Wibble wobble wibble wobble, belly on a plate!

Reader, Norwich is not doing good things for me. In two weeks, I have gone from having close to washboard abs to having a jiggly just-had-twins belly. I blame the really nice food places. And staying with people who know how to cook and do it on a nightly basis. And there being loads and loads of celebrations going on at the mo.

Ideally I need to cut right down on nice food and stick to carrots, slices of lemon and nettle tea. And other such nasty tasting food. This is slightly unlikely since a) tomorrow I am being taken to Norwich's best pizza place and b) there is a massive box of baklava in the kitchen. Both of these things have enormous power over me. Maybe I'll start being healthy again on Tuesday? *sigh* I am destined to be jiggly. The Lad loves me however I look, so long as I have pokemon cards and scratch his back. He is like a cross between an 11 year old and a dog. He is also slightly part of the problem. We celebrated a late Valentines together on Friday, and he made me an enormous chocolate pudding cake (I was impressed!), got me gourmet popcorn and fed me Chinese take away (as well as giving me a stunningly gorgeous bunch of cream tea-roses). The Lad clearly knows me very well. And then it was my lovely Dad's birthday and of course we went to our fave Italian and had deep fried cheese to celebrate! However, by the end of the weekend, I was stretched out with food like the kid in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory who turns into a giant blueberry. Maybe I should try and take up jogging again. And stomach crunches. And eat celery for breakfast. How do A-listers do it? Drugs? I have to say, the thought that they're all on some kind of diet pill that gives them all gross bum-discharge makes me feel slightly happier. All those gorgeous film stars wearing tena lady under their Alexander McQueen dresses, mwa ha ha!

Or maybe they all just say no to the third peanut butter and dark chocolate cookie....whoops....

Oh well. I'm still smaller than most of the shouty american women on Maury. Mostly. And I don't have 18 potential fathers for my unattractive baby, so that's a plus. Maury really is great viewing. If you haven't seen it, it's basically where a middle class grandfather listens to prostitutes talking about red necks and unemployed men being the fathers of their kids, and then when the men say 'uhm....naw....' they start screaming and pointing at an oversized photo of said ugly child going 'Look at these here ears! They HIS ears! Look at this stupid frowny forehead! That HIS forehead! I am TWO BILLION percent positive he's my baby daddy' then the audience does a collective 'booooooo! hiiiiissss! He A PLAYAAAAA' sort of thing. Then when the dna results come out saying that he is not in fact 'the baby daddy', the woman runs off the stage screaming and says she doesn't understand, when it's really all quite simple, she slept with more than one person without a condom, so it's possible it's someone else's problem. Then she comes back on the show 17 times, each time with a different man. I always think at that on earth did you find the time to have all that sex? Because presumably it had to be within a certain time period if she had a baby by one of them? Of say, three weeks or so? That's practically a man a day! When did she find the time to shave her legs? Or change her bedsheets? And where did she meet them all? I assume that they were not all long term partners, because if so her life would have been highly complicated (well....more highly complicated) and surely they would have mentioned that on Maury. Maury, by the way, usually sits through all this with a sort of pained 'I'm 70 years old, I'd rather be at home with a shortbread biccy watching Golden Girls' and says sensible things like 'why don't you leave that chap that keeps sleeping with transvestite 16 year olds? He's obviously not an ideal match for you' to which the women always go all gooey eyed and say 'but I loooooove him'. This is before they lamp the man in question for cheating on them yet again of course. I once went to be in the audience of Trisha. It wasn't nearly as scandalous, but I won a tee for asking the best question of the day (if you're interested, it was to a girl who was so obsessed with Harry Potter that she was convinced he was real and was saving herself for Daniel Radcliffe. I can't remember what the question was, but it was searing and witty and probably highly political. I got a round of applause and looks of admiration from all round. Trisha invited me round for tea after. This may be a slight exaggeration, but only slightly.)

Anyway, back to rehearsing tomorrow after my lovely weekend. Normally going back to work is a chore after such a great time away at home, but to be honest, I'm loving every second of it! In fact, the director isn't even in tomorrow, so we could have just chilled out in local pubs, but Haversham, Young Pip and I decided to crack on and practice some vaguely dangerous blocking on some stairs and do some line learning. My job is brilliant! Here's a sneak peak at what the show's looking like so far...
Pretty exciting stuff eh? If you want to find out more, go look up the Baroque Theatre Company. I'm not doing your job for you, go, look! It's pretty cool though, you'll kick yourself if you don't come see it. Not that I'm biased or anything. Obviously.

Hope you had a great weekend too Reader!

Wednesday, 15 February 2012


Reader, this is my hundredth blog entry! Can you believe it? No, me neither. Mostly I'm amazed I've been able to come up with so much to write about. And that the vast majority of it has either been about cake or me being, let's face it, a bit of an eejit really. To be entirely honest, I'd sort of forgotten that this was going to be number 100 so didn't plan anything. So, here are 100 things that have happened since I started writing this blog. Well, that's one way to mark it right?

1. I got the part of Estella in a national tour of Great Expectations

2. I puked in a tin bucket outside a medieval church hall. In front of the guy who plays Pip. Yeah, real attractive Estella. He has to pretend to fancy me. Poor sod.

3. I lost over a stone in weight. Which makes me feel smug. But also, terrified that I'll put it all back on again. Which still does not stop me wolfing down chips (mmmmm, chips).

4. I developed a huge girl crush on Tina Fey

5. The Lad moved in with me

6. I graduated from drama school, and therefore now have two of the most useless degrees in the world (English lit and Acting for screen. I mean, seriously, I'm going to have to be an actress, cause who would really employ that in a real walk of life?)

7. I became a Godmother. I am almost certain that I'm doing quite well at being a Godmother, because I have so far introduced my godson to both double choc-chip cookies and Darth Vader costumes for toddlers. And I got him a copy of Dark Crystal (everyone keeps telling me he's too young to watch it, I reply that it never did me any harm, then dash away doing a Skeksis impression.)

8. I dressed up as Amy Pond for a convention. Stop laughing. It was a great costume. Even if my legs did look slightly more like muttony sausages than Karen Gillan's, but to be fair, she was a bloody model before she did Dr. Who! I am not one of those.

9. I turned 23. I am now turning 24 in two weeks (Oh god).

10. I've seen 8 of my friends get engaged. Yes, 8. No, not to each other. 8 sets of couples. I know. Disgusting, isn't it? SLOW DOWN EVERYONE! I DON'T HAVE A BIG ENOUGH WEDDING OUTFIT BUDGET YET!

11. I paid off my overdraft. Mainly by putting my life savings into that account (goodbye dreams of invisalign braces, I will miss you)

12. Went to Ireland. Weather was a bit soft, introduced The Lad to my town, Beaufort, where there are lots of tea shops and pubs.

13. Saw my brother off to uni. Cried, quite unexpectedly.

14. Went to Brighton with The Lad, where we ate such vast amounts we came back with pot bellies that stuck out from under our tees.

15. Spent Christmas with The Lad for the first time ever. Got him so many pressies they wouldn't all fit in one bag. Introduced him to my families way of eating (i.e. eat everything. Then ask for more.)

16. Went to Yorkshire for NYE, was the only one still awake at 12. Got really really ill with the flu, and spent the coach journey home alone, hallucinating.

17. How am I only on 17? I feel like I've been typing FOREVER! Erm, ok, did a lot of babysitting I guess?

18. Got a voice agent

19. Recorded a whole bunch of radio ads. Including the Ereceptionist ad that plays on Absolute London, and drives my friend who works there utterly mad every morning...

20. Was in two music videos. One with lots of Beyonce' style booty shaking (surprisingly hard for a middle class white girl with a pretty flat bum), one with lots of fake blood and gore.

21. Got new glasses. Had to get them from men's department as none of the women's ones suited my large manly face.

22. Did a photoshoot dressed as a female Frankenstein's monster, in a full head prosthetic

23. Discovered I'm not very good at having my face covered in plaster cast, and having to breathe through tiny holes under nose as have panic attacks.

24. Discovered I'm really bloody stubborn and will ignore panic attacks to get the job finished, even if it means nearly breaking a poor make up artists hand whilst trying to regulate breathing through tiny holes under nose.

25. Did my first ever filmed sex scene.

26. Broke my first bed during a sex scene.

27. Discovered that it's highly embarrassing to see yourself faking sex on screen while surrounded by an audience of people you don't know.

28. Worked in a charity call centre.

29. Got fired from a charity call centre.

30. Worked in a call centre selling posh wine.

31. Discover that am quite good at selling posh wine, despite not drinking it. Get made team leader. Overdose my team on Christmas cheer. Threaten to come in dressed as Santa if they start to flag.

32. Get moved on to selling organic veg (not because of harassing team with Christmas cheer. Well, at least I don't think so)

33. Had an operation on my tongue. Sounded like a person with a cleft palate for a week, survived on lucozade and Ben and Jerries Chunky Monkey.

34. Moved to Norwich (from where I am currently writing, is lovely, but I miss The Lad and shops being open on Sundays)

35. Received my end of Drama School report. Ignored it as it was less than useless and didn't have feedback from any of the teachers or directors that I wanted to hear from. Decided to reply on feedback in person from teachers and directors, which was much more useful and less about my 'writing and evaluation' skills (??!!?? I did an ACTING DEGREE!?! WHERE ON THE REPORT DOES IT TALK ABOUT MY ACTING?!)

36. Made a showreel. Edited it. A lot.

37. Saved some money. Spent a lot of it.

38. Sold nearly all my mum's clothes. Made some profit.

39. Someone tried to steal a grand from me. Paypal made them pay (bitch).

40. Contemplated becoming a hooker. Decided against it when someone told me I'd have to do weird things like lick sweaty-man-toes. Not convinced that's the best reason for not doing it, but it's the best reason for me.

41. Got a really cool mentor, saw her in a play. She called me an incredibly talented young woman after seeing my final film and music video. I went beetroot red and stammered a lot about good editing.

42. The Tories came into power (I cried. Actually cried.)

43. The riots happened, round the corner from me. My 18 year old brother tried to go 'calm things down'. My mother locked him in his room. Quite right.

44. Had my first ever major health scare. Was fine. Big relief. Decided if I ever actually have anything seriously wrong with me, will go private after god-awful experience with NHS nurses and hospitals.

45. Went to my first ever wedding fair. There was a lot less cake than I was expecting.

46. Worked outside, flyering in December. Was colder than I've ever been in my entire life. Experienced what I can only assume was the early stages of frost bite.

47. Lost some wonderful people.

48. Made some truly excellent friends.

49. Found out that actors who work at callcentres have a cracking sense of humour and a very high tolerance to booze.

50. Turned the cake blog into a vlog (one on it's way now!)

51. Seriously, am I only halfway through? Jesus, Mary and Joseph...

52. Technically didn't get rejected from any agencies. Technically didn't get into any agencies either, but that's neither here nor there. Note to self. Apply to more agencies.

53. Learnt how to bake some damn fine cakes.

54. Wrote some pretty cool kids' stories

55. Went to a Cold War Kids concert. Was pretty sure the lead singer was making eyes at me. The Lad insists that actually it was him the lead singer was making eyes at.

56. Went to my cousin's band's concert in Camden. Was shoved to the back of the venue by their MASSES OF FANS! Was very proud, they're called We are the Ocean and are very good in a cool sort of a way. If you like cool sort of things

57. Went to Winter Wonderland. Again. Got sprayed in the face on the crappest ghost train ever made.

58. Saw some films. Woman in Black. Harry Potter. Twilight. You know, the highbrow stuff.

59. Learnt how to make aubergine bake.

60. Ate a hell of a lot of aubergine bake.

61. Visited wig-maker friend in middle of countryside whilst she was briefly home from international tour of Batman Live. Ate an enormous pizza. Watched Home Alone two. It was awesome.

62. Went to lots of dinner parties.

63. William and Kate got married. I  went to the V&A museum and ate really bad wedding cake, then watched my friend and her fabulous mum take part in a royal fashion show

64. Met my baby cousin Mabel. Learnt how to stop her from crying. Was proud until I realised this meant carrying a baby around for hours and hours, jigging and humming.

65. Decided to put off having children for a fair while.

66. Panicked that I was pregnant.

67. Wasn't pregnant.

68. Briefly discovered religion again, then lost it.

69. Dressed as Uma in Pulp Fiction. With a wig.

70. Dressed as a zombie magician.

71. Dressed as a witch.

72. Met Santa whilst filming an advert. Found out he really likes Doctor Who. Sat on his lap for first time since was 7.

73. Went to Wales for first time! Discovered that rumours about it raining very heavily in rain are based on the truth.

74. Found a potato in a shoe that had baby potatoes growing from it. Was left over from a game me and Dad started where you hide potatoes in other peoples things. It began with me hiding a pile of them under his bed sheets with a note attached saying 'from the pratie fairy'. May start that game up again fairly soon, was very amusing.

75. Played a divorcee for an advert. Wondered if I wasn't perhaps just slightly young to be divorced.

76. Went to a Pokemon Tournament. Saw The Lad reach the top 32 in Europe. Refused to go again after someone threw a pokeball at my head in some weird come-on. I don't care if you 'choose me' I'm not getting in your van with you...

77. Saw my 7 year old cousin triumph as The Grandmother in Little Red Riding hood in Broxbourne. A star is born. Frankly, that Dakota Fanning had better watch her back, my little Daisy is much cuter.

78. Twisted my ankle whilst spinning a festive wheel of fortune. No, I don't know how it happened either.

79. Got offered a feature film. With explicit nudity. And no lines. Turned it down.

80. Was on Downton Abbey. For a fifth of a second.

81. I am running out of things to write given it's only been about a year I've been writing this....erm.....Got some jewellery. An antique locket and a Tatty Devine swallow pendant. The latter from The Lad, the former from myself.

82. Saw myself on screen in a cinema

83. Held a pig's eyeball for a film.

84. Held a tiny baby chick that fell asleep in my hand

85. Bottle fed an ENORMOUS KILLER LAMB that tried to escape the farm and take me with it

86. Despite all attempts to the contrary, got addicted to an awful lot of trash tv, including My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding, Made in Chelsea and TOWIE. I am ashamed.

87. Made my own recipe book.

88. Experimented, and got addicted to food glitter. Discovered that not everyone likes glittery beans on toast.

89. Went to a Labyrinth themed masked ball and screening dressed as David Bowie. Complete with stuffed crotch.

90. Got my first fillings. Had to have The Lad there to hold my hand.

91. Did a Swedish accent in an audition. Incredibly, didn't get the part. Hmmm, it did sound vaguely Indian actually...

92. Went to Eastbourne and drank my weight in Pimms.

93.  Saw my mum launch her own business and do brilliantly well (we never expected anything different)

94. Started trying to learn to juggle with three balls (that was today actually, thanks to my brilliant stage manager, who's patiently teaching me)

95. Considered moving to a very small town on the outskirts of California, just because my favourite video blogger lives there. Realised that would be sort of stalking. Still thought about it for a surprisingly long time.

96. Got in an epic food fight.

97. Was disparaging about Lana Del Rey. Then secretly added her to my ipod and now listen to her every day.

98. Was won a stuffed toy at a funfair for the first time EVER. His name is Gunther, he is a Christmas penguin in jesus sandals and he shares my bed while I'm away from The Lad.

99. Tried to stage a secret revolt against Skyrim with other Skyrim widows. Failed miserably when we all stopped talking to our boyfriends and they lost all sense of time and started starving. (n.b. this may be a slight exaggeration, but only slightly. At one stage, I asked The Lad when he'd last eaten and he thought about it and couldn't remember. Had to make him a BLT, stat. Given that he's a slender sort of a lad anyway, missing a meal could make him waste away!)


Look, I'm sure I've done more than 100 things in the past year. But I haven't planned this at all well. Also, some things I can't tell you about. Because of secrecy and certain signed documents!

But there will be a lot more. Next attempt-500 blog entries!
Bye for now chaps!

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Aaaaaallllll by myyyyysseeeeellllllf........

Reader, yesterday was a comically tragic day. Because I'm going back home next weekend, I decided to brave it in Norwich and stay here, thinking 'Well, there'll be other cast members around so I can chill with them. Or the guys I'm staying with!'. Had completely forgotten that the guys I'm staying with were celebrating their fifth anniversary, so offered to get out of the house for the day, which they gratefully accepted. Unfortunately, all of the cast went back to London, so I had to spend the day in Norwich, alone.

Now, don't get me wrong Reader, I like my own company. I would rather go shopping alone than with people, and if I don't get time to myself, I go a bit stir crazy. So I assumed that a day in my own company would be delightful. Of course, the other thing I realised as I milled around was that it's the weekend before valentines and the couples were out in full force. And Norwich has surprisingly few things to do when you're on your own.

So here was my proposed itinerary:

10.30am-walk to town
11am-go to wedding show to try and find vintage style underwear for photoshoot
12pm-find a gym and have a work out sesh (had trainers etc in my rucksack)
1.30pm-have a leisurely lunch
2.30pm-wander around town, get valentines pressies for The Lad and find a new handbag (mine broke) and push up bra (my costume's a bit saggy in the boob department).
5pm-have a drink in one of the many pubs, whilst reading one of my books
6pm-go to see the muppets movie
8pm-have another drink at my local, read some more
9.30pm-wander back to the house to arrive back for 10pm, which would have given the couple plenty of time for a romantic day

This is what actually happened

10.30am-walk to town
10.50am-realise am in the wedding show too soon and this is why all the stallholders are glaring at me. Leave sheepishly and go get coffee in nearby cafe run by what appears to be a group of polish supermodels. Find out Muppets movie isn't on in Norwich. I can however go and watch the new Polanski film at 7.15, so decide that will do quite nicely.
11.05am-go back into wedding fair.
11.20am-leave wedding fair, having realised that there's not much to do if you're not getting married. No vintage style undies on offer anyway. Am offered a chance to win a free bridal makeover. Consider it, before trying to work out how I'd explain it to The Lad if I won.
11.25am-look for gym
12.00pm-give up looking for gym. There is no gym in Norwich town centre. Curse myself for bringing heavy trainer/sports bra combo in bag. Decide to wander round shops instead.
2pm-having got my bag and tried on every outfit Norwich has to offer (including a gorgeous dress which the amazing mother has offered to pay for as a gift for my approaching birthday-4th March if anyone wants to buy me pretty things) I am a bit bored, and have now realised am only person in Norwich on my own this weekend, am surrounding my loads of couples snogging the faces off each other.
2.05pm-Have lunch at lovely if slightly mad cafe, where I have to share a table with another person on his own. Cafe of couples looks at us sympathetically. Waiter tries unsuccessfully to set us up. Talk to The Lad, who proves to be useless at cheering me up over the phone, as he wants his lunch.
2.28pm-Go look around amazing baking shop. The Lad texts me, asking if I needed cheering up, apologises for being abrupt before and then whines for 3 texts about his sore leg and his attempt at french toast going wrong.
2.40pm-Lad realises that complaining is not helping, given that I have ignored his texts. Sends me very sweet text about how much he loves me. Reply, slightly grudgingly, muttering about Victor Meldrew. Go pick up his valentines presents, muttering about how he doesn't deserve them.
3.30pm-End up in pub. Not hungry but decide to eat chips, as is a belgian pub and would be rude not to really.
3.55pm-Pup is suddenly very full and standing customers are giving me severe evils for keeping a table, even though I'm just drinking a diet coke and not a colourful beer.
4pm-give in to pressure and sneak out. Fight breaks out between American tourists and locals about who gets the table.
4.10pm-find a slightly scummy old man's pub. Think 'Oh well, at least it's quiet' and settle down with my book and i-pod.
4.20pm-pub fills up with football fans, here to watch some match.
4.45pm-retreat to corner of pub to hide from large shoutey men spilling beer on me.
4.55pm-realise book is really quite boring. Call family for a chat. Family are planning a really nice dinner. Am highly jealous
5.30pm-try and sketch football fan without him seeing. Fail. Spend rest of time trying to avoid eye contact with him, as he clearly thinks I was checking him out. Wasn't, he just had an interesting nose that I wanted to draw.
6.30pm-decide it's the right sort of time to head to the cinema. I'll be very early, but I can sit in the bar and spend a while dithering over movie snacks.
6.35pm-both films are sold out. Curse the countryside. Enquire about other cinemas. Am reminded that there is a Vue on the other side of town, but staff haven't been there so can't offer advice on what it's like. Traipse across town
6.45pm-Vue is in a shopping centre which closes at 6.30. Entire building is locked up.
7pm-grab trashy mags and go to local pub. Is lovely and quiet till drunk football oiks turn up, yelling about blow jobs and cider.
8pm-work out how much I spent in pubs alone. Panic slightly.
8.05pm-eat packet of salt and vinegar squares to help with panic.
8.30pm-sympathetic hosts text me to say I'm more than welcome to come home if I want to. Am out that door faster than a speeding bullet.
8.40pm-chocolate and vodka with the couple I'm living with. Much relief to be home! They ask how I spent my day. I realise the only constructive thing I did was go shopping. Laugh, somewhat hysterically.

So not quite the day I was hoping for. But today I get to cook a lovely sunday lunch for my hosts, and then go for drinks with a few of my cast. Hurrah!

Plus, I got some pretty nice pressies for The Lad, which he'll get when we have our belated valentines evening next friday. Hurrah!
Hope you all had a lovely Saturday!

Friday, 10 February 2012

In another life...

Reader, have you ever wondered what your life would be like if you made (or didn't make) certain decisions that have brought you to where you are today? I constantly do. Not in an oh-I-wish-I-wasn't-living-my-life sort of way, because I love my life and wouldn't change it for the world (apart from maybe to win the lottery so I could have my own house to conduct said life out of), but in an oh-gosh-that-would-have-been-a-bit-bloody-weird sort of way. I mean, everyone has those moments in life where you have to make a decision and the outcome will affect where you are in five years right? And where would I be now if I'd gone straight to drama school? Or followed through with my plan to be a nun? Or ran away from home further than my front garden when I was 5?

Alternate realities if I had....

...successfully run away from home

I would like to think that I would have lived an Oliver Twistesque life, stealing loaves of bread, befriending and old criminal mastermind, getting adopted by a wealthy chap and generally living the life of riley. Please do bear in mind Reader, that I was hardly running away from abusive parents and a life of squalor, I just decided that my baby brother was getting too much attention and it was time to grow up and find my own path in life. Now, unfortunately, I don't think this reality would have turned out too well for me. Either I'd be dead by now, be one of those strippers who stand in the doorways in Soho in their shiny white knicker and bra sets even when it's really bloody cold. Or maybe I'd have turned it abound, written a book about my experiences as a guttersnipe and made millions. I can see it now. Carey Mulligan would have to don a wig to play teenage me, child me would be played by an unknown brat, my pimp/drug dealer would be beautifully done by Andy Serkis and I'd complain that they'd made it all too pretty. I'd go into decline the next year when I saw my book next to Kerry Katona's 5th autobiography in the 99p bin at Morrisons. I'd be found, partially eaten by my pet chinchilla in my squalid flat in Wood Green, above Chikken Deelite.

...Married the first boy I had a crush on

His name was Jack, and he looked like a corpse child. Having been raised on a diet of Tim Burton and Grimm fairy tales, I liked that in a man. We both went to the worst primary school in the area, an institution where even the reception kids brought knives in and I was once sent home with a reading book that had no words (that one's not even a joke, actually happened). Unfortunately Jack the corpse kid was just a bit scared of my attentions. I'm hardly surprised, I used to think that maybe I could shock him into liking me (I was 5, this seemed like quality reasoning at the time), so I used to just grab his hand in the playground. I always wonder what happened to him, I left the school for a better one the next year and never saw him again. But can you imagine if he'd decided that he found my weird, assault-ey attempts at affection endearing? It would have been cute at first. We'd have tramped round the playground holding hands, shared our tray lunches in the dinner hall, gone to each others houses for play dates and then 'gone out' in high school. Of course, he was probably a serial killer. He really looked like one. He had the darkest hair I've ever seen, skin that was paler than mine (which is almost impossible Reader, I look pretty corpse like myself most of the time) and a slight hunch. He also had this habit of never talking, just staring without blinking at the other children (I clearly had great taste as a kid). So I assume that we'd have got married very young, have a couple of very pale children and be trotting along nicely (I'd be a stay at home mum who occasionally helped out at the play group, having given up any career aspirations, almost as if I'd been....hypnotised...) when I'd start finding strange things. Blood round the cuff of the shirt I was washing for him. A very thin wire in his jacket pocket. Jewellery made out of nipples in the style of Ed Gein. Being a bit dim, I'd confront him about it instead of going to the police and end up under the floorboards with all his other victims. The kids would be brainwashed into his murder cult and we'd become an urban legend. Cheery.

...become a nun

So, when I was 12 or so, I spent about half a year thinking it would be really great to be a nun. Stop laughing Reader, it's not that funny. I'd read a lot of stories about young, gorgeous nuns who somehow discover windows to other worlds. And then I really got into Almodovar films, which nearly always have really fun nuns in them. So I decided that it would be a great life plan. I mean, I didn't know any boys anyway, so nothing lost there. Plus, I was a bit of a God-bod anyway at that age and used to like the idea of being very holier-than-thou and having loads of people saying 'I don't know how you do it Sister, I really don't'. I even picked out my nun name. Because you have to choose a new one when you have your marriage to God (yeah, I did my research!) Sister Pelagia (Pelagia is a female saint who represents actors, whores and women in general. Awesome). So if that had come to work out (rather than me getting disillusioned with organised religion and nuns specifically), I would have had to battle against my parents wishes to end up in a convent. I would be about 18, because my parents would have made me go to 6th form first. I reckon I'd be quite good at being a nun too! I'd do the veg garden, get involved with all the charity work, help with the cooking and cleaning-basically be a bit of a star. The problem would come of course, with men. I didn't really meet any truly eligible, attractive men till I went to uni. All girls schools will do that. So I bet that (just as I got carried away by the romance of becoming a nun) I'd get carried away with the romance of being 'rescued' from the convent by a good looking fella, and end up running away with the gardener, Larry. I'd probably then go a bit mental going completely the other way and get into death metal and dye my hair green (but still sneak to church on special occasions). The Mother Superior would refuse to talk to me, because she had me penned to be her second hand nun, but my parents would be overjoyed. My grandmother might disown me though, what with her being a full on catholic, but I'd reason that Larry was worth it. 

Years later, I'd leave him for a banker called John and train to be a teacher or a pilot.

...actually enjoyed doing politics at A-level

I was 16, and my mum was really really pushing for me to do something academic at A-level alongside English, Drama and Media. I was really into arguing and welfare, so I decided to do Politics. Mum was delighted, told all her friends and felt very very smug until, three months into term, I confessed that I'd been bunking Politics to sit in Starbucks gossiping with my friends and dropped it to take up film studies. The thing is, I'd been really into politics when we started. I got an A* on my research into the election process and my argument as to why the Tory party should be forced to sit down with some of their old constituents and be very much told off. But then it got really technical. We stopped debating in class and started talking about Black Rod (hehe) and the traditions in the House of Commons. We were given long lists of legal blabber to de-mystify, and the teacher seemed to stop caring. Switching to film was a great decision, because I loved every single class and learnt vast amounts from my very cool director teachers. I do wonder what would have happened if I had really applied myself to the subject though and I can only assume one thing.

I'd be the Prime Minister. 

Stop Laughing. 

I would! I'd be one of the youngest, coolest Prime Ministers ever and would have come into power around the same time as Obama (who the press would constantly speculate I was having an affair with). I'd increase the arts budget, decrease the Olympics budget and eventually be kicked out of England because I'd have spent all of the money on setting up government run bakeries. I'd end up chilling with Carla Bruni at her townhouse in Paris, smoking too much and doing interviews with Style magazine about my nervous breakdown.

...moved to America

Ok, so this is something that still might happen, but when I was 18 or so, I seriously considered going to university in America. I think I'd probably have one of those really annoying British/American accents by now, the kind that sound like you're from Kent until you go hard on your Rs and lilt at the end of a sentence, like it's a question? I'd probably also be very fat now. I've been to America. They have great great food. I am a big foodie. Nom. I would probably also have indulged my secret life dream to become a surfer chick and put loads of bleach in my hair and wear those little beaded anklets while I'm walking round the beach going 'Rad' and 'Did you see me catch that curve dude? Killer'. Sigh. Happy times indeed.

Have to say though, I'm quite chuffed with the decisions I've made so far. I'm not dead at least, which is always a relief. I have a job that (mostly) involves me keeping my clothes on, and that I wouldn't change for the world. And I don't have to wax a stupid surf board all the time. Always a plus. 

The moral of the story Reader, is to enjoy your life and be happy with your decisions. Because you could be a serial killer's wife. Or spend a lot of time in a doorway in Soho, with only your leg hair to keep you warm.

On that note, I'm off to make more life decisions about what to have for breakfast!

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Fear factor...

Reader, I am addicted to being scared. Horror films, spooky books, stories about ghosts and real life haunted houses, even people passing on urban legends late at night after a couple of drinks, I love it all. That is, I love it all when I can go home and get into a shared bed. Slightly less now that I have to sleep alone. With a big full length mirror facing me. And a red curtained window next to me. And a bed that has plenty of space for a ghost/demon/murderer/monster (delete as appropriate) to hide beneath it, waiting to get it's claws/knife/big clown hands on me.

So for the time being, I am attempting to avoid scary things. Now, this isn't particularly easy, given that
a) I have two scary but brilliant books next to my bed begging and pleading to be read
b) I am in a play that features a character who is essentially a spider given woman's form (and I have a very over active imagination)
c) Norwich has a ghost walk I really really want to go on

The thing is, when I was a kid I had really severe, quite terrifyingly grown up nightmares. And I have a sneaky suspicion that they might tiptoe back if the door is even open a crack for them (and take the place of the very humdrum nightmares I have now about forgetting lines, accidentally smoking and The Lad cheating). Don't believe they were bad? Here are a couple of the ones that scared me so much I slept with the light on for a good few years of my childhood (which is probably why my skin has such a delightful yellowish waxy tone to it nowadays)

1) The butcher

This one (I assume) must have quite a bit to do with seeing Hong Kong meat markets as a kid, mixed with the usual child nightmare of parents splitting up. Bear in mind I was about 5/6 when I first had this one.

My parents have got a divorce. I am surprisingly ok with this, so my mum takes me to meet her new boyfriend, a cheery, chubby chap with a bald spot. We go to his bungalow and he and mum sit, chatting about various old relationships they've had in his chintzy front room. Eventually, I get bored and decide to go fetch a drink. Without them noticing, I slip off the sofa and out of the door. When I get into the hallway (which is very femininely decorated, a bit like a maiden aunt's home) I see a number of heavy doors, none of which are marked. The one ahead has a humming noise like a fridge or something coming from it, so I realise that it must be the kitchen. With all my strength I push open the door and tumble in. Looking round, I discover that rather than being in a kitchen, I am in a giant meat freezer, complete with bloodied carcasses of meat hooked from the ceiling. When I take a closer look, I see they're the naked bodies of middle aged men, and somehow realise that these are the partners of all mum's new boyfriends' exes. Suddenly, his voice rings out from the doorway, 'She didn't know about him,' he booms, as I back into the swinging body of my father (only to find I can't scream), 'but she gave me permission for you!' He advances at me with a hook in one hand as my dad's hand twitches and I realise that he's not yet dead, but can't help me, because he is so horribly injured by the hook he himself hangs from. And I know I'll be joining him soon.

Creepy right?! I was so young! HOW DID MY BRAIN COME UP WITH THAT?!?!

2) The Dark Thing

So this one was when I was a bit older, about 8 or so, and you have to bear in mind that camping in my cousins garden was something we were pretty likely to do, both being big fans of american kids stories like The Babysitters Club and Sweet Valley High (where they did things like camp in the garden ALL THE TIME)

It's a very very clear, beautiful summer's night. Me and my cousin Nicki are camping out in her garden, without a tent, just with an old bed her parents are getting rid of anyway, so have let us use for the night as a bit of peter pan style glamour. Nicki gets into bed but before I go, I want to look into the pond, which is so still it's like a mirror. As I glance in, I see a dark shape soar above my head. I look up, but there's nothing to be seen so I assume it's a bird or a bat. I clamber into bed and say goodnight to Nicki, who's now drifted off anyway, so she can't hear me. As I close my eyes, dragged into sleep, the dark shape swoops down. It's not a bat, it's the size of a full grown man, but not a man. A formless being of evil who's only wish is to eat my soul and step inside to inhabit my body instead. I can't fight it off, I am already asleep.

Of course, the scary thing about this particular nightmare was that when I woke up from it, the shape was floating around my ceiling, before settling at the end of my bed, watching me as if waiting for me to fall asleep again, I screamed and screamed and my dad came running in and turned on the light, at which point it disappeared. Now, years later, I realise that it was a night terror (something which I've suffered a fair few times since with spiders), but as an 8 year old who couldn't logically work out what she was seeing, can you imagine how freaky that was?

You know what?

 I'm going to stop there and watch an episode or 10 of 30 Rock. Otherwise, there'll be no more sleep for me this month!

Tarrah folks! Dream sweet dreams....

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Ash and Gunther against the world!

Reader, I have moved to Norwich for the month for my rehearsals. I am currently living out a few dreams of mine,

a) Being a full time actress and getting paid for it (obviously, did I even really need to put that down?)

b) Living with one of my oldest friends (something we said we'd do when we were about 11 but never got round to what with boyfriends and careers and things)

c) Living in the countryside again (I'm going to skip through some fields, y'know, when the snow goes away)

d) Doing a friggin' DICKENS story!?!

Yep, it is a good time. Of course, there are also a few negatives

a) I am away from The Lad. It is the first night and already I miss having someone to put my cold cold feet against

b) My friend (and host) and her boyfriend are brilliant cooks. And are determined to feed me up. I have to stay the same size so I'll fit in my costume. These things do not go hand in hand. In fact, they don't even nod at each other as they pass on the street. They live at the opposite ends of opposite town, one in a very nice neighbourhood with big terraced houses, and the other in the artists quarter, with posters stuck up with blue tack on the walls. I cannot, repeat, CANNOT be a rotund Estella. This would not be ideal, and everyone would be confused as to why Estella was squashing Pip. (Answer, because it is Miss. Havisham's revenge on men)

c) I am living in the countryside again. Last time I did this it caused me to take up smoking, get a tattoo and become a raging drunkard. The countryside has that sort of effect on me.

Me and my stuffed penguin Gunther are having a lovely time, despite the negatives as described as above. We were made curry and given chocolates (see point B), watched some seriously trashy tv (which made us feel smug about how much better our lives were than the teens we were laughing at) and then some 30 Rock (which made us hopeful that one day we would be as wonderful as Tina Fey who we love), talked about ancient Grecian-Egyptian relationships (in other words, old fashioned bonking) and I unpacked all my stuff to discover that I haven't forgotten any chargers (surely a first for me?) and have even remembered to bring both night cream and deodorant (I am so organised right now that I'm practically the Prime Minister of Iceland's PA-high hopes Ash). Now, we're in bed, reading some Manga (so old school) and mentally preparing for meeting a whole room of new people. Am willing myself not to say anything offensive/mind numbingly stupid/pompous out of nervousness but it's highly likely that I will do all three. Eep. I will have to make cakes at some point to appease everyone, just in case.

Anyway Reader, sleep calls, it's been a long day of trudging through snow and being on coaches and trains!