By Aislinn De'Ath

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

Monday, 30 December 2013

New Years Resolutions...

So it's New Years Eve Eve and as such I've come up with a list of resolutions that I think I should probably follow:

  • Step away from the Boursin. You've had more than you can count this year and the addiction is getting out of control (oooh but the herby, cheesy goodness!)
  • Do a feature film, with a nice juicy part-as much as I love doing tv, shorts and theatre (as well as my voice work) I have yet to tick off a feature on the to do list!
  • Work out how to use my sewing machine. At the moment it keeps bunching and it's driving me up the wall!
  • Start vlogging regularly. This may require some work on my editing skills...
  • Enough with the smoking-this year is the year I stop for good.
  • Eat more porridge. I forgot how utterly delicious it is! Started this morning with a bowl made with almond milk, raisins and chopped nuts with manuka honey. Blooming wonderful when there's a gale howling outside!
  • Take some driving lessons (the provisional licence is now officially ordered!)
  • Be the best bridesmaid EVAR at my oldest friend's wedding in July
  • Dance like an idiot more. The many, many weddings I'm going to may help with that
  • Do more stuff that I've never done before
  • Take more risks, plan some adventures
  • Only buy really beautiful underwear. No more primark rubbish, just well structured silks and vintage cuts
  • Be the strong, happy version of myself that I enjoy being the most
  • Enjoy my godson while he's young enough to let me dress him up in stupid outfits and give him big hugs
  • Mentor more young actors
  • Give back to society as much as I can
And the final resolution I did this morning (before January even begins, because I am a resolution GANGSTA)

Become an organ donor. Because I think it's a pretty fantastic thing to be able to save the lives of others through my death, and if I die before my time (as a number of dear people have this year), I'd like my family to know that part of me is still living and helping others in one way or another. If you guys want to make that one of your new years resolutions too, then please please go on, it only takes a minute or two and it could change so many lives. Only something like 31% of UK citizens are signed up-let's make 2014 the year that changes. 

Hope you all have a wonderful NYE and a bloody marvellous 2014!

Sunday, 29 December 2013

The three stages of breaking up...

So Reader, last night was a bit unexpected. I'd just got back to my lovely cosy Bag End when I had a call from Lady Luxe, who had just had the unpleasant experience of seeing her twatbag of an ex boyfriend and moving her stuff out of his house. Then another call came in from Little Socks who had just broken up with her partner. Within a couple of hours I had two newly single girls on my couch, a bottle of vodka and every kind of chocolate under the sun in front of us, and a combination of laughter and tears occurring every couple of minutes.

Frankly it was a bit overwhelming. But also quite interesting. Between us we had three different stages of going through a break up and each of us had a very different break up story and emotions connected to them.


You've only just broken up. You can't stop crying, everything in the world reminds you of what you've lost ('There's some cheese. Barry liked cheese. Oh god, we'll never share cheese ever again!') and you feel like you've been punched. A lot. Your face has swollen up so much that your eyes are no longer visible and you can't quite catch your breath. Thinking even a week into the future seems nigh on bloody impossible. You can't bring yourself to eat, you smoke a million cigarettes and drink anything you can get your hands on. Listening to music or watching anything but gory horror films just isn't going to happen. You'll be having a perfectly normal conversation and then you'll just start hiccuping and sobbing.


Fuck them. The utter wankers. How dare they do this to you?! You're going to meet other people. Better people. You'll be this amazing single person who goes and has really intense flings with french supermodels who smoke exotic sounding cigarettes and paint in trendy Shoreditch attics. It's been a month or two and you don't miss them at all. You rock at being single! (apart from the fact that you do really miss them and you struggle not to call them when you're drunk or down and you can't listen to certain Bruno Mars songs without having an epic nervy b). You're vaguely hyper ALL THE TIME. You're trying your best to forget them but they keep turning up in your dreams in really odd situations.


Well done! You did it! It's been ages and ages since Stage One and you're quite relieved all that messy crying has stopped (apart from when you're really drunk and it's a) Christmas b) Valentines Day or c) you've just had your 10th engagement notification on facebook in a month). You feel properly single now and are rediscovering the joys of being independent. Learning new skills, not having to text anyone when you're staying out late, meeting new people and embracing being a career person. It still hurts occasionally, but it's more like an occasional heartburn rather than the full on repetitive head kicking it was in Stage One and you can deal with it a lot better.You have plans for next year and you are actually now quite impressed with how strong you can be.

The awesome thing about last night's single girl mash up was that we all came out with it having had a good cry (very cathartic!), lots of laughter (ditto) and some seriously cool plans for the future. We were able to see the awesome points about each other that we sometimes can't see in ourselves and boosted each others confidence. We saw the strength and resilience in one another and all of our different perspectives helped build each other up.

The thing is, there is life after a break up. In Stage One you can't quite see it, but with every day that passes it gets a bit easier-so with that in mind (and what with knowing a lot of very dear friends that are going through some particularly crappy break ups at the moment), don't let the doom and gloom swallow you up-being single is just being given the opportunity to meet the next great love of your life. And a chance to work out who you are. And eat the contents of your fridge. Well. Obviously.

And it's about to be the new year. And what's a new year if not a fresh start and a clean slate?

Whether you're in a relationship or single Reader, may you find peace within yourself and may any fractured hearts be plastered up and kissed better very soon!


Saturday, 28 December 2013

Post Christmas food coma...

Hello Reader! I hope you've had a wonderful festive season, whether it was Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa you were celebrating! I have just arrived back at Bag End, where I am currently avoiding unpacking my suitcase and playing with all my lovely Christmas pressies instead. I got a sewing machine! Which means lots more home made presents for my loved ones, and hopefully some hand made clothes for myself once I get the hang of it. So far I've worked out how to sew in a straight line. And re-thread the needle. Complex stuff for a gal who normally hand sews everything! Me and my godson's mum are already planning a series of 'Stitch and Bitch' afternoons where we mend things and set the world to rights. Possibly with hairnets on.

I also got a beautiful camera, which means that as soon as my external disk drive and memory cards arrive, AshActingUp will also extend to a YouTube channel near you! Keep an eye out for links in the new year. If any of my readers fancy making me a little intro clip with music to use on the vlogs, I'd be very grateful-I'll make you something wonky on my new machine!

So I'm assuming the rest of you, like me, are so bloated with food and booze that the prospect of fitting into anything other than smocks is looking like an impossible dream. I've been full on gorging myself with Boursin and Disaronno since November, so now is most definitely the time for eating lots of veggies and walking EVERYWHERE. Apart from NYE, obviously. Because I intend to eat A LOT of Chinese food and chocolate then. But yes, eating must be slightly less of a blood sport for the next month, as at the end of January I'm off filming for Sky again and need to fit into skinny jeans and a strap top. And look a bit bad ass. May need to head off for some aerobics classes in the mean time (god save me!). Luckily, I knew this time was coming, so I made sure I stuffed myself full of food over the Christmas period so I didn't feel like I'd be missing out in January. Sarnies filled with turkey, cheese, pickles, butter, crisps, stuffing and cranberry sauce were a particular favourite. As were my home made Gruyere and caramelised onion tarts (I made 12 just to be on the safe side). And of course, it's terribly important to polish off all those cold roasties with chutney and a dessert of ice cream with biscuits. I don't think I saw a food that wasn't smothered in either butter or cheese for most of December! So now all I want is a carrot with some humus. And a peppermint tea. I've had to hide all my crimble chocolate away so I don't get tempted and shove it all in my face at once-it'll be a lovely treat in February when I'm depressed by how cold and gloomy it is here in London!

I do realise too, that I shall have to take down the Christmas decorations at Bag End relatively soon. But given that I only just arrived back, I feel like that can wait. After all, the tree still looks so pretty and smells so nice! I feel that my housemate The Curly One may put her foot down if it gets to after New Years Day and the tree is still up though. Quite fairly!

Right lovely Reader, I am off to play on my sewing machine a bit more and maybe think about unpacking my suitcase (groan!),

Eat up those leftovers while you can!

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Oh god, she keeps coming back...

Reader, here I was, wrapping presents and playing Christmas music when all of a sudden, with a flash and a bang, 17 year old me fell onto the couch next to me.

OI! I was just wrapping nan's Christmas pressie!

Dear child, putting things in plastic bags and securing them with duct tape does not wrapping make.

Well Mum's hidden all the wrapping paper!

One day you will learn to buy wrapping paper ages ahead of time. In fact, you'll pride yourself on getting the sparkliest, shinest tat wrapping paper there is!

Don't have to worry about that for a while though, do I? God, I am SO EXCITED! I can't wait to put out the mince pie and sherry and carrots for the reindeers! 

Yeah, me too. Although Dad made some noises about us stopping that this year.


I know! Bloody ridiculous! I told him that we will only stop doing that once I have kids! And then they will do it and I'll be Santa! (Although I might make him dress up like Granddad used to. We already got him a reindeer onesie)

So what have you asked for this year from Santa?

A few things-a camera that I can vlog with next year (hey, maybe I'll be able to catch you on tape next year!), some nice underwear, gorgeous stockings and tights and various other bits and bobs

Whats a 'vlog'?

It's like a video version of a blog, kind of like...erm...wait, you wouldn't know any of the vloggers I watch, I don't think they've even started when I'm 17. Keep an eye out for Anna Akana and KatersOneSeven though, they're going to be big. So will Jenna Marbles, but you'll get a bit frustrated with how she talks about other women.

Cool! I've asked for Bon-fite' make up and the Arctic Monkey's album. Oh, and this really nice mini kilt from Camden.

First off, it's pronounced 'Benefit' not 'bon-bloody-fite'' Don't be an eejit. And mini kilts make you look like a tarty goth. Especially when you wear them with your fishnets and that strap top.

Nah, everyone wears them!

No everyone bloody doesn't! Oh go on, enjoy them while you can. Soon you'll be too busty to pull that look off anyway.

I reaaaally want a dress from the fifties shop under the bridge in Camden too. You know, the ones with the pinched waists?

Yeah, that's what's known as 'THE PERFECT GIFT'. We'd still happily get a new one of those with a different design for every special occasion. In fact, I might ask for one for my next birthday! You actually have quite a few of those dresses, but they work SO well with your figure. Jeans however, are a lost cause. Our hips are way too big. We are very much a dress girl in our mid twenties.

I never wear dresses!

I know. You learn to. In your first year of uni you turn properly vintage and wear a pencil skirt and heels every day. We've relaxed a bit now, but we still like to crack out the 50's clothes at least once a week. The only reason we have jeans in our wardrobe is for costumes!

Odd. I love my skinny jeans.

That's because you have a tiny bum at the moment.


Er....nothing. Nothing at all. Just cherish it (while you can)

You look really tired today

Wow. Thanks, you really know how to give a girl a compliment

But you do! Your hair is all sticky-uppy and you're wearing men's pyjamas and one of your eyes is half closed! You look like an advert for coffee!

Good. Getting judged by a 17 year old version of myself. Nice. If you must know, I was out with mum and the ladies who work in her company last night and I'm a bit knackered today!

Loser, I've been out at the Mean Fiddler till 5 this morning and I'm off to have lunch with the girls! Right. Bye then! Merry Christmas!

(Bang, crash, wallop)

Off you go, you ridiculous creature.

And merry Christmas to you Reader! May it be full of sugar plums and pine and snow!

Festive tarrahs


Thursday, 19 December 2013

Lonely this Christmas...

So Reader, this is my first Christmas in 5 years as a singleton. I feel like Bridget Jones, only younger and with a smaller flat. And not because I have two dashing men on the scene-no, it's more the cheesy knitted jumper, cringey moments and eating all the food in the house (including, in one tragic moment, a jar of lemon curd). Oh, and going back home for the holidays, which means I'll be sure to be asked the question all singletons dread, 'So, any men on the scene?'

No. There are no men on the scene. The scene is completely lacking in testosterone. Apart from gay men. And very very young ones. Instead of dates, my evening now consist of drinks with the girls (we like to call them platonic date nights-they tend to consist of sushi, dancing on boats, festive booze outside old man pubs and the sort of laughter you only do when you don't give a rats arse how you look or sound), nights on the sofa with my housemate and dinners with the parents. On the rare occasions I do meet guys I have a connection with, they are invariably taken. On a number of occasions, this has led to awkward situations (talking about the guy you fancy to your friend, then being introduced to the girlfriend you didn't know about who was listening the entire time anyone? Kill me now.) and downgrading my flirting far too late into the conversation as it slowly dawns on me that the Fifi they've been talking about is in fact, their significant other rather than their sister.

And of course everyone else in the world is getting married. I'm going to four weddings next year. FOUR. Generally I'm pretty happy being a single lady, but there's nothing like the inevitable stream of facebook posts telling you that 'Terry and Andre are engaged!' or 'Penny and Marcus are tying the knot!' to make you feel a little left behind. Your mid twenties seem to provoke a fight or flight reaction-you evaluate life and either break up with your partner or start getting married and having kids. Meanwhile, if you're anything like me, you're trying to work out the perfect hot chocolate/ biscuit combo and being outraged that your parents suggested not leaving out a mince pie for Santa this year. And I keep getting told that we're the 'It'll do' generation, who just settle. I don't want to settle! I want true, gut punching, knees wobbling, head spinning love! Not 'Ah, he's alright I suppose' vague affection!

It doesn't help that this is one of the most romantic times of year. Holding hands round Christmas markets, buying joint Christmas pressies, having snowball fights and then cold kisses after, roaring fires and twinkly lights at every turn. You kind of even lose your enthusiasm for Christmas films a bit-Love Actually is less appealing when the character you most resemble is the secretary who tries way too hard and doesn't get even a snog out of it (HAH, only joking, I'd never be that forward! I'm far too shy for all that nonsense!) and Miracle on 34th Street is less charming when you keep yelling 'JUST BE NICE TO HIM YOU DAFT COW! HE'S PERFECT AND WANTS TO MARRY YOU DESPITE YOUR STUPID FLICKY HAIR AND PRECOCIOUS BRAT OF A CHILD AND BESIDES, HE'S BEST FRIENDS WITH SANTA!'.  Me and the lovely SJ keep saying we're going to give up on men and become platonic wives with the perfect home. I'll have the kids from a handsome gay sperm doner, she'll bring the money in and hire someone to nanny when I have an acting job and we'll both get wonderfully fat. We might miss actual romance though, so we'll keep it an open marriage just in case.

So this year, when well meaning relatives ask me 'Any men on the scene?' I'm going to look them dead in the eye and say

'Yes. Santa.'

Hope you're all enjoying the festive period Reader, whether you're a single pringle or loved up!

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Drunken larks...

Oh dear Reader, I'm feeling a tad delicate today. Last night I had a wonderful evening with one of my best friends, Luxe Lady. We went for sushi, walked up and down the Christmas market on Southbank and then had many a drink on a boat. There was laughter, rowdy chats about sex, dancing in the rain and many many glasses of booze.

But given that I just spent a weekend in Cardiff, my night was relatively tame. Yes, that's right Reader, Cardiff is a hotbed of sin and peeing in the streets. You heard me. PEEING IN THE STREETS. Even the women. We saw such sights. Ladies in tiny stretchy dresses pulled over various wibbles and wobbles, badly tanned cellulite on show, reproductive organs out for all to see. AND A PORTALOO FOR WOMEN WITH NO DOORS. In the middle of a street. I nearly had a heart attack! How does anyone in Cardiff develop a romantic relationship when there's no mystery? The men were spitting on the floor and peeing in corners, the women were lycra clad with unfortunate folds of flab flopping about like plates of flan. It was all a bit terrifying. One night, as I was getting ready for bed and chilling out in front of the Christmas music channel, I overheard a woman's shrill tone. 'CHARMAINE! I JUST SHAT ON A BENCH!'

What. On. Earth.

First off, the logistics of that must have been fairly tricky. Secondly, I fail to believe that there wasn't one available loo nearby, or that a fully grown woman couldn't have held it till she reached the pub or home-what on earth warrants pooing on a bit of public seating out in the open?!

It's really strange, because during the day, the people of Cardiff are a delight-friendly, generous, kind and happy. Every time you go into a shop you end up having an hour long conversation with the lady at the till because she wants to have a chat about where you got your hat from, and how lovely your accent is, and do you know Suzy Puffball from London? But, much like werewolves, as night descends and the bars open for Happy Hour, they turn into something less cheery. Particularly the office workers at their Christmas parties, who are a confusing mix of Christmas jumpers, vomit, and one girl who's crying about someone called Barry and because she can't find one of her earrings in the loo.

I don't think I ever had a night out with a group of people who were all entirely blasted-I've been the hideously drunk person a fair few times, but usually I'm more likely to be the sensible sober one making sure everyone got in a cab alright, so this large group of drunken riotousness is rather unusual for me. In fact, it made me rather relieved to be going back to my hotel room each night instead of heading out for a Christmas booze up. Of course, it clearly didn't put me off drinking, since last night I was out dancing in the rain on the top deck of a boat with a tumbler of Disaronno.

And now here I am, the next day, head like slightly sore cotton wool and having a bit of a happy weep to Love Actually (which is really an insanely sad film if you watch it properly. Emma Thompson and Alan Rickman never get back on track properly, she's still really melancholy at the end, Andrew Lincon is still trailing after Keira with no other loves in sight and Laura Linney remains lonely, with her brother taking up her entire life-thanks GOD for Hugh Grant and Martine Mucutcheon and Kris Marshall for keeping things cheery!) At some point I'm going to have to get up and go shopping since we're out of toothpaste, fresh veg and diet coke, but I'm putting it off for as long as is humanly possible (the thought of having to wear non pj based clothing is making me rather wilty).

But I must eat! So to Asda I go henceforth!
Tarrah Reader!

Friday, 6 December 2013

What does it mean to be a woman?

So Reader, a lovely friend and co-creative peer of mine, Monty, asked me a very interesting question today, that I think I could probably write about till the end of time. He'd read an article in Shortlist this week asking a broad range of men 'What does being a man mean'? and although he'd very much enjoyed the article, he had struggled to answer it, finding it difficult to differentiate between being a male and being a human. In light of this, he asked me

What is your perspective of 'being a woman' or 'to be a woman'? What does it mean to you? Does

that differ from 'being a man'?

Now there's a question and a half. As I said to Monty, there is no right or wrong answer to this, because the outcome will be highly dependent on a huge variety of factors; sociological, cultural and educational. Every woman you ask will give you a different answer, as I expect men would if asked the same question. But this is my personal opinion-I'm not speaking on behalf of all women here, just myself.

In a number of ways, I agree with Monty. We are all human, we deserve the same rights and will have a lot of similar experiences. Saying that, I feel that there are a number of things that help shape us as women and mark us out as being (for want of a better word) different.

So first and foremost you have the obvious differences. Fat settles on us in different ways, we have ovaries, a womb, Fallopian tubes, periods and the ability the bear and feed children. We do not (with the exception of certain genetic minorities) grow facial hair, nor much in the way of body hair. Our hormonal structure is different, which lends itself to us experiencing emotions in a slightly different way to men. There is an old stereotype of women getting sad rather than angry, and it could be said that this is due to us having more estrogen than testosterone in our make up. I am a very good example of this, I am far more likely to cry than shout and can count the times I've been hot ruby red furious on less than two hands. However (and this is a big however) I have spent years on first, the contaceptive pill Yasmin (which alters your emotions), and then the contraceptive implant (which has less of an effect but still can have emotion altering qualities). I was also badly bullied as a kid and standing up for myself usually led to getting either beaten up or taunted, so anger rarely gave me desired results. As I've grown up, I've found that this happens a lot less and I am far more able to deal with anger as an emotion, although I still feel it to be a largely negative one which achieves less results than calm, measured discussion. I do, however, get very very angry on behalf of my friends. I have only slapped two people in my life. One was on a train in Paris, where a teenage boy groped me (completely unprovoked and with no one to stand up for me), the other time being when a dear friend's boyfriend took advantage of another, very drunk friend. I do not condone violence and am far less likely to resort to it these days, preferring instead to use the skills learnt from my mother (a strong, smart woman who uses her words like knives when she needs to) to undermine and defend.

Being a woman is not always a wonderful experience. Being a woman means to be constantly aware of the effect your body may be having and the need to dress in a way that may not create unwanted attention. Or to use your body to create attention. But with that comes guilt and negative connotations. Being a woman means fear of being called either frigid or a slut. Being a woman means a higher level of worry about contraception, as although men would still run the risk of impregnating their partner, they would not have to deal with the physical impact of pregnancy, abortion or childbirth. When you look at a man who is expecting a child, you would not be able to tell, wheras we may as well be wearing a sign that says 'LOOK! I HAD SEX AND NOW I'VE GOT A BABY IN ME!'

Being a woman means we have been told to 'get back in that house young lady' when we wear a skirt too short. I was told at college (a catholic college to be fair) that if we wore revealing clothes and the male teachers had impure thoughts which they acted on, it would be our fault. I have listened to men talk about rape and say 'I'm not saying she asked for it, but...'

Being a woman means that losing my virginity was a huge deal. It meant hours spent in underwear shops talking with my housemate what she could wear for her partner on valentines night. It meant furtively hiding the bags before we left so that no one thought less of us.

Being a woman meant not being allowed to play football for P.E. in primary school. It meant being told trousers were 'unhygenic' in high school.

I was aware of my body very young. I have essentially been on and off a diet since I was 16, although I have never been what would be classed as 'large'. I was flat chested at college and barely got glanced at by boys my age, then suddenly 'blossomed' in my first year of university and had no idea how to deal with the male attention, for the most part not even noticing it had happened or that men were interested in me.

Being a woman means walking past a group of men, having them say something sexually obscene to you, then calling you 'an ugly bitch' when you do not respond.

Being a woman means being told to 'get back in the kitchen', that you're only interested in geek culture to impress men, being told you're a bad driver (even though women statistically have less accidents on the road than men), getting cross in comic book shops because all the women look a certain way, of struggling to find a film where the central theme for women is not a man.

But it's not all bad.

Being a woman means your first experience of buying a bra. I got mine in Dunnes in Ireland with my grandmother and excitedly called my mum to tell her (although there was no way I needed it for a number of years after that). Being a woman means being allowed to be more fluid with your sexuality (we are actually very lucky there, men get far more flack even now for being experimental or coming out as bi or gay). Being a girl means being able to cry without being judged. Being a woman means cosy conversations with your friends where you talk openly about everything under the sun.

Being woman for me in particular means remembering all the women that have come before me. My grandmothers (one a very traditional English housewife who taught me to bake and told me hilarious stories about setting her kitchen on fire, the other a matriarchal Irish woman full of affection and generosity to all she encounters), my amazing mother who worked full time throughout me being a kid, came out with two degrees, travelled the world and found true love with my wonderful dad (who has set me incredibly high standards for what to expect in a partner) as well as always standing up for the rights of women and the belief that anyone can reach the stars. Every woman who comes into my life teaches me something new and leaves me a slightly more built up human being.

Being a woman means singing into a hairbrush, buying too many nail varnishes, discovering and then swiftly rejecting thongs, finding empowering female role models at a young age (Spice Girls anyone?), totally identifying with Anne of Green Gables when you're 13, Jane Eyre when you're 16, Dita Von Teese when you're 18, Lake Bell, Olivia Colman and Rebecca Hall when you're 25 and Bodecia the whole way through your life, knowing how to wear stockings but still having an awkward moment where one falls down halfway through the day.

Being a woman means knowing that what you wear and how you do your make up isn't about pleasing men, it's about who you want to be that day, about wearing the right pair of shoes can make you walk with confidence (like Nigella going into the courtroom of late), about the importance of really good undies, about the joy of not shaving your legs for a while, knowing exactly how long it'll take you to get ready (but somehow always needing another half hour or so), knowing that when you vote, you're not just doing it for yourself but all the women out there who can't vote still and who fought to get you where you are today.

Being a woman means wanting your period for YEARS and then when you get it, freaking out and thinking you're dying because 'that can't be NORMAL?!?! WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK?!'.

Being a woman means having friends you would kill for, dancing like an idiot, not being able to cope without a handbag to store the essential day to day bits and bobs we could probably live without, naming your boobs and occasionally having conversations with them when you're bored, coming up with rude poems, putting ice cream cones under your top and pretending to be Madonna, being able to talk for hours with the housemate you only saw yesterday, hating, hating, HATING it when people call you 'babe' when they don't know you and loving seeing someone look shocked when you swear really really fucking well when they expected you to be a 'lady' (piss right off, wank faced twat-o-matic).

Being a woman means thinking you want to be a nun for 3 months when you're 14 and then actually going to confirmation lessons and realising that organised religion isn't often very nice to women. It means having HUGE arguments with your nun/teacher about sex before marriage, gay people and contraception and leaving feeling very cross but very proud that you stood your ground.

Being a woman means dealing with your body telling you it wants babies, when you're not ready for them, with having a strange fixation on tiny versions of things, with a sense of great pride when you succeed in a male dominated career, when you stand up for other women, when you perfect applying liquid eyeliner and when you can do more DIY than any man you know.

Being a woman is not a race to rule men-all we want is to be treated equally, but it's still worthy of great pride. Because we work hard, because we are still dealing with prejudice, of stereotypes and negative attitudes. Being a woman is fighting against female circumcision, honour killings, enforced marriage, legal rape (did you know it is still legal to rape your wife in India and many parts of the Middle East?) and lack of independence.

And that, to me, is what being a woman is all about. And that's not nearly half of it. Seriously, I could go on forever.

Thank you to Monty for asking me such a provoking question, and thank you to all the women who have helped form me (and to the men too, because it wasn't just women who got me to where I am today!)


Wednesday, 4 December 2013

All the other actors...

So Reader, as an actor, I go to a few auditions. Admittedly, now I'm slightly more established, a lot of my work comes from my previously made connections and people I've worked with in the past (industry tip, networking is IMPORTANT), but I still go to quite a few and the most interesting part of the whole shebang is always the other actors at the audition.

The thing is, auditioning is a strange thing. Sometimes you'll go to one and there will be loads of girls that look just like you and you'll have a moment of 'Oh dear lord I look like everyone else' (this doesn't happen very often to me, as I am a bit odd looking). Other times you walk in and everyone looks so different, you can only assume the casting director got a very vague brief through. The worst ones though, are when you walk in, look around and realise you are most definitely the odd one out.

I once went to an advert audition and walked into a room full of models, all tall, skinny, young and beautiful. I had a moment of smug pride as I thought 'they must think I'm as gorgeous as these people! They think I'm a model! WIN!' then my pride was swiftly broken as the only other normal looking person got called in with me and cheerfully uttered the eternally soul destroying phrase 'So I guess we're the uggos, huh?'. Oh dear. Pretty sure we were the 'hey, let's get some average looking kids in to see how they work out' routine. As neither of us got cast, it seems they preferred the 6ft, no fat, eyes bigger than my fist look. Bugger.

Of course, occasionally you get the actors who try to psych you out. I always assumed that was just an actor urban legend, until I went to a short film audition a couple of years ago and a slightly older actor asked me where I went to school and when and when I told her where it was and that I had (at that point) just graduated, she looked me right in the eye and said 'yeah, I really feel that drama schools have gone downhill in the last 5 years, they'll just let anyone in'. A bit taken aback, I told her how much I'd enjoyed my course and how it had been very challenging. She replied with 'Hm. Hey, is that your natural hair colour? Or is your natural hair colour your eyebrows?'. WOW. I just smiled and turned to the person on my other side to chat instead. What a knob. It was only a bloody student film! I couldn't believe it (interestingly, I actually saw the film later that year-she wasn't in it. HAH.)

To be fair though, you also meet some awesome people in auditions. I am still in touch through twitter with one really lovely girl I met at a short film audition earlier this year, who made the whole waiting process great fun, as we just giggled the whole way through it. I met one of my close male friends Sam at the audition for drama school and although we ended up studying at different places, we are still close almost 5 years later. When I went to work at the callcentre, I ended up bumping into loads of people I'd already met at auditions which was lovely!

The thing is, auditions are much better when you don't see the other people there as competition, but as people swimming against the tide with you. If you get on with them, you go in feeling relaxed, happy and ready to face the world! If you're bitter and try to make them nervous before they go in, karma will come back to bite you on the bum. So don't do it yeah? Be a lovely person, you'll make more friends that way!

Tarrah Reader!

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Hot stuff...

Reader, I am very confused about attraction. Obviously, I can't really speak for men (or gay women) but we find some really weird things attractive, that we really shouldn't. My blog entry the other day on being 'a good girl' and the concept of liking 'bad boys' got me thinking about it and some of my girlfriends and I had a chat about the things we go for in the opposite sex. Combine this with my housemate and I's 'Wall of I would' (an objective list of the men that we would probably dribble at if we met) and you have a whole mess of 'seriously, but why?!'


  1. Men who can sing/are in bands
Ok. I get it. Talent is sexy. But seriously? Why does someone standing on a stage crooning get us hot and bothered? Ok, so they're singing about love and how wonderful it is and we want to be the girl they're singing about. Or they're singing about heartbreak and we want to give them a hug. Or they're singing something sexy and....erm...Ok, so I kind of get it. But I've been involved (not that romantically really, more just flirtatiosly) with a couple of guys in bands. One had a girlfriend and wrote me a love letter. And wrote a song about me, which he then performed IN FRONT OF HER. Any residual fancying of him kind of vanished after that, it was such a douchey thing to do to a girl. Writing songs about someone you like-awesome and romantic. When you have a girlfriend and it's not about her-worthy of a punch in the face. The other guy was a talented performer but I think half expected me to make all the moves on him. Which just was not going to happen. Give me a break ya'll, I was 17! And he was in his early twenties!

    2.   Bad Boys

I touched on this in an earlier blog-but I still don't get it. In what world is a guy who's been in jail attractive? Why is someone who treats you like crap a worthy partner? Since when has a guy who cheats been sexy as hell? I just don't get it. I have a couple of friends at the moment who have long, complicated relationships with 'bad boys', and no, they don't look like James Dean and smoulder from against a soft top car, most of the time they're just guys who are normal looking who treat the girls like rubbish. And for whatever reason, the girl won't leave them. In most circumstances, the girl is so emotionally beaten by them and lacking in confidence because of their constant cheating, mean remarks or just lack of emotional availability, they don't feel good enough to leave because they are convinced they can't do better. But what made them get with the guy in the first place? In one instance, a friend first told us about her (now partner of YEARS) by saying he was a loser who tried to get in her pants. But somehow he managed to keep a hold on her. I don't get it at all. Although I can't claim to be entirely innocent of liking the wrong men-when I was younger I had a long running, intense infatuation with a guy who treated me like rubbish. I was much more naive back then but I think part of me thought that he was actually really sensitive and scared of his feelings for me and that I could sort of nurse him back to being a good person. Looking back now, I think he just liked the attention and thought it was funny to string me along like an adoring but slightly stupid puppy. Luckily, I am a lot older and wiser now and can safely say that I make far more sensible choices with who to give my heart to-nice people only need apply!

   3.   Funny Guys

Funny = sexy. I don't know why. It just sort of does. I'm not talking about fart humour or anything gross, but guys who are witty and make me laugh like a loon really do it for me. I have a lot of long standing crushes on comedians and I don't really get why. I mean, telling a joke doesn't necessarily mean you'd make a good life partner does it? Saying that-and here's the science bit-laughing releases serotonin, which is also released during sex. Maybe there's a link there! Still, I'd go out with Eddie Izzard or Dylan Moran any day....*sigh*. 

  4.   Hair

Oh god, hair. I have made plenty of bad romance decisions based on hair before. Which is so awful, but dear god, good hair on a man is a wonderful thing. Not too gelled, not too 'done'. Just. Hair. This is potentially why I fancied Luke from The Kooks. And Alan Rickman in Robin Hood. And Nicholas Hoult (shut up, his hair is ALWAYS PERFECT). Even so, from an evolutionary perspective, why is that something I go for? It's not like back in the day, the caveman with the best bouffant was the best provider. Maybe it's to do with peacocking?  Or like when lizards show the ruff of skin round their neck? Or when birds puff themselves up? I don't know! It makes no sense!

 5.  Cocky men

 No, I don't mean THAT Reader. Get your head out of the gutter! Guys with confidence are very fanciable. However, there is a line which should not be crossed. Being confident about life-great. Constantly talking about yourself-not so great. Being confident enough to make the first mood-hurrah! Being so cocky you just assume most women fancy you-ick. I suppose confidence in yourself means we think we should be confident about you as well-and who wants to date anyone (male or female) who's constantly criticising themselves? It's dull to have to keep trying to praise someone who is determined to put themselves down. But it's also quite dull to have someone flexing their muscles all day or boasting about how many girls they've slept with. So, strike a balance eh?

6.  Hands on ability

Again Reader, NO NOT LIKE THAT. Honestly, you're filthy! I'm talking about guys who can do things with their hands. Cooking for example. Or fixing things. Or sketching. It's skillful, impressive and draws ladies like a moth to the flame. So, this one I really do understand. Having a guy cook for you is delightful. Especially dishes you don't know how to make yourself. When someone knows how to fix things it's a bit like your nesting instinct kicks in and your hormones go 'he can make a good nest with me! With plumbing! And carved oak chairs and a matching bar!' when they can draw you get a bit of a 'draw me like one of your French Girls' moment. As a girl who loves to cook and has been raised with a good knowledge of DIY, it's nice when someone can match or beat my abilities, so I don't always feel like the one who has to do it all the time. And I've always been rubbish at art, so am always very impressed when anyone can produce something so fantastic. 

Feel free to add some strange things of your own. We all have them-these are quite generic ones really, but I have a friend who loves sweaty guys. Another is really attracted to Irish men. I like men with a lovely cut glass accent, but I'm similarly enthralled by a northern lilt. One friend only ever dates gingers. And one (really odd) friend has a penchant for men who are brilliant at geography. Strange that.

Tarrah Reader!

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Oh hi, I'm calling from....

Reader, as you will probably know, I used to work in a callcentre (pretty standard practice for an actor starting out in the world). In fact, I worked at two! One was a charity callcentre who basically call the people who get stopped in the street by enthusiastic people in hoodies, the other sold various things, from wine to fruit and veg to magazines.

So, working in a callcentre isn't exactly the nicest job in the world. In fact, it sucks some serious ass. Because you're basically only as good as your last day's sales and if you don't make your target, you get either fired or have a patronising talk from your manager that makes you feel like a total loser as they explain things to you that you already knew. You also have to talk to lots of idiots on the phone, who assume that because you work in a callcentre, you must a) be from another country b) have an IQ of 4 c) have stolen their number out of the yellow pages d) be trying to scam them in one way or another. You work in an ugly building, with little motivation apart from your commission (interesting fact-money alone is not enough to motivate you. Even after record breaking sales, you still want to lay down on the floor and never get up again), and with an 8 hour working day of staring at a screen wearing a very uncomfortable headset, you get bored, develop awful headaches and get ill a lot more often.

But what actually happens on the other end when you pick up the phone to someone at a callcentre? Well, I am here to tell you all the things that you never actually find out...


  • If you're really really lovely to us, we will do EVERYTHING in our power to chuck in a freebie. We will let you know about the best offers we have, the cheapest ways to get them and be sweetness and light to you. If you treat us like dirt, we won't tell you about the free offer we have on.
  • Asking us to waive the delivery fee won't happen. With the majority of sales companies, delivery is outsourced, so we have no control over it. Most of the time, our managers have told us not even to bother asking on your behalf.
  • We rarely have contact with the company we sell for. Callcentres are not run by that particular company, we are hired by someone else entirely. If the company we sell the product of is really nice to us and likes to teach us about the product, give us paid training days and free samples, we will sell for them as much as we can and have drive and passion. If they just allow the management to deal with us, the motivation of the team is dreadful.
  • Leading on from the last point, one of our few points of contact with the company we sell for is to pass on feedback. If you have an awful horror story and tell it to us nicely, explaining that you know it's not our personal responsibility but let us know that you just want to pass it on, we will not only try and fix the issue for you, but we will fight your corner in a detailed email to the company. We also pass on nice feedback. Which we rarely get.
  • You are probably the 150th phone call we've had that day. If you're going to say no, please just say no. And say 'Please take me off the call list' nicely if you don't want someone to call you back. It makes our lives so much easier.
  • When you're rude to us, we mute ourselves and take the piss out of you.
  • Sometimes, even though it's against the rules, we do accents on the phones.
  • If something is really really cheap, then there will be a catch. If you buy a half price case of wine, there will be a full price box coming every month thereafter. However, you can get around that by ordering just the first one and then cancelling the plan as soon as it arrives. Just don't tell the operator you'll do that, otherwise they won't be allowed to sell you the wine (calls are listened into and recorded, so they could get fired if they do)
  • As I have previously said, the callcentre worker IS NOT the company. Which means if you shout at us, you're not actually doing a great deal of good, you're just making someone's day hell. If you really want results, play nice.
  • At least one person on the floor cries. Every day. At work.
  • The pay is pretty much awful. Everyone is on a zero hour contract, which means that 'holiday pay' is built into your pay schedule. Which means that including that, you only just scrape minimum wage. Which is not living wage. And you don't get paid for sick days. 
  • Someone sound really fit on the phone? They're probably not doing it for your benefit. They're likely flirting with the manager they fancy who's sitting next to them.
  • Callcentres are rampant for inter office romance/sex
  • If you are really stupid on the phone, sometimes we record you and play it back to all our friends.
  • If you are a wanker to us and ask us to take you off the call list in a mean way, we will reschedule your calls for once a week. Yeah. Exactly. 
  • When we talk about 'our kids' or 'my husband' we are usually lying to get the sale
  • Ditto when we laugh uproariously at your joke of 'it's on sale? Ooh is it free?' We've heard that 4 times today. SO FUNNY. Not.
  • We regularly call people who have just died and then have very awkward conversations with their families. When I was selling wine, I once called 9 dead people in one day whilst doing a reactivation drive.
  • Callcentre workers leave notes about you on the system. These can range from 'Really nice lady, big fan of our organic milk!' to 'Total twat with a small penis. Do not call'.
  • When you say 'Fucking callcentre people again' under your breath as you answer, we can hear you.
  • We also just overheard you tell your housemate to tell us you aren't in.
  • And your kid telling you that they just pooed in the bath.
  • We will talk about you over lunch if you say something really thick. Like calling spanish wine 'ree-o-ja'. It is pronounced 'Ree-o-ka'. Idiot.
  • If you're a guy and call us girls gorgeous, babe, darling, sweetie, dear or beautiful, we will be swearing furiously at you with our hands throughout the whole conversation. Even if we sound nice as pie.
  • No, we are not scamming you, you signed up with our company. You get a brochure from us every month. I can tell you what you last drank from us. I can tell you how many crates you've had for us. No you can't pay bloody cash.
  • When you ask to get put through to a manager, you're quite often being put through to our friend who sounds older than us. Or to a callcentre manager. Who doesn't know that much more than us about the product. And who still won't be able to waive the delivery fee.
  • If you hang up on us, you will just get called back. Again and again. Automatically. The people who phone you have to assume that it was a technical fault even if you think you made it obvious. Unless we hear the words 'please take me off the contact list' we cannot stop calling. 
  • Sound scripted? It probably is. New recruits work off a rigid script.
  • Yeah, we have tried the product. But we're not experts. Much like how Asda till workers probably don't know everything in stock.
And that's it for now! So be nice to the people who phone you up trying to sell stuff. And if you're going to say no, do it fast, do it kindly. I've probably worked with them in the past!
Tarrah Reader!

Friday, 29 November 2013

17 year old me is back...

Oh god Reader, 17 year old me is back through the magic of time travel (and imagination! Ooh, it's like the magic schoolbus!)

Oh, I'm back here again am I? I was right in the middle of something!

What? Doing your homework? Reading Othello for Mrs. Roe's English class?

No, drawing peace signs on my jotter. I'm totally into issues.

Er....sorry....issues? What issues are those then?

Oh, you know. Issues. I'm a veggie now and everything!

Well...yeah. But that's not exactly because you think eating meat is wrong is it?

Yeah it is! I feel really sad about how mean they are to the poor animals and the way they treat them in the barns and stuff

No it's not. It's because you got grossed out by seeing the butcher taking out the bits from the Christmas turkey isn't it?

Yeah, well that too. Veins. Eurgh. But I'm into other issues too! I really believe that the wars should stop!

What wars are those 17 year old me? general.

Oh god. Look kid, you can't just feel outraged without any actual grounding. Yeah, war is bad, and mistreatment of animals is bad, but you need to be a bit more specific about it. You can't just claim to be into issues but not know what any of them are.

Yeah well...

I mean, you still wear leather! And buy your clothes at topshop!

Does that mean that when we're in our mid twenties we're like, totally eco and only buy organic and stuff?

Not so much. We're actually eating meat again.


Well, you know how you keep almost fainting? Even though you're eating loads? Well, you have anemia. And as you get older you start missing the deliciousness of duck pancakes. And you discover this stuff called pulled pork. It's too good.

Eurgh. That's gross. Think I'll stick to veggie sushi thanks.

Well, you will till you're almost 25 anyway.

Huh. So what are we doing at the moment?

Well, I did a voice job this morning and now I'm prepping for a film I'm doing in portugal in a couple of weeks


No! Wow, I haven't seen one of those ads in years. Actually, the guy who did those ads taught us how to be a voiceover artist, so that's pretty cool. We do a bit of everything-although we haven't done any narration for talking books yet. We really want to though.

We should totally do Harry Potter voiceovers

Well, Stephen Fry sort of did all that, keep watching the films though, they're very good. Oh god, the last one...

SO SAD. I'm still in mourning for the twins. And Tonks and Lupin.

Yeah, we never really get over that.

So how's being single going? Are you living the SATC life? Besides, they're all in their forties, cheeky cow! I've been pretty busy recently, which sort of takes away the chance of meeting attractive single men. And besides, I'm kind of loving embracing my spinster side. I'm watching tv shows, baking, babysitting and there's bugger all drama going on in my life. Which is kind of lovely.

Can't you at least go on a few dates? You're totally letting the side down! We're supposed to be cooler than mental mid-twenties spinster lady!

Oh yeah, like you're any better! You went on one date through the whole of sixth form! And you freaked out and ended up dumping the guy as soon as you got home!

He kept stroking my hand and commenting on how small and soft it was! Totally freaky!

I know! But you didn't really give the poor boy a chance did you?

I just wanted to watch the Incredibles in peace! Besides, we hate it when people talk during films.

This is true. We never grow out of this. We are also still ridiculously awkward around men we like. Which is another nice side effect of being mental spinster lady-no making a dick of myself around hotties-for there are none to be a dick around!

That doesn't sound terribly promising

Ah, it'll get better. It's just at the moment quite a lot of our male friends are gay.


*SIGH* Ok, so I know you don't know any yet, but that's just a symptom of going to an all girls catholic school. There are LOADS of gay guys in the boys school down the road, you just don't know any of them yet. Besides, you don't have male friends generally yet! When you get to my age, most of your friends are men!

Really? That's cool. Am I a bit of a tomboy?

Hahahahhahahah, No. We still climb trees and stuff, but we love our dresses, heels and cakes. And making homes beautiful. But we get on with guys pretty well. They're funny! And good at teaching us about football (HAH, jokes, we don't care, we just let them ramble on while we think about what to make for dinner or how to learn difficult accents).

Pfft. Fine. Well, I have to go. Kaat and I are going to bunk English and sit by the Camden canal.

Ah memories. Off you trot child. Enjoy not having to wear a bra while you can.


Nothing. Bye!

And there she goes, off in a whirlwind of sparkly gel pens, mini kilts and posters of Garbage and No Doubt.

And on that note Reader, so shall I!

Thursday, 28 November 2013

A list of wrongful purchases...

So Reader, sometimes I check my bank balance and swear to myself in very colourful language. Where does it all go? Surely I can't have spent all my monthly wage so fast? And then I remember all the rubbish I've spent my moolah on in the past and cringe inwardly. Gosh, I could buy a house with all the money I've spent on rubbish! So to prevent me from doing it again, here is a list of some of the really stupid things I've paid for in the past


  • When I was 18 I had done a few pole dancing classes, but my rehearsals rarely allowed for me to go to the advanced classes. So I decided that if I had my own pole I could practice from home! So I spent £50 on one from Anne Summers. The problem is, the pole wasn't really intended for someone to actually swing from it (I think it was a 'pole' in the same way a sexy nurse outfit is a 'uniform'). Years later, at a post show party, I put it up and tried to impress my new boyfriend and brought it down with me. Oh dear...
  • I spent quite a lot when I was younger on a stretchy denim jumpsuit with multicoloured rhinestones. I was 15 to be fair, and it was for my 60's style birthday party, but even so...I sort of thought I was in Abba. And I thought I was bloody cool
  • I paid what seems like an extortionate amount of money to get a 'Pob' (posh spice bob) when I was 13. Unfortunately it came out like Harry Potter, which was on the second film at that point. I also had NO CURVES and got mistaken for Daniel Radcliffe 5 times. Which isn't great for a teenage girl's confidence.
  • I paid for a black henna tattoo from a dodgy bloke in Lyndos. It looked really cool. Until I realised I was allergic to it and had to go around with a pink, lumpy 'tribal tattoo' for a month afterwards
  • Spice Girl photos that were made to look like actual pictures you'd taken. I tried to tell everyone at school that I knew them really well, but hadn't realised that everyone else had the same idea.
  • A twenties style glass headpiece. I have never worn it, but still assert that I will one day (and to be fair, it was to make me feel better during a big break up)
  • A pink, crocheted hankerchief top that my dad wouldn't let me wear out of the house
  • Materials for a snorlax bean bag. Which came out looking demonic and ended up at the dump
  • Nail pens. Total waste of money, every time.
  • The Aqua singles 'Barbie Girl' and 'Dr. Jones' on cassette (YES, I REALISE I AM OLD, SHUT UP)
  • Millions of wooden boxes of various shapes and sizes. I have an addiction.
  • Not one, not two but THREE manicure sets for my friend Claire for various birthdays. I kept forgetting that I'd got them for her until, just before she opened the final one, she went 'haha, at least I can be sure it's not a bloody nail set!'. Awkward.
  • Scented gel pens. No, scratch that, I bloody love scented gel pens. Do they still do them? I want some.
  • My prom outfit. A corset, underskirt and over skirt that made me look like gothic Cinderella. Turned up at prom to realise that everyone else was wearing Jane Norman and I was totally overdressed. Rarely worn again (actually, the corset came in handy for costume socials at uni!)
  • A tailcoat for a halloween costume, cost me a fortune and I have NO IDEA what I did with it
And there have been SO many more. Still, given that I recently got a Jessica Rabbit dress off amazon, I clearly haven't quite grown out of the habit of spending money on silly things just yet! And...well, it IS Christmas soon....

Tarrah Reader!

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

The good girl dichotomy....

Reader, I am apparently a 'good girl'. Which does not mean that I want to prance around naked in a Robin Thicke video. I think. The thing is, I've sort of discovered that society has split girls up into being 'good girls' and 'bad girls'. But I can't work out if us ladies sort of do it to ourselves or not too.

So, I don't put myself into the 'good girl' genre on purpose. I like baking and reading and wearing fifties dresses. I'm also a firm believer that sugar does more than salt and try to be nice to everyone. I believe in true love and get very mushy over romance (I think I read too many fairy tales and love stories when I was younger). But I would never have called myself a 'good girl'. Because why would I put myself in a weird camp like that? It's just a bit odd. Besides, I smoke, I drink, I swear, I flirt like nothing else. Surely a so called 'good girl' wouldn't do those things? Aren't I just 'a girl'? Or, what with being in my mid twenties 'a woman'?

So what's made me think of this today? Well, recently I've been referred to as 'a good girl' a few times. Always by men interestingly. A guy (out of the blue, when we were talking about something else entirely) went 'aw, Ash, you're such a good girl. You're going to make someone a great wife one day'. Another guy (with whom I was discussing my eternal singleness) said 'The thing is, you're a good girl. You need a nice guy'. Another (who I was telling about a drunken night out of late) said 'You're too much of a good girl to drink that much!' Now, they were all saying nice things and all meant well, but do I really want to be a 'good girl'? I'm not sure. Because as far as I can tell, good girls don't get to have that much fun. We take care of our friends (including friends that aren't always very good at taking care of us), we pay all our bills on time, we bake for our sick family members and always cleanse, tone and moisturise. But the 'bad girls', the girls who are 'allowed' to drink, have one night stands and spend the rent money on a drinking trip to Mexico. Which sounds quite fun to me. But the thing is, I still have too much Catholic school girl in me to be a true 'bad girl'. If I drink too much I get a hellish hang over the next day. I don't really do the one night stand thing because...well, I don't know really, I just tend not to end up having one night stands (as one guy friend told me, I'm 'wife material, not shag then toss material'. I wasn't sure whether to be insulted or flattered. I think a bit of both. And a bit outraged that those were the two categories he put women into). If I spent the rent money I'd have a huge guilt trip and spend the next 3 months eating noodles and drinking tap water to make up for it.

But is it just women that get this? I don't think it is. We also put guys into these weird stereotypes. 'Ooh, he's a bit of a Bad Boy' or 'he's just your typical Nice Boy', which have their own downfalls. I caught myself doing it earlier, dismissing a crush because he was (in my mind at least) someone who fit into 'The Bad Boy' category. I was talking to a friend about this and she downplayed it, by saying that for girls, this is a bit more along the lines of self preservation-a 'Bad Boy' will be more likely to be a bit of a player, use and abuse or (as my male friend said) 'shag and toss'. But then don't guys go through the same thing with 'Bad Girls'? Granted, men are more likely to cheat than women (see here if you disagree ), so that could be part of it, but it's weird how we sexualise the 'bad boy' and 'bad girl' ideals. Or rather, women sexualise 'Bad Boys' ('Urgh, I just want a bad boy in leather who's in a band and smokes like James Dean') whereas men seem to sexualise the 'good girl' (just think of the schoolgirl thing, and all the weird fetishes for knee socks). Pretty strange. Because if women are hormonally driven, shouldn't we be drawn to nice guys who would make good life partners and fathers? And if men are sexually driven, shouldn't they be drawn to women in revealing clothing, who openly talk about how much they love sex? Saying that, there was an interesting study of late about the pill and implant and how they can actually change the sort of man a woman will go for ( so maybe a lot of our attraction is less about 'good' and 'bad' and more about our womb making the decision for us? But then what does that mean for men?

Maybe we should stop calling people 'good and bad' unless they actually get sainted or commit crimes. A lot of childcare books say that you shouldn't characterise one child as 'good' and one child as 'bad' as it causes them to try and live up to that type. Maybe we're doing just the same thing as grown ups, but to each other.

Boggles the mind really.
Tarrah Reader!

Monday, 25 November 2013

Early days....

Oh dear Reader. So, on Friday SJ and I went to Taste of Christmas in London (quickly becoming an annual tradition) and got very tipsy and very full on free samples of flavoured vodka and cheese and christmassy goodness. I think I was slightly affected by a morning of such crimble delight, because Saturday (entirely unplanned I might add, since I wasn't supposed to be doing it till this Friday) I got a tree and decorated the entire flat! My wonky, home made decorations are now adorning walls, trees and ceilings (yes, ceilings) and Bing Crosby's Festive album is jingling and tinkling in the background.

It's November.

I KNOW. But my thinking is that I've had a pretty tough year and I deserve some joy. Some people would turn to drugs or drinking, I turn to tinsel and mince pies! (Ohhhh, mince pies! I'm going to get one RIGHT NOW).

Yum. Ok, where was I before the sugar rush hit? Oh yeah, Christmas. So, to me, Christmas has a healing effect. This year has been one of the most dramatic I've ever had, changes coming left right and center. The gutting break up of my almost 5 year relationship left me reeling, suddenly the marriage, kids and home I'd been looking forward to disappeared from the future, leaving uncertainty in their wake. Moving out has meant that I can no longer afford to save or buy clothes (even from primark!) and I hit my mid twenties with a bang. But Christmas makes all of that dealable. Watching festive films reinforces my ideals of romance and the chance at true love, makes me grateful for my wonderful family and friends who have been so supportive during the upheaval, talking to my (almost 3 year old) godson about Santa and teaching him christmas songs strengthens my knowledge that I'll be a bloody brilliant mum (whether I have to do it on my own or not) and having moved into my little hobbit den with my fantastic housemate has helped me realise that I can be self reliant, even on very little money. Decorating said hobbit den with said very little money has made me proud that I can make somewhere a true home and still embrace the traditions that I hold so dear. Seeing acts of Christmas charity around England warms my heart and the idea that magic can happen is something I hold dear. And of course mince pies and roast potatoes make everything seem better.

The thing is, I have a great life. Sometimes it's easy to forget that, but the brilliant thing about this time of year is that the world gets warmer even as the air chills. Which sounds like poetic nonsense but to be honest, it's true. It's the perfect way to end a year and makes me feel like Jimmy Stewart at the end of It's A Wonderful Life every time.

So to those who say 'I hate how early Christmas keeps coming every year' and talk about commercialism, all of that might be true, but for some of us, it's perfect, just the way it is.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

The death of customer service...

Reader, I get a bit funny about customer service. I think it's something to do with years of working in the service industry. But a phone call this week really made me think-why do so many areas of industry assume that they have no customers?

Essentially, my lettings agent assured me and the curly housemate from the start that they were sorting out the transfer of our utilities and council tax. They told us that in the first two weeks or so we'd have letters from gas, electric, water and council telling us how to set up direct debits etc. After two and a half months, we'd had a water bill and that was about it. Over the course of the two months we started with polite phone calls asking what was going on (to which they assured us something would turn up and to leave it to them), then polite but slightly more formal emails (to which they didn't respond) then turning up at the letting agent offices to check if they had any idea yet (to which, again, they said not to worry, it was their responsibility and they'd sort it out). Eventually, just to make sure, we called the council, who told us that they'd messed up the change and had just put the council tax in the landlord's name and given them no other details, meaning that instead of lots of money being spread over 6 months, we now have to pay it over 4. Piqued to say the least, curly housemate emailed again, politely but wrathfully explaining how disappointed we were and how it made the lack other utility bills even more worrying, so we'd be grateful if they could respond ASAP. I then got a phone call from our (very young) letting agent who explained that they used a intermediary utility company to sort it all out and so really it wasn't their fault. To which I (very civilly) replied that, whilst that may be the case, we had been asking them for two and a half months to follow it up, and as of yet, they hadn't. I also expressed how disappointed we were that this had not been resolved yet. He assured me that he was on the case and would have an answer by the next day. A week later he got in touch and said he still hadn't figured it out, but was still searching. He then, again, tried to shift the blame on to the utilities company. I got quite cross at this stage and said that although it may have been an issue on that end, they had been told about the problem by us several times, and so this did not reflect particularly well on their company. 'This is, first and foremost' said I, 'a customer service issue'. To which he responded (and to which my jaw dropped)

'Well, it's not customer service. You're not our customers. This isn't retail'

Yes Reader, despite us paying the letting agency for a service they are supposed to provide, we are apparently not their customers. (The situation was made markedly worse by him constantly saying 'Well I'm sorry that YOU FEEL THAT WAY' and 'I'm sorry IF THAT'S HOW YOU FEEL' and not taking any responsibility, then after I spoke to the manager, hearing her bitching about me in the background of the call, but that story can wait another day).

The fact of the matter is, if you are paying someone for a service, you are their customer. Patients are the customers of the NHS. The public are the customers of the police service. We are the customers of MPs. And dentists. And utility providers. To say that someone 'is not the customer' of a service you provide, means that you do not care about them. Also, the FIRST rule of customer service is that the customer is always right (which may have escaped him, since he clearly just assumed I was someone not linked to the company at all, who was perhaps squatting in the flat rather than paying thousands over the past few months in admin fees, deposits and rent). When you do not take responsibility for the customer's issue, you are making it seem like there is no point in you picking up the phone to them. And that the issue is their fault. We generally don't like that.


Anyway Reader, onto happier topics. I did a wonderful rehearsed reading the other day which was mentioned in The Guardian (oohhh, I know!). The play I was in was by brilliant journalist, playright and generally fab human being Yasmeen Khan, who wrote Don't You Know Who I Am (with lovely and very talented Irwin Sparkes of The Hoosiers) and Break The Floorboards. I do a lot of new writing night performances (I'm also a regular at Genesis Cinema's monthly NWN-which is on tomorrow at 7.30 in Whitechapel if you fancy seeing me do a bit of the ol' acting malarkey) and this was a particularly awesome one. The Rehearsal Room Presents at Tara Arts in Earlsfield featured Pawn by Melody Bridges, a set by band Chains, an interview with the writer of '100 Great Plays for Women' and of course, Yasmeen's latest script 'Actually Love', an affectionate satire on British Rom Coms, featuring Raphael Bar as Rob Stanhope (a spoilt rom com actor whose star in swiftly waning, who decides to write an AWFUL script to keep himself on the film scene), Irwin Sparkes as Ollie (a well meaning, adorable but slightly shy second AD who is lovesick for Rob's PA) and me as Beth (Rob's long suffering PA who is also rather in love with him and has to deal with all his ridiculousness) was directed by Adam Morley who directed me two years ago in a national tour of Great Expectations. We got brilliant feedback and I can't wait to see where the script takes Yasmeen! It's only a second draft, but it's already totally readable and performable! If you haven't seen or read her work-look her up! Blooming talented woman!

Tarrah Reader!

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Things Disney films have taught me....

So Reader, I've been thinking a lot a bit about Disney of late. Mainly because Christmas is approaching and I'm anticipating some much needed sitting on the sofa watching films, and I was thinking of all the lessons Disney has taught me. There have been quite a few, not all of them correct, nor altogether good lessons.
Here they are!

Disney Lessons I probably shouldn't have learnt

  • All pretty girls can sing. All of them. And they do. About everything.
  • No one ever does a poo, unless it's an animal about to do one on a villain
  • Even peasants wear really well fitting clothes
  • Heroes and pretty girls are always thin
  • Fairy godmothers totally exist and they're always over 60 and portly
  • Vegetables can be used as a mode of transport
  • Reading makes you special (well, duh)
  • Poor people meet royalty all the fricken time, just casually
  • Loads of people that can sing beautifully don't use it professionally because they just want to get married
  • People's dad's die. CONSTANTLY. And no one has a mum. But step parents live forever.
  • Animals are your friends. Especially wild ones.
  • Ditto midgets.
  • Elderly women who live alone are witches
  • No one lives in a city. Lots of people live in a palace in the countryside
  • Bread is just about the tastiest meal anyone can have
  • Exotic pets are totally normal
  • Everyone has perfect teeth. Even if they live in a cave.
  • Anyone can survive certain death. Even baddies
  • Trees are perfectly cosy places to live
  • Cakes look like they're made of yogurt and when they're knocked, they slop from side to side
  • Girls never have to make the first move
  • Dancing is the best chat up line 
  • Balls happen on everyone's 16th birthday
  • Crabs are friendly
  • Voodoo is AWESOME and creates green smoke
  • It's always beautifully sunny during the day and clear and starry at night
  • Wishing on starts totally works
  • Having tiny feet gets you places
  • No one is at all clumsy. Ever. Unless they're bad or sidekicks. Or crabs.
That's all for now Reader!

Monday, 11 November 2013

Cringey awfulness....

Reader, do you ever do something horribly embarrassing and then wonder when you're going to grow up and turn into an elegant swan? I do. All the fricken time.

And I'm supposedly a proper grown up (even though my crafts look like a 7 year old with claws for hands made them). I genuinely wonder if there'll ever be a day when I don't do something so silly I'm mentally face-palming. It's funny, because strangers meet me for roughly an hour and think I'm quite poised. Any longer than  that and I start falling over and mispronouncing words and they know I'm actually a ridiculous human being.

So I am going to exorcise some of my awful cringey moments in the hope that subconsciously my brain will flick a switch and stop making me do stupid things:


  • When I was 16 I went to my first self-arranged audition, for an arty version of Romeo and Juliet. I didn't expect the other actor to kiss me (he was also about 30!), freaked out and forgot my lines then on the way out, tripped over the coats and pulled their lighting rig down with me. Oh god.
  •  I once wore a summer dress without pants when I was 13 and forgot till I was standing on a wire balcony and a group of people walked below and commented on the moon being out.
  • I skied into the French rugby team and broke my nose. They were all gorgeous and concerned about the 14 year old that now looked like Gerard Depardu, I wanted to die. 
  • I convinced my class that Goa was in Africa, not India.
  • I have, on repeated occasions, text people with a message that was about them and not intended for their eyes. Including boys I fancied, friend's parties I was about to bail on etc. It is NEVER good. When my ex and I were first dating, I accidentally text him about how gorgeous the men in Abercrombie were, which we'd just visited with his sister. I also text my mum telling her that I smoked. She was not impressed. Whoops!
  • I always get lyrics wrong. I was convinced that the line in RENT went 'My body's talking meat'. I sang it like that a lot. In front of people.
  • I got so drunk on my 18th birthday that I missed my own stripper. There is a video of me somewhere unconscious in a bath, being hosed down as my friends sang 'what shall we do with a drunken sailor'
  • I got so drunk on my 19th birthday that I had to be carried out of the club and inadvertently flashed a number of friends of friends.
  • Anything involving guys I fancy. Seriously, I should not be allowed near them. I do so many awkward things.
  • Doing a fight scene on stage, raised an axe above my head and my entire boob popped out, rather surprising the other actors
  • Owning a top when I was 16 that said 'I hate Barbie, That bitch has everything'. Eurgh
  • Ditto pleather bootcut trousers
  • Ditto a black lace crop top with wizard sleeves
  • Ditto a leopard print mini dress.
  • I once made out with a guy because he told me he was dying and I believed him
  • I won an amateur pole dancing contest and brought my own pole. Sadly it was a really shoddy pole, and when I tried to show off on it, I brought it down. In front of a room full of people.
  • I also once tried to pole dance in a club and kicked someone's handbag across the room
  • A black guy once said he'd like to take me out for a spicy hot chocolate and I thought he was literally talking about going to Nero for a coco.
  • You know the joke 'hey, guess what, they're taking the word Gullible out of the dictionary!'? I fell for it. Three times. 
  • I am such a 'good girl' that if anyone so much as accuses me of anything, I go bright red and stammery and look guilty. I think I could probably fail a lie detector even if I was telling the truth.
  • I once sat in a lecture for half an hour before I realised I was in one about History, not English Lit, and had to sneak out.
  • When I was in year 4, the boy I liked saw me leaving him a valentine and tried to give it back, so I lied and said that it was someone else that left it. HE SAW ME. I don't know what jedi mind tricks I thought I'd be able to use on him, but they did not work.
  • I wore head to toe pink to a Linkin Park concert
  • Until I was 19 I thought that I was distantly related to Princess Anne, and as such, a member if the Royal Family.
There are so many more than that. I could quite literally go on forever. I have more bruises than anyone I know because I walk into things so often. I also have a strangely misshapen head from hitting it so often.
Please someone tell me that one day I'll be less dim and trip up with less frequency?
Or just tell me that I'm not the only one!

Saturday, 9 November 2013

A list of things that are pointless...

Reader, I am avoiding doing the hoovering. So here is a list of completely pointless things that aren't linked in any real way.

Penguins use rocks to keep their chicks warm
Swans mate for life
Chips are amazing with real ice cream milkshakes
Night terrors tend to be on recurring themes (mine are usually spider related)
The King and Tinker pub in Crew's Hill is apparently haunted by a dead landlord
If you put a lump of ice cream into a glass of lemonade you get ice cream floats, which taste like cream soda
Ginger female cats aren't supposed to exist (which may explain why my old one was so thick)
If you put marmite in spag boll it makes it taste meatier (handy for Quorn mince!)
You should make your Christmas pudding in October then feed it booze till mid December
Zooey Deschanel's signature drink in New Girl is grenadine, lemonade, cherries and coconut rum. Mine is grenadine, lemonade, cherries and vodka
If you want to go blond but don't want to destroy your hair, you should just keep lightening it using the pre-dye stuff
Get mini cheddars. Put a small square of cheese on top of each. Microwave. PURE HEAVEN.
I have a tattoo of a rose on my hip
Putting avacado in your fruit bowl will make your bananas ripen quicker
Best Christmas film in the world: It's A Wonderful Life. Hands down.
When my mum asked my nan if she had any regrets in life, she said ' I wish I'd done more for the donkeys'. Er...what donkeys? No one knows.
Everyone needs different amounts of water. Not 8 glasses a day. You're supposed to go by the colour of your pee.
I have the worst hoover in the world
If you're tired or have a light headache, pinch the harder tissue between the thumb and index finger, it will release adrenaline
Craftfail. Look it up. Hillarious.
Ditto PinterestYouAreDrunk
Geekily awesome tv shows to watch: Buffy, Angel, Dollhouse, Warehouse 13, Eureka, Adventuretime
Home made exfoliator, way better than buying it: brown sugar, olive oil, lemon or lime juice
If you lose your voice, don't eat dairy or citurus or vinegar, steam every hour, drink hot water, eat manuka honey factor 30+ from the jar, gargle with olive oil in an emergency, don't whisper as it damages your vocal cords even more

And now I have to hoover.

Friday, 8 November 2013

Maternal instinct...

Reader, my body is driving me crazy. No, it doesn't have too much wrong with it in the normal sense, I still have all my limbs and my belly button is in the right sort of area, but at the moment it is flooded with hormones that are making me want to steal ALL THE BABIES.

The thing is, it's not just me. There are whispers going round my friendship group of girls my age suddenly getting broody for no particular reason, when none of us are sorted enough in our lives to sprog up. Most of us are single and on low incomes. The majority of us still can't work out our tax code or how to fix our tv when it goes wonky. But we've suddenly got baby vision, which is like having beer goggles but for tots. You see a screaming, snotty nosed midget in a peppa pig onesie and coo like it's a kitten. Pampers adverts make you cry. You suddenly start fancying men with secure jobs who think about health insurance and know how to do things with screwdrivers (weird for me, given I normally go for artistic men who have no idea which way is up). It's all very confusing. The thing is, I don't even want kids at the moment. My career is just starting to take off, I'm not in a long term relationship and I flatshare with one of my besties. But even I can't resist the allure of a tiny sock or a gummy grin.

There is of course, a solution to this. Babysitting. I am lucky enough to have the cutest godson in the world, and I am planning on doting all my love on him while he is still small and pudgy enough not to be able to escape fast enough. I with nourish him with lopsided cakes and really ugly crafts (it's becoming a tradition to make him crap that looks vaguely possessed). I will give him ALL THE CUDDLES. And then, when he gets shouty and crotchety I will hand him back to his parents. Perfect. I'm babysitting at the end of this month and I can't wait! I've also taken it upon myself to show my 8 year old cousin all of the best kids films ever made-we've done The Princess Bride, Jumanji and Labyrinth-next up The Slipper and The Rose, Miracle on 34th Street and Bugsy Malone.

The thing is, surely me and all my friends are way too young for this rush of hormones. Shouldn't this be happening in our thirties? We're only in our mid twenties! Have they been putting stuff in our water? Or is it that we eat too much cheese? Surely we should be out headbanging, drinking cocktails and being party animals, not stroking a tiny shoe and sighing over how small it is?

I, for one, am fighting the urge. I am young and I intend to have a lot more silliness and freedom and bohemian spirit in my life before giving in to the demands of my ovaries. I want to do quite a lot before I have kids. Here is a list (you know how I love lists)!

The things I want to do before I sprog up

Travel somewhere on my own, just for fun. New York maybe.
Swim in the sea at night again
Go to another all night party
Work out how to make proper Christmas cake
Live in a house with a garden (maybe that I own!)
Go to Asia again
Take proper burlesque classes
Learn how to drive
Work out how to make a bed like my mum does
Scuba dive again
Ski again
Do a feature film
Get published again
Perform in a huge London theatre
Meet the man of my dreams
Get married
Do more silly shoots with SJ
Do an Indie flick

Possibly not in that order though!

So don't panic Reader, I'm fighting the urge for a few years (whilst also encouraging my married friends to have kids that I can play with and dress up as ewoks)

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Active rest...

Reader, you might have noticed that I've been writing rather a lot of late. This is due (mainly) to the fact that I seem to have completely lost the ability to fall asleep at a normal time, and when I do, I get awoken by nightmares so need something to do to wear me out. I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO MY BRAIN. I'm good at sleep! Like, really good at it! Usually I can fall asleep whenever and wherever. On trains at 2 pm, uncomfy plane seats at 7 am, cars full of loud music, sofas in living rooms full of people. I like sleep! And I am exceptionally tired at the moment because of the change in seasons. But my head bubbles over. Here is a list of things that my brain likes to think just as I turn out the light and lay down:


  • Hey. Hey Ash. Hey Ash-never mind.
  • Oh man, I lost the game!
  • I should get more socks
  • I'm going to start eating healthily tomorrow.
  • Do we have enough soup in the house?
  • Who am I kidding, there's always enough soup in the house. I'm a soup hoarder! Hah. Soup whore.
  • Mmmm, mushroom soup. Where is all the mushroom soup? Why can I never get it fresh? It's the best of all the soups. The Lord of Soupiness.
  • If I have a kid, I'll definitely call it Dauphinoise. Hah. Potato head. Or Gratina. Or Chippadee. Man I'm craving spuds. 
  • Chill woman. Probably just pipes.
  • Does anyone actually live in the flat next door? I never hear them if they do.
  • Man, sleeping alone is pants. I need someone to spoon with. Maybe I should just make a pillow man? 
  • This pillow man is creeping me out. What if he came to life?
  • Ok. Sleeping with no pillows. Not so fun.
  • ALIENS oh no, hang on, that's just the Sky box
  • Are there any single men left in the world who I'll be attracted to? Will I ever fall in love again?
  • Shape up woman. You don't need a man! Tomorrow morning, we will go jogging.
  • Hah. 
  • Yeah right. Tomorrow morning is going to be cold as ASS. We will stay in bed. Especially considering it' crap, is it seriously that late?
  • Candy crush will help me sleep
  • Aw man, out of lives. 
  • I will not ask my facebook friends. I do not need to play more of this inane game.
  • Damn, I really want to though.
  • No! No, I shall read more Cracked articles till I doze off. 
  • No more zombie articles for me. 
  • I should move my bed so that if there was a zombie 'pocalipse I'd be able to shunt it against my door
  • Ooh I should move my room about
  • I really need to get more acting work. 
  • I know, I'll audition for the Star Wars film!
  • Although they want someone who looks 18
  • I could totally get away with being 18!
  • Or could I. Hum. Maybe I'll just put on some of that anti aging gunk again.
  • Did I brush my teeth yet? 
  • No.
  • Wait, Yes! I did! Because I laughed at the vampire style toothpaste drips!
  • Man I'm cool.
  • I could read my book
  • Wait....bollocks, I'm reading an intellectual one at the mo. Sod that.
  • Although it might make me sleep?
  • Nah.
  • Incense! 
  • I'm going to write a novel!
  • After I finish my feature.
  • That's going to take sooooo long. Like, years. 
  • Bleh.
  • When's my next day off? Oh, not for weeks. Good. 
  • Being freelance is hard. I should get a 9-5 job and give up on this acting malarkey
  • HAH who am I kidding! I just need to get paid more at the acting malarkey!
  • I could so do Star Wars. *makes light saber noises*
  • Ow my eye.
  • I have none of that coordination stuff
  • Housemate is asleep, else I could move my room around now-would it wake her up?
  • Ok, never mind, I'm pretty sure knocking that book off my bed just woke up the entire street
  • Man I have a lot of stuff on my bed
  • Then again, my bed is huge, there's room
  • Especially given that there's only me in it, aw shame! Why do I always just bunch up in one corner of it? 
  • Wow. Laying in the middle is WEIRD.
  • Mmmm, Neil's yard wild rose balm
  • I have too many products on but DAYMN I smell good!
  • Wait, did I take off my make up before I put all these products on? 
  • Oh crap, I look like a pantomime dame
  • Sod it. It'll deter murderers, they'll think I'm one of their own.
  • Not that there are murderers in the house. Are there?
  • Oh crap. The noise is back!
  • I should put up more pictures tomorrow
  • Need to order wellies for filming in December
  • Need to get the rest of the Christmas pressies too
  • HAHAHAHAH my godson's pressie is RIDICULOUS. Must remember to get him a birthday pressie too.
  • Maybe a costume. Ok, what have we got him so far....the Darth Vader one was cool...maybe a Captain Kirk one to even out the playing field? I don't want him to feel forced into loving Star Wars....although it's clearly the best choice. I feel like he should be educated on both sides.
  • Crap, my nails are a MESS! Must remember to do them before I go tomorrow
  • I should go on a holiday by myself. To New York! 
  • I have no money. 
  • How do I get blogging to get me money?
  • I should get people to pay me to write about stuff. Like...erm...boobs. And Books!
  • Oooh I could write a blog called Lasciviousness and literature! Or a vlog. Although given that name, it would probably have to be me nekkid doing book reviews. Little brother would be so horrified!
  • Now I REALLY want to do that!
  • Where's dad's camera? 
  • Will dad let me steal the camera?
  • Man I wish I could edit like Anna Akana and Katers17!
  • Didn't I learn how to do that in media studies at A-Level?
  • Man I wish I'd paid attention!
And it goes on and on until all of a sudden I wake up and BOOM it's daytime and I have suitcases under my eyes!

Ah well, let's give it another try eh?
Night night Reader!