By Aislinn De'Ath

By Aislinn De'Ath
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Sunday, 9 November 2014

Earlier and earlier every year....

So Reader, if you've followed my blog for a while, it will come as no surprise to you that Christmas is my most favourite time of year. I get craft crazy, bake all the time, generally wander round with a face like a child in a Dickens novel who's just been given entry to a toyshop.

To make sure I don't go too mad I generally instate a rule that I can't do Christmassy stuff before the 1st of December. Which means no Christmas music, food, films or decorating. Every year though, my addiction takes hold a little more, and I find excuses to get the season going earlier and earlier. Going to the annual Taste of Christmas fair with my gorgeous make up artist friend SJ (remember her? from the cake blogs?) in late November now gives me an excuse to get outrageously excited a bit early. Going to my boyfriend's hometown to have Advent Sunday dinner with his family and old friends is also going to allow me to have mince pies in November (because it would be SO RUDE not to) and the fact that I have an enormous Irish Catholic family who keep having babies means I have had an excuse to start shopping and crafting since the first of November. Last year I spent a week filming in Portugal in December so I managed to convince my housemate that we had to decorate the flat in November so we'd still get the full levels of Christmassy vibes.

Don't get me wrong, I'll still be mostly sticking to my rules-no Christmas films before 1st December (and yes, that includes Christmas TV-re-runs of Kirsty Alsops homemade Christmas and Nigella's Christmas specials are like crack to me), no christmas music on the ipod before 1st December, no opening Christmas magazines (now sat tantalizingly at the end of my bed) no reading A Christmas Carol or putting a Christmas theme on my laptop....


I may have already burnt a Christmas scented candle or three....
and made Christmas pudding....
and have my home made wreath on my bedroom door...
and given my boyfriend a 'Christmas decoration starter kit' for his flat...
and coerced him and also curly one to let me come and help decorate the second they want to feel Christmassy....
And read all the Christmas catalogues from all the supermarkets and planned all the food (because they don't count...right?)

Oh dear...


Erm...I mean,

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Things that should be taught in sex-ed...

Reader, the other day, a friend and I were laughing over drinks about how naive we were about sex as teenagers, and exchanging some of the ridiculous things we thought back then and urban legends our 15 year old selves had been convinced were true. It made me think a bit about how actually, I learned very little from my sexual health classes that could be put to good use (not helped of course by the fact that when I was having those classes, your contraceptive choices were limited to the pill, condoms or a coil and we were taught by a very nice lady going through the menopause who for some reason decided a group of 15 year olds really needed to know all the details of childbirth rather than the realities of sex.) If I were to go and teach a sex ed class (thank god this will probably never have to happen) of young women, there are certain things I would definitely make sure they knew. And because I am not particularly likely to do that, and because as far as I can tell, everyone is still being shy about all this stuff, I am going to ignore the British voice in my head going 'DON'T TALK ABOUT THIS STUFF' and actually tell you some stuff! Which may be helpful if you're a 15 year old girl. Or a 20 year old girl. Or whatever.

 Things we didn't learn from sex-ed classes, that might have been useful

  • The majority of the time, the guy has no idea if he's got an STD, and you won't be able to tell either, so until you both get tested, keep it covered missy! 
  • The pill may have side effects. No, not in the same way paracetamol says 'may cause dizziness', more like 'may make you want to eat literally everything, may give you crippling migraines, may make you a crazy person who cries or yells all the time, makes you fall in love with people that you would never normally fancy because of weird hormonal effects, stop you wanting to have sex which, let's face it is the SOLE purpose you're on the damn thing anyway'. If they try and give you microgynon say hell no. It is dreadful. None of my friends have had good experiences on it.
  • No you can't get pregnant by giving a guy a hand job in a jacuzzi
  • No you can't get pregnant by both being naked in the bath
  • No you can't get pregnant by hugging each other for a long time
  • Yes you can get pregnant even if he doesn't finish inside you. Stuff gets released even before that.
  • Look, this is a picture of what a real penis looks like. And here's an erect one. In fact, here is lots of photos, just to show how different they all are. 
  • No, testicles don't have a hard skeletal casing.
  • No, penises don't have a bone, they get hard because they get a rush of lots of blood to them.
  • This also makes them change colour.
  • Yes they can break. Please be careful with them.
  • Here is a pamphlet about thrush and cystitis. If you are a woman who is having regular sex (or sometimes, because life is cruel, even if you're not and haven't got any in a long time) you will probably have both of these things. They are horrendous. 
  • Boobs are weird. Seriously, don't worry about them. Just wear good underwear. 
  • Periods are hell. Feminax is brilliant, hot water bottles are heaven, dark chocolate helps. 
  • Oh my god guys, sex is SO MESSY. Like, SO MESSY. 
  • There is no elegant way to deal with the mess.
  • Never feel ashamed for wanting to have sex. Wait till you are legal, and wait till you are emotionally ready and with someone who will treat you well, but never feel ashamed. It's a natural and wonderful thing. 
  • Go and read erotica. Work out what turns you on. Porn is made mostly for men, and to be honest, it's not sexy. You might find erotic fiction better. Or sex scenes from The Postman Always Rings Twice or Cruel Intentions. Go, discover. Don't wait for your partner to tell you what to feel.
  • The implant is like a gift from god. Rare periods, no pills, less side effects. Heaven. 
  • Sex is not just for pregnancy. Your teachers, nuns, parents, local priests etc may tell you otherwise. DO NOT BELIEVE THEM.
  • Ignore the awful 60's diagrams your science teacher will show you. Sex is not laying down, very very still. This is generally a much less fun way to do things.
  • You don't have to be in love with your sexual partner but it helps a LOT. Like, it's so much better it will BLOW YOUR MIND. However, you do have to definitely want to do it.
  • You can say no whenever you like, it is completely your right. Even if you are naked, even if you're already halfway through. The most important thing about sex is consent. 
I think I'd better repeat that last one, because it's SUPER important:


You are the boss of YOUR body. I have heard too many stories recently about people only having sex because 'they felt they should' and saying that they had sexual encounters that weren't rape because 'I didn't say no' but felt pretty close. Say no. It is your choice, and your right. It is also your choice to go and have sex. Do not let people shame you, or make you believe having sex is something to feel bad about. You feel exactly how you want to feel about it, whether you choose not to go through with it, or you take that step. And talk about it. Ask questions. We are a closed off society sometimes, and we shouldn't be, because it means teenagers are afraid to be curious. There is always someone who will be willing to be honest with you if you are brave enough to ask the scary questions.


Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Night shooting...

Reader, it is 3.30 in the morning and I am halfway through my second night shoot in two nights. I am starting to go a little doolally. We're all that kind of exhausted where you end up having long discussions that go round and round and round, then you find yourself trapped in a discussion loop that you can't escape from. We've all just had burgers and mash, which felt weirdly indulgent in the middle of the night and we're slightly juddery from too much Diet Coke and coffee.

I quite like the whole night shoot thing. I think. But you might have to ask me again when I'm actually awake, because I'm pretty much hallucinating pink elephants at this point.

We're at the point of looking up people we fancy and trying to explain exactly why we fancy them to non-believers. The costume mistress and I have just been attempting in vain to justify our Domnhall Gleeson adoration to a confused male lead and first AD. Apparently the phrase 'I like men who look like serial killers till they smile, then they look like puppies' does not fully make sense. To be fair it is almost 4am and our brains are scrambled.

Someone is in the hallway singing 80s rock and more than half of the crew are dangling off the balcony getting a nicotine fix as the rest of us just barely stay awake.

Being this tired is a bit like being drunk, it makes me soppy and emotional and wanting to tell everyone how great everyone else is. I wax lyrical about my family, my cat, my boyfriend, my friends, my old housemate, my doctor, to anyone who will listen (or who will at least stay still for long enough for me to realise I'm monologuing).

My belly is bloated with catering table chocolate and bread and I need to go to sleep, work out and have a green smoothie or ten. Outside the window, we have a view of Tower Bridge that you'd normally pay a fortune for-it's so stunning that every time one of us looks up we gasp, even though we're all dreaming of heavy duvets and soft pillows. It's times like this being an actor is wonderful, when the cast and crew have all bonded and are laughing over new in jokes, using a private language that will vanish with the packing away of the equipment and you're seeing and doing things most people can't even conceive. When you're all on the brink of tired, slightly hysterical tears but also excitably nervous to see the finished product and everyone looks a bit like a recovering drug addict, because let's face it, no one looks good at 4.30am.

In another 3 and a half hours I'll be in my own bed, sleeping guiltily as everyone else rises.
And I'll probably still want more chocolate.

p.s. watch my new series of vlogs! Letters to Autumn

Monday, 22 September 2014

Reasons I'm smiling....

So Reader, yesterday I was on a train home, grinning to myself, when I overheard a lady kiss her teeth and say 'I don't know what SHE's got to smile about'. So I thought I'd share some things. In the hope that it infects. Maybe it'll get back to her and she'll not be able to help but use some of those face muscles! 


  1. My train station is on a hill. Which means on my way home, I get to run down it, giggling to myself. I do this every time I come back alone, even if there are other commuters. It is JOLLY GOOD FUN.
  2. I am getting to spend time with lots of my fabulous friends at the moment. Which I am LOVING.
  3. Autumn/pre-christmas Winter is my favourite time of year, because of all the reasons in this video and more. I also start my Christmas prep in October, with Christmas pudding making and starting to hand design Christmas presents for my non-adult relations.
  4. Halloween is just round the corner and me and two of my favourites have come up with a BRILLIANT costume idea
  5. I am having some adventures in non-Englandy places soon-4 days in Italy with the parents, then 4 days in Ireland with the Partner In Crime and I can't wait!
  6. I am really excited about a new career path that will hopefully run alongside my acting/vlogging/writing work. And I'm feeling motivated about it! Which is all jolly nice.
  7. I have discovered exercise is actually giving me more energy than usual and am actually ENJOYING working out four times a week ( I know, feel free to throw shoes at my head etc)
  8. I am baking on Wednesday. I blooming love baking.
  9. Guardians of The Galaxy exists. And for that we should all be grateful.
  10. Everywhere smells of autumn at the moment-my room has orange and cinnamon candles burning, walking home from the station I could smell bonfires and damp and roast dinner smell eminates from every home. Lush.
  11. Curly One has moved into THE MOST BEAUTIFUL GROWN UP HOUSE and it is only 20 minutes on the train from me. Which is just deliciously delightful. And I was able to help her move in, which made me happy.
  12. I got to catch up with my beloved make-up artist/prosthetics guru SJ this week. Long time followers of this blog may remember that SJ and I used to do cake shop reviews here-keep your eyes peeled on my vlogging channel-this Christmas, we are potentially doing a short Christmas series! Cakes, crafts and canny behaviour...
  13. School kids are back in school. Which means the streets are mine again! (I love having non conventional working hours...)
  14. This year, long flowy coats are in fashion. Which means walking round pretending to be a Daphne Du Maurier heroine
  15. I was introduced to THE GREATEST TEA PLACE today at the Leicester Square Arts Theatre. It's called Madd Hatter's, and they make Tea Lattes. In flavours so wonderful you'll want to cry, like candyfloss. And they have Oreo cake. And iced tea that tastes like it has a bucket of sugar in but actually only has one teaspoon per TEN SERVINGS. I may never leave.
Anyway my dear darling lovely Reader, I hope you have lots of reasons for smiling too-and remember-you're all reasons for me to smile too!
Remember not to kick piles of leaves-hedgehogs like to sleep there

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Oh what a difference a year makes...

Reader, I am now officially moved out of Bag End. Which is a sad thing because I loved living with Curly One and having independence and a place I could invite lots of friends to without having to ask permission. But I am also moving back in with my family, who I adore, and frankly, I couldn't have afforded to live away for even a week longer so it's come at a perfect time.

Today, surrounded by boxes and piles of clothes going to charity shops, ebay and dry cleaners, I have been reflecting about the year at Bag End and all the things that have changed since I first moved in there. The big one is money-I went in with two grand in savings and I've left with £12.50 left at the end of my overdraft. We were paying far too much for Bag End, which was consistently on the brink of collapse, with doors breaking, a latch that kept slipping and locking us out, no insulation and old windows surrounded by rotting wood, but for us it was priceless. Much as I'm going to miss it though, I am very much looking forward to mending my coffers and getting back in my bank manager's good books. I've never been particularly good at not having money, it stresses me out more than most things to be unsure how I'm going to pay bills, and the constant praying I'll have been paid for one of my projects before another bill leaves my account. Which also partially prompted wanting to start as an acting coach, along with my camera based work with the brilliant young people at the Almeida Theatre, which shocked me with how much I enjoyed it. 

When I moved in, I was also a stone lighter than I am now, having lost a bit of weight due to grieving after a big break up. A year of eating more cheese than I ever have in my life has amended that-I am now the fattest I have ever been. But I don't really care-now I'm back home (where cheese is not seen as something to be eaten with every meal like we did in Bag End, and where my healthy parents have a gym in the basement) I know that the weight will fall off me fairly naturally anyway, but more than that, I am far more at peace with myself than I ever was when I moved in. I accept my body for what it is, something that I need to look after, to listen to and to let rest when it needs to. 

Speaking of heart break, I was very muted when I moved in. I cried often, I was terrified of where my life was going (how do you adjust when the future you had mapped out vanishes overnight?) I was single, the thought of dating made me seize up and I was pretty sure I would never fall in love again. Over the year I went on dates, discovered what I did and didn't like, not only in the men I dated, but in myself. I discovered that I was more able to ask people out than I thought, I was even asked out by others a few times. I learnt how to say no, that if you can't talk to someone then there's no point, that I'm not the kind of girl who can do casual. I learnt to love being single again, to love the excitement of a night out, to feel complete by myself. And just as I'd learnt to love spending time by myself, and that I didn't need a romantic partner, I went to an audition and got completely knocked off my feet by someone. So now I'm on a new adventure, being in a new relationship whilst living with my family, with someone who is just as creative, childish and romantic as I am. I am so smitten and excited about our adventures, I feel a bit like a teenager again!

Someone said to me recently that I was more like myself again. But I disagree. What Bag End has taught me is that I didn't need to look back to someone I used to be, I needed to find a new me-someone who took on all the lessons of the past but was able to accept that the future is a changeable form which probably won't ever turn out as you expect it to, but to enjoy all the twists and turns. I have my old sparkle back, yes. But I'm also stronger, more resilient and more willing to try new things.

When I moved into Bag End, Curly One and I toasted each other with tiny bottles of prosecco and talked about the year ahead of us. I said I wanted to do things that scared me, and I'm really proud to say I have. I've started to learn how to drive, I've begun vlogging, I gave up smoking (for the second, and hopefully final time), I've let myself become poor in order to do things important to me (like performing at Edinburgh), I've dated, I've eaten new things (Salmon, beef, dim sum and soft shell crab to name but a few!). Bag End, more than anything, gave me the space to grow. And I was lucky enough to do it with Curly One, who I have laughed with, cried with, danced with, quoted Eddie Izzard with and eaten more cheese with than I have ever consumed in my life. 

So today, while I'm unpacking the rest of my boxes and drinking vast amounts of honey and lemon (I have a rotten cold), I will be thinking fondly of all the brilliant, unexpected and life changing things that happened to me during a year in a cold little hobbit hole in North London. 

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Thoughts thunk whilst packing...

Dear Reader, I am moving. And this means I have spent a LOT of time this week packing up all my belongings and eating bacon with my fingers out of despair. Here are some things that have crossed my fevered mind in this time


  • I could just throw all my stuff away right? I mean, it's just STUFF. I don't need it-I could start a zen new life of not actually owning anything!
  • How many forks do I actually need for the next week?
  • I haven't read this book!
  • I forgot I had this book!
  • Jesus, why do I have THAT book??
  • I have too many books.
  • What the fuck is that?
  • I think I may have packed myself into a corner...
  • But WHY can't I take my bed with me? I love it so!
  • I need a motivational soundtrack
  • Maybe if I just lay down for five minutes...
  • SHIT, have run out of plastic bags to wrap things with!
  • Batman mask-storage or new bedroom? New bedroom. Obviously.
  • I have so many half finished moisturisers
  • Maybe I should combine them into one super moisturiser!
  • No. Now is not the time for inventions. 
  • Oh shit. What clothes do I need...
  • Do I need clothes? Can I not just have a naked week?
  • I feel Vicki may not be too delighted to have a naked housemate, even just for a week.
  • Stay cool De'Ath, stay cool.
  • No but seriously, I'm going to throw away all of this stuff
  • All I will keep is a white kaftan and some sandals, I'll be like a little ginger buddah
  • I need to buy a white kaftan
  • Although it does get a bit cold in the winter, so a jumper too
  • And boots, for when it rains
  • And...oh bugger it, I'll just bring it all 
  • Is that a fake eyelash? 
  • Oh, no wait...just a broken make up brush
  • I have so much hoovering to do
  • I hate hoovering
And then somehow, after a day of packing crates into a van, moving a kingsize mattress on my own and using powertools-I managed to trap my finger in a car door. So I am now cleaning my empty flat with a bruised and bleeding pointer. This is what you call skilfully clumsy.

Well Reader, I'm off to try and rid my flat of the spider squatters who have decided to take over our contact before we've even left!

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Things that go through my head at 3.29am...

Reader, it is 3.29am and I am still awake. There are a number of reasons for this. I had a nap today that ended up being a bit too long, I drank too much diet coke too late, I ate too much cheese and now have heartburn, I'm excited about a script idea I had (and then wrote the full script for) and my brain won't shut up. So here is a list of all the things that have been going through my head tonight as I've lain in bed.

Things thunk.

  • Maaaaan I shouldn't have eaten so much bad stuff today
  • But all that cheese was tasty. And the giant yorkshire pudding filled with yumminess
  • Although lunch alone was more calories than I should have in a day
  • Why am I thinking about calories? I'll just have a green smoothie day tomorrow
  • Maybe it's the green smoothies giving me heartburn
  • Who do I think I'm kidding? It's the cheese. I wish it wasn't. Bloody Boursin. Being all delicious. 
  • I wonder how I'd look blonde?
  • I wonder how I'd look with blue hair?
  • I should get blue hair
  • Although that might slightly change my casting
  • Let's be honest, I'm not badass enough to be a punk girl
  • Quirky yes, punk, not so much
  • Was that a spider?
  • Nope, just a daddy long legs.
  • Shit. That's annoying. STOP BASHING MY COMPUTER SCREEN.
  • Who would I thank if I won a Bafta?
  • Twelve people and counting
  • I wish I could just wake up tomorrow with a driver's license 
  • I've packed five boxes. Why does my room look messier?
  • Why is there a spoon on my floor?
  • Did I put it there for a reason?
  • Is the spoon there to remind me of something? Like a knot in a hankie? 
  • I wonder if anyone apart from Granddad Ian still uses actual hankies...
  • I'm going to learn how to play the ukulele. 
  • Crap, out of water AGAIN
  • Can't get up, too cosy. Besides, hallways are where the shadow monsters live
  • Damn on the other side of London...
  • I really want some Millionaire's cheesecake
  • No. No more dairy. Poor chest.
  • Dairy is why I'm this curvy. I'm certain. My boobs are this big purely because of Wensleydale and Brie. 
  • I need more boxes
  • How the fuck am I going to get my bed out of the flat? I'll have to dismantle it before it goes to its temporary new home
  • I COULD watch some more Dead Like Me on Netflix...Nah, save it for background noise tomorrow
  • Is it autumn yet? 
  • I'm going to miss all my stuff
  • Need to apply for more work
  • If I had more work I could rent the cutest little studio flat...
  • Or a HOUSE if I lived in Yorkshire
  • But then I'd have to live in Yorkshire. I'd miss the city too much.
  • I bet my brother's awake
  • Best not to call him though
  • But I'm SO BORED.
  • Fuck. Nearly 4am.
  • Maybe I should try and sleep again.
  • I could sleep in a hammock right now
  • Mmmm....hammock....
And with THAT Reader, I feel able to try a doze....Goodnight! (or rather, good morning!)

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Why do weddings make us cry?

So, as you guys know, The Bride recently did something rather incredible-she got hitched! And it was the wedding of a lifetime! A gorgeous manor that looked like something straight out of a period drama, so much good food that I felt like I'd eaten more than I'd had in weeks, she looked like a princess, he glowed with pride when he caught her eye, we all danced to a live band and I taught a bunch of people to headbang. It was lovely. And there were lots and lots of tears.

I cried watching her get into her dress, I cried when she couldn't help but kiss her soon-to-be husband as soon as she got down the aisle, I cried as they exchanged their vows and I cried during the speeches. I welled up giving her the book me and her other oldest friend had compiled for her, I shed a tear when we chased her bridal car down the road. Everyone cried at the groom's speech, and then again when we did the bridesmaids' speech. I couldn't express how happy I was without welling up.

So what is it about weddings that make us get misty eyed?

Well I've noticed the crying thing has only come about as I've got old enough for my friends to start getting married off. Now don't get me wrong, these aren't sad tears-nope, anything but! They're happy tears, proud tears, overwhelmed tears. They're tears which are hopeful for the couple but also hopeful for yourself.

The thing is, unless you're not a believer in marriage, the wedding day is like this really awesome chance to celebrate love. And what's so bad about that? You get to shout from the rooftops how important that person is to you. It's like saying to that person-'You are it. You're my best friend, my family and the person I want to share my bed with forever and a day.' And that's a huge deal. Marriage isn't something to be entered into lightly, you do it because you know that the person you're meeting at the end of the aisle is someone you don't only want in your life forever, but that you need. Which is why divorce is such a terribly sad thing.

Watching friends you've watched grow up get married is incredible. You see it all in your head-what they looked like when you were kids, arguing about who would get your period first, that time you designed your dream dresses (and laughing to yourself as you compare her incredibly stylish and elegant ivory gown with her old vision of a turquoise monstrosity with sequins and puffy sleeves, topped with a tiara...eight year old's visions of wedding dresses are fairly Big Fat Gypsy Wedding-esque), confiding in each other about your first kisses and talking about what you wanted to be when you grew up. You remember teenage angst, and worries over spots, greasy hair and the boys that didn't like you back, and you then you watch as it all melts away and your friend, that same one who used to wear owl-like glasses and play with furbies, turn into royalty. And it's not the dress that does it, it's not the big venue, the presents or throwing the bouquet. It's love. I've never seen The Bride look so beautiful as she did when she looked at her new husband, or glow quite so much as she did with pride when he gave his speech.

My tears were out of pure happiness-because the little girl I played Tomb Raider and hopscotch with was a woman. And that day, I saw her whole future in front of her-the ups, the downs, the laughter, the tears, the late nights and the early mornings. And I knew all of it would be ok, because she'd be doing it all with a partner in crime who knew her better than anyone, loved her more than anyone and wanted her happiness more than anyone. It's a weird sensation when you realise that you're not your oldest friend's port of call any more, but when you're handing over to someone who loves them that much, it's also one of the best feelings in the world.

So, to The Bride and her lovely new husband- with all my heart I wish you that long, wonderful future.(I promise next time I see you both I won't cry. Well, probably.)

Monday, 11 August 2014

The lost romance of coaching...

Reader, I am back from 11 days performing at the Edinburgh Festival. What an experience! Getting in before 2am of a night was impressively puritanical, finding food that wasn’t beige and deep fried became a fun new game, as did booking shows that started ten minutes after another ended, but that were 20 minutes away. I slept on a mattress topper in a room with 3 other girls, and felt lucky that I had so much space to stretch out. I saw shows that made me laugh, shows that made me cry and shows that made me question if maybe the creator’s parents hadn’t been a bit too kind about their efforts. I used Skype for the first time and sent postcards to someone important who was still in London, when my parents visited I begged them to take me somewhere, anywhere where I could even look at a bit of lettuce. I drank shots from test tubes, did Jagerbombs, had a cocktail so strong my eyes hurt and a hangover so awful that we introduced a new method of flyering that involved laying on the floor. We almost sold out and then had a two person audience (who were bloody brilliant and apparently thought our show was the best thing they’d seen). My shoes fell apart in the rain, my clothes went through a wash yet somehow are STILL all stinky and have bits of booze and toothpaste on them and I overheard someone utter the eternally brilliant phrase ‘that man was just too Scottish’. Edinburgh, I shall miss you. On top of all of this was the beauty of the city, the meadows (which I fell in love with walking through alone with music playing in my ears first thing in the morning (by which I mean 11am) and last thing at night (4am), the laughter, the music, the magic.

And then. Then, dear, beloved reader, came the eight and a half coach journey home. Which I am still on as I write this. I am two and a half hours into it in fact. The heating by my feet is making my ankles sweat, the un-turn-off-able air condition above my head is giving me brain freeze and somehow, the whole bus already smells a bit of wee. Thankfully no one on here is drunk, and the inevitable two year old (who brings a two year old on a coach? Seriously?!) has yet to make a peep. However it is past midnight, and having already slept for an hour of the journey, my neck is in pain and my lower back is so squished I’m sure I’m going to be walking like Smeegol when I get off the damn thing. The reading light doesn’t work and really, shouldn’t all overnight coaches have plugs and beds by now? I thought it would be a little like the Knight Bus in Harry Potter but it’s actually just like a normal coach only full of hungover festival goers and with less lighting. I need to learn how to drive.

On this particular coach, we have the enormous family of 6 (with toddler) who don’t seem to understand where they’re going or what a coach is, a group of Chinese students who instantly annoyed the British contingent by not understanding queueing (cue instant tutting), some French performers who have already had a passionate row and complained to the driver, a large woman who won’t stop eating, a small man who keeps rushing to the loo (I don’t want to know), some really grumpy stand ups and a girl who has been quietly but audibly crying since we left the bus station. Or laughing very oddly. It’s sort of hard to tell.

Everyone else on the coach appears to be asleep or meditating in the dark, but after two weeks of only sleeping at 3am at the very earliest, I want to read my book or have a conversation. If I was still in Edinburgh I would probably be at a show right now. Or a bar. Or at the flat having a Skype date. But instead I am writing this blog entry. Which won’t go up till tomorrow, when I am face down in my bed. I cannot wait to be face down in my bed. I actually changed the sheets before I came out to Scotland in preparation.

Anyway, my laptop is running out of power and I reckon I might give sleeping another go-although being the only one on the coach awake makes me feel pleasingly like the badass kid in Battle Royale.

Have a fabulous day not on a coach Reader!


Sunday, 3 August 2014

Hoots mon! (etc. etc....)

Well Reader, it is 8am on my third day at The Edinburgh Fringe and the sun is shining! Which is very exciting, because yesterday I was flyering in the rain all day and ended up having to buy an incredibly attractive mould coloured cagoule and some sensible shoes. And you know how I feel about sensible shoes.

So far I've been trying not to go too crazy at the fringe because a) I'm skint and b) I really don't want to make myself ill. Saying that, the first night here I stayed up till 4am drinking and reminicing with long-lost university friends after their show (The Noise Next Door at The Pleasance Venue 2, doing their Comedy Lock In-go see it, bloody fantastic), which was awesome but made yesterday's flyering doubly hard. Today I have had a full eight and a half hours sleep so am feeling more ready to face the day with a smile on my face and a skip in my step.

Audience feedback has started coming in about the show and so far it's been amazing-one person described it as 'the best thing I've seen. Wept like a baby' and we've had loads more like that. We overheard an audience say, as they left the space yesterday 'That was so fucking good!' which made all of our days. Long may it continue!

I haven't seen many shows so far, but today I'm going to change that with one this morning and another after a launch party I'm going to. Then I'm rather intending to go drink cocktails and sing karaoke if I'm entirely honest...

So far I have discovered the following about the fringe

  • You will probably find it hard to eat healthily-everything is deep fried and DELICIOUS. My favourite thing so far has been a crepe with cheese and peperoni...mmmm...
  • The Mile is intense. Think hundreds of drama students with hangovers. Some really cynical comedians who won't do flyer swaps, a dotting of incredibly young students who can't quite believe they're there, a terrifying duo in white clown make up and inevitably someone pretending to be crazy dressed in period clothes.
  • There are NO POST BOXES. It took me an hour and a half to find one yesterday! 
  • The free fringe has some blooming brilliant stuff on it. Today I'm going to see a comedian who (like us) is supporting Death on The Fringe who we saw an excerpt of on my first day. She talks about the love of her life dying and her coping with it (she's only 33) and it is the most hilarious, tragic, bittersweet stuff I've ever seen. Will be bringing tissues and fresh make up.
  • I am very good at flyering. I am quite smug about this. Scratch that. I am HUGELY smug about this.
  •  I am already a little bit homesick for my local giant 24 hour Asda-Tesco express doesn't really cut it
  • I should not hug friends just before they go on stage, because I will inevitably spill my drink on them (sorry Tom Livingstone!) making me look drunk even when sober. Scotland has done nothing for my hand-eye coordination it seems.
  • I get lost very easily. Yesterday, not only did it take me almost 2 hours to get home (usually a 30 min trip), I also go disorientated on The Mile and forgot which end my theatre was at...
  • Drinks are brilliantly cheap. Dangerously cheap.
  • Sleeping on a mattress topper on the floor actually isn't too uncomfortable
  • Sometimes you'll be half an hour into conversation with an eccentric when suddenly you realise that they're in character.
  • Lots of tourists come to Edinburgh during the Fringe to NOT watch theatre or comedy. They are clearly eegits. 
  • There is a ghost bus here. I want to go on it SO MUCH.
More updates to come (unless my liver implodes and I get scurvy or trench foot)

Wednesday, 30 July 2014


Well Reader, here we are. In a couple of hours I'm getting picked up by the other bridesmaid and we're off to the wedding site, tomorrow I'm bridesmaiding all day and friday I fly to Scotland for my first night performing on The Fringe (sans Tech run, which is happening as I'll be giving a speech for my oldest friend over the wedding breakfast). I have so much to do that my brain has shut down-packing has turned into 'just shove some stuff in a bag and hope for the best', I have to do washing up, drying up, fridge emptying, emptying all the bins and change my sheets so when I arrive home at 7am after an all night coach I can just faceplant into bed. Oh, and I'm in the midst of trying to get in touch with our letting agent to prep for the big move back home. Which is proving bloody impossible.

So what am I doing? Blogging. Of course! I've also spent a large chunk of this morning sorting out my YouTube accounts-essentially I'm setting up a new one for just my acting stuff and auditions which you can see here  to compliment my usual vlogging channel. I've also been dealing with some less nice stuff. I filmed a vlog about feminism the other day, which has got a mostly lovely response. In it I talk about some of the reasons why I think we still need feminism and some of my not-very-nice experiences being a woman. And how most feminists love men too-we just want to be equal to them in the eyes of the world and be treated fairly. Which isn't a very drastic thing to say, but I've spent a while deleting comments and banning people from my channel for sending me and my viewers rape threats, calling me an 'ugly bitch' for having a perspective and calling my lovely regulars (not all of whom agree with me, but who all share their views in a reasoned, respectful and intelligent way) derogatory names. Why do we need feminism? Because a girl can't share her views without people telling her they'll share her home address with convicts and rapists apparently.

Don't worry though, I'm not letting that get me down. Because trolls aren't worth my time. Tomorrow I get to see my oldest friend get married to the love of her life, a man who looks at her like she's rare and wonderful (which, of course, she is), I'm off to Edinburgh with a cast of people I love spending time and acting with, and I spent yesterday kissing someone incredible as the sun set across The Thames. Beats some nasty little boil sitting squawking abuse at their computer, doesn't it?

Life is actually rather beautiful at the moment. And I feel really lucky to be living it. (Even if I STILL haven't finished packing...oh bollocks...)
See you in Scotland Reader!

Friday, 25 July 2014

The perils of being part sloth...

Reader, were you to meet me in real life, you might be fooled into thinking that I am an energetic lass with buckets of get up and go. You would be wrong. I am incredibly busy, yes, and constantly doing stuff, but buried deep beneath all the meetings and auditions and international jobs and projects is a sloth whinging that 'I JUST WANT TO STAY IN BED AND BE FED PIZZA AND HAVE SOMEONE SCRATCH MY BACK'. For, dear Reader, I am a secret lazy bint.

If given the choice, I would always choose to stay in my cosy flat with a delicious meal and a pile of books bigger than my head over going out to a cooler than cool event where I have to schmooze. Don't get me wrong, I love a bit of a schmooze too, but I am so rarely in my home, that the chance to be in front of my telly in my pants with my home made aubergine bake in front of me and an episode of Friends on the telly is just a dream come true.

So this evening, the first evening in a kazillion years when I've actually been in and able to cook a beautiful meal (pasta made out of courgettes in garlic and basil, chicken stuffed with mozzarella and sun dried tomatoes and drizzled with pesto in case you were wondering...) and 3 episodes of Friends later, I am feeling a little guilty about not having done any work or any tidying (I've been out so often of late my room is a rubbish dump with a small space for me to sleep in), I thought I'd share with you some of the struggles of being half sloth and a quarter mattress (on top of my quarter human obviously).


  1. Mornings

Oh mornings. These days I set three alarms because my bed is SO COMFY, leaving it makes me die a little inside. It's summer at the moment and when I see sun shining in in the morning my first thought is 'Oh, what a beautiful day!' and my second is 'I have NO EXCUSE to stay in bed. Arses.' My favourite kind of day is a day where I have nothing to do and it's pouring down with rain. This hasn't happened for about a year, but even so. 

2. Eating healthily

So, as you might have remembered from previous posts, I am a rather fantastic cook. I can whip up traditional and innovative recipes that will make your head spin so fast you'll get whiplash. But because I'm really really lazy, my current favourite dinner is a cheese string and a bowl of ice cream. Thank god for green smoothies, I'd definitely get scurvy otherwise...

3. When people tell you they're in the area and are going to drop in


One big issue I have with being a sloth girl is that my bed very quickly becomes the epicentre of everything. It is my desk, my dressing table and my library. And because, at the moment I am so horrendously (but in the nicest way possible) busy, I have no time to clear it all up. Nor do I have time to tidy the kitchen. Or put on a clothes wash. So when people 'just drop in' it's like panic code red and all of a sudden some very creative 'mess hiding' comes into play

4. People thinking I'm super feminine when I'm actually not

You know why I wear dresses? Because it's only one piece of clothing. Less to wash, less to coordinate and people think I'm FANCY. Know why I have long hair? Because I'm a lazy fucker and cutting and stying takes forever. Also partly because I can whip it back and forth. (Just whip it)

5. Stairs

Much like a sloth, I am lazy, clumsy and do not have lots of control of my limbs. Stairs are not my friends.

6. Exercise

When I do exercise, I am genuinely exasperated that I am not instantly a toned size 8. If I do exercise once a week, I'm so smug that I have issues containing it. A friend of mine who has my ideal figure told me she worked out four times a week for an hour each time. WHO HAS TIME FOR THAT? I'll stick with being a bit lumpy thanks...

7. Thinking one of my arms is a branch, reaching for it then falling to my death

Oh no....wait, that's real sloths...

I bloody love sloths.

Anyway, hope you're well Reader! I'm in bed. Predictably.
p.s don't forget to check out my vlogs! 

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Not every first kiss is a First Kiss...

So Reader, I was recently told that my high expectations for a first kiss were pretty terrifying. This is fair. I expect great things from a first kiss, and if they're not great, I tend to lose interest fast. But it was while mulling this over that I realised something-not every kiss is a First Kiss.

Ok, so hear me out. When you kiss someone for the first time, sometimes it's one of those kisses that just doesn't make something click inside you. And you realise that you probably won't be kissing them again after today. Those kisses cannot be classed as First Kisses, since they are also (at least in part) last kisses. They don't mark the start of something that might carry over into another day, week, month or year. It's not a kiss that you'll remember 10 years down the line, when you're kissing them on your way to work or when they bring you a cup of tea done just right. It's a first kiss. Not a First Kiss.

So what constitutes a First Kiss? Because a first kiss lowercase is not the same as a First Kiss uppercase.

A First Kiss is the beginning of something new. It's that moment where you are stepping off a cliff because you're 65% sure there's a bouncy castle at the bottom of the fall. It can only really be judged in hindsight-if you can't remember your First Kiss then why did you have a second? A First Kiss does not have to be perfect (contrary to my high expectations), it just has to make you want to kiss the person again and again. A First Kiss shouldn't be really tricky, it should be something that you want to tell passers by about 'Oh, excuse me-I just had this INCREDIBLE kiss' and then they should applaud. That should be a thing. When I am Emperor of the Universe I shall make it so.

A First Kiss doesn't have to be the beginning of a long term relationship-but it can be the start of something else, the First Kiss of an adventure abroad, or of a fling you'll remember for the rest of your life.

Your First Kiss should be on the DVD constantly playing in your brain of your top ten relationship best bits. Maybe your top 20 if you've had a particularly interesting life. Because some kisses are meant to be held on to and replayed over and over.

A First Kiss should be so good that a brilliant song plays in your head

although possibly not THIS song

But more importantly, a First Kiss should be perfect even if it's not. Because it's with the right person, who enjoyed it just as much (and hopefully also wants to kiss you lots more).

I hope you have some truly brilliant First Kisses Reader!
p.s. Don't forget to check out my vlogs! I release a new one every Tuesday and Friday!

Monday, 7 July 2014

The Richard Curtis Effect...

Reader, living in London is a pretty wonderful thing sometimes. But it sometimes has a rather odd effect on me. I'll be walking across London Bridge with a friend, and suddenly it's as if we've entered a strange dimension, where we're endearingly bumbling English folk. Suddenly we start making grand statements and doing really wanky things, like holding hands and running across in the rain hollering and whooping, or yelling across the Thames. What a bunch of knobatrons.

I call this The Richard Curtis Effect. It's when the feeling of being in London overwhelms you to the point where it feels like your life has become a scene in Bridget Jones or Four Weddings and A Funeral and you start imagining that everyone pauses for comedic effects and certain moments go by in slow motion.

Now, obviously, this has its good points-somehow, cringey moments are less awful when you're imagining what Hugh Grant or Domnhall Gleeson would do during them (and as someone who has truly embarrassing moments day to day, this is cheering). I have learnt to laugh at myself when I do something ridiculous, and just think of it as a story to tell my friends when they need a giggle. Also, how cross can you get with yourself when you think that Richard Curtis is directing your story and thus this is all just a prelude to you being about to fall in love with the guy who reached for that book at the same time as you in the tiny second hand shop?

Because that's the thing about The Richard Curtis Effect-you think that there's always going to be a happy ending, no matter how dire things get. Incarcerated for a drugs offence you didn't commit? The dishy lawyer you're in love with is about to break you out and start your career as an internationally acclaimed journo. Wife dead, leaving you with tiny, angry blond stepson? You're going to get off with Claudia Schiffer and form a bond deeper than most biological father/sons with the sprog. Born ginger? You get to TIME TRAVEL and spend your life with the woman of your dreams. Always late for weddings and leaving a trail of mental ex girlfriends behind you?...Oh...ok, this one is a bit awkward, you're in love with this total dickhead American lady who can't tell when it's raining. (I like to imagine when Four Weddings ends, Hugh sorts his shit out and gets with his fantastically sarcastic best friend who has forever loved him from afar). Your career always goes stellar, your house is always either a cosy one bed above the globe with french windows, a rambling country estate or a snug little cottage covered in roses. You may have some heartbreak, but that makes the story SO much better. As does the fact that you're a little bit fat and you sometimes wear some really, really dire outfits.

When I walk around Southbank, you know what I hear? Well, it depends on my mood actually. If I'm happy, it's 'AIN'T NO MOUNTAIN HIGH ENOUGH etc etc', if I'm sad it's always 'Sorry seems to be the hardest word' and there is inevitably a lot of standing looking across the water, clutching a coat to myself. I know. I am RIDICULOUS. I am not Bridget Jones by any stretch of the imagination (apart from the clumsy side, the love of all cheese, the lack of a tidy bedroom...erm....shut up) but when The Richard Curtis Effect looms, I just go with it, and so does my internal soundtrack.

This has also affected my taste in men. You know who I get crushes on? Boys with posh voices. Floppy hair also leaves me wooed. Men who are polite and gentlemanly, but then also hysterically funny and you could imagine them doing really mad but sweet things for someone they liked (Domnhall travelled through time guys. I'm just saying). I am a SUCKER for romance. I try to deny it, but I am. It's atrocious. I blame things like Love, Actually and Four Weddings ENTIRELY. I fear that without their influence, I would be a far more cynical, realistic woman.

Saying that though-who wants to be cynical? I am a massive optimist, and if that means seeing through the rose tinted glasses of British rom-coms with people with large teeth and larger hats, so be it! I may say things that come out ridiculously wanky sometimes, but I always say them with genuine feeling, I know you can use prescription goggles instead of glasses whilst at the cinema if you lose your specs and I know to never, ever, EVER go back to a man who cheats on you with a lithe American model. Life lessons people.

So go out in London today Reader (if you in fact live there-if you don't...erm...I don't Four Weddings or something) and enjoy looking through the rom-com goggles!
P.s. Richard Curtis is also responsible for the Mr.Bean movie. Yeah.

Saturday, 28 June 2014

It's actually pretty easy being green...

Ok Reader, I'm about to do something I never do. You've heard me wax lyrical about cakes of all shapes and size, I've shared my indulgent recipe for three cheese and caramelised onion tarts, I've even talked about the joy of comfort food. But today (on my 200th post no less!) I am going to wax lyrical about something I never thought I'd be praising.

A healthy food choice.

Not just a healthy food choice Reader-green smoothies.

I know! Vegetables, as a drink! Not even a juice, a chunky, takes forever to drink, liquid MEAL in fact! How could I possibly, as a foodie, be praising something so gym-bunny dull?

Well here's the thing Reader.

I love food. Scratch that. I am obsessed by food. I am a brilliant cook (I know that sounds up myself, but I really am, it look lots of hard work and messing up and making rubbish food, but years of having to cook for veggies, wheat intolerances, vegans and people on diets plus your usual picky folk, means that I now know how to make most things taste awesome). I spend my days dreaming of stodgy roast dinners, fabulous Moroccan feasts, smoky American BBQ'd meat and diner food, piles of ice cream and almost any kind of Asian food you could mention. I'm also a complete snackaholic. Generally, I need a few snacks in the day, else I get a bit dizzy and grumpy.

All of this is fine, but it means that my weight is a constant struggle, because I have one internal voice that is going 'EAT ALL THE FOOD' and another reminding me that I have to fit into a bridesmaid dress, or various costumes, or play a role where being a UK size 10 is mentioned in the script. Inevitably, I therefore find myself a constant victim of Feast or Famine. I will eat everything that takes my fancy for months, put on lots of weight, briefly enjoy having a bottom that bounces, then remember that I need to be a size smaller to fit into my clothes comfortably. So then I undertake a diet. I've tried them all, Slimfast (chemical awfulness but quite handy when your lifestyle is as crazy as mine), High Protien, no carb (I gained weight-I ate a LOT of cream and cheese on that diet), Weight Watchers (lost weight but put it all back on and then got obsessive about calories), Rosemary Connelly (probably the best of the bunch as their ethos seems to be 'cut out the processed shit, eat less, do a zumba class once a week'.) Inevitably I lose the weight (or sometimes don't lose it, annoyingly) feel ill and deprived whilst doing so and crave every other kind of food whilst doing so.

Reader, last week I was in Tuscany. The week prior to that, I'd been doing slimfast, so I'd feel less guilty about eating everything in sight in Italy. I'd spent the week with an awful metallic taste in my mouth, a weird tired feeling and a breakout of spots. I hated it, because it's such a terrible, chemical, processed way to eat and as a foodie, goes against all my instincts, but I'm so busy at the moment, I don't have time to count calories or do food maps or even fill in a food diary. While I was away, I was reading Good Housekeeping (I only ever read that, Woman and Home or Red-they're targeted at older women and are far more interesting than the awful, sadistic magazines targeted at 20-somethings in my experience) and came across an article about a young woman who had completely changed the way she ate, and, as a side effect, her life.

Now, this young lady also has a really brilliant website, which you can read here . Essentially, after months of feeling tired, fat, bloated, dizzy, crampy and nauseous, she decided to stop eating processed food, wheat, dairy and refined sugar. I read the article and enjoyed it, but then couldn't stop thinking about it. Now, there is no way I could be vegan 100% of the time. I've tried that, but the thought of never having cheese again Nor could I be wheat free the entire time. But maybe if I developed an 80/20 method, I might find it easier. That way, I could save eating wheat etc for holidays to Italy where I couldn't resist the home made pasta and pizza, really incredible meals in London and dinner parties.

Even so, I didn't really think that it would work out for me. When I arrived home (feeling sluggish and knackered) I had a night in with my girlfriends and sat about eating every kind of cheese you could possibly imagine, bread, crisps, ice cream and by the next morning, I felt dreadful. Bloated, tired, wrung out. So I got up and went to Asda and got some basic ingredients I'd seen on a green juice and smoothie website. I picked up avacados and celery thinking 'Really?' I nearly gave up when it told me to buy kale and spinach. 'For DRINKING?!' I though, aghast. But I decided to give it a go anyway and if it was dreadful, just chalk it up to experience.

The first smoothie was made. It was a dreadful, murky brownish green and I was convinced it was going to be horrific. But actually, due to the fruit, you couldn't taste the veggies. And I was so full after, I couldn't have dinner. So now I've been making vegetable smoothies for a week. I have them instead of two meals a day, and have now perfected the balance so they're a bright, vibrant green rather than that weird murky colour. I feel amazing, I've never been fuller, I'm not snacking much at all and when I am it's a handful of nuts or a spoon of almond butter. My skin is clear, my eyes are bright and I'm feeling slimmer already. I've been so full of energy that I've been waking up at 7.30am each day naturally and at night can't sleep till the wee hours. I'm even finding that I'm drinking more water and less diet coke because the smoothies taste sweet enough to me that I don't need the artificial sweetners as much.

It's weird because normally by now I'd be passing restaurants and lingering over their menus, or trying to justify to myself why it's totally ok to have a bag of chips, but actually, I just don't want them at the moment. My current diet is so natural and clean that it seems wrong to have things that aren't, and I can feel the difference in myself. Last night I had a peanut butter cookie my housemate made. It was delicious, but within an hour, my stomach was hurting and I felt a bit gross from all the sugar. Normally I'd be the one in the corner eating a whole plate of the things, so this felt pretty odd!

I'm not preaching Reader, just giving you my experience. You never know, by next week I might be sick of them (I somehow doubt it though, each one tastes so different, I'm not sure you could get bored!)

Look at the bottom of this page for my recipe for my favourite energy burst smoothie!


Energy Burst veggie smoothie

(makes 4 servings)

Two handfuls spinach
Three handfuls kale
Small handful frozen raspberries
Half an avacado
One Banana
Two stalks celery
One apple
Juice of one lime and one orange
Enough coconut water to fill the blender up by a quarter
One Tbs Almond Butter (get the natural, no added anything one)
A Third of a Pineapple

Whiz up in a blender and enjoy!

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

It's just (just) a little crush (crush)...

Hey Reader! How are you today? Gosh, isn't that a smart outfit you have on?

Reader, I'm in a good mood at the moment. Why's that? Well, I have the beginnings of a bit of a crush, and whether it comes to anything or not, crushes are lovely things to have.

'But Ash!' (I hear you collectively cry) 'Crushes are terrible things! They could mean unrequited love! Pain! Anxiety! Stress-sweating!'

Calm yourself Reader. Deep breaths. Chill the fuck out.

If you let yourself get hopelessly lost in the crush, well, yes. There is the chance of all of the above happening. Or the crush might be mutual and you might end up getting to have kisses under the moon and stars (see previous blog entry for my aforementioned romance-addiction). Or the crush might just fade when you find out the person picks their nose, or snorts, or votes BNP *shudder*.

The joy of a crush is that you don't know which of the above is going to happen. You get excited when they contact you (particularly if you haven't instigated the contact), you find yourself wearing the good knickers (just in case you get run over by a bus in their company, obviously. n.b. why is this a thing? My gran always told me to wear good undies in case I got hit by a bus, but I feel like if I was hit by a bus a) my clothes probably wouldn't fly off my body and into a neat pile by the side of the road and b) I'd probably have slightly bigger worries), you have dreams where they make a move on you (which, at least in my case, are always vaguely like an episode of Friends. Or Buffy. Or Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog-Neil Patrick Harris, I will wait for you till you're reincarnated into a body that likes lady bits. Promise), you blush when they're mentioned as if people magically can see into your brain and watch said dreams, you find random, insignificant things that you have in common ('LOOK! I FROWN WHEN I READ TOO!') and lots of other brilliant but odd stuff. And crushes have enormous health benefits!

1) I've just seen a face...

When you have a crush, you don't release as much cortisol, so your skin is clearer! How fabulous is that?!

2) Unbreak my heart

Having romantic feelings toward someone decreases your blood pressure and heart rate! (even though it can sometimes feel like it's going to burst out of your chest...Particularly whilst playing footsie or when you're THAT CLOSE to kissing)

3) Everybody hurts

Crushes release similar drugs to pain meds, so aches and scrapes hurt less! Don't believe me? Check this report on the very subject!

4) Sweet like chocolate boy

When you're lusting after someone and you have a suspicion they feel the same way, everything tastes sweeter-which is partly why people tend to gain a little weight in happy relationships. It's all good though, it's happy chub! And it makes food taste gooood. (even the veggie smoothies that I'm currently making myself)

5) Then I got high, then I got high, then I got high

A crush can make you have a reaction similar to getting high-it releases large levels of dopamine into your brain, which make you feel all good. It's a pretty addictive feeling! (And may explain why I'm so dopey around people I fancy)

6) I see the want to in your eyes

Last but not least, when you're around someone you LIKE like, your eyes get all huge and sparkly. Your pupils dilate, giving you the sort of eyes craved by most anime-enthusiasts!

The thing about crushes, Reader, is that we don't enjoy them enough whilst we have them. And then we spend the rest of the time complaining that our love lives are dull. So go! Enjoy your crushes! Just remember that they're not the be all and end all-that title belongs to Asian food, Netflix and how many colours you've painted your nails today.

Cheerio Reader!

Monday, 23 June 2014

Why I deleted Tinder...

Reader, I have a difficult relationship with online dating.
Here’s the thing. I am a true, die hard, hate to admit it, wants to be kissed in the rain whilst being told that ‘IT’S ALWAYS BEEN YOU’ romantic. The secret is out. Now, there are a number of issues with this. I set my friends up (a lot) because I want everyone to have a happy ending. When I go on dates, if that sparkle isn’t there, I just lose interest almost straight away (and those rare occasions where I have fought through and carried on dating regardless have never ended well). My underwear drawer looks like what the Brothers Grimm would have had in mind for their heroines (mixed with a little Dita Von Teese of course). I own just-in-case ball gowns. I play the ‘true love game’ on tube escalators (pretend you’re in your own rom com, and someone on the escalator going in the opposite direction is THE ONE. Pick anyone, then use your mental powers to make them look at you and ‘have a moment’. (Note; this can go horribly wrong if a) there is no one there you fancy-as you HAVE to choose someone, you might end up with someone dreadful b) you look a bit mad, as you try and make lightning come out of your eyes like Matilda c) They might get the wrong idea and think you’re angling for a shag or something) I also don’t fall in love particularly often. Actually, I don’t even fancy people particularly often. And my ‘type’ isn’t a physical type, it’s a completely personality based one-I like charming, funny men with a geeky streak (who are usually also creatively talented).

Now, part of me being a die-hard-romantic means that I’m not someone who can do casual dating very well. I don’t really LIKE dating (it always makes me feel like a kid pretending to be a grown up), and I find the concept of dating someone I barely know completely bizzare. The last guy I dated I’d worked with and then chatted to on social media for a month or so before I asked out (I KNOW! How bloody brave am I?!) and before that, my ex was someone who had been mentioned in conversations by a mutual friend for TWO YEARS before we dated (and there was a two week period where he showed up at all my auditions and socials, so we hung out a lot before anything actually happened).
So, last year, a dear friend of mine introduced me to Tinder. I had it on for three days, then turned it off, for a number of reasons. 1) I didn’t feel ready to date again after my relationship broke up 2) I kept seeing guys I knew on there 3) All of the men seemed to be really entitled. As in ‘YOU HAVEN’T MESSAGED ME IN A DAY YOU BITCH’ when I’d added them two days before. I messaged back saying, ‘I don’t know you, I don’t owe you anything. Have a nice day.’ Then logged off and deleted the app.
Roll on 10 months and I’d been in the dating pool for a while. My fantastic friend insisted on me downloading the app again so we could play it side by side in SoHo-him doing the ‘men looking for men’ version and me doing ‘men looking for women’. Reader, I won’t tell a lie-at first it was a confidence boost-I had an 100% success rate, with every guy I swiped right on having already said yes to my profile (not that I swiped right on many-when your type is based on personality quirks, Tinder can be tricky). But yesterday, at the airport, I deleted it again. Once more, without having been on a single date.
Why’s that? Well the problem with Tinder is that it makes you lose faith in romance. Can you imagine telling your kids ‘Well dear, daddy was posing topless with a doped tiger in his pic and I just thought-I know nothing about this man, but he’s the one!’ It’s all based on looks, which means it takes a while for you to work out how much of a twat someone is, plus, every time you get talking to someone, they turn out to be AWFUL.  Here are three of the worst I encountered:

    1)      The guy who looked really sweet, slightly geeky (yay!) tall and cute. Until I looked at his ‘about me’ line. ‘If you want to be dominated, you’ve found the right man. I know my way around a rope and will treat you mean’. Erm. No thank you. 
    2)      The guy who was gorgeous in a down-to-earth sort of way, sounded completely normal when we chatted, and then referred to black people by the n-word. OFF YOU FUCK.
    3)      Perhaps the strangest-a lovely property developer. A little older, wiser (one would hope), environmentally aware, dreamed of setting up home in Asia. Talked a little about how our families both came from Ireland, and we both went to schools in a similar area. Asked me if I’d like to go for a drink with him (very politely) and I said yes, but that I was busy for a week or so. Didn’t hear from him for a couple of days, till yesterday-when he sent me a photo of him in his pants. Completely unexplained. In the mid-afternoon. Nearly choked on my sandwich.

App deleted post haste.

I just don’t think it’s for me Reader. I am so confused by the whole thing-but then what was I thinking would happen when I went on a dating app based on what people look like? 

An issue I seem to have in the big wide dating world is that I look one way and am actually a bit different. I have big boobs and a wear big heels and flirt like billy-oh and sometimes wear highly glittery eyeshadow. But I am also a huge geek, secretly shy, prefer being barefoot to wearing any kind of shoes at all, am clumsy as anything, can't go out without two books in my bag, spend too much time baking and kind of want to be Batman when I grow up. Men meet me and think I'm one thing, then get to know me and get confused. So in hindsight, trying to meet someone where they judge you on appearance just would never work for me. 

So I'm going to take a risk Reader. I'm going to just hope I end up with someone the usual way. Well...not usual, I'm an actress, writer, vlogger and baker. I'm probably never going to be entirely conventional. And if that means not being on Tinder, I am fairly ok with that.

Have a lovely day Reader, and remember to check out my vlogs, new ones out every Tuesday and Friday!

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Hanging out with Parents...

Reader, I have never been a particularly trendy human being. I have an hourglass figure which mean most fashionable clothes look positively ghastly (in other news, how brilliant is THAT phrase?!) on me, I don't like the taste of beer and I was only 'in the know' about music for about 5 minutes when I was 17. Most awkwardly of all, I actually get on with my parents. I even like spending time of them. Reader, I enjoy introducing them to my friends. I know, cast me out, send me to the uncool corner with the granny pants and B*witched.

But it's true! I tried to do a bit of Kevin-The-Teenager style whinging when I was 15 but to be honest it was usually followed by us all slumping down to watch Sex and The City together and throwing bits of dinner at each other. We regularly go out for dinner together and have a brilliant time laughing till we cry. We're about to go on holiday together to Italy. I was actually delighted when a photoshoot got cancelled this morning because it meant I could go for coffee with my mum. Me and my dad went and had a lovely picnic and open air theatre evening last week.

When my younger friends talk about how they don't get on with their parents, I often sagely say how time makes you realise how precious they are, but in all honestly, my parents have always also been two of my closest friends.

Ok, so maybe it's because they're a bit younger than most parents I know-or at least look younger. They used to be punks (which all my mates thought to be the coolest thing ever), my dad has tattoos and when I got various parts of my body pierced or tattooed, they'd be the first to want to see and be impressed by them. When I smoked my first spliff aged 18 I phoned them up and my Dad wound me up on purpose because he thought it was funny (I didn't actually do many drugs after that even though they were readily available-my parents had told me young about what you experience when you take them, so there was no mystery or thrill. I am still somewhat bored by drug culture). My mum has better knowledge of music than me (she regularly rolls her eyes in the car when I don't recognise the latest Rhianna or Katy Perry song) and my Dad has been clubbing more times than me this year.

Now, don't get me wrong, my parents have never spoiled me (which, in my opinion is one of the reasons we get on so well). They didn't see the point in kids having designer labels (now I'm an adult, neither do I) and my school bags were normally the free laptop bags dad would get from work events with a housing association name printed across the side. We always ate what they ate (which resulted in some strange food quirks-from a young age I was obsessed with olives and pistachio nuts and my brother was a red meat addict at age 4) with no room for compromise and they were strict about homework. Junk food was only allowed on special occasions and I didn't have my first Burger King till age 8. Rudeness was not tolerated, and we were taught from a young age to care about social injustice (which led to both my younger brother and I occasionally putting ourselves in the way of danger to protect others). When I wanted a pet, they made me do an in depth project on the species that involved phoning up local vets, RSPCA shelters and going to the library for weeks on end before they would consider it.

One of the most fantastic things my parents did was take me and my younger sibling travelling. Between the two of us, we've been to some incredible places, had some truly bizarre experiences and tried some seriously dodgy meals, and I think it's been an amazing learning experience. I spent most of from when I was 3-4 sleeping in caravans, on floor-beds in Asia and on planes, trains and buses (which now means that I fall asleep in nearly every moving vehicle I travel in). My playmates ranged from local kids in Fiji who didn't speak a word of English but showed me how to ride a waterfall like a water slide, to a variety of weird and wonderful animals (I became BFFs with a Cane Toad and then got very upset when none of the people in the restaurant wanted to stroke it). A couple of years ago we spent a month travelling across Vietnam, which was a wonderful experience-particularly for my younger brother, who had never seen Asia. Thanks to my brilliant parents, I have a huge volume of memories in my head that I know I'll be able to tell my kids like Roald Dahl tales as they drift off to sleep.

So yeah. I'm really glad that I'm uncool enough to love hanging out with my parents. Even if that does make me an epic geek.

Have a lovely week Reader! New vlog will be out on my youtube channel tomorrow at 11.30am!

Monday, 9 June 2014

Ten reasons it's great to be single...

Reader, as you may have gathered from some of my previous entries, I am single. Which can be a pain in the arse, given that most of my friends are getting married and having babies and I spend most of my life wondering how much ice cream I can eat before I have to exercise, but it also has a variety of plus points (when I can avoid married friends making sympathetic clucking noises at me). Here are ten of my favourites!

Ten reasons being single is fabulous

  1. The bed situation

Shh, you filthy minded lot! I'm talking about the fact that because no one will be IN your bed you can keep it in exactly the state you prefer. In my case (and because my bed is also my office) that means piled high with books, notepads, clothes and scripts (which I end up contorting my body round in order to find space to sleep). When I'm seeing someone I end up grudgingly making my bed every day. When I'm single I can be a messy bint.

    2. Not having to hide the fact that you're actually not that interested in intellectual stuff

The moment when you realise that you don't have to pretend to like searingly smart documentaries about the world ending due to humans being dickheads is really, really satisfying. You can just switch over to yet ANOTHER episode of Friends. Or Charmed. Or even Footballer's Wives. AND NO ONE NEED EVER KNOW (Tanya's flicky eyes were the best thing on the box back in the day...). Also, newspapers. You don't have to read them. Apart from The Metro (which doesn't really count) and The Evening Standard (but only to flick to the crossword at the back). And you can lie about it and there will be no one to jump in with 'What are you talking about, you NEVER read the newspapers!'

    3. Not having to plan your schedule around someone else's

You know what I bloody love about being single? That I don't have to diary plan with anyone. I am so busy. ALL THE FREAKIN' TIME. When you're in a relationship, you also have to plan in couple time. As a singleton, I work very hard to plan in ice cream and watching Netflix time (I somehow always manage to squeeze it in somewhere...)

    4. Clothes that few men understand

There are items of clothes in my wardrobe that only women (and a VERY select few high fashion obsessed men) understand. These items are not items that make me look like Jessica Rabbit, they've got interesting cuts and kitch prints and in general I only wear them when I'm single. Because the response I get when I wear them is that women go 'ooohhh that's a fabulous look' and men go ' look weird'. (Often I do look weird, so this is fine but when I am single I am much happier to experiment with my wardrobe, as I am less likely to show anyone up-my patterned tights have a FIELD DAY)

      5. Inappropriate crushes

When I'm in a relationship with someone I love, I don't get crushes on other people generally-all of my attention and affection is just aimed at that one special person. But when I'm single, there is a WHOLE LOT of inappropriate going on. I had a crush on an 18 year old the other day. Eighteen. As in, almost a decade younger than me and barely legal. AND HE WAS FLIRTING WITH ME. I think. I was mostly trying to stop blushing and telling myself to shape up so I could be wrong. I get crushes on people in relationships, I get crushes on friends. I don't let myself fall for them, sometimes the crushes only last a day and nothing ever comes of them, it's just that for that brief period of time I go all woogly over them (shut up, I can't think of a real word). Being single means life is full of potential. Delicious, entirely inappropriate potential!

   6. Flirting

Ok, so this leads on from the last point. But when you're single you can flirt. Not only that, you can flirt WITH INTENT. Which is ever so much fun.

   7. Kissing takes on more importance

Ok Reader, here's a question-why do people stop kissing in relationships? Ok, so I know that it's a precursor to sex and when you're in a relationship, you're pretty much guaranteed action, but I LOVE kissing! Kissing is the best! And when you're single, kissing is so thrilling. You spend dates thinking feverishly that tonight might lead to that first, wonderful kiss. You have conversations with the person you're crushing on, not actually listening to what they're saying because you're dreaming that they'll grab you and kiss you in the style of Rhett Butler. You carry mints around with you just in case you bump into Nicholas Hoult and he decides to pucker up. Kissing is MAGICAL. I put a lot of meaning on first kisses-if I don't feel a spark then I tend to lose interest fairly quickly-which is probably unfair, but I think kissing is super important. Don't you? Answers on the back of a postcard people...

   8.   Shoe choices

I love high heels. I have far too many of them. But I love them. When I'm in a relationship, I tend to live in flats. This is for a number of reasons. 1) Men get weird if you're taller or as tall as them 2) They get pissy when you're walking slow because it's hard to walk in what are essentially stilts 3) They get embarrassed when you go barefoot at the end of the night. So I end up just giving in and wearing flats. When I'm single, I am super tall. In fact, generally people are shocked when they realise quite how short I really am (it's like my secret identity! Short arse girl!) 

   9. Male friends

I love my boy mates. They make me laugh like a drain, we take the piss out of each other something silly and they give the best hugs. But boyfriends get funny about how close I am with them. Ironically, most of my boy mates are so like brothers to me that I would never go there, but partners seem to think they have something to be jealous of. To be fair, even the most laid back partner might get annoyed to see his girlfriend playfighting with a hunky man she gets on with really well. I'm not saying I ditch my male friends when I have a partner, but it definitely makes it easier being single. (Also, then you can also do number 6 without feeling too guilty)

   10. Being a career girl

I love my career. I love being an actress, a writer and a vlogger. I love it. And when I'm single, I can get properly lost in it. I can spend my days doing the admin stuff that pays the bills and the nights learning lines and recording vlogs. I can spend weeks rehearsing, then getting pissed with cast members in the pub below the theatre. I can become my character with no risk of it affecting my relationship. It's like, so method dahlink. Poncy though this is, it is kind of true-being in a relationship is distracting. If they're not in the industry then they don't understand how you can dedicate so much of your life to something that doesn't pay, if they are then there's always underlying jealousy or resentment (or just the fact that both of you are flighty creative types who might have to leave at a minutes notice). 

Ok, so let's be honest for a second Reader, if I fell in love-like, actual, proper, head over heels love? That would win out over all of these things, because love is very important and wonderful. But at the moment I am not in love, and I am single and I am still happy. And you can be too. Go on, think of a few reasons why being a singleton works for you! 
Tarrah Reader!

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

The lessons learned from reading...

Reader, one of my favourite authors/poets died today-the wonderful Maya Angelou who wrote 'I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings' and 'Gather Together In My Name'. Recently, another favourite (although entirely different) author passed, Sue Townsend who penned the hysterical Adrian Mole series (as well as The Woman Who Went To Bed For A Year and the brilliant play Bazaar and Rummage). These deaths have made me think a bit about how important books have been to me in my lifetime.

When I say important, I feel like I'm not giving books enough credit. See, when I was a kid, I didn't have many friends. In fact, I got bullied, pretty severely. I learned to read really young (by about 8 years old I was reading books written for young teens quicker than most 15 year olds) and it became a massive form of escapism for me. I may have had to put up with insults and violence, but I could hide in a corner and become Anne Shirley (of Green Gables) or Matilda or Nancy Drew and have adventures in my mind for a few hours.

Before I even left primary school, I had finished all of the books in the school library and within a year of going to high school I'd also chomped my way through all the 'young adult' books in my local library too-so my mum started giving me her books, with the instruction that if I didn't understand any parts of them, to come and ask and we'd talk about them. My mum was pretty liberal, so she let me read books with more mature themes-Daphne Du Maurier, Sue Townsend and Maya Angelou found their way to me and I would sit for hours transfixed by the stories. They taught me how to deal with bullies (by being kind back-it confuses them-and then living a life that makes you happy), what it might feel like to fall in love before I'd even really met any boys, how as a woman you have to know yourself, because the world will try telling you who you are from when you first sprout hips and breasts, that the best heroines have to go through a ton of difficult stuff before they get their rewards, that freckles are not a bad thing, that gumbo tastes wonderful and that porridge can either be the worst thing in the world or the best depending on how it's described, that men who have silver tongues rarely have golden hearts and that love is the most important thing in the world.

Having a well stocked book case in the home is essential for kids. I learnt more about sex (and the consequences of having it) from books than I ever did from sex-ed classes. I also learned about the darker side of humanity-when my friends wanted me to lie to their parents about where they were when they were off with boys they didn't really know, I wouldn't do it, because I'd read tales where things had gone horribly wrong. I was a super safe teenager, because I knew exactly what could happen from all the crime books I'd read. I could explain a number of philosophical and psychological ideas from what I'd read and had a much greater understanding of the greater world than most teens of the same age. Whenever I had a problem, there was a book I could go to that would give me someone else's experience. My life had been lived by a million characters and they were all waiting on my shelf to give me advice.

Give your kids books parents, so they can learn too,

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

How to make cookies the Ash Acting Up way....

Step one-oversleep.

 Step two-remember that it's your friend's birthday and you decided to bake as a gift, but you don't have any ingredients in the house

Step three-frantically get ready to dash down to Asda-overdress a bit (which is what inevitably happens when I rush to get ready)

Step four-buy too much chocolate because you can't remember what the actual measures are. Also buy some peanut M&Ms and Peanut Butter Cups because they were on sale and it would have been a crime not to.

Step five-set up array of ingredients. Be smug about your vintage mixing bowl.

Step six-220g of softened butter

Step seven-200g sugar (half brown, half white) 

Step eight-cream together, also coating everything nearby in the mix. Get annoyed because you can't hear your tv show over the blender

Step nine-chuck in an egg and a splash of vanilla extract. Spill a bit on your hand. Lick it off. Regret licking it off. Make cat-licking-a-lemon faces

Step ten-get distracted by an uplifting video about old ladies (you can watch it here:

Step eleven- realise that you still need another egg, since you misread the instructions. Bollocks.

Step twelve-chuck in 230g plain flour. Decide that since it's wheat free flour, that makes this a very healthy recipe. 

Step thirteen-add pinch of salt from adorable Christmas themed shaker, despite it being practically summer and mid-muggiest day ever rather than December

Step fourteen-a teaspoon each Bicarb of Soda and Baking Powder. Think about doing that teeth whitening thing you read about on Pinterest. Decide not to bother as it sounds gross and you can't remember whether it was bicarb soda or baking powder that you're supposed to use.

Step fifteen-60g of coco powder. Wonder how you make coco powder. Spend 2 minutes imagining a desert of coco powder instead of sand, with mirages of liquid chocolate fountains.

Step sixteen-mix motha fudger, MIX

Step seventeen-Resist urge to eat batter

Step eighteen-Chop up more chocolate than entirely necessary. (450g in this case....mmmm...)

Step nineteen-Get bored chopping. Wonder why you didn't just buy bags of chocolate chips. Remember that bars are far cheaper and you are an impoverished actress. Resume chopping but now also dream of winning the lottery.

Step twenty-Have a 50's housewife moment as you stir in your chocolate mountain

Step twenty one-Shape into small balls and place on greaseproof paper covered baking tray. Sing 'Salty chocolate balls' under your breath and snigger. Because you have the sense of humour of a 12 year old boy.

Step twenty two-Realise that you forgot to preheat the oven. Swear more.

Step twenty three-Set oven at 190 degrees. Go have a drink while the oven heats up.

Step twenty four- Put the cookies in and go do some work while they bake (apron optional)

Step twenty five- After aprox 15 mins, retrieve first heartachingly perfect tray of cookies from oven

Step twenty six-Go to line the next tray and realise you're out of greaseproof paper. Swear.

Step twenty seven-Grease tray with 1cal spray and hope for the best

Step twenty eight-Wonder if you have potentially made too many giant cookies. Eat 3 just to even things out a bit

Right reader, I am going to go and collapse in a chocolatey mess. Have a great day, and bake well!
P.s. Don't forget to go check out my most recent vlog!