By Aislinn De'Ath

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

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!