By Aislinn De'Ath

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

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)