Sunday, 31 August 2014

It's Not About The Price Tag

Me experiencing being a giant in Cath Kidston, Picadilly, yesterday...

I am someone who has always wanted to live above my means, I am entirely materialistic and just want ALL THE THINGS. This is a trait I've had all my life from wanting the latest Barbie to earning the reputation of shopaholic among my colleagues - I have an issue with wanting what I can't have.

I've always been guilty of living in a bit of a fairytale world, even if that world has become more cynical over the years. I experience no greater thrill than shopping and browsing those aisles and rails of clothes, shoes, bags and make-up - filled with desire.

But this has often got me into trouble, especially now that I live on my own and have to pay for things like rent, bills and food. After all these living expenses, there's not an awful lot left for shopping. But this often doesn't stop me and my spare money to get me through the month is often mostly blown in the first week.

You'd think after five months of this cycle, that I would learn my lesson and learn how to me more responsible with money - but no. It's the same story every month. It's a bloody good deal that I don't have a credit card or a large overdraft because I would be screeeewed.

So as you can imagine, when I went to London yesterday to meet up with my best mate Zoe and get my fix of retail therapy that I was wracked with temptation. We didn't help matters by visiting three of the most expensive and luxurious stores in the city - Selfridges, Liberty of London and Fortnum & Mason.

I was surrounded by gorgeous products out of my price range or far more than I could justify paying but it was all so easy on the eyes and was the kind of window shopping I could get on board with while I dreamt of one day being wealthy enough to load my basket here as if it were no issue at all. Now it's fairly likely that I will never be rich enough to own items like these but a girl can dream.

However, I did treat myself to some Laura Mercier make-up and some Fortnum & Mason tea - because a girl has to have some glamour in her life. Amirite?

I wonder what life is like for these people who can afford to buy whatever they like, whenever they like. Do they appreciate it? Do they pine for anything? Will I ever earn enough to go on a massive guilt free shopping spree or do I just need to be more sensible then have a big splurge?

While I continue to try and be sensible with money and failing miserably, it seems I'll always have that one week of luxury and three to four weeks of poverty for the foreseeable future. Because I want all the things. I want lovely new clothes and lovely make-up. Perhaps it's because I'm lonely and don't have much else to fill my life with. Perhaps it's the whole desire to replicate celebrity culture or the culture we are bombarded with by bloggers and magazines. Perhaps it was five years of only child syndrome when I was spoilt. Perhaps it's a multitude of all those things. But I know I'm not alone.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

A letter to my sixteen year old self...

To my sixteen year old self, 

I have so much to impart on you. Where do I begin? 

Firstly, I need to express two things. Don't get your hair cut short and stop worrying about your GCSE aced them. 

Now, with college on the horizon, you need to get your head out of Diary of a Crush by Sarra Manning. Of course it is a fantastic book, but you must know that college isn't really like that and you won't find the Dylan to your Edie on the first day. Or in fact at all. 

But you will find some fabulous friends. Here you will make friends for life that will stay with you and understand you more than anybody else ever has. You'll finally feel like you belong and not a spare part. Embrace it and enjoy every minute. You'll laugh daily over silly things and college will surprisingly be the best two years of your life. You may think this will happen at uni, but actually - not so much. 

Now, as to not break with tradition from your high school years - you will form inappropriate crushes and inevitably get your heart stamped on quite a few times. This will eventually toughen you to become the ice queen you were always told to be. 

I'm afraid to say, you still haven't found anybody special by the age of 24 but you'll come to a point where it doesn't seem much of a big deal anymore. 

Be wary of boys Stacey. Don't become a hopeless girl crushing on what is inevitably a wanker. Despite me saying this, I know you will do this time after time as you go gooey eyed over men who don't deserve you. 

Oh and I wouldn't worry about your outfit choices on days you know you're going to see them because they really don't notice your clothes - let alone you. Sorry. 

Soon you're going to get drunk. A lot. Mostly this will be fun but know your limits. Puking should not be part of a night out or your friends helping you onto the last train home. Don't eat the twix that Polly shoves in your mouth one fateful night because it will end up on the train carriage floor. 

I'm afraid you will never get that 'grown up' feeling and also you won't get any taller - so stop holding out on that late growth spurt. Despite this, you will mature tonnes over the next few years and while you will still have your head in a book or a film - you will learn that this is very much a fantasy world. But it's good to have dreams. 

There's going to be quite a few ups and downs over the next few years but your best friends will be there throughout. You're made of strong stuff and you will make it through. 

Maybe don't give yourself a 5-10 year plan because life doesn't work that way and you'll be sorely disappointed when you're not a journalist by your mid twenties. You are a writer though - so you're still embracing your talent! Keep at it! This will lead you to meeting some great people and having some fun experiences. So enjoy. 

If I leave you with anything, it's to appreciate every moment and try not to moan so much as people will pick up on it. You won't listen and will still moan frequently in eight years time I'm afraid but at least I tried. 

All the best you delusional weirdo

Your 24 year old self. 

Saturday, 9 August 2014

8 Lies Films Taught Me

I'm a huge film buff and probably own well over 100 DVDs as well as constantly watching Sky Movies and anything I come across on TV as well as cinema visits when I actually have people to go with, but this obsession with films has left my expectations of life somewhat too high when it comes to my daily life.

Here's a run down of films that lied to me about life lessons:

1. Twilight - You can totally still get the hot guy even if you're socially awkward

Bella Swan is just about one of the most socially awkward characters on screen and it takes her twice as long as any normal person to get a sentence out, yet she is adored by many of the Forks men and is pursued by heart throb Edward Cullen. In real life, socially awkward girls never get to talk to the hot guys and if we do it's usually a collection of mumbles, laughs and uncomfortable fidgeting. To be quite honest, we are invisible to the hot guys as we creepily admire them from afar so actual human contact would never happen anyway.

2. Bridget Jones - Even the most disastrous of women can still have two men after them

Bridget Jones is somebody I can identify with. She's not perfect - she drinks too much, smokes too much, is an appalling public speaker and lets the things in her head come out without thinking - but Mark Darcy likes her - just as she is. She's also pursued by Daniel Cleaver and both men physically fight it out for her - but in reality women like Bridget and me spend a lot of time alone, date lots of unsuitable men and often wonder if anybody will like us - just as we are.

3. The Devil Wears Prada - It's not that hard to be employed by a best-selling fashion magazine

Andy manages to score a job as second assistant to the editor of (lets face it) Vogue after just graduating and some experience as a regional news reporter. In real life, you'd have to complete years of unpaid internships and graft at related magazines or be a family friend to even be considered for the position.

4. Matilda - You have magical powers

After I watched Matilda as a child I was convinced that if I put my mind to it enough, I'd be able to move things. After much concentration and pointing this proved futile. As was being a child genius and inflicting revenge on mean teachers.

5.  Pretty Much Any Teen Film in the 00s, 90s and 80s - You'll eventually get the man of your dreams

Dirty Dancing, Pretty in Pink, Mean Girls, Cinderella Story, Angus Thongs and Perfect Snogging, Wild Child…need I name more? In all of these films, no matter what the behaviour and the inevitable hiccup along the way - the girl would always get the guy in the end. The one that everyone lusted over and this usually average girl would manage to snag when he saw the real her. In real life, the school bitch always won.

6. The Princesses Diaries - Make-overs can work miracles and you could be a princess

Mia was a socially awkward, curly haired, glasses wearing teen when she found out she was the Princess of Genova. As a socially awkward, curly haired, glasses wearing teen - I identified with Mia and wondered where I could also get a life-changing make-over and an estranged royal grandparent. Thankfully I did eventually find straighteners and some style, but it didn't make much difference.

7. Any Horror Film - Split up, run into the woods, stabbing isn't that fatal…

If I were to face a psychopathic murderer, it's fairly likely I wouldn't be splitting up from anybody with me, running into a dark confusing space or god forbid trying to take on the bloody person. Apparently a stab wound isn't that hindering either.

8. Dirty Dancing - Dancing is easy

Learning a complicated dance routine to performance standard in less than a week with no prior dance experience? Piece of cake! Not to mention a fairly complicated jump? No problem. Oh and losing your virginity is a really beautiful experience - Nope.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

My Top 5 Dating Fails

My love life is something of a joke and has provided me and my friends with many laughs through the years. Sometimes it's got to me and made me frustrated and upset, but I'm finally over it all. I really couldn't care less about love and it feels incredibly enlightening and free. I'm no longer searching, I'm enjoying the years I have by myself and the freedom that entails. Anyway, I'm only 24! Who says you have to have it all figured out by now?

So I thought it was finally time I wrote a blog documenting my many many failures in the dating world. I've previously shied away from this kind of blog because I didn't want to scare away any potential suitors, but I really don't care anymore. If it scares you off, you're probably not the right one for me anyway.

So in no particular order, here are just some of my many dating fails.

1. "I'm busy for the foreseeable future"

A favourite of mine, a guy once let me know he was no longer interested by telling me he was busy. Actually now he thought about it, he was 'busy for the foreseeable future'. How do you take something like that? Well when you get no correspondence following that, I'd say that's a brush off. Ladies, if a man says he is busy and goes quiet…run. This happened to me once again when somebody else was persistently busy and when I quoted this previous brush off…they admitted that was the case. So I've been given the whole 'I'm busy' speech TWICE. The 'He's Just Not That Into You' lesson from Sex and the City applies here.

2. Blocked

I once went on a date with a guy from a dating site and I thought the date went brilliantly. That was until I checked WhatsApp the next day to find out I had been blocked with no explanation. A simple no would have sufficed.

3. MySpace Dumping

This ones a bit old school. A guy I dated in college refused to acknowledge me in public. This meant if we passed each other in the corridor, he would simply nod or look at me in a slightly embarrassed way. We once went on a date and whenever we entered somewhere where one of his friends worked, he would promptly drop my hand. Eventually I got bit tired of this crap and called him out on his behaviour with a lengthy MySpace message. Later that night I went out with friends and got a text saying 'Did you just dump me? ON MYSPACE?' - my bad.

4. The Inappropriate Crushes

A Stacey speciality, I have an uncanny ability to form attractions to men I can never have. They might have a girlfriend, they might be interested in somebody else or they might just not like me back. Whichever category they fall in, it's likely that I will form some sort of inappropriate obsessive crush on them and inevitably end up getting hurt. To be honest, I'd like this to stay as a pre-twenties problem I had. During this somewhat destructive period of my life, I would be convinced that my crush would eventually come to a head and the guy would realise I was who he'd been looking for. I'd be a complete pushover in denial and usually take whatever chance I could for a stolen kiss with my crush and then be shocked when nothing developed. I'd like to think I moved on from this messy period because girl doesn't want to get into that again. The lesson here is, if it doesn't look like it's going to happen, it won't. Get over it quickly.

5. "I don't know if I cba to meet up again"

Yes this was actually said to me. If somebody can't be arsed to see you, let along use full words, it's a lucky escape. The sooner men learn to be straight to the point and tactical - the better.

If anything my experiences have taught me it's that you just need to brush yourself off and move on. I've learned to laugh at my experiences rather than cry and it's made me feel more free than ever. When your friends are all in serious relationships, it can sometimes feel like you're getting left behind, but love isn't a race. I went through a period of trying to look, but now I couldn't care less. When it happens, it happens and I'm done putting up with mediocre men. I'm sure many more dating fails are ahead of me, but they'll just add to my experience and hilarious anecdotes with friends.