Twenty-Six Candles

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

So. Two or so weeks ago, I had a birthday. It turned out to be alright.

I've been a bit birthday-apprehensive for some time. I guess it all starts with the fact that although I still feel relatively young (and that's an understatement; I would go as far as to say teenage at times) the facts stack right up against me. Although not prehistoric, 26 seems to be that metaphorical crossing of the line. You are now well and truly nestled in the centrum of your mid-twenties, albeit slightly on the wrong side. You feel that you should experience nothing but grown-up "things" but you cannot let go of the zesty fun side that was perhaps understandable two or three years ago. Putting it in one way and one way only: you begin to feel a bit boring, like you're on your way out. I am trying everything in my power to not feel like this, to the point of even trying to forget my own age - and it works! I was asked for my age by a bouncer last week and I ummed and ahhed so much that I actually got refused entry to the bar I was trying to get into before I could even (falsely) claim that I was 25. Damn, I need to carry my ID with me more often. But I'm 26!

Also, I just feel like all the odds were against me this year. Perhaps an inadvertent karma for the haps of the last (non-)birthday. I came back from Majorca in early June and everything was go-go-go. I didn't stop moving, going places, doing things, working, you name it for what felt like a millennia - and it all went against me. I got sick on my birthday night out; although I was still determined to make the most of it, it soon transpired was going absolutely nowhere. Way to feel truly down in the dumps! And so I spent an (unexpected) Sunday off work wrapped up in my bedsheets pining and whining that I deserved to re-write the whole year. However, without a birthday candle to wish on, my wish was not granted.

On the Monday - my so-called "birthday eve" - things began to look up a little bit. After that whole day of nothingness and recharging my batteries, things felt a lot more calm and I began to feel a little bit more ready. For the complete shift in my working life; for my birthday and the silly little number and everything that came with it; for all the other little quirks and mishaps upon my life; for anything. Then I received a text of sorts. If you know me well enough, you'll know that I'm a spontaneous girl at heart. And so to read - "5pm. Brighton. Be there." was music to my ears. I rammed the first clothes I could find into a bag (none of them matched) and when I rolled out of my new store, I rolled straight on a train to Brighton. And so it began: The Best Birthday I've Ever Had. True story.

Brighton, itself.
Indeedly one of my most favourite places in the whole entire universe. If I could be bothered with rating games, I would without a doubt state that it was in my top three. It is in my belief that one day, I must live here. But for now, stolen visits and snatched memories will suffice. I guess my actual time in Brighton was short, but definitely sweet. I had to prioritise the things I wanted to do the most, which included: drinking an ice-cold beer, eating fish & chips from my favourite beachside venue, having some amazing arcade fun, riding the Crazy Mouse for the very first time and generally just having a chilled out kind of evening. I was also lucky enough to glance over my shoulder and catch the most incredible sunset falling behind one of my most favourite eye-candies: the West Pier.

JB's American Diner.
Three words spring to mind: om yom nom. Punctuated by a whole lotta chomping and salivating. If you ever pay a visit to Brighton, then you've got to dedicate a bit of your brunch budget to JB's - infact, it deserves it all. This little haven is situated on the corner of King's Road and Black Lion Street, just by the seafront. Admittedly, it doesn't look like a magnetic attraction from the outside but dare yourself to cross that threshold and behold the wonder that lies within: a classic American-styled 1950's diner with buffet car decor and a killer soundtrack. Think Eddie Cochran, Johnny Cash, The Drifters, Buddy Holly et al. And then when you've lined your imagination by that hunk o' beaut, slather on top of it the most delicious brunch food you could ever hoped to munch upon: pancakes and bacon and syrup, doorstopper French toast, New York roast potatoes, huge servings of buttery scrambled eggs and everything really. It is an American diner after all! You definitely get more than bang for your buck(!) here and you leave not only over-satisfied, but deliciously plagued with a 1950's brainwash that makes you want to do the twist for the rest of the day. They also serve non-brunch items here and believe me, it's number one on my list for my next Brighton visit.

Did I mention the milkshakes? Actually don't get me started on the muh-hilk-shuh-hakes. Let's leave it at exquisite peanut buttery ice-creamy goodness with green squirty cream and hundreds & thousands and good enough to make you sing C'mon Everybody until the cows come home. Speshul milkshake.

Come in 25, your time is up

Sunday, 14 July 2013

It's been a few weeks, but I've been a busy bee.

However I turn 26 in two days and I think it's about high time I came to a halt and indulged in equal slithers of both reflection and intention.

It comes at (I guess) a good time for me, in more ways than one. Firstly I've just fallen off of the whirlwind that has been quite possibly the busiest month's of my life. In between seeing everybody under the sun actually under the 30c sun, I've also worked 50-60hr weeks. Add to that probably the busiest period of my company's diary - namely the End Of Year meeting/celebrations and working at a festival that we set up at - plus getting myself prepared for a big big store move, there hasn't been an awful lot of time left for everything that really matters. It's definitely time to get myself back on track in terms of looking after number one and getting all my ducks (or goals) in a line.

Stop working like a madwoman.
I never thought I'd say this about myself, especially when I was 16 and flunking my GCSEs, but I guess I'm sort of a workaholic. I'm an articulate perfectionist and thrive on organisation and seeing tasks through to the end. Basically, I love a tidy store and office and even more love a challenge. I'm met with plenty in my job, be it a challenge with a brilliant end-goal or one where I'm fighting losing battles constantly. And there have been many instances where I've stayed late at work, or taken work home with me, or attended on my day off. Sometimes it has to be done; we've all been there surely. But I need to scale back now. Working 55hrs when I won't be paid for 10 of them doesn't glitter too much and while sometimes it's completely unavoidable, I have been guilty of working beyond what is required of me more than once. I need to train myself to keep within my confine as much as is possible. After all, new store and new team = bigger responsibility. No time to knacker myself out.

Treat myself how I treat others.
I'm a firm believer in the saying treat others how you want to be treated - in fact it's my working mantra, as I deal directly with the public, and therefore very much my life ethic. There's not a lot I wouldn't do to keep a customer or a friend happy. But do I follow the same advice myself? Do I heck. I need to spend more time praising, pampering and celebrating myself. Schedule in regular facemask evenings, crack open that beer and listen to some music and read some blogs, go through a major life purge and bin most of the crap that I possess. No more procrastinating.

Stop neglecting hobbies and passions.
I can pinpoint the exact moment that I stopped caring about hobbies such as running, photographing, blogging and baking. The saddest thing is that it's inevitably when I became a manager over one year ago. However I can't and wouldn't want to change that, so I just need to reignite the flame for these passions. How I go about this business, I'm not yet sure, but I'm imagining something along the lines of weekly challenges. Photo projects? I'm already doing an Instagram 365 but I want more. Baking? Running? I really need to get back into those two and I need to stop using my microwave-sized oven and 74-step flat entrance as excuses. Blogging? Well here I am, trying to keep it up. And I still want more. I still want to learn that language, I still want to edit videos, I still want to scrapbook and get that capsule wardrobe. I just need to spend more time doing.

Live for the moment.
Major sap moment, but obviously I awoke to the news of the death of Cory Monteith this morning. I have never watched Glee but I know him by name and face and I know that he dated his co-star Lea Michele who periodically appears in Glamour magazine (my not-so-guilty pleasure!) every so often. I was completely fine until I read of a news story where she hadn't given a statement, therefore the publication had instead waded through a hoard of dredged-up quotes and republished them. They mostly read along the lines of, "No-one knows me better than Cory" and "He makes me feel like I can do anything." before finishing to state the obvious: that she is currently completely inconsolable. I was in pieces just reading that. It takes a moment to realise that beyond the news stories that you read there is a 26-year old girl out there who has just lost the love of her life, without warning. Horrifying to even contemplate. It just goes to show that we really do only have one life and we cannot waste it. We need to embrace every second; go and tell the person that you love exactly how you feel; embark on that trip of a lifetime; do everything you've ever wanted to do. Because you never know what comes tomorrow.

26 has to be a better year than 25, even though it feels like a scarier number by a complete landslide. 25 was that middling head-nodding 'I can deal with this' sort of age, but 26 feels like a over-exaggerated gigantic step towards the big 3-0. But with 25 came some humongous changes in my life, some that I could never have even predicted, and it's been a task just trying to keep up with and deal with everything I've ploughed into. But I'm having a good feeling about 26. I think this year is the year when stuff happens. Good stuff. And finally too; I'm beginning to feel like I deserve a bit of a win.