Saturday, 28 January 2012

"This better be in your blog." (I) Brum.

Birmingham, aka Brumland. Why is it called Brum? I've been here for three days, and still have no clue. I've even asked my friend who studies here AND my Brummy flatmate back home; both have no idea. I told my friend I was going to Brum for a few days, and she replied: "Brum... As in the yellow car with eyes?"

So that's the first mystery and as yet unanswered question about this place. The second is: why does everyone love chips and gravy so darn much? Those two are at the forefront of my mind as I roam around campus at the University of Birmingham, along with: "why is everyone here so beautiful?" and "why oh why do I find the Northern accent so irresistible?"

I've always had a restlessness inside me; I hate staying in one place for too long. Which admittedly sounds a little hypocritical as I could quite happily spend hours, days, weeks, months cotched on my sofa at home watching CSI:NY and eating nothing but cream crackers. However, contrary to my parents' beliefs (that I am a lazy TV-loving couch potato who occasionally provides them with a few laughs), I do loathe to be stuck somewhere for too long. I spent a significant amount of my first semester at uni travelling all over the place visiting friends and family, and even when I spent a weekend at uni I needed to get out of my tiny room and DO things. I went to Brighton, Canterbury, London, Southampton and of course my beloved little hometown and the surrounding area. These occasional adventures broke up my term time nicely, and gave me many things to look forward to.

Almost one month ago, I was packing my bags to go back to uni after spending the Christmas holidays at home. I wasn't that thrilled to be going back, if I'm honest. I love home comforts, and my family and friends, but also the thought of spending another three months in just one place terrified me. My family sensed this and we planned which weekends I will be coming home, and the dates when they will be coming to visit me, and this comforted me a lot. But I also needed some time away, somewhere new. So I made plans to visit two of my favourite friends who are both at uni in Birming... Sorry, Brumland.

Which brings me back to the present: sitting on a stool in my friend's kitchen, listening to Mumford & Sons, the remnants of our student-budget lunch in the sink and the friend in question lying on the sofa holding a bottle at arm's length above his head and dribbling water into his mouth (providing me with giggles aplenty when he misses and gets splashed).

The nightlife in Brumland puts Winchester and Eastbourne to shame. The main strip of clubs, Broad Street, is like a slightly smaller-scale British version of The Strip in Vegas (no exaggerations of course). Thursday night was spent in Vodbull, dressed in animal onesies and going from room to room, bar to bar in the massive club. Standing in the disco room "Rewind", whiskers painted on my face and boiling hot in a cow/dalmatian-print onesie, watching tigers and monkeys fraternize on the dancefloor was definitely a "I'm not in Kansas any more" moment. Friday night was a comparatively chilled and classy night in Pitcher & Piano on the waterfront, a "pretty dress, high heels and lipstick" event, which had the potential to be more awkward than the previous night as I was actually talking to people I didn't know, rather than dancing and communicating via the "wanna drink?" gesture.

I've been pleasantly surprised by the people here. It had suddenly hit me on the train journey up here that the natives might not take well to a stranger in their midst; I had a moment of blinding panic and seriously thought for the first time since starting high school, "what if they don't like me??!" I needn't have worried. Everyone's been lovely. We all share a love of laughing at my friend Alex, and of alcohol (although I'm not sure I'm quite up to their drinking standards just yet).

So, I'm leaving tomorrow and I have several post-Brum resolutions: download more music (they have good taste up here), find a decent end-of-night place that serves excellent "drunk food" (not that I think anything will beat Pit Stop), generally improve my drinking abilities and alcohol tolerance, and finally, visit here more often. Oh, and find out why this place is known as Brum. x

Monday, 23 January 2012

Semester 2.

I've spent almost every night this week snuggled in bed with a gorgeous friend watching How I Met Your Mother, eating chocolate brownies and jammy biscuits. I spent today having a Harry Potter marathon. I'm looking up train times and fares for a weekend away visiting friends in Birmingham. I'm putting off doing my laundry and wearing dirty clothes over and over again. I've filled up my top desk drawer with biscuits and chocolate. I've texted my mum a couple hundred times. I sign into Skype seconds after switching my computer on. My little sister has called me to discuss the latest episode of Desperate Housewives. I've spent a significant amount of my weekly allowance on fancy dress stuff. I've written a groceries list. I am constantly forgetting my Bag For Life when I go shopping. Going to bed before 3am is no longer an option. The lesbians upstairs are keeping me up all night with their noisy antics. A couple of friends and I have abused the local tattoo shop's "buy one get one free" offer on piercings. I'm buying my friend a 10-pack of Richmond Menthol and a bottle of Archers in exchange for her dyeing my hair in her sink. On Friday night I was a drunken pirate dancing the Macarena with some amazing people.

I am officially back at university. x

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Televisual magic.

My sister and I had an argument tonight. This is extremely rare; we are almost the best of friends nowadays. So naturally, it was the worst argument sisterkind has ever seen; raging on for several hours which included storm-offs, screaming, sulking and floods of tears. Not what I'd pictured happening on my last night at home before going back to university. However, some time around midnight, after the bomb blasts had died down and the wails had subsided into hushed sobs, I crept into my sister's room and whispered: "wanna watch the last ever episode of Gilmore Girls with me?"

We snuck downstairs in our pyjamas with a blanket and watched our favourite show. Suddenly we were giggling, and crying nothing but happy tears. It's official; Gilmore Girls has magical argument-ending hurt-healing powers. x

Thursday, 12 January 2012

It's a cliché for a reason.

When you go away to university, you realise just how good life at home is. You appreciate your family more, and everything they do for you. I've started thanking my mum for making my dinner every night, for doing my laundry, and for making my bed. I am spending all my free time in front of the glorious HD television, because I know in a matter of days I will be back to watching programmes on the catch-up services such as BBC iPlayer and 4OD, on my tiny laptop screen in a not-so-glorious and heavily pixelated format. When I'm not enjoying live television, I'm out in my little Polo driving way above the speed limit and singing along to my special "driving" mix CDs. I've been picking up my little sister from school, having lunch with my mum, seeing my friends, visiting my grandparents, and wandering around my little town as much as possible. I want to soak it all up before I leave it all behind again.

Recently, every time someone has asked me: "are you looking forward to going back to uni?" I have replied with: "Well, right now I'm just enjoying being at home." Because, in all honesty, I'm nowhere near as excited about going back as everyone else I know seems to be. In fact, there have been many moments when I've been dreading it.

I think today, for the first time since coming home for the holidays, I have felt genuinely excited about going back. Possibly because I have found out my new timetable and seminar groups, possibly because I'm making plans with a few uni friends to meet up and go out, possibly because I'm looking forward to having that amazing (if sometimes overwhelming) feeling of independence again; the freedom to stay up until 3am just sitting in my bedroom eating pancakes and watching movies, play drinking games in someone else's kitchen, Skype endlessly, visit friends at their various universities on the weekends, and wear pyjamas for days at a time. I think for a long time, I've been focusing on the bad things. It's time to start remembering what there is to love and look forward to, and make the most of this life opportunity that I am lucky enough to have. x

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Pet Hate #1.

This isn't really a "pet hate". A pet hate is something small and insignificant in one's life that bothers them a little more than it should. A couple of my pet hates, for instance, are when "lads" spit on the pavement as they walk, or how sweets at the cinema are grossly overpriced. This, by comparison, is a menacing life-size jungle cat of a hate, rather than a small, docile domestic kitty.

So here it is: The Drunk Excuse.
Things happen on a night out, or at a party. Of course they do. It's expected. People drink too much, and make fools of themselves one way or another. Whether it's falling over a few times, "getting with" someone, or just talking a little too much, regardless, these things happen. These events, funny or outrageous as they may be, are held against people and make lovely little anecdotes to tell for a very long time afterwards. Some people become known as "the girl that threw up on someone's doorstep", "the guy who fell out of the taxi", or "the person that kissed five people in one night". For years, some people are greeted with "hey, you're that girl who got kicked out of the club that time..." or "I remember you, didn't you try and get with my friend?" It's never good to be infamous for something that happened while you were under the influence of Mister Booze.

Usually, when someone is the subject of a "hilarious" drunken tale, they use the never-fail excuse: "but... I was drunk!" Which instantly makes their actions, however horrendous, totally acceptable. I have been lucky in that I've only had to play the "I was drunk" card once, while many other people I know are constantly needing to justify their drunken actions.

This is where the "pet hate" part comes in. I have been told a thousand times by guys that they kissed a girl simply because they were drunk. And I've been told a million times by guys that they slept with a girl because they were drunk. Also, most of the guys who say this have also told me that they don't remember any of it the next day. I can't help but argue with these statements. I find that if you are so unbelievably drunk that you can't remember anything the next day, it means that at some point you "blacked out" and were, at the time, either unconscious somewhere or just unable to move or do anything for a while. There is no way you could "black out" while shoving your tongue down someone else's throat (or worse).

The best variation on The Drunk Excuse I have ever heard was when a guy I know slept with a girl one night, and when he explained himself the next day he simply said: "I came home drunk, and she was in my bed." That was it. I just think to myself: surely if you were that drunk, you weren't able to do anything. Surely you'd have issues doing certain fundamental things. 
Surely you'd just pass out on top of her. No, apparently there was nothing stopping you from having sex, despite you being "off your face" drunk.

I talked about this with a friend tonight, after hearing The Drunk Excuse yet again. She said: "being drunk isn't an excuse for what you did, but it's the reason you did it". This actually makes sense to me; there are some things we do when drunk that we would never do sober. But I always assume we never truly lose control of our actions; there is always that little voice, a tiny spark of awareness, in the back of our alcohol-drenched minds that tells us not to do certain things, or that what we are about to do is wrong. There is always a line.

After a devastating incident a few days ago, which I have blogged and tweeted about of course, and spent the past few days going over and over in my head and upsetting myself a little too much, I hadn't heard at all from the person involved. He is a repeat offender in my books, a serial drunk-dialer, and an avid abuser of The Drunk Excuse. I saw him again tonight, which I hadn't expected, and from the moment he walked into the room I wondered if he'd even bother explaining himself to me. I tried to keep a little script in my head, storing a few conversational gems to use if he spoke to me. At first he hid from me, and his friends approached me and told me so. Eventually he took me to one side saying: "I need to talk to you." I steeled myself, and waited for those famous words: "I was drunk". But instead, the first thing he said was "I'm really sorry". I was floored. I listened to him apologise, amazed and almost respectful for a few minutes... Then he ruined it: "I don't even remember what happened, I was so drunk!" I looked him straight in the eyes, suddenly filled with anger and disappointment, and said loudly: "don't use The Drunk Excuse".

I truly believe in the well-known phrase: "drunk words, sober thoughts." I'm currently debating whether or not I am a believer in the phrase: "drunk actions, sober intentions". x

Friday, 6 January 2012


Hi, my name's Gracie. My nail polish collection is the stuff of legend, I'm going to see McFly live in three months, I feel like I met the love of my life too soon, I can put both my legs behind my head, I've spent most of my teenage years in train stations, I am in love with Logan Huntzberger, if I see a couple indulging in excessive PDA I will always shout "get a room!", my Bucket List is five pages long, if a guy knocks out my nose stud it means he's done well, I wear Australian designer pyjamas, when I'm drunk I suddenly want to smoke, I would never do drugs, I want to be Zooey Deschanel, I am always a second choice, I think all guys look better with longer hair, I get really sad when the Christmas tree gets taken down, I have a "hat face", I've recently started to love drinking wine, you're very lucky if I give you a second chance, I need to stop going backwards, and I want this year to be totally different to the last one.

I do one of these posts every month. x


I was called into work last-minute yesterday. For anyone else, that would ruin their whole day and they could only take solace in the fact that they would be earning a few extra pennies. For me, however, my job is day well spent in a beautiful little boutique surrounded by gorgeous items, and my wages are just a nice little bonus. I spent the last few hours of the day looking after the shop while my boss rushed out to chase her deliveries and buy a few necessities. Before she left, she wanted to hear all the gossip in my life, particularly the gossip from Monday night; she knew I'd been going out to see my friends and hopefully bump into the guy I like, and I'd promised to keep her updated.

I told her, as I've only told a couple of close friends, exactly what happened; the promising night that was ruined in the last hour, the painful moment when I was proved wrong about everything, and the reason why I drove home in tears listening to "Jar Of Hearts" and singing along between sobs. Her jaw dropped and she shouted: "shut up!!!" She then spent fifteen minutes of her precious shopping time listening to me complain and giving me heartfelt advice. 
This is why I love my boss.

I then spent the evening sitting in her kitchen, eating way too much delicious food and drinking way too much wine, and bitching about the men in our lives. Well, for her, the men that used to be in her life. As we were talking, her lovely fianc
√© walked in the front door, just getting home from work. I sat there, wine glass in hand, and watched the betrothed couple catch up, talk about their respective days, and test their kitchen lights to see why they keep randomly switching off. I couldn't help but think: "yes, this is what I want. Someday".

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Solidarity, sister.

Advance warning: this is yet another Gilmore Girls-inspired blog post. However, it is based on my longstanding principles when it comes to protecting my friends. A friend of mine was once telling me about a girl he really liked who ended up breaking his heart over the summer (ahhh, summer lovin'), and when he was finished telling the story, I simply said: "bitch". And that was it; my opinion of this girl was forever changed. She was a bitch, and nothing anyone said to the contrary could change my mind.

I am fiercely protective of my friends, to the point that I will resort to bad language and violence in public. I once elbowed a girl on the back of her head at a gig, causing her to fall down and whack her face very satisfactorily on the stage, because she dumped my friend and used a quote from 'Twilight' as her reasoning. I viciously verbally abused a guy who cheated on my best friend. I kneed a guy in the balls round the back of McDonalds after he manipulated one of my favourite girls. Last night I had a conversation with my friend about "drop-kicking" her ex "so hard that his mother would feel it" (her words).

I realised a while ago that I get this sense of inhuman loyalty and protectiveness from my mum and her side of the family. I told my mum about "the incident" the other night, and she shouted "bastard!" Then later when I mentioned the heartbreaker's name again she simply said "tosser". I am also thrilled to see that my sister is picking up on our funny family trait; yesterday I picked her up from school in my car, playing some classic Taylor Swift a little too loud. She got in the car, and instantly said: "huh, 'Picture to Burn'... Who's upset you?"

Rory: "Ughh, I hate her!"
Lorelai: "I hate her too!"
Rory: "You don't know who I'm talking about."
Lorelai: "Solidarity, sister!"

Monday, 2 January 2012

The 'D' word.

"Destiny is for losers. It's just a lame excuse for letting things happen to you, instead of making them happen." - Blair Waldorf.

Despite the deep-seated wisdom of American television's favourite brunette, I really do believe in destiny. The word "destiny" sounds a little dramatic, so let's just say I believe that everything happens for a reason (except for the things you mess up by yourself, of course).

I believe that I was meant to meet everyone in my life, including those who have hurt me. I was meant to gain and lose certain friends, and I was meant to fall for those whom I have fallen for. If I see a penny on the pavement, I know it was there for me to find. If I bump into the same people more than twice, I feel like I am supposed to meet them. I take any opportunities presented to me simply because I feel I am meant to.

Last year when I didn't get a job I really wanted, everyone said to me: "you just weren't meant to get it at this time", and I didn't believe them - then a short while later the person they hired instead of me was sacked and I got offered the job on the spot. I happened to have the exact same timetable as my best friends' last year, and we all got the same trains to and from college. I happened to be sitting outside on the field one day for just a couple of minutes when a certain boy drove up on his motorbike.

"A person often meets their destiny on the road they took to avoid it." - Jean de la Fontaine.

Controversial opinion imminent: I believe that some people are meant to be together. I wouldn't use the 'S' word, because that seems a little extreme, but I definitely think some people were supposed to meet, supposed to fall in love, and are supposed to spend their lives together. Months ago, I was upset at first that a guy I liked had a new girlfriend. Then he told me their story, and I realised they were meant to be together (if not forever, at least for now). I have a similar person in my life, so I understand.

I do feel guilty sometimes, because the guy I may or may not be "seeing" at the moment is clearly meant to be with another girl, a girl I know in fact. However, she's with someone else right now and has made it very clear she doesn't care about the former of the two guys at all.  So, y'know...

"Well, he may not be my soulmate but, a girl's gotta eat!" - Phoebe Buffay.
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