Thursday, March 31, 2011

Day 31: End of an Era

Happy National Cleavage Day! I celebrated by belting out Gwen Stefani’s Hollaback Girl and Destiny’s Child on the way to uni. There’s nothing like a bit of Independent Women to kick start this feminist-friendly holiday.

So this is the last post! The end of a month-long quest to get me writing and to bore you all to death with anecdotes of broken noses, pathetically small jacket potatoes and constipation woes (still got it). You’ve learnt a lot about me. My annoying habits and mannerisms, the way I tend to write in lists that seem to go on and on, and the thing that my life revolves around… food.

It’s been a good month. Now it feels like the weeks just after summer finishes and everything’s about to go back to routine after a blissful, long holiday. In fact it’s the opposite. This easter, it’s our last family holiday and we’re bringing out the big guns. We’re stopping off in Vegas for a couple of days (not exactly crazy when you’re underage and with your parents, but it’ll still be wicked fun). Then we’re heading on down to the Grand Canyon for 10 days on a rafting trip! Told you it was great. I can’t wait and I’m ready to muck it. We’ll be showering in the river and digging up our own toilets - last time we did something like this, my little brother got Malaria (followed by a few others in my family too), and was given hours to live. Don’t worry, he survived, and it’s a great conversation starter!

We’re not exactly the luckiest of people with holidays. I mean, we’re lucky in the sense that we get the best opportunities for great holidays, but let’s just say I’m not the only klutz in the Byford bunch. Some classics include my dad’s backpack with all our tickets and money being nicked inside his hotel room in Egypt whilst he was in the room; lost luggage in Rome; dad and little brother breaking their legs in the same week skiing and many more disastrous memories. I hope someone accidently gets married on this one.

A massive thank you to all of you for following this blog. You are all lovely people, and I’ve had such great feedback from it. If I could send you all a bag of homemade brownies, and a thank you card like the one below, I would. Send me your address and I will actually do this by the way. Also, if you have any ideas for what my next challenge month should be, give me a shout!

Over and out.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Day 30: Restless

Today I failed my shorthand exam. I’ve never failed an exam before, but it felt almost… liberating (rich white girl problems doncha know). I think it’s probably the only exam that you have to get more than 90% just to pass, plus it’s written in a secret code language, so really we were almost set up to fail. But it was an alright first attempt and I’ve always got the retake to pass. I think about two people passed in my class so it’s no biggie.

I spent the rest of the day in bed watching millions of episodes of The O.C. with Tom, surrounded by an array of hot dogs, chocolate nests, pasta and donuts. A great pick me up after the miserable morning. I’m feeling so restless today. I want to go for a long bike ride but it’s raining outside and I’m too tired.

I think the cocktail of no sleep, eating way too much food for one person everyday, a mountain of stress and listening to Paramore has made me feel all reflective. Today I’ve been feeling nostalgic, looking up old best friends and thinking back to times where I felt like a different person. It’s weird, how times change. Uni was a big step for me. I feel a lot older and more independent, with more responsibilities and pressure to look to the future. 

My ‘looking to the future’ right now includes what clothes I want to buy for summer. I’m a bit of a sloppy dresser. I love fashion but I don’t have the funds or the effort to dress up in a spanking new outfit to wear to uni everyday. I mostly wear baggy jeans, a tshirt and no make-up, with my hair tied into a loose bun on top of my head. Glad to see someone’s making an effort these days. I sometimes envy the girls in my class who walk in looking fresh as a daisy, their hair perfectly curled, dressed in a shirt that wasn’t picked out the bottom of the washing pile. I make a secret promise to myself nearly everyday to make more of an effort, but it never happens. I don’t know what it is… laziness most likely. At uni, I am the tom boy. It baffles me because I was always a girly girl, but there we go, full of surprises I am. I wore a dress to uni the other day and I got a plateful of “You look so girly and cute Flora!” compliments. It felt nice.

At home it’s a whole different ball game. I dress in clothes that don’t make me look like I used to be double my weight, and I’ll slop on a bit of make up. I like a sleek, modern man so I should probably look the trophy wife too. 

I’m feeling this dress with a pair of off-white brogues and a lilac blazer to my afternoon tea dates at The Ritz this summer…

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Day 29: American Nightmare

My dreams have been crushed. Since visiting as a child, I’ve always wanted to move to America (more specifically, New York, but yanno…California would do too I guess). Not forever, but just for a few years, to escape little old England for a while. But today I found out that in order to work in the country, you must either be a citizen, marry a citizen, or have your future company spend $3,000 to sponsor you to work there. So basically, you would have to beat every single American for a job. It’s not looking likely is it?

New York is my favourite place in the world. It may not have great tea or chocolate, but don’t let that stop you. In a nutshell, it’s pretty much London, but everything is bigger. Taller buildings, brighter lights, triple the amount of restaurants and quadruple the portion sizes. It’s a kooky Hollywood, full of wannabe stars who have dreamt big, but ended up working in a diner. But that doesn’t knock them. New York is full of attitude. It’s got a buzz about it. Each section is completely different but equally mesmerising. It’s powerful, and it’s easy to get lost; you just need a head big enough to stay afloat.

It’s lucky then, that I wear a big hat size. Because that is wear I am heading. Or at least, where I wanted to head. In an ideal world, I would be working at a magazine company in New York; a high flyer, but not controlled entirely by my job. I would rent a tiny apartment which I would dress to the nines, and scrape every last drop of full fat cream from my pancake filled plate. In summer, I would go for morning jogs in Central Park, a protein smoothie in one hand, my Blackberry in the other. Winter nights would be spent in a small restaurant or bar, faces lit by the neon lights streaming through the front window. An idealistic life, but not one for the faint hearted.

New York is exhausting. The city that never sleeps in a bed of nauseating flashing lights, the wailing beeps from 24hr taxis and the hustle and bustle from angry, overworked people, struggling to get home. The city is overcrowded, over-ambitious and overwhelming. But if you can handle it, you’re in. You’re a part of it. Congratulations, you are a winner.

I wanted the cliché, the billionaire food, the high life. I wanted the chaos, the headache and the insomnia. Just for two years… one year even.

One day it will happen. I could be 50 years old, but it will happen. I’ve had a bite of the big apple, and now I want the whole pie.

p.s. Happy 9 months Tom!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Day 28: Airwaves

Today was all about radio radio radio. I woke up, finished writing my scripts, survived an assessed news day, did a few phone interviews, edited the audio files and sorted them all out. It was actually pretty fun, but I’m glad the stress is over.

I’d been dreading the phone interviews all day as they’re the most likely to go wrong. I lined one up with Pete Clifton, who is Head of Editorial Development and Multimedia Journalism at the BBC. Pretty daunting to say the least. My hands were shaking as I picked up the phone, and I sucked at my water bottle in desperation like a baby to its mother, but it turns out that I had nothing to worry about, he was a lovely man and the interview went really well. I ended up getting nearly eight minutes of usable footage when I only needed a 12 second clip. A success.

The second interview was a lot funnier. It was with one of my best friends Hamish about how he (kinda) lost his job through a Facebook status, but we ended up having a three way conversation with Tom for a good hour. A nice break from editing and staring at a screen all day.

The worst part of radio is the notorious issue of hearing yourself on tape over and over whilst editing. I sound like a little girl with nasal problems and a slight lisp. When I get nervous, I tend to mumble and talk really fast. I talk pretty fast anyway but this was really fast. I put my script into ESPN which said that it was supposed to take 1’10” to read and I ended up reading it in 40 seconds. Whoops. My mouth gets all dry too which makes my lisp more noticeable, then I get conscious of this fact and start tripping over every little word and you can hear the hysterical nerves in my crazed voice. Not good.

But I stuttered it out in the end and managed to turn out a package that was pass worthy. Feelth tho good man.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Day 27: Talent

Most of today has been spent in uni, working on my radio package - minus a few much need breaks watching The O.C. and eating orange chocolate sandwich bars.

Editing milliseconds of audio and transcribing it into a script gets tedious after a while, so me and Tom made our bored selves a competition to find the worst try-hard singers on YouTube. It wasn’t hard. We both went to the same account straight away - Ark Music Factory.

Ark Music Factory is the place where little girls’ dreams flourish and the rest of the population shrivels up and cries. Example - they gave birth to the lovable Rebecca Black. From my understanding, you pay around £2,000 to the record company who give your little darling a pre-written song to sing (with heavy help from the autotune) and make some horrific amateur music video which then gets posted on YouTube, and tada, she is the princess pop star she always wanted to be.

The problem is, most of these girls are way too young and none of them can sing. The record company realises this and gives them monotone songs about going to school, your first crush and being fed up of getting followed by the paparazzi… say what?

Amongst a bunch of drab, overly made up tweens we found this gem, the horrible little monster CJ: 


Saturday, March 26, 2011

Day 26: Myspace

Today, I went into uni to work on my social networking radio package and ended up logging into my old Myspace profile. I’m surprised I still remembered the login details, but there it was, sitting on the computer screen; a golden, embarrassing souvenir of my secondary school years glowing back at me. Everything about it was alien and just not me. If I’m being honest, I look a lot cooler than I actually am! Lots of comments from school friends and a few bands that would add young girls and comment all their pictures to get them to come to their gigs. It worked, and boy did we fall for their rockstar image (NB: it wasn’t run,WALK! hohoho). 

Looking through my profile, I dreaded reading all the fan girl, Sugar magazine worthy comments, with the overuse of the words lovelies and babe. I was the ultimate cliché tween. My ‘About Me’ and ‘Interests’ sections were littered with cheesy song lyrics and ‘deep’, meaningful prose, which made me look like the biggest tool in the bike shed.

The photos were all typical ‘myspace pics’. Dramatically posey and edited in black and white, because you know, it looks so professional and moody rock chick that way. Fixed smiles, silly poses and my two best friends glued to my hip. But compared with my Facebook account, I might look a little younger, but let’s be honest, not much has changed. My current Facebook picture is actually more posey than any on the ones posted on Myspace. What a tragedy.

I’m sure that in a few years time, I will look back on my Facebook and laugh with the same ashamed but sweetly nostalgic feeling as today. But I’ll be leaving the page up there in cyberspace. A timeline of my teenage years, frozen online forever for the world to see (gulp).

I just added Tom as a friend, and his page looks no better than mine, so that’s reassuring. A fan girl and an emo, what a pair.

If you want to add a few extra laughs to your day, add me on Myspace! (even the URL is desperately girly and punch-worthy, argh).

Friday, March 25, 2011

Day 25: Twinkle toes

Today we got free Wagamama noodles at uni! The queue was a mile long, but went fairly quickly and we ended up getting a good portion size of lush yasai yaki soba. We also got free Wagamama sauce and Tiger beers. Tidy. The lads behind us kept going on about how all vegetarians are “fucking gay” and how they can’t wait to see girls’ nipples in summer when they sweat through a white tshirt… (heads up, girls don’t tend to sweat excessively on their boobs, but it’s a plausible fantasy so props to them).

We did miss the discount Krispy Kreme stall, but it was all good because we had homemade flapjack and Tom got me a feast ice cream for pud.

Today I also had a one-on-one voice training class for broadcast. How showbiz it that?! I ended up just spending the time nattering away to the teacher about her marble effect nail varnish, rather than trying to help my mumbling and stuttering. But at least I’ll have nice nails (especially helpful for radio).

It seems to be getting more and more summery everyday, so I’ve been braving it with bare legs. Maybe a little too optimistic on the temperature front, but it does mean I get to hibernate the tights and crack out the fun socks underneath my shoes.

Thanks to my feet models Elspeth and Tom, and to Mark for helping take the photo! Turns out I have tiny narrow feet and baby wrists. Who woulda thought.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Day 24: Cakes

You are probably sick of me banging on about food, but today I came across this blog about cakes that look like other food. Weird but amazing. These are some of my favourites:





This one’s not food, but you can still eat it… (sorry mum)


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Day 23: Silence (but not so much)

Here’s a shocker for you: I’m not a fan of music.

I don’t have a favourite band, a favourite song or any musical influence that’s changed my life. I wish I had, but I don’t.

I’ve never been that much into music. Of course, when I was in primary school, I went through an S Club 7 crazed fan phase (I made posters of them, printing out little pictures of their faces and sticking them onto A3 card; me and my best friend also reduced to handing out ‘bring Paul back’ leaflets when he quit the band. Devastating.) But it was more about their celebrity status and how cool they were as opposed to the actual music. Never in my life have I ever been involved in music. 

I don’t hate music, it’s just not a big part of my life. I like it as background noise, but nothing really more than that, and I’m just as happy in silence. I own an ipod and listen to it everyday on the cycle to uni and when I’m trekking my way through the shorthand textbook, but it’s just a way to pass some time. 

I stayed up till around 3.30 last night discussing it with Tom and we came up with a pretty good analogy. To me, music is like religion. I appreciate and acknowledge its importance to people and how it can define a person’s life; there are thousands of converters trying to influence others, and the words are symbiotic - they can be read in many different ways. I would be agnostic or indifferent in this scenario. I like the idea of it and want to believe, but it’s just not relating to me.

Some people get angry and defensive when I tell them this and get all self-righteous on me: “Perhaps you’ll one day listen to a song that will change your mind.” Maybe. I hope so, but that day hasn’t come yet, and I’ll be okay if it never does. I’m not dissing the talent, creativity and worth of music, it’s just not a big deal to me.

I guess there’s something wrong with my ears.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Day 22: America

Tom came home at 3am last night. What a fresher.

It’s lovely to have him back and he got me some American chocolate goodies, including hot fudge sundae pop tarts and white chocolate with ants inside! The boy knows me well. The pop tarts taste like rainbows and every sugary food you can think of exploding like fireworks inside of your mouth. If Willy Wonka was real, he would’ve invented this beast of a treat. They are probably the most unhealthy food in the world, but also an insane invention. I do feel a bit sick though.

I went to the gym again today. I’m slowly getting better at it and have now mastered the dreaded plank without my arms shaking a leaf. Afterwards, I had to walk around uni in these brilliant bright bottle green gym shorts and white trainers which made me feel a bit like a california gym bunny, especially in the bright sunshine.

In other news, I have become obsessed with cereal. I latch onto different foods really easily and don’t let them go for about two or three weeks (alright clingy). I’ve just got over trail mix, I’m in the middle of a soya roll frenzy and cereal is my latest addiction. At least they’re all relatively healthy-ish! 

I cycled to Sainsburys which is pretty far from my house, just to buy some more own brand yogurt and raspberry clusters, and two really small boxes of fruit and nut muesli. I was going to get some golden nuggets too but I couldn’t cycle them home. Maybe next time.

My life revolves around food.