Safe Journey Home

“Next waiting”.

I scuttled up to the border control desk, patted my passport and boarding pass down on the desk and looked up. “How was your time in Australia, darl?” uttered the Aussie-as-they-come teller. “Great, thanks” I replied, choking slightly on my words; the goodbye behind the departure doors still freshly forming that wrenching lump in my throat that I knew all too well. Bleary eyed and puffy as a Pokemon, I looked up and caught Aussie-as-they-come teller’s eye. “Safe journey home, miss”, he muttered, donning a slightly crooked grin on his face that sort of said ‘enjoy the 24 hour flight to freezing winter’.

Home. Safe journey home. As I picked up my maroon passport with those lions so dear to my heart plastered across the cover, I retreated. Home? What a fool that man was. I live here now. And then I realised. No I don’t. There it was staring me in the face. I’m leaving my ‘home’, to go ‘home’ (the somewhat obnoxious inverted commas being the operative and soul defining punctuation in that sentence). Here I was patting myself on the back for making a life for myself on the other side of the world, feeling excitement – albeit sewn with sorrow – to be heading back to the UK for Christmas. I’ve got two homes now – the words I’d been foolishly serenading my days with. It wasn’t until Aussie-as-they-come teller wished me a safe journey home, that I felt like I’d stripped myself of a home. Suddenly neither place felt like the ‘h’ word, and it made me wonder – what makes a place a home?

With the woman to whom I owe my entire existence, my Mum, on one side of the world, and the person I love on the other, I found myself literally torn between two places. Don’t get me wrong, it’s hardly the first time I’ve felt torn. This was inevitable, and a somewhat familiar feeling – but never before like this. My solid allegiance to my home country of England had always reigned strong in these situations. Sure, Melbourne was fine, but it’s not home. But when you’ve been in a place with a person you love for so many months, you create a routine, a day-to-day existence, and a soft spot for the things that make it what it is. Every step closer to comfort in that place, takes away from the comfort of the old place. And so I’m asking, can you call two places home, or does every extra ounce of love for one unstitch a part of your love for the other? You feel like you’re cheating on one of the places by missing the other, yet we can’t go about our lives longing for another place, either. How do we juggle a love of two homes? Is it two homes, or are we actually a wanderer, seeking validation and confirmation of one decision?

A sombre thought to ponder, fellow nomads. I apologise. Upbeat and humorous sequel to this post to follow. Promise. Spoiler alert – I’m going to review an American reality show that I found called Dating Naked. (Don’t panic. It’s clean.)

Love always,

Coco xx

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22 things your English friends say when you live in Australia

Okay, so while I’ve taken somewhat of an absence from the blogosphere lately – attributed to being flat out bashing my fingers against the keypad working on other projects, and basking in the Aussie sun (more on that later) – it’s generally common knowledge that I’m living in Melbourne at the moment. Living in a country with such a globally misunderstood reputation has allowed me to notice a few, er, let’s say patterns in the things my friends and family back in England say to me about being here, so today, I’m setting the record straight. Don’t get me wrong, obviously I’m utterly elated that my pals are even communicating with me from 11,000 miles away and haven’t forgotten the essence of my existence since I left 7 months ago – but some of these perceptions of this country need clearing up once and for all!

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So, what even is the time there? Is it like, the middle of the night? I just can’t get my head around it!

It’s 11 hours ahead, just like last time you asked. You know that smartphone that you’re glued to? It has a world clock. Try that. 

Wow, you must be soo tanned!

Nope. Not really. I actually have a job and a house that are inside. I’m not just cruising around Byron Bay in baggy trousers and a crop top in a knot.

Have you got an accent yet?!

….Maybe 😳

Are you going to come back and keep saying BONZA?

Nope. Nobody says that. 

What’s a ‘cool change’?!

This weird thing when the hot weather stops for a day or two to allow you to breathe again. You’re outside and its 35 degrees, then suddenly a huge gust of cold wind comes and the temperature plummets 10 degrees in about 6 minutes. 

Wow, you must be ‘throwing shrimp on the barbie’ for dinner every night, right?

Again, nope. Funnily enough there are calories here too. And ovens. And normal food that isn’t barbecued. 

What do you mean it’s raining?

Yep. It rains here. Imagine that. 

Hahahaha, you said #winter the other day on Instagram. Their winter is like our UK summer though, isn’t it?

NO. I’m in Melbourne, it’s 8 degrees and raining, and I’ve just bought a coat and scarf. 

What does 40 degrees feel like?!

Imagine 30 degrees. But a third hotter. Bingo.

But there’s air con everywhere right?

Ask Metro trains what they think about that statement. 

Work? I thought Aussies just chilled on the beach all day.

Yeah and rent is paid for by the state. Not. 

*I’m going to Adelaide* Where’s that? Near Sydney?

Not quite. Imagine the entire length of the UK. Double that. That’s how far from Sydney that is. 

What’s a suburb?! Like Hammersmith or Clapham?

No. Not really.

How often do you eat kangaroo?

About as often as you eat cat. 

So are there spiders like EVERYWHERE?

There are no spiders here. 

Do you feel like you’re in the Inbetweeners movie?

None of my friends work in nightclubs and I’m not frequenting Surfers Paradise with a backpack so again, no. 

Have you been bitten by a spider?!

No, haven’t done that either. 

Are there snakes in your back garden?

No, I do not live in the outback.

Are there kangaroos fighting as soon as you open your front door?

Afraid not.

Do you feel like you’re on neighbours?

Occasionally. And no, I have not been to the Ramsay St set and I do not intend to.

Does McDonalds taste different?

Unlike Europe, it actually doesn’t!

I bet you don’t miss England at all!

ACTUALLY I SO TOTALLY DO! I MISS SAINSBURY’S, I MISS TESCO, I MISS THE BANK NOTES, I MISS THINGS BEING OPEN LATE, I MISS THE TUBE, I MISS MY OYSTER CARD, I MISS STARBUCKS NOT TASTING LIKE DIRT, YES I DO MISS ENGLAND! 

Thoughts after my first week as an Aussie

Hello world. This post is coming from you live from Melbourne, which for the time being, is the place I call home. While I like it here, and love exploring all that this glorious country has to offer, its a well known fact that I am a complete amalgamation of everything British. I’m known to break into chants of “I’m England ’til I die”, or God Save the Queen at random intervals, defend our awful weather and annoyingly pick apart any accent that isn’t that of the Queen’s English. Its for these reasons that its hard for me to adjust to a new country, so here are some of my thoughts after my first week as an Aussie resident, some good and some bad!

1. The prevalence of avocados on restaurant menus is DELIGHTFUL. Smashed, sliced, coupled with perfectly crisped bacon…you name it, its there.

2. People are kind of rude. Restaurant staff in particular. Conversations aren’t modelled on the standard British “sorry, hi, yes, please thank you sorry, thanks, cheers, see ya, yeah cheers bye”, and its quite unsettling.

3. 29 degrees is apparently the appropriate weather for donning head to toe fleece.

4. Every single road is like driving on the M25 (even in the suburbs the roads have a billion lanes).

5. There are actually ample bins. Its not like London where any sort of rubbish disposal is considered catnip for terrorists. I can dispose of my litter in peace.

6. Trains seem to come when they damn well please.

7. Coffee. Coffee coffee coffee. Great coffee everywhere. Even at McDonalds.

8. There’s a genuine place called Waffee. Waffles and Coffee. Enough said.

9. Frozen coke. Frozen fanta. Frozen sour watermelon. Slurpees. FROZEN ERRYTHANG.

10. They haven’t yet grasped the concept of free cash withdrawals. $2.50 charge for using an ATM that isn’t owned by your bank. SAY WHAT?

11. People repeatedly tell you that Melbourne has unpredictable weather and that you can have all four seasons in one day. I’m from the UK. I am fully used to unsteady climates. I don’t need it to be explained to me.

12. TV advertising is hysterically cringeworthy.

13. Nobody says “pay with card”. Its apparently Eftpos (some sort of unnecessary acronym)

14. Any word that can be shortened, is shortened.

15. The prices of stuff is messed up. A McFlurry costs $5 (about £2.75). Yet a McDonalds ice cream cone (with almost the same amount of ice cream) is 50 cents (30p). WHAT?

16. The fast food monarch we call Burger King has been replaced with a young boy named Jack who requires food. Burger King = Hungry Jack’s (no idea why)

17. The food at Starbucks is far better than the UK. No stale blueberry muffins or dry panini in sight

18. Ive spent a fortune on water. I drink bottled water a lot, and here they cost about $3.30. I miss my 40p Evian from Sainsbury’s.

19. THEY STILL HAVE CADBURY DREAM. That white chocolate that was discontinued for sale in the UK when we were about 12. IT LIVES ON.

20. Everything. Is. Massive. Forget your regular sized shampoo bottle at about 250-400ml. No no no. EVERYTHING IS HUGE AND HAS A PUMPY LID. Litres and litres of toiletries line my shower now.

So those are my initial observations upon spending my first week as an Aussie. More musings to follow….

Ciao x

Reviewed: Hesperia Hotel Lanzarote

Oh wow, a whole month has passed since I last blogged. Where has time gone! I’ve been super busy, and yes, boyfriend finally arrived from Australia, so I’ve got blog post ideas coming out of my ears from the time I’ve missed!

Last week we got back from a week in Lanzarote in the Canary Islands, and I just had to review the hotel we went to. I’ve actually been here before, would you believe it, FOUR years ago with a friend, but we went in January (the Canaries are hot all year round, so its perfect for winter sun ideas, FYI!) – the vibe was definitely different in July, but we’ll get to that.

Anyway, we went for 5 nights (not a whole week sadly, but I had to comply with my work rotas), but it was the perfect little break. I came back feeling totally relaxed and inevitably disgusted at the slap in the face we call reality. But still, even though I was back at work, I was doing so all bronzed and sunkissed, and we all know that anything you do – ANYTHING – is better with a tan, right?!

LOCATION
So, the hotel. Hesperia Lanzarote. Its a 5* property and its located in Puerto Calero, the cutest little marina town just set aside from the main bustle of Puerto Del Carmen, which is one of the main resorts. It really makes a difference to be in such a secluded spot. It was so peaceful all the time, and the hotel is just a 5-10 minute walk to the marina area, where there are loads of really good restaurants and bars, and a supermarket and pharmacy. There is also a selection of elite shops, like Ralph Lauren, Hugo Boss and Lacoste. The entire atmosphere is just divine.

POOL
The island is volcanic, so the majority of beaches are laiden with jet black sand (the ones that aren’t are artificial), so always pick a hotel with a good pool offering, as you’ll end up doing most of your tanning here! The Hesperia certainly offers that, with 5 pools set among rocks and bridges, with a variety of islands and pool bars to swim around. Its a real wow factor pool area, to say the least.

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Don’t get me wrong, the hotel was A LOT busier than in January when we previously visited, which is to be expected, but there was never an issue getting sun loungers, or the daily fight to place your towel before breakfast, which quite frankly makes me nauseous, and such behaviour belongs in Benidorm, if you ask me! The entire pool area, around all the pools is really open, and so there isn’t a prime spot to fight for. Anywhere you choose gets the sun all day, generally, so its a really nice and relaxed approach.

THE ROOM
When we checked in, around noon, (as our 7am flight from London Stansted had got in to Arricife at around 11.15) our room wasn’t quite ready, so we were told to wait until around three. We were given cards to collect towels from the pool lifeguard, and shown where we could change our clothes. I won’t lie, I was a little dissapointed that the room wasn’t ready, but I hadn’t gotten around to emailing ahead to let them know we would be arriving early, and I’m not a frequent summer traveller – I usually go at quieter times, and love winter sun trips, so I’m often used to hotels being empty and my room being ready immediately, so I really couldn’t complain. Around 2.30 we went back to the desk to ask if our room was ready, and it was (hurrah!), and my my my, it was definitely worth the wait. Our bags were carried to our room for us, and we had been upgraded to a pool view room, and were given a south facing balcony which got all the best afternoon and early evening sun. Our room was packed with upgraded amenities, like robes and slippers and toiletries, but the location was really the best part. We had been in our room all of 10 minutes, when we received a call from the Guest Relations Manager welcoming us to the hotel. About 10 more minutes passed, I was sunning myself on the balcony taking it all in, recovering from the 2am start we had earlier that day, when there was a knock at the door. A waiter was standing there with a platter of olives and mini breads with various toppings. He passed it to me, and left. I was baffled to say the least, assuming it was a mistake, until I saw a handwritten note from the Guest Relations Manager informing us that the platter was in fact for us as a welcome gift! The service really was impeccable.

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FOOD
We took the Bed and Breakfast board option at the hotel as I knew the great range of restaurants nearby, though it appeared that the majority of other residents had booked All Inclusive. The breakfast was absolutely fantastic. I knew it would be, as it was last time, but there really was everything you could possibly imagine. Every type of cheese, bread, yoghurt, bacon, sausages, pastries, juices, teas, and fruit. The chefs were cooking eggs to your liking in front of you, and a the other end of the buffet was a pancake bar, also serving omelettes and grilled sandwiches. The only thing we could fault was that upon arrival you were seated by the host, and then another member of staff came to take your tea and coffee order. The first three mornings this ran smoothly, though on the last two mornings, we were completely ignored, and it seemed as though everyone around us was being offered hot drinks except us. Very minor moan, but quite annoying! Other than this, we couldn’t fault anything about the breakfast offering. It really exudes 5* quality. You can certainly set a 5* apart from a 4* based on breakfast, and this lives up to expectations.

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Though we never got around to eating there, we heard very good things about the evening buffet dinner, where you could have various cuts of fresh meat all cooked to your liking by the chef at the open grill, and there were two other a la carte restaurants to dine at, but were very strict on booking times. If I’m honest, I found the staff at the El Risco restaurant to be quite rude upon our enquiry as to whether they had available slots one evening. It was 9.30pm, so I had expected it not to be peak time and that perhaps there would be a table, but we were abruptly informed that they only take four tables per half an hour. Instead, we got room service. This was just one evening that we had lost track of time and couldn’t muster the energy to walk to the marina, and we were also quite full, so just wanted something small. The room service was disappointing. The menu seemed quite limited, though does say if there is something else you would like, we will try our best to provide it. With that, we called and ordered a pasta carbonara, and a delhi sandwich. The pasta had four options of which style of pasta, and four sauce options. We selected tagliatelle and carbonara, but were phoned back later to say they only had penne, which wasn’t a big deal, it just seemed odd. The sandwich was listed as containing pork, but on the phone I had asked for chicken instead, but the lady seemed baffled and acted as though I had asked for unicorn meat instead, so we held out no hope. When it arrived, it was okay, but nothing exciting. On another occasion we ordered the chocolate fondant, which came cold and hard, so I went to reception and asked for a new one, which was slightly better, but still average. We also ordered beer, which came in glass bottles with no bottle opener, so we had to go and get those opened as well. In sum, the restaurants are great, but avoid room service!

LOCAL AREA
We tried a few restaurants in the local area of the marina. The Mexican restaurant was amazing – we had nachos and shared fajitas and enchiladas. It was full of flavour and really really tasty. We also had steak at Cafe Milla, which was really good, and we had pan friend chorizo for a starter. Delicious. Azure does great mains and snacks – we had coffee here on our first day, and a couple of milkshake runs throughout the week! (yes I have a weakness for shakes!). La Papardella served nice Italian food, though don’t be put off by the fact they insist on showing photos of the food on the menu. We had a tomato, mozzarella and avocado salad, followed by fresh pastas, and they were surprisingly good. Bad first impression, but good food and lovely staff. We became named the “Kangaroo Couple” upon our waiter seeing my boyfriend had an Australian bank card! We met friends who were also on holiday on the island at Buda Bar for cocktails, which is a cool chill out bar with sofas outside on the marina. Great Mojitos and Pinacoladas!

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All in all, it was a great holiday, made better by this amazing hotel. Despite a few tiny niggles, and the worst and slowest check in experience ever, its still one of my favourite hotels I’ve ever visited, and will definitely be going back as soon as I can!

23 Truths About Owning an iPhone

Evening all. This week I’ve fallen victim to a few iPhone fails. Yes, I cracked my screen, broke my charger and splashed water on it while texting in the tub. Basically the Apple hatrick. It made me realise that there are a few, well, facts of life that become apparent when you join team iPhone, that I just had to share some of mine! I’m sure you’ll all agree!
  1. Your favourite bars, restaurants and cafés are no longer ranked on the quality of food or value for money. More on the vastness of their available plug sockets (can we get an Amen for starbucks)
  2. The term 1% can mean anything from “this is the end” to “chill bro, you’ve got half a day’s battery left”
  3. There is no greater feeling of triumph than when you drop your iPhone in such a manor that you are expecting it to be smashed to pieces when you see it landed face down, only to realise it has made it through yet another near fatal experience.
  4. You then brand your blessed iphone, INDESTRUCTABLE, and tell everyone you know.
  5. Your iphone then, one sad day, falls victim to one of your losses of grip, shatters a dramatic pattern in both the screen, and lets face it your heart too, which is usually followed by angry slurs at how brittle and fragile the iphones are. Yes. We’re talking about the same indestructible iPhone you raved about last week.
  6. The torch app you installed years ago is actually useless, as the toolbar has its own built in torch.
  7. You have a distinct feeling of attachment to the Paper Toss and Beer Drinking apps that were downloaded on your first iPhone. You’d rather delete photographs of your wedding day than these classic bad boys.
  8. You will never truly know what the mysterious 4GB of “other” is cluttering up your 16GB iphone. Nor why the total capacity isn’t, never was, and never ever will be, the full 16GB.
  9. Upon realising this, you vow that next time you will get the 32GB or 64GB. Trust me. You wont.
  10. The touch ID on your iPhone 5s NEVER works when you’re trying to dazzle your non-iphone-owning friends.
  11. The same can be said for Siri
  12. If you haven’t already, the day will come when you will swallow your pride, skuttle up to a waiter in a restaurant, and beg and plead that a member of staff has an iphone charger you can borrow.
  13. The aforementioned waiter and fellow staff will usually say yes, and give you a look tailored only for this moment, which encompasses sheer compassion and sympathy at the fact you’re out of battery and can no longer operate your pressing schedule of Snapchat, Instagram and Candy Crush Saga on the tube home.
  14. You can tell what kind of person someone is by whether they use folders for apps or just leave it scattered across the home screen.
  15. You will have, at some point, somehow taken a screen shot of absolutely nothing, and to this day have no idea how it happened.
  16. When someone tells you their battery life is awful, you just can’t take them seriously unless they answer yes to the “ah but do you close down all your apps by double clicking the home screen? Question. If they don’t, then quite frankly, they deserve it.
  17. You will forever wonder why you can’t just say haha, without the daily battle of it saying gaga.
  18. Similarly, if something is hilarious once, and constitutes a capital HAHAHAHAHA, you are committing to being stuck with the OTT expression of laughter for the rest of your life, thanks to autocorrect changing every “haha” to that one.
  19. You have never. Ever. Wanted to say Ducking, and quite frankly cant even believe it’s a word
  20. You can never be allowed to say the word “Yo”. It will always be changed to “up” or “to”
  21. You spend your life explaining to non-iPhone users what you actually meant when you said ducking, gaga, Sanjeev, shut, and various other assumptions that autocorrect makes on your vocabulary choices.
  22. There are no words to describe the frustration you feel when your message alert goes off, but all you get is an obnoxious blue dot next to YOUR OWN MESSAGE. What the hell is that about?!
  23. Despite all this, you are iPhone ‘til you die, and would never, ever consider switching. United we stand, iPhone owners. Together, we can survive a life of bad battery life, smashed screens, and an infinite future of autocorrect fails. WE LOVE YOU APPLE.

Abs-olutely Fabulous! 30 Day Abs Challenge!

Happy Wednesday, blogosphere. Its an overcast day in London and I’m having a mini panic attack that the British Summer has actually been and gone already. But, with the weather, I am ever the optimist. It will be back!

Anyway, on Monday I stumbled across a little event page on Facebook called 30 Day Abs Challenge. Some of you may remember the 30 Day Squat Challenge that went viral a couple of years ago, but I’m not too ashamed to admit that after day 4, I struggled to sit down on my desk chair without wincing in pain, so, I gave up, and concluded I would continue exercising my leg muscles by running down the four flights of stairs in my building to greet the pizza guy. Or China man….or any other food bearing guest, for that matter. To anyone who succeeded, I salute you. The Abs Challenge works in a similar way, by starting very very small, to the point that even I can just about muster the energy to get through the first few days, but gradually builds up, so that by the end you are in triple figures of each of the exercises.

The Facebook event is set to start on June 1st, so we can all do it together, and be bikini ready by July, but I have started a tiny bit early, as the bf gets back in to London on July 1st, so I hardly want to be bed-ridden with muscle aches, being put to shame by a 90 year old’s fitness level as I crawl around my flat. Starting now will give me a few days to recover! That is, if I actually make it to the end, and without being negative, if the Squat Challenge is anything to go by, I’ll be sprawled out on the sofa eating a cheeseburger before week 1 is out. But, its worth a shot. And I want you all to do it with me!

Here’s how it works:

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I’ll be posting regular updates on how I’m coping! Day 1 was yesterday, and it was fine, but I am not being naiive. I’m anticipating suicidal thoughts will commence around day 7, when the plank reaches 30 seconds. It will be interesting to see how gradually increasing the targets helps you improve though. My plank currently resembles an elephant trying to sit down. You know, that bit before they collapse in a heap, when they’re sort of teetering on the edge of sitting/standing… that part, thats me!

I’m commencing day 2’s exercises shortly…wish me luck!

Coco xx

 

22 Harsh Realities of Rediscovering Your Bebo Page

Well, its Sunday night, but, its the best of Sunday nights, because its a public holiday tomorrow, so no work (hurrah!). This post is coming to you live from my bed, where I am currently nestled doing a terrible job of not smearing Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food ice cream all over my clean white bed sheets. Cry. Anyway, a week or so ago I stumbled on an embarrassingly hysterical time capsule of my mid teens, in the form of my Bebo page, and there were some eye-opening features that, I think, perfectly sum up how our generation (the golden generation!) shaped the beginnings of the social media era! Forget Facebook, Tumblr, SnapChat, Whatsapp and Instagram, this my friends is where it all began. Well, this and MySpace. Here’s 22 things that come flooding back to you when seeing your Bebo page after approximately 7 years. And yes, the pics are ALL from my own Bebo page. Just because I love to voluntarily humiliate myself.

Enjoy!

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1. An argument with your friend resulted in an instant rethink of the order of your friends on your page

2. The other half of me was pretty much the greatest honour you could be given

3. You remember the day when the share the love count went up to 3 per day and your sluttiness tripled. And on that day you were most probably at home, on your gigantic desktop PC, grooving along to the dialup internet tone, shouting at your mum to get off the pissing landline. *You may be intrigued to know that since we all migrated to Facebook, the “luv” count has increased to five per day!

4. You picked a cool indie song to play out when someone goes on your profile, to accurately reflect your amazing taste in music and emotional depth and complexity. I believe mine was Plain White Tees – Let Me Take You There.

5. Your profile had something like this on it, which was cleverly designed to appear as though you were filling in essential information, while subtly further enhancing your level or perceived “alternativeness” that was outlined by the aforementioned theme tune to your profile.

[x]..Celebrates on-9th june..[x]

[x]..Found in- My own lil world!. .[x]

[x]..Brushes- Redish Brownish hair!..[x]

[x]..Crys behind- Brown eyes..[x]

[x]..Stands at- 5ft 7..[x]

[x]..Walks in- Size 6..[x]

[x]..Hates- Goodbyes…[x]

[x]..Loves- shopping&WESTLIFE..[x]

[x]..Misses- France[x]

[x]..Hides- Emotion..[x]

6. YoU wRoTe YoUr EnTiRe PrOfIlE lIkE tHis. Because, well, why wouldn’t you

7. Everything started with xXx…xXx or xoxo (see my above display name for full details)

8. You created a quiz about yourself and judged your friends by how well they scored, and had subsequent arguements about their response to questions like “Who’s sexier? Johnny Depp or Orlando Bloom”.

9. You then created a quiz about the aforementioned fitties, just to make sure your pals were as prepared for your imminent relationship as you were.

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10. You copied these smilies from some smart arse’s “notes” section.

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11. Profile pictures depict the era known as BI (Before Instagram), and followed the below criteria:

  • A black and white/sepia effect on your camera was used
  • Taken of yourself with your arm showing (the art that has now become known as the selfie. Don’t you noughties kids go thinking you invented this. We’ve been pulling this shit for years)
  • Preferably looking away from camera, occasionally using wind created by your hair dryer, because it was clearly plausible that you had a modelling career at one point or another
  • Often with a caption like “wtf am i doing lol XD”, so you don’t seem conceited, despite being 100% sure you look fit as

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12. You changed your profile “skin” almost daily

13. You replaced one of your info sections with a touching tribute to how much you “luv ur gurlz”

14. Your “happiest when” box most likely said something to this effect: “txtin m8s, lolin’ prank calls, wid ma gurls x, shoppin, ltm…” LTM meant listening to music. In case you had forgotten!

15. You find you wrote ‘scribble back’ or ‘wb’ after each wall post, because there was absolutely no shame in seeming keen back then

16. You explicitly wrote private jokes about your “crush” on your friend’s page, hoping he’ll see. Or better still, in a foreign language, because after a B grade GCSE you were obviously fluent. You left a highly crackable code for everyone to understand.

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17. On your friends’ whiteboards were drawings of phallic objects, because you were so 100% sexually experienced at age 13. Obviously.

18. You created a photo album of your friends with their profile pictures in it. Probably entitled “Girlies”. You would also have an album called something like “Moi”, “Piccys of meeeeee”….or similar…written in extremely coherent “text speak”.

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19. Your square of 16 top friends featured a few ‘arrow’ photos pointing to certain people, with delightful sentiments like “Luv dis gal” or “My fit boi xx”

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20. You wrote “shopping lol xx XD” under ‘sports’

21. You had a countdown timer to something significant in your life. Like Christmas Day, or the end of your tense and incredibly challenging SAT exams.

22. You were only cute and cool if your page was plastered with abstract artwork like this:

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♥«´¨`•°x emma x°•´¨`»♥ ¸.•*

(¸.•*´♥`*•.¸)`*•.♥

or this:

——ρυτ——————-τнιѕ———— ——σи————— ——уσυя————- ——ραgє————- ——–ιƒ————- ——-yσυ————- ——τнιиκ———— ——ℓιиκιи-ραяκ—— ———яσςκ———-

22. You friendship group gradually migrated to Facebook. Some didn’t make the transition as well as others…

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…And then when you finally all caught on to facebook, you changed your bebo profile to say something to this effect:

“Dnt rly use Bebo nemre, tis shit, fb me xoxo”

(I haven’t named and shamed the friend who posted that message to me on 21/06/2008. I’m wondering if he knows who he is!)

So, there we go. While being intensely cringe worthy, its also a hilarious trip down memory lane. Unfortunately, the Bebo site itself has been disabled, but all links to profiles are still active, you just need to remember your screen name to be able to search it on Google. Helpful hint – it probably has xx_sexi_xx in it somewhere!

Night all,

Coco

Chinese Dumplings Cook Off From One Side of the World to the Other

Now, I don’t know about you, but I am absolutely obsessed with oriental food. Moving from my small home town to the bright lights of London, one of the first things I learned was, there’s more to life than Wagamama. London is packed with loads of authentic chinese and japanese restaurants that are much better than main stream chains, and my go-to choice of entrees are ALWAYS dumplings. Or gyoza, for the intellectual linguists amongst us. When I was in Australia, the suburbs are actually packed with restaurants specialising in dumplings, so I was in food heaven! Only problem is, I’ve been harbouring a severe allergy to shellfish, which eliminates a high proportion of restaurants, as they don’t offer plain chicken, beef or pork on their own. After finally tracking down some plainer ones, my boyfriend and I vowed that we would learn to master them at home ourselves. We decided we would make them together over Skype, in the evening his time (which was sadly 10.30am for me, but by the time we had finished it was like an early lunch). They actually turned out really well, and they’re super easy to make, really cheap, and actually pretty healthy (about 30-40 calories per dumpling, depending on fillings). A great treat for a down day!

Anyway, I snapped some pics of our progress, and how they turned out! Thought I would share it with everyone! I based mine on an online recipe for help with the dough, but the filling and cooking was all our own!

1. Create the dough (yes, we made this from scratch!). Its simply plain flour and water. I used 140g of flour and 150ml of very very hot water. This dough makes enough for about 15 dumplings. Mix the two together in a bowl until it makes a ball of dough.

2. Kneed the dough for about 6-8 minutes until its smooth and stretchy.

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3. Put in a bowl and cover with a damp cloth and leave while you make your fillings. (I’m unsure exactly what this is for, but a few recipes I had looked at online told me to do it, so I did.)

4. Chop up chives, four spring onions, two chilli peppers, two cloves of garlic, and one chicken breast into the smallest pieces you can. If you have a food processor, mince it and mix it together. I pre-cooked my chicken, but the bf used his raw. Neither of us died so its up to you. I’m just a serious raw chicken germophobe, so I pre-cooked mine. Just remember to make sure its cooked through at the final stage, particularly if you’ve used raw chicken. You’ll need to cook them a little longer if you have.

5. With your mixed up filling, add a bit of soy sauce (as much as you feel you need to get the ingredients to stick together), and some chilli oil if you like it spicy.

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6. Take out your dough, and roll it into a long, thin sausage shape, about the circumference or your thumb and forefinger when you make a circle. Cut the sausage shape into equal pieces. Usually about 15.

7. Roll each one into a circle shape, put a bit of filling in the middle (only a little bit – you don’t want to over stuff them), and fold the dough over like a pasty. Dab water onto the edges to make them stick, and press together with your fingers to make the edges flat. It looks a bit like the back of a stegosaurus.

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8. Once you’ve used all your dough and filling (the above proportions should make it just about exact), you can either fry or steam your dumplings. For frying, use a shallow pan, heat some oil until its hot, and place the dumpling in. Let it sizzle in the oil (use more chilli oil for more flavour if you like), and flip it onto both sides until they brown off. (Leave them for longer if you’re waiting for the chicken inside to cook). Also try and get the base side to flatten and let it stand up like that for a while too. For steaming, I tried various options as I didn’t have my steamer here with me, but the easiest and most effective method was just plop the dumplings into a pan of boiling water and leave for a few minutes until the dough becomes, somewhat, chewy. You’ll be able to tell by watching the colour and texture change. Remove with a draining spoon and serve!

9. For dipping sauce, use either soy sauce on its own, or add chilli oil or fresh chillies, and some chinese rice wine/vinegar. Serve as an entree, or on a bed of egg/chicken fried rice as a main course!

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Easy and SO delicious!

Have a great bank holiday weekend, all!

Love always

Coco xx

Bond Girl

Hey guys, hope everybody is enjoying the sunshine as much as I am! Life is just that little bit brighter when the sun is shining. The endless summer evenings make the days seem far longer, rather than waking up in darkness and leaving work in darkness, trudging home losing yourself in the sofa cushions until the end of time, aka the British winter.

Today I am hounding you with yet another plug of an Aussie brand that I fell in love with, called BONDS (and I expect you’re now nodding your head as you now understand the pun embedded in the title of this post). I was introduced to it for the first time when I saw the name sprawled across the waistline of my boyfriend’s boxers, and concluded that it was the laid back, Aussie surfer equivalent of having Calvin Klein peeping out the back of your jeans, rather than an advert for Australia’s investment yield prospects (the finance geeks reading this will appreciate). This was until my visit to Australia, when I spotted an entire store filled with underwear, sleepwear and sportswear, for men AND women. It has a Nike/Sweaty Betty/Victoria’s Secret Sports feel to it, and has uplifting summer prints and bright colours available, as well as more plain options. Cool workout gear is hot for 2014, and this brand is packed with ideas. I grabbed a bra (with the bonds logo not-so-subtly plastered around the underbust, an adorable palm print bandeau also sporting the logo, and some grey sweatpants that are so comfy I have had to actually talk myself into letting them go in the wash as I’ve been living in them. I’m already having withdrawals.

Anyway, as always, I’ve chosen some of my favourite bits from the site, and even better, they now deliver to the UK, AND its free deliver over $100AUD (thats only about £50, so go nuts!).

1. Wide waistband jungle line print briefs, $17.95AUD

2. Low rise shorts, $16.95AUD

3. Logo Sweatpants, $49.95AUD

4. Active leggings, $49.95AUD (I wanted these SO badly to wear with my pink Nike Free Runs…cry!)

5. Tube Bra, $39.95AUD

6. Neon print g-string, $14.95AUD

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Enjoy, Bond Girls!

As always,

Coco xx

 

New Year, Same Me

Yes, that’s right. It’s officially New Year once again. And what a year this has been. It really feels like it has snowballed since about October, and I have hardly stopped for breath! As social media sites become plastered with statuses, memes, photographs, promises and pledges for what the New Year will bring, this year, I have decided to boycott. I won’t lie, yes, I am one of those people who every single year gets ready to turn over that metaphorical leaf of magic and dreams and lets us believe that the forthcoming year will be rife with purple unicorns, floating dolphins, shooting stars, oodles of love and money, and that everything will be perfect. We pledge to lose weight, finally take that trip of a lifetime, learn various weird and wonderful skills, stop crying over ‘that’ boy, stop worrying, be prettier, be funnier, be cooler…the classic empty promises.

But this year, I am not pledging to change anything. In fact quite the opposite. I am pledging to stay exactly the same. While I have been so busy over the past few months, and my life has changed a lot, it is only recently that I have taken a second to stop and look around, and think about how I feel. Yes, I am broke and single, but I have never been happier. I feel that I am in a really good place in my life, and I am taking it in the direction that feels right for me. I have an exciting new job to start, working as a Property Assistant, I have a great lifestyle, and more importantly, I’m having so much fun. I’m working very hard, but playing hard, too. So this year, I pledge to change absolutely nothing.

I want to continue enjoying life. In 2013 I overcame an anxiety disorder through the help of counselling, which I kept private from everyone, other than about four people, so talking about it on my blog is part of putting it behind me. I have become a stronger person and am able to enjoy and love life without having a massive weight on my shoulders, and for this I am so grateful.

I really would recommend counselling to anyone who feels they might have an anxiety problem. I couldn’t have got to where I am without the help of my counsellor, and what’s even better is that you can get help for free. I got help through my University counselling service, but there are other ways too. The website Seven Cups of Tea, for which my friend works, allows you to speak to counsellors online through an anonymous chat service, and its great to get you started. The aforementioned friend also runs SP A CE, which is a counselling service for those facing health problems, so check them out too. The first step to overcoming such a problem is admitting and realising yourself that you have the problem, and then beginning to understand and manage it. Don’t give up if you don’t feel better instantly. It takes time, and you’ll be becoming stronger without even realising it. I didn’t really understand how far I had come until I experienced situations where I would normally have been crippled by fear and worry, and realised I felt fine, and that the worry seemed silly now.

I wish everyone on the blogosphere a very Happy New Year. Share with me some of your resolutions or anti-resolutions as I am calling mine! What are you changing or not changing?!

Love, as always,

Coco