Tag Archives: Relationships

Mr O and I go on a venture

Today is Mr O’s birthday. He is officially 34 and continues to be younger than me out of pure spite. As Wednesday is a work day for me and not one of the days that Little O can stay with Mrs O Senior (who also works), we decided to celebrate on the weekend. Read more…

Quote Challenge Day 1

One of my most favourite bloggers, April over at R.Sativus recently nominated me to join in a Quote Challenge. I am most honoured and also most apologetic that it’s taken me so long to get going on this…  I will pre-warn everyone that my quotes are going to be quite random.

And here is day one:

The right man at the wrong time is still the wrong man – Sheryl Graham

So you might be wondering who Sheryl Graham is. She’s my very good friend, Lauren’s mum. When I was in my late teens and early 20’s a bunch of us used to spend loads of time at the Grahams’ home. As you can imagine this was a tumultuous relationship time for us ladies and we spent a lot of time lamenting our love lives and how some guy we were supposedly in love with just wasn’t stepping up the plate because obviously he was perfect but the circumstances were all wrong.

I very clearly remember Sheryl giving us this particular piece of advice when this boy I liked left his girlfriend for me and then five minutes later decided he wanted to be single and then five minutes after that decided to get back with his ex. It was probably the best and most enduring piece of love related advice anyone has ever given me and I have continued to live by it.

Here are the rules of the challenge:

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you.
  2. Publish 3 quotes on 3 consecutive days in your blog. It can be your own, or from a book, movie or from anyone who inspires you.
  3. Nominate 3 more bloggers to carry on this endeavour.

Everyone is of course welcome to participate but here are my picks:

  1. Vinneh
  2. Zoë
  3. Laura

It’s my four year wedding anniversary…

Today Mr O and I have been married for four whole years and I cannot believe how quickly it has gone. In one way it feels like just yesterday I was walking (and amazingly not tripping) down the aisle but in another way it feels like there was never a time when we weren’t married. Anyway what I really want to say is that Mr O is my spirit animal and I feel very, very fortunate to get to spend my days with someone who I love so much and who so willing to put up with all of my shit. In tribute here are some of my favourite pictures of us since our last anniversary.

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Right now we are on our annual anniversary trip. This year we are visiting Tallin in Estonia, followed by Helsinki in Finland so look out for posts about that next week.

My top 10 doomed movie couples

There’s no question that love has been one of the most universal cinematic themes since the dawn of the moving picture and that most of the time its all about the two lovers ending up together and disappearing into the sunset. Although sometimes the most compelling love stories are the ones where a couple never gets to have their happily ever after because of some kind of insurmountable obstacle that ensures their relationship is forever doomed. For some reason those always end up being my favourites. These are my top ten doomed movie couples. [Spoilers abound].

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Eric Draven and Shelly Webster
Played by: Brandon Lee and Sofia Shinas
Film: The Crow (1994)
The obstacle: Eric and Shelly have been murdered and Eric is a spectre risen from the dead to avenge her
“Shelly Webster: I love you.
Eric Draven: Say that again.
Shelly Webster: I love you.”

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Romeo and Juliet
Played by: Leonardo DiCaprio and Clare Danes
Film: Romeo + Juliet (1996)
The obstacle: Their families are at war with one another and Juliet has been promised to someone else
“Juliet: O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo? Deny thy father and refuse thy name, or if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love, and I’ll no longer be a Capulet.
Romeo: Shall I hear more, or shall I speak at this?
Juliet: ‘Tis but thy name that is my enemy, thou art thyself though not a Montague. What is Montague? It is nor hand, nor foot, nor arm, nor face, nor any other part belonging to a man. Oh, what’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other word would smell as sweet; so Romeo would, were he not Romeo called, retain that dear perfection to which he owes without that title. Romeo, doff thy name! And for thy name, which is no part of thee, take all myself.”

Jack_and_Rose

Jack and Rose
Played by: Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet
Film: Titanic (1997)
The obstacle: Not only are Jack and Rose from different worlds but they’re on a ship that is destined to sink
“Rose: I love you, Jack.
Jack: Don’t you do that, don’t say your good-byes. Not yet, do you understand me?
Rose: I’m so cold.
Jack: Listen, Rose. You’re gonna get out of here, you’re gonna go on and you’re gonna make lots of babies, and you’re gonna watch them grow. You’re gonna die an old… an old lady warm in her bed, not here, not this night. Not like this, do you understand me?
Rose: I can’t feel my body.
Jack: Winning that ticket, Rose, was the best thing that ever happened to me… it brought me to you. And I’m thankful for that, Rose. I’m thankful. You must do me this honor. Promise me you’ll survive. That you won’t give up, no matter what happens, no matter how hopeless. Promise me now, Rose, and never let go of that promise.
Rose: I promise.
Jack: Never let go.
Rose: I’ll never let go, Jack. I’ll never let go.”

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Brandon Teena and Lana Tisdel
Played by: Hilary Swank and Chloe Sevigny
Film: Boys Don’t Cry (1999)
The obstacle: Brandon is a transgender man and Lana is a straight woman who doesn’t know
“Brandon: “Dear Lana, By the time you read this I’ll be back home in Lincoln. I’m scared of what’s ahead, but when I think of you I know I’ll be able to go on. You were right, Memphis isn’t that far off. I’ll be taking that trip down the highway before too long. I’ll be waiting for you. Love always and forever, Brandon.””

chasingamy

Holden McNeil and Alyssa Jones
Played by: Ben Affleck and Joey Lauren Adams
Film: Chasing Amy (1997)
The obstacle: Alyssa is a lesbian and Holden may or may not be in love with his best friend, Banky
“Alyssa: You know, I didn’t just heed what I was taught, men and women should be together, it’s the natural way, that kind of thing. I’m not with you because of what family, society, life tried to instill in me from day one. The way the world is, how seldom it is that you meet that one person who just *gets* you – it’s so rare. My parents didn’t really have it. There were no examples set for me in the world of male-female relationships. And to cut oneself off from finding that person, to immediately halve your options by eliminating the possibility of finding that one person within your own gender, that just seemed stupid to me. So I didn’t. But then you came along. You, the one least likely. I mean, you were a guy.
Holden: Still am.
Alyssa: And while I was falling for you I put a ceiling on that, because you *were* a guy. Until I remembered why I opened the door to women in the first place: to not limit the likelihood of finding that one person who’d complement me so completely. So here we are. I was thorough when I looked for you. And I feel justified lying in your arms, ’cause I got here on my own terms, and I have no question there was some place I didn’t look. And for me that makes all the difference.
Holden: [pause] Well, can I at least tell people all you needed was some serious deep dicking?”

Casablanca-Bogart

Rick Blaine and Ilsa Lund
Played by: Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman
Film: Casablanca (1942)
The obstacle: She’s married to someone else and he only has enough tickets to get two people out of a war zone
“Rick: Last night we said a great many things. You said I was to do the thinking for both of us. Well, I’ve done a lot of it since then, and it all adds up to one thing: you’re getting on that plane with Victor where you belong.
Ilsa: But, Richard, no, I… I…
Rick: Now, you’ve got to listen to me! You have any idea what you’d have to look forward to if you stayed here? Nine chances out of ten, we’d both wind up in a concentration camp. Isn’t that true, Louie?
Captain Renault: I’m afraid Major Strasser would insist.
Ilsa: You’re saying this only to make me go.
Rick: I’m saying it because it’s true. Inside of us, we both know you belong with Victor. You’re part of his work, the thing that keeps him going. If that plane leaves the ground and you’re not with him, you’ll regret it. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life.
Ilsa: But what about us?
Rick: We’ll always have Paris. We didn’t have, we, we lost it until you came to Casablanca. We got it back last night.
Ilsa: When I said I would never leave you.
Rick: And you never will. But I’ve got a job to do, too. Where I’m going, you can’t follow. What I’ve got to do, you can’t be any part of. Ilsa, I’m no good at being noble, but it doesn’t take much to see that the problems of three little people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. Someday you’ll understand that.
[Ilsa lowers her head and begins to cry]
Rick: Now, now…
[Rick gently places his hand under her chin and raises it so their eyes meet]
Rick: Here’s looking at you kid.”

brokeback-mountain

Ennis Del Mar and Jack Twist
Played by: Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal
Film: Brokeback Mountain (2005)
The obstacle: At a time where being gay is a complete taboo, they are both men… married to women
“Ennis Del Mar: I’m gonna tell you this one time, Jack fuckin’ Twist, an’ I ain’t foolin’. What I don’t know – all them things that I don’t know – could get you killed if I come to know them. I ain’t jokin’.
Jack Twist: Yeah well try this one, and I’ll say it just once!
Ennis Del Mar: Go ahead!
Jack Twist: Tell you what, we coulda had a good life together! Fuckin’ real good life! Had us a place of our own. But you didn’t want it, Ennis! So what we got now is Brokeback Mountain! Everything’s built on that! That’s all we got, boy, fuckin’ all. So I hope you know that, even if you don’t never know the rest! You count the damn few times we have been together in nearly twenty years and you measure the short fucking leash you keep me on – and then you ask me about Mexico and tell me you’ll kill me for needing somethin’ I don’t hardly never get. You have no idea how bad it gets! I’m not you… I can’t make it on a coupla high-altitude fucks once or twice a year! You are too much for me Ennis, you sonofawhoreson bitch! I wish I knew how to quit you.
Ennis Del Mar: [crying] Well, why don’t you? Why don’t you just let me be? It’s because of you Jack, that I’m like this! I’m nothin’… I’m nowhere… Get the fuck off me! I can’t stand being like this no more, Jack.”

atonement

Robbie Turner and Cecelia Tallis
Played by: James McAvoy and Keira Knightley
Film: Atonement (2007)
The obstacle: Cecelia’s sister falsely accused Robbie of a rape as a young girl
“Robbie Turner: Have you been in touch with your family?
Cecilia Tallis: No I told you I wouldn’t. Leon waited outside the hospital last week. I just pushed past him.
Robbie Turner: Cee, you don’t owe me anything.
Cecilia Tallis: Robbie didn’t you read my letters? Had I been allowed to visit you? Had they let me, every day, I would have been there every day.
Robbie Turner: Yes but, if all we have rests on a few moments in a library three and a half years ago then I am not sure, I don’t know…
Cecilia Tallis: Robbie, look at me, come back, come back to me.”

A-Royal-Affair

Johann Friedrich Struensee and Caroline Mathilde
Played by: Mads Mikkelsen and Alicia Vikander
Film: A Royal Affair (2012)
The obstacle: Caroline is a princess married to the king of Denmark and Stuensee is his doctor
“Johann Friedrich Struensee: Do you remember our first night together?
Caroline Mathilde: It feels like we’ve been unhappy ever since.
Johann Friedrich Struensee: I have been happy.
Caroline Mathilde: Come to me tonight?”

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Christian and Satine
Played by: Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman
Film: Moulin Rouge (2001)
The obstacle: Satine is a courtesan sold to the highest bidder and Christian is a penniless writer… plus she has TB
“Satine: Besides, I can’t fall in love with anyone
Christian: Can’t… fall… in love? But, a life without love, that’s… terrible…
Satine: No, being on the street, that’s terrible.
Christian: No! Love is like oxygen!
Satine: What?
Christian: Love is a many splendored thing. Love lifts us up where we belong. All you need is love!”

Tales from The Great Clearout

Most of you who know me will be aware that my lovely husband, Paul recently went back to work after five months off to start his business. During those five months we experienced a bit of a spoilt state in our home. With him having extra hours in the day he was able to do most of the housework, leaving our evenings free and our flat actually quite clean…

Since he returned to work, I have to admit that things fell apart a little. Between our two full-time jobs, his eBay business and numerous social commitments, we have been less good. Not what I’d call filthy per say, just disordered.

As the disorder spiralled further and further out of control, depression started to set in until we were eventually glaring at each other over the piles of random randomness and hating life.

And so began the planning of The Great Clearout.

In some ways Mr Osbiston and I are very similar and in other ways we are very different. Two of these things were reconfirmed during The Great Clearout. Firstly, I am not sentimental in any way. I will throw away anything that isn’t useful. I don’t keep souvenirs or mementoes. Paul, on the other hand, is a little bit of a packrat. I guess we balance each other out. Without Paul, I’ll be the one throwing out our first child’s baby photos and then lamenting my over zealousness at a later date. Secondly I am quite untidy, okay very untidy, for a reason that seems a bit bonkers. I can’t be bothered to pack anything away unless I have the perfect place for it. This is in direct opposition to Paul who is a tidying machine, but will happily put things away anywhere he can’t see them.

Cue fireworks. I left a trail of destruction behind me as I figured out where everything was going to go… getting distracted by new and more things… and being baffled by the fact that I had found screwdrivers in the stationery draw and unimportant old post from our previous flat in the important documents draw. Paul stood aside begging me to finish just one thing and stop obsessing about labelling the draws.

In the end, we managed to laugh at ourselves and get rid of seven bags of unnecessary things and about 100 books that we’re never going to read again. Since we only moved just over a year ago, I’m not sure where half this excess stuff came from. I think it might be breeding secretly in the cupboards when we’re not looking.

Bye, bye books…

Of course 100 books are not easy to transport when you don’t have a car and we couldn’t face the idea of leaving them out, which lead to an episode of total chavviness… yes, kids, we “borrowed” a trolley from Waitrose (Orlando, put down the papaya!). If you ever need a mental image to make you laugh, imagine two harried, middle class South West London Suburbeners careering along Wandsworth High Street pushing a trolley full of books with the anti-theft clamps engaged. You’re laughing, aren’t you?

The thing is we kind of stole the trolley theft idea from the people two houses down, who permanently keep one in the front garden.

The upshot of all this, is that we managed to restock the library of the local Salvation Army… yes, I know they’re a religious organisation but we really couldn’t push the trolley any further. We were being watched by some very confused Community Support Officers and it was making odd noises #firstworldproblems. I also feel about a million times better in my newly decluttered home. I can even find my passport!

Today it has been one whole year since Mr Osbiston and I got married

One year ago today, we were saying our vows swathed in polka dots.

It has not been the easiest year in the world but everything we have faced we have faced together. I love being married.

On Saturday Mr Osbiston disappeared for 7 hours to hunt down my anniversary present, which he had spotted and failed to buy. This is what I got.

It is exactly the right length, the right colour and the right style. I am a very spoilt girl.

Thank-you to my wonderful husband for just being, Here’s to lots more years together. I love you.

Bride for a day… wife for life

So it’s three days before my wedding and I realise I have barely blogged about the planning process or all my DIY projects. I suppose it’s partly out of wanting to keep some parts of my wedding private before it actually happens… and partly because I kind of think it’s a bit boring unless it’s your own wedding.

Possibly this is just another symptom of me lacking the “bridal” gene to some extent. This last week has been kind of weird. People keep asking me if I’m either excited or worried. I know all of the wedding hype is telling me that this is supposed to be the biggest and most important day of my entire existence and that once I reach this pinnacle, it’s all downhill but I find it really hard to buy into that.

It’s exceptionally cool to have a party with all of our friends but I have my entire life to spend with Paul so one day is just one day and like with most parties, it’s more fun to go to someone else’s where you haven’t had to do all the planning. And anything where Fun (with a capital letter) is prescribed, like New Years Eve, is invariably a bigger let down the more you hype it up.

Don’t get me wrong… I’m looking forward to my wedding and the amount of love, support and care our friends and family have put into making the day as memorable as I’m sure it’s going to be has been amazing. I know I would have massively regretted the elopment I occasionally fantisise about.  I’m just not at the level of psychotic frenzied frothing jubilation that seems to be expected of me. I’m saving that setting for starting a family and building a life together. I will be a bride for one day but a wife for the rest of my life and I’m so much more in love with the second role than the first.

So with all of that said, do any of my friends who have already been brides have any tips for the “big day”? (Other than not spilling red wine on my dress or falling over walking down the aisle).

Best friend-slash-husband… the ultimate combo

We have not had the best couple of weeks. I won’t go into detail. I think my tirade on my fail blog gives you a good enough idea of how it all started but let’s just say that in the last week it didn’t get better… it got worse. Fortunately Paul and I have very supportive friends and family and none of our dramas are going to derail our lives but with the wedding around the corner I will admit to feeling more or less despondent towards the end of last week.

On Saturday morning Paul convinced me to pull myself together and head into town to get supplies for the wedding project I’ve been going on about. We had a delicious lunch in a cute place called Konnigans, near Wandsworth Town Station, in our ongoing exploration of our neighbourhood and then spent about an hour noodling around Paperchase. We were going to head home but thought it might be a nice idea to have just one pint in The Fitzroy Tavern. This lead to a particularly raucous Spite & Malice (a card game I grew up with) tournament where I trounced Paul liberally about five times in a row.

Our return to Wandsworth seemed like it would benefit from yet another pint and the pub we picked happened to have some games so we decided that we should attempt Connect 4. It might have gotten to a level of competitiveness that could be considered unhealthy for our relationship but a good time was had.

By the time we eventually got home we were properly squiffy and I had forgotten all the things that were stressing me out and taking a break from WEDDING and LIFE reminded me exactly why I’m marrying Paul. He is my best friend and I like spending time with him more than anyone else. Spending a day just hanging out and playing games with him is enough to make me feel like I’ve had the best day ever. For the first time in a while I feel really, really excited about our actual wedding day. Only 12 days to go!

My gorgeous future hubby posing in the Fitzroy

Some news from the future Mrs Osbiston…

I know that I owe you all a run down of my visit to SA, particularly the beautiful wedding of a certain Mr and Mrs Costine… and I promise I will get to that within the next couple of days.. but first I have some news about me…

When I got off the plane at Heathrow yesterday morning, tired, sweaty and having dealt with as many coughing pensioners as one person can ever be expected to deal with in one life time, a certain Mr Osbiston was waiting for me.

He was holding this sign…

And when he turned it over, it said this…

After I got over my initial disbelief, it took absolute zero thought to say yes and so… we are officially engaged and I am on top of the world!!! It was so romantic and so us… and I couldn’t have asked for a better story to tell our kids one day.

For those who want to know, there will be two weddings, an informal UK-based reception and a more traditional South African formal wedding. All that awaits now is the resizing of my family heirloom ring as well as a mountain of planning…

It must be love, love… love

Yesterday Paul and I had been together for exactly 6 months. Unfortunately we didn’t really get to have much of a celebration since I was the victim of one of my more bizarre and as yet unidentified allergic reactions and had to spend almost the whole day lying very still on the couch. Although Paul did bring Doctor Who and waited on me hand and foot, so in its own way it was a lovely day. And without reservation this has been the best 6 months of my life.

If you had told me all of this 6 months ago when I had reached the height of my cynicism, I probably would have told you you were insane. So I want to leave my friends who are single and don’t want to be (cos if you’re single and you do want to be, that’s a pretty awesome place to be in) with a couple of thoughts:

  • You will meet someone. If you’re not someone who is inherently loveable there is no way I’d be friends with you.
  • That person will probably be the last person you expect it to be.
  • It is always worth waiting for the person who takes your breath away, turns your life upside down and makes you a better person

And while you are single, devote your time to yourself. Go out and do things. Have a hobby. Say yes to parties, dates and adventures. Become the most interesting person you can possibly be. That way when you do meet your someone, they’ll be in awe of how cool you are and you won’t disappear into an “us” and become a boring smug married.

Does this make me a proper grown up now?

On Monday my life changed completely. For the last six years I have been living in various houseshares in accordance with the rite of passage that I believe all humans should go through on the way to adulthood. Kind of like when your parents send you to nursery school to learn to share.

I started out in June 2004, twenty-three and straight from living at home with my mom and brother in the house I grew up in in Johannesburg. I lived in a haunted three bedroom flat on the cusp of the dodgy end of Southfields with Dawn, Kirsty, Kirsten and Simone in a room so small I could stand in the middle and touch the walls on either side. We had no money… and when I say no money, I mean no money but we still somehow managed to have the best time ever. So much so that when we moved out the neighbours stood on the landing and applauded. Amazingly, we amassed so few possessions that we managed to move all of them in a cab.

In early 2005 we moved into the next home, a three-bed maisonette unaffectionately nicknamed, Mordor, in the properly dodgy part of Southfields where I lived in relative disharmony with Dawn and Simone. It was a highly unsuccessful houseshare. The landlord was a massive douchebag, the décor was terrifying in its horribleness and a very hard line was drawn down the middle of the house dividing the loyalties of its occupants. All of that said, it was the site of the hallowed bank holiday weekend of destiny and probably the first place I thought of as my “home”.

By March 2006 Dawn and I had united forces with Kerry and moved into a flat in Putney Heath that we referred to as Clinique Towers. It was one of the happiest times I’ve had in London as the three of us learned to cook pasta with tomato sauce in 1000 different ways, got dive bombed by pigeons, held ruinous sushi and singstar parties and fell in and out of love on a weekly basis.

I don’t need to go into detail about my final house share. I think I have eulogised, the infamous Astonville Street enough by now and everyone who ever lived there knows how special it was.

But the world of houseshares is now behind me, because on Monday I officially entered into the realm of… CO-HABITATION… in a one bed ground floor flat in Wimbledon with my lovely partner, Paul. And I think it was only this morning while standing (naked) in front of the washing machine that I realised I never have to queue up to wash my pants again, nor do I have to wear any (in the house if the curtains are closed). It’s a big and exciting adventure and I feel completely ready for it.

There will be photos once our TV isn’t standing on a box of books but before that I want to thank everyone who was part of making this all happen… Sue, Marko and Kelly for taking me in for a month and making me wonder briefly if I really did want to stop house sharing, Kerry and Dawn for tirelessly helping me trek all of my possessions from one place to another on various occasions, Paul’s parents for their incredibly kind housewarming present (and for letting me have Paul) and most of all Paul for giving up his family home, his job and his sanity to put up with me every single day. I love you, baby!

I leave you with a quote from a Friends episode called The One On The Last Night where Monica is preparing to move in with Chandler:

Monica: You know that she has 147,000 pair of boots? She lets you wear them.
Rachel
: Yeah, and you stretched them out with your big, clown feet!
Monica
: She gets a lot of catalogs, and she folds the pages that she thinks that I might like.
Phoebe
: Yeah, what else?
Monica
: When I take a shower, she leaves me little notes on the mirror.
Rachel
: Yeah,I do, I do do that.
Phoebe
: That’s nice. I like having things to read in the bathroom.
Monica
: When I fall asleep on the couch after reading, she covers me over with a blanket.
Rachel
: Well, you know, I don’t want you to be cold.
Monica
: (Starts to cry) When I told her I was gonna be moving in with Chandler, she was really supportive. You were so great. You made it so easy! And now you have to leave. And I have to live with a boy! (Hugs Rachel)
Rachel
: Oh, it’s gonna be fine.
Phoebe
: Okay, Rachel, now I can’t wait live with you! And you know what should we do? Bring Monica, and we’ll have so much fun!
Rachel
: Yeah, but honey, I think she’s gonna move in with Chandler.
Phoebe
: Oh,that’s right. You still on that?
Monica
: Kind of.

Chips, chips, chips… the musings of a band WAG

While I think lots of girls might in their lives have fantasised about princes or sports stars or big rugged adventurers, I have always been the girl who wanted the rockstar. Put a guitar in a man’s hands and he suddenly becomes infinitely sexier to me… this is a fact… so now that I find myself actually being a band WAG (SO much cooler than being a football WAG, you can have pale skin, fashion sense AND a brain), it’s almost too good to be true… and so I am going to write my blog about Ethereal Fire’s gig last night as a WAG this time (although really were more MAGS – mums and girlfriends) rather than a serious critic… I think I get to be both.

Last night saw us in Southend for another warm-up en route to some London gigs in May and June in a pub called Papillon, which, let’s face it, none of us would have been seen dead in if the boys weren’t playing and which really didn’t make me think of butterflies at all. It has to be said that it was an odd set-up. The “stage” was directly outside the ladies toilets and one actually had to cross the stage while the bands were playing to have a wee and as if they needed anymore obstruction there was also a cable dangling at about head height across that side of the stage.

“Running” the show was a teenage boy called, Steve, who appeared to be absolutely off his head on something. I’m not sure what exactly but Steve was very, very, very happy and almost equally confused.  A guy with a cowboy hat and a guitar opened the show with a song that he seemed to be making up on the spot. He switched between several  languages during the verses before launching into several choruses of “chips, chips, chips!” Andy, Verity and I were in stitches.

Despite some sound glitches, Ethereal Fire went down a storm and once again the entire audience seemed amazed at the pint-sized Kirsty’s power behind the drums. I spent my time left of stage sneezing (my hay fever is at the point where breathing is a special luxury) and drooling with lust at the sight of my gorgeous boyfriend brandishing his bass guitar. As much as I do enjoy the sounds of Ethereal Fire while wearing my objective reviewer hat, I’d probably still turn up to watch Paul playing Three Blind Mice out of tune if it was an option. Living the dream!

If you would like to experience the magic of Ethereal Fire all you have to do is turn up at the Eagle and Hind Pub in Moulsham Lodge in Chelmo next Saturday where they’ll be playing a Mytonic Muscular Distrophy fundraiser or join the group here. Word!

Peace at last

Sometimes it’s surprising how fast your life changes completely and you go from one set of activities being your norm to a completely different set taking over in just a few weekends. Since the beginning of this year, my life has changed completely and I feel like a very different person from who I was last year. I’m more grounded, more focused and more settled that I have ever been before.

I suppose it would be easy to ascribe it all to my change in relationship status but I think it’s more a case that finally getting to a settled state mentally and emotionally meant that I was finally in the right place to attract the kind of person I can see myself spending the rest of my life with… and who treats me like I want to be treated… and you know, fate and destiny…

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I had a very quiet, peaceful weekend, much like a lot of my recent weekends… and I really like all these peaceful times.

On Friday night Paul and I went to Andrew’s birthday party at Charlotte Street Blues, which has some pretty awesome live music and some even better amaretto sours… although I learned that whisky sours are a bit scary by comparison and to avoid getting into conversations at the bar that end up with the other party just repeating over and over again that they’ve decided to order the shrimp. Unfortunately I’ve gotten my annual bought of hayfever induced sinusitis so by 11pm I was exhausted and ready to get into bed.

On Saturday I had a real adventure, heading up to Muswell hill to meet up with Cleo, Jenn and Claire so we could teach Ben’s little girls to bake. I was in charge of decorations and went unexpectedly overboard. I look back now and realise I must have also subconsciously felt like I was in charge of bossing people around since I seem to have done rather a lot of that as well.  (Seriously, people, you have to stop me when I get out of control because my “ordering people around” muscle is a bit overdeveloped). Elsie (2 ½) and Beth (1) were an absolute joy though. Cleo is like the baby whisperer and did an excellent job of keeping Beth entertained and feeling like she was part of the event and to Beth’s credit she did an excellent job of tasting all the non-food items. Elsie kept us all amused with her interesting observations on our baking techniques and taught us the important lesson that more is more when it comes to cupcake decoration. At this point I’m not sure who had the most fun… I think it might have been the grown-ups. If anyone else wants a baking session, I might just be available again.

From there I went to Paul’s house where he and his mum were kindly waiting for me to arrive to watch Doctor Who. Paul’s dad has been stuck in New Jersey for a few days because of the volcano (statements you thought you’d never type) so it was nice to be able to keep his mum company cos I think she’s missing her other half. In the end exhaustion took hold though and I fell asleep in front of The League of Gentleman.

I felt pretty ropey on Sunday but after Paul kindly served me French toast in bed we managed to spent some time at his local in the sun (shade) playing cards and drinking Pimms, which is what you’re supposed to do on sunny English days.

Today I am eating the delicious lunch Paul packed me and thinking that I live a truly charmed life to have someone so lovely in it.

For those of you who are eagerly awaiting pictures of the new tattoo, which is now finished, I am just waiting for the last few bits of the scab to peel off and then I’ll put up some photos.

Nevermind diamonds… ink is forever

This may be the craziest thing I’ve ever done…  but like they say, when you know you know and what better way to celebrate meeting the person you want to spend the rest of your life with than with a little ink. Paul and I are both really into the art of tattoo and so getting matching ones seemed like the perfect way to show our commitment to each other.

We had some time before our gig last night so we got Cesar to do these. They’re a symbol of us wanting to be together until there’s nothing left of us but our bones. Gorgeous, huh? Now I’ve just got to get the big one on my arm finished!

What women want

Last night I ventured out in Putney with some of my favourite girls for a bit of a ladies night. I think any of the girls reading this will know the incredible enlivening power that a girls night out has and that we need them regularly in order to retain our sanity. For this particular adventure Dawn, Barb, Kerry, Ron, Kelly and I headed for B@1.

It’s one of those bars that’s very long and narrow and the fact that it has fabulous cocktails and brilliantly cheesy music means that it’s often quite rammed. I’m not sure that this worked in our favour.  The place was packed with “gentlemen” on the prowl  and none of them employing a subtle approach. I have never been so grateful that I have a lovely boyfriend who treats me like a princess because really a lot of the men out there are impressively dodgy.

Which brings me to a question… what do men actually think women find attractive in an approach from a man? The number of men who start off by either taking the piss out of you or making some kind of overtly sexual or aggressive remark is overwhelming. And if you dare to state that you’d prefer not to have your bum grabbed or that you don’t like being told that you have “nice tits” or you’d prefer guys not to elbow each other as you walk past and point, then you’re passed off as some kind of prude or a “bitch” and they turn aggressive. Maybe it’s just me, but if I were single you’d get a lot further with me if you spoke to me like a person rather than leering at me like a food item.

Of course we’d never let a bunch of twats get us down and a very good time was had by all with much drinking, dancing, gossiping and female bonding (bonding… not bondage keep it out of the gutter kids) and I left reminded that there’s nothing a girl needs more than good girlfriends and I certainly have them! Love you girls.

In other news, Paul has been away on holiday for the last week and I have been pining like a lost puppy. We spend so much time talking to each other that it’s felt like there’s been a bit of a hole in my life and I’ve been really lonely. Before Paul and I got together I was never really lonely. I was single for most of my twenties and perfectly content to keep as much of my own company as possible.  To the point where I become a little anxious if someone is in my space. I thought that when I met someone I could actually care about that settling into sharing my time with someone else and being in a relationship would be really difficult. But really, if I’m honest, I’m a little despondent in the absence of Paul. Lame but true. Every other boyfriend I’ve had I’ve only been able to take in relatively small doses but a week without this one and I’m a bloody misery. So what I’m trying to say is thank god he’s back tomorrow and when I see him on Tuesday I’m going to launch myself at him so he better be ready!

PENIS!

It’s been a pretty interesting weekend. On Friday I introduced Paul to some of my work friends at Emma’s birthday drinks. We weren’t there very long but from what I can tell he made a very good impression, which is the norm… I have yet to meet anyone who doesn’t like him. He followed up winning over my work friends, by winning over Josh who we met to see Brendan Benson at KOKO.

On arrival at KOKO I realised that I might have misunderestimated my alcohol intake up to that point and that I was considerably drunker than I had expected. This means that my recollection of the gig itself is not in the kind of sharp focus that my gig memories usually are. I know it was good and I know that I danced and cheered celebrated the wonderfully 70’s hippy vibe that it was all giving off and that seeing Benson solo makes you realise just how much he contributes to the Raconteurs… but other than that… well he had big hair… does that help?

We finished off the evening in Gans Bar with sangria and there was a big religious debate of some variety where I think we were just agreeing with each other very loudly. We must have left by 11 because we were home at 11.30 but the journey home is again somewhat of a blur. I do remember that I was adamant that we play the “penis” game. If you have seen (500) Days Of Summer you will be familiar with the game. If not there is some (very badly recorded) footage below.

I bought Paul the film for Valentines Day and it was fresh in my mind because we watched it on Thursday night. At the time I was convinced that Paul was joining in my shouts of “penis” at at least the same volume as me but it turned out that I was really just shouting, “PENIS!” at the top of my lungs in the train. If you have not yet come to the conclusion that my boyfriend is a very tolerant and forgiving man, the fact that he has not left me in the wake of this less than charming display of vulgarity should make that fact abundantly clear.

On Saturday, once I had stopped feeling nauseous, we had breakfast at 377. If any of my fellow Southfields/Earlsfield compadres are or have been regulars at this fine establishment, you will be glad to know that the lovely Angie is expecting her first little one in May. I would like to suggest the name “Benedict” for the new arrival.

At that point I had to say a rather miserable good-bye to the lovely Paul as he has headed off on holiday with David and won’t be back until the 15th. I know I am impossibly lame but even the thought of this ten day separation fills me with dread. I never expected to get so used to having someone close to me or to enjoy it so much and I am really quite despondent without him.

It being payday I used my misery as an excuse to do a little shopping. These are some of the things I bought. In my defence everything at Debenhams was 20% off yesterday… I was SAVING money… I swear…

I rounded off the Saturday with drinks at Andrew’s house where Emily, Ollie, Nick and I were royally trounced in 30 Seconds by Andrew, Jill, Laur and Sean. I think this is largely down to the non-South African contingent in our team. When you have one team mate who thinks Nkosi Johnson is a Japanese woman and another one describing Sun City as the place where you go for golf and sex with prostitutes what hope do you have. And Sunday was spent having a homemade burger fest at our house. Ollie, Em and Dave made enough burgers for about 40 people. We will be eating burgers for the next week… in fact does anyone wanna come over for burgers?

PENIS!!!!!

I am declaring my body a 100% kebab free zone

I think I may be too old to have another weekend like the one I just had but even now as I’m swaying slightly at my desk, I feel like it might just have been worth it.

On Friday night Dawn and I went to see A Single Man, which follows a day in the life of a gay British college professor, George (Colin Firth after the sudden death of his long-term lover in a society closed to homosexuality. As George contemplates suicide we are treated to a series of flashbacks showing his relationship with his lover interspersed with a series of encounters both random and with those closest to him. Directed by Tom Ford, the film is visually so beautiful it is at times painful to watch and Colin Firth turns in a career-defining performance. If you like more challenging, thought-provoking cinema this is a must see.

Post film we decided a little glass of wine was in order and we headed to Halfway House but Dawn wasn’t a big fan of the wine and so I consumed hers and mine before returning to my own home, joining the festivities around Emily’s cousin’s visit and polished off the rest of Wilhelm’s wine. I believe I was charming as I made a massive racket and monopolised all conversations.

In the morning it took me some time to get out of bed and shake off the headache I had inflicted on myself but by the time I arrived in Chelmsford to meet Paul, I was almost feeling normal again. We had a great adventure, heading off to Southend to soak up some sun and chavvy tack. I may or may not have skipped through the funfair giggling like a deranged four-year old before letting Paul take me for a spin on the dodgems… let’s just say I’m never getting in a car with him. Of course we punctuated our adventures with a few little drinks… and then we went home and watched a film and had some more little drinks. I think we were still sober here.

By the time we met Paul’s friends, Matt and Greg, for… you guessed it… drinks, we were unsurprisingly pissed. I know I had a fabulous time and Matt and Greg are awesome but parts of the night are a little blurry, including the bit where Paul convinced me that I should have a doner kebab, because I’ve never had one. Even thinking about the kebab now, I feel ill. I managed about half before my sense of self-preservation kicked in. It was like no animal I have ever tasted before and despite Paul’s assertations of how  lovely it was I am never having another one… NEVER!

I’d like to say that I partied with the boys but at midnight I quietly retired to bed and managed to sleep through what was apparently a very raucous game of Guitar Hero.

Fortified by a bacon sandwich and a lie-in, Paul and I decided to go to his local pub on Sunday afternoon… yes really, this time managing to arrive home quite sober… well until Paul’s mum got her hands on us. It was my first time meeting Paul’s parents and I will admit gigantic nerves… which were massively unfounded considering that they’re about the loveliest people I’ve ever encountered and that they managed to make me feel like I was part of the family. This was in no way influenced by the fact that Paul’s mum topped up my wine glass every three to four seconds. Of course the mandatory family photos came out and I discovered that Paul’s inclination to throw a shape the minute a camera appears, may just have been inherited from his father. I also discovered that he’s been beautiful from pretty much the minute he opened his eyes, which makes me pretty sure I never want him to see my childhood photos where I go through an awkward phase that lasts from about four to about twenty-two.

By the time we fell back into bed I had done a fair amount of slurring and stopped just short of telling Paul’s whole family that I loved them. This morning I slipped on some mud and fell down a hill… take from this what you will.

In which Abbi creates the suspicion that she might be a little romantic afterall

This may end up being one of the most nauseating posts I ever do and I’m including the one about the zombie mouse and my complaints about the hobbit feet that seem to overrun London in the summer. But it’s going to be sickening because I’m going to tell you why I feel like I might just about be the luckiest girl out there right now…

I have a boyfriend who seems to think that all my uniqueness that I fight so hard to maintain is part of my appeal

I have a boyfriend who dresses just like I would dress if I were a boy

I have a boyfriend who likes to dance and wants to dance with me… like a crazy person

I have a boyfriend who tells his friends and family wonderful things about me (most of which probably aren’t true) and is dying for me to meet them

I have a boyfriend who likes all the music I like and who wants to go to all the stupid gigs I want to go to

I have a boyfriend who plays guitar… on stage… and writes lyrics… beautiful ones

I have a boyfriend who is so excited to see me that he gets a little skip in his step when I arrive

I have a boyfriend who is so keen to have adventures with me that he’s keeping a list of things we should do together

I have a boyfriend who doesn’t care that I snore… like a tank… all night

I have a boyfriend who makes me feel like I might just be the most beautiful girl in the world to him (except maybe Zooey Deschanel and that’s okay cos, you know I fancy her too)

I have a boyfriend who thinks it’s cool to text me 20 times in one day

I have a boyfriend who manages to be an ubergeek and impossibly cool at the same time

I have a boyfriend who reads and thinks and has massive amounts to say about all kinds of things

I have a boyfriend who is gentle and kind and sweet and patient

I have a boyfriend who always holds my hand

And most importantly I have a boyfriend who is not afraid to tell me how he feels about me… which is why I wrote this for him so maybe he’d even vaguely have an idea of just how much I appreciate him.

There must be more to life than stereotypes

I have been neglecting my blog. My excuse is still that Frank is not completely well. Although I have him back, his charger seems to be banjaxed  and so I’m not having much online evening quality time… but then I am sleeping more.

Anyway, there has been rather a lot of activity underway. Paul came in to London on Friday for Justin’s birthday dinner and met quite a few of my friends. I won’t name any names but some people were on their worst behaviour and did a fair amount of showing off and embarrassing me. Fortunately Paul has a fabulous sense of humour and seemed to enjoy all the carnage. He made a fantastic first impression on everyone so I’d say all’s well that end’s well.

Due to unforeseen circumstances we didn’t get to see each other on Valentine’s Day… which wasn’t the end of the world because we all know Valentines Day is pretty lame anyway and the house lunch, with random friends  we had instead ended up being great! However we did have a little bit of an anti-Valentine’s celebration in Essex last night.

If I look at the kind of presents many of my ex-suitors have given me I can only really hang my head in despair… hideous cheap jewellery, generic stuffed animals, plastic flowers (yes, really… and no I don’t buy the they’ll last forever like our love bullshit).  Fortunately, Paul is a much more creative gentleman and got me one of the most unusual gifts I’ve ever had – a 1996 limited Valentines edition vinyl of the Blur single Stereotypes. Not only is it an amazing shade of pink but it’s symbolic of our joint love affair with 90’s music and the fact that the back sleeve has a dating profile form on it is a reminder of the fact that way back in the day we met on a dating site. I absolutely love it… and how much thought went into it.

In other news, my fabulous friend B and her lovely partner, David have gotten engaged… finally 😛 And I get to be a bridesmaid… GLEE! I have never been a bridesmaid before. I wonder at what point I get to do my interpretive dance and how many bits of paper with drunk stories about the bride written on them it’s customary to hand out to elderly family members before the ceremony. I must read up on my duties…

B, here are some ideas on what I might like to wear…

Here comes the bride… shame about the groom

On Saturday, in the South African tradition, we hosted a surprise hen party for Michele.  My contribution to the event was another round of my now infamous “jellied willy” cupcakes. I made these because as an unmarried woman, I was sure Michele had never seen a penis before and I wanted to give her some kind of warning of what to expect on the wedding night. Michele was completely surprised when we all leapt out of the kitchen but even more surprised when we showed her the “beautiful” wedding dress we had bought on eBay for her to wear for the event. Isn’t it lovely?

Added to this was the companion we picked for her night… Roger More, an inflatable gentleman, with luxuriant chest hair and an eye for fun. Fortunately for Michele, a bride needs her bridesmaids and we had prepared by spending last Saturday trolling the charity shops of Kensington looking for fabulous frocks. This little monstrosity that I purchased came from TK Maxx and was an actual bridesmaid’s dress. Its glorious orange tones paired with my vivid hair gave me the appearance of a giant carrot, which I attempted to offset by wearing it with blue cowboy boots. I’m not sure if I succeeded.

After a game of Mr & Mrs that proved that Paul and Michele are psychic, a dare-laden pass the parcel and my now drunken attempts to give everyone dodgy make-up, the crew you see below you headed out to Richmond for dinner and dancing.

The dinner was delicious, although Roger was not welcome and had to be deflated and stowed. Despite Michele’s initial reluctance to be seen dead with Roger, she seemed disappointed when he was retired to a corner and wasted no time in re-inflating him as we went looking for a club. Unfortunately he appeared to have sprung a leak and as he slowly lost his buoyancy as the night went on, the poor “man” ended up being used as a skipping rope and a scarf.

I made my way home relatively early, feeling as if I were to continue drinking I might be found in a ditch somewhere. On my way home I passed a couple arguing near Clapham Junction. He had given her a couple of hearty shoves and a few slaps and no one was doing anything so I decided to intervene and suggested he leave her alone. The last thing I expected was for her to lean over and slap me on the arm. After he told me to fuck off for the second time, I decided to leave them to each other and make peace with the fact that you can only help people who want to be helped.

I surfaced on Sunday with a much smaller hangover than expected and decided to make my way to Chelmsford to visit Band Boy. I suppose now that Band Boy and I have made our relationship “official” on stalkbook, there is little need for an alias. So, I suppose it’s time to reveal that Band Boy’s real name is Paul (obviously not the Paul mentioned before that Michele is marrying… that would just be weird) and so he will be known from now on.

The fact that I chose to embark on my journey to see him, knowing how arduous it would be can only be seen as testament to the strength of my feelings for him. There were no trains running between Liverpool Street and Chelmsford yesterday, so my journey was as follows… train from Earlsfield to Waterloo. Jubilee Line from Waterloo to Stratford. Central Line from Stratford to Newbury Park. Replacement bus from Newbury Park to Ilford. Train from Ilford to Chelmsford.

Fortunately Paul inspires a kind of giddiness in me that hasn’t be seen since my teens, so the minute I launched myself into his arms on arrival in Chelmsford, my journey was forgotten and I was rewarded for my persistence in the face of travel doom with dinner and endless hugs. I brought along Everything Is Illuminated for Paul to watch and I am pleased to say that he loved it… otherwise I would have been forced to reassess his suitability as a companion. It is, after all my favourite film of all time.

When we headed off to work this morning in different directions, I came to the realisation that no matter how much time I spend with him, it feels too short. Hi, my name is Abbi and I’m smitten and completely willing to admit my absolute lameness.