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New Year, new me, same old clichés

Now that I’ve eaten my weight in chocolate, binge-watched a few box sets and argued over the rules of Scrabble, Christmas has come to a close and it’s time to bid adieu to 2016.

And what a year it’s been.

We’ve seen war and conflict, the wrath of ISIS,the triumph of a tangerine-faced tycoon and the fall of Harambe.

From David Bowie to Princess Leia, stars have dropped like the value of the pound and Brexit meant Brexit which meant nothing at all.

Oh, and for some reason people started running around dressed as killer clowns.

So yeah, it’s been a pretty bizarre year.

On a personal level however 2016 hasn’t been too shabby.

I climbed the highest mountain in North Africa, got a degree, sampled veganism, met Basil Brush, rode in a hot air balloon, reached 100wpm at shorthand and quit alcohol for good.

I made new friends, travelled, laughed, cried, sang and danced.

I saw the sunrise in the Sahara and Elton John in concert.

I had my heart broken and I made mistakes.

But in the end, through all of these ups and downs, I’ve grown as a person and inched one fumbling step closer to finding my place in this crazy world.

Then again, it’s New Year’s Eve so really I should forget all of this, focus on my faults, draft some resolutions and set about making 2017 my “best year yet.”

I’m not usually cynical about New Year’s resolutions.

After all I’m the kind of person who actually writes down life goals and approaches tidying with colour-coded post-it notes.

But as the saying goes “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions”, Hell in this case being the sofa which most return to one month into an annual gym membership.

So this year I’m not going to go for the same old “new year, new me” spiel.

As Gloria Gaynor sang “I am what I am”, so even though I maybe would like to have the body of a supermodel, the motivation of an Olympic athlete and the grace and beauty of a film star, I realise that such goals are unattainable.

So instead of making my New Year’s resolutions things which I would like to change about myself, I’m going to propose three things.

One thing I want to achieve, one thing I want to try and one philosophy I want to live my life by:

1.) Learn how to drive – not because all my friends are doing it or because someone told me to, but because it’s pretty essential for journalists and I’d like to have fewer public transport nightmares.

2.) Try dance classes – not because I want to get fit, or lose weight, or meet a sexy dance partner, but because it should be a laugh (if only for the other people in the class.)

3.) Embrace being single – not because I’m uber confident and don’t need anyone or because I want to have a Sex and the City-esque lifestyle but because I’m wasting too much time wishing that I was in a relationship (or pretending that I’m not) when I should just be enjoying life as it is.

So that’s it.

So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbye 2016.

May 2017 bring you all that your heart desires.

Live long and prosper 🙂

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LONDON – Waxworks and Window Shopping

I’ve been super busy so I haven’t had time to do a proper post about London until now so here is the first installment!

baker street londonMy mum and I caught a 6am flight to London so by the time we arrived we were pretty exhausted. Nevertheless we headed to Madame Tussauds because we had booked tickets online and weren’t able to check into the hotel for a while anyway. The last time I’d been to this famous waxwork museum I think I was six and the only things I remember were getting my picture taken with the likenesses of Sadam Hussain and Manuel from Fawlty Towers and the fact that my Mum had asked a waxwork the way to the toilets. (oh the shame) This time, being a bit older, I think I appreciated it a lot more and of course was excited to see so many new wax versions of my favourite famous icons. A particularly poignant moment was when I came face to face with an eerily life-like version of Robin Williams. Following his recent tragic suicide I wasn’t surprised that so many people were crowding around his waxwork and I think that although he clearly suffered with depression, his easy-going and suggestive pose is the perfect lasting tribute to his comic genius.

me and the a listers london

Just hanging with Colin and Helen

A true legend. R.I.P

A true legend. R.I.P

This time my mum didn’t make the embarrassing mistake of actually speaking to a waxwork but we were both taken in by a fake member of the paparazzi who we thought was taking a ridiculously long time to photograph Ryan Gosling.

He cut my ear off!

He cut my ear off!

After perusing the different sections and posing for funny photographs with various celebs from Cheryl Cole to Vincent Van Gogh (with both ears entact) it was time for us to enter the Chamber of Horrors. This entailed a walk through a reconstructed version of Newgate Prison in which actors pretending to be serial killers leer at and scare you from the shadows. I wasn’t as scared as I thought I would be but the edge was taken off slightly by the exchange I heard just before between a little kid and the man playing the part of the prison warden:

Child- “Serial killers?? Does that mean they kill cereals?”

Actor- “Yes! And all of you are Kelloggs Cornflakes” (in a very sinister tone)

In the end it wasn’t all that scary because the actors weren’t allowed to touch you and the build up made it out to be so much worse but my mum and I still made our way through it at a fairly brisk pace!

london porotbello rdlondon portobello 2

london portobello 3london portobello 4On another day we decided to head to Notting Hill and check out the market on Portobello road. I absolutely love this part of London because it is so quaint (picture the houses in the Hugh Grant, Julia Roberts film) and has so many interesting little shops where you can be sure to bag a bargain. I ended up buying two lovely dresses and a cute baby grow with a London bus on it for a relative who is expecting.

sweets harrods london

Mmmmm

Later we decided get a glimpse of how the other half live and went on a tour of Harvey Nichols and Harrods; two of London’s most highly reputed luxury department stores. In Harvey Nichols there were so many gorgeous designer dresses and items but when I looked at the price labels I suddenly became afraid to even look at them, never mind touch them!  Walking around Harrods was a much more enjoyable experience because normal non-rich people also visit there due to its reputation so I didn’t feel as though I was a peasant wearing rags.

I splashed out and bought some chocolates (£7.50 for 100g) but I think it was worth it because they were easily the best I’ve ever tasted (seriously, an instant euphoric, melt in your mouth feeling). I also enjoyed visiting the Diana and Dodi memorial which is a fitting tribute since Dodi Al Fayed actually owned Harrods. My favourite item in the whole shop however was easily the antique piano which dates from 1875 and costs £250,000. Suddenly I allowed my mind to wander as I daydreamed about being a successful singer/songwriter and playing this piano with Elton John who had just popped round to my mansion for tea and a duet.

me and piano london

Well, a girl can dream!

Later that same day my mum and I went to see the Phantom of the opera at the theatre because it would be a shame to go to London and not see a show (the last time we saw Wicked). As usual the West End stage did not disappoint. We were both enchanted by a hauntingly beautiful performance of this Andrew Lloyd Webber classic and I found myself still humming the songs long after we’d left the theatre.

The Phantom of the opera

The Phantom of the opera

I still have more London adventures to talk about but I’ll leave this for another day so stay posted everyone! That’s all I ask of you…