A Crumble by Any Other Name

I’m looking at an apple crumble made by Mum, complete with a dollop of clotted cream on the side. Because it’s homemade I have no idea when it’s use by is or, indeed, was. Because it’s me I don’t really care. It’s sweet and sugary and has fruit somewhere deep inside and in my world that’s all that matters. (Well, that and not being poisoned by it, of course.)

I debated whether to take a snapshot of the squidgy, crumbly, goo but then opted against. “The world will not judge my eating habits today!” I triumphantly thought, before typing up my eating habits for the world to read online.

I momentarily stop in creative passion to return my attention to more pressing matters. The beast calls for what it cannot grab from its imprisonment within. Like a puppet dancing on strings my hands respond to the master’s call. Ten twitching digits grab the faded bowl which had been lain on crumb-covered sheets, the dirtied spoon lifted from a used yoghurt pot beside.

“They cannot judge what they can’t see” I uttered to myself once again. A scoop of dessert piled high with cream onto the small tea spoon, the perfect combination of dry and moist. Each component would be lost without the other, and yet under the strain of such a mass the teaspoon could almost be heard squeaking for mercy. I happily donate my charity to the plea as I inserted the mixture into my mouth, eyes closed in anticipation.

Suddenly the relaxed, drawn, eye lids sprung open to reveal a very different emotion.

“The cream’s gone off.”

 

(Written in response to the prompt of the day: Crumb )

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North Korea – a Very British Take

I don’t know about you, but I aren’t half irritated by all this talk of North Korea and the like.

There’s no easy way of addressing the rather sticky topic of a country that has barely two sticks to rub together but a tonne of bombs ready to light. Even the utterance of the word ‘Kim’ nowadays makes people shudder. (I feel for anyone of the same name, it must make office discussions a nightmare.) No longer is “Hitler” deemed the ultimate buzz kill of conversations, no, that title now falls to the bomb-drop (pun not intended) of “so…North Korea, eh?”

Drop the mic and never pick it up.

Maybe the dictator is threatening to blow us all up because he tried Instagram and realised that he’s not Kim Kardashian?

 

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You’re a strong, independent man Jong-un, you don’t need no followers…or human rights or peace talks…

 

Me personally I’ve got to a point where I’m a bit fed up of hearing all about it. Personally I always considered myself to be akin to Cypher in The Matrix. Sod all the misery and slavery in the real world, give me an amazing life in the fake one. As such it doesn’t half frustrate me when I keep having to watch news about increasing tensions, followed by relaxations, then changed up to tensions again. If I wanted to watch a little fat man in a suit I’d have put on Thomas the Tank Engine.

(And we can all get covered in falling pails of milk and it’ll be hilarious and harmless in equal measure.)

As a British person I’m presently faced with three equally delightful prospects of the future: a) death by war, b) death by global warming or c) death by lack of French cheese and wine through Brexit. It’s all water off a duck’s back now, in fact I’m probably more likely to complain to the BBC if the news report does not feature at least two of the above. Unless the article features tea, I’m super hopeful that we’ll get all of that tea China promised us some 150 years ago. I’m going to ask Father Christmas for it this year, that or duct tape for Boris Johnson, whichever suits.

In truth I feel more frustration and sadness over the people who live in North Korea. There is nothing for them there but poverty, misery and worse. No one reports on them, no one thinks about how sanctions hit the citizens who have done no wrong. I’m no politician or John Lennon, but it just seems like such a screwed up country and people are treating it, on the surface, like it’s one naughty child and shouting at it for long enough will calm it down. But since when does that work with normal children? Or Trump? You take away their bacon and they get more irritable.

If we learnt from past mistakes I swear the world wouldn’t be in such a mess right now.

People just need to calm down, and someone needs to give Kim a girlfriend or a new hobby. Has anyone thought about introducing the dictator to cross stitch for example? Or maybe the satisfaction of a well maintained allotment? Just thoughts you know (and considerably cheaper than a world war – sign him up for one of those monthly magazine kits for sale in WHSmith.)

The issue of North Korea isn’t great, I get it, but when I get home from a long day at work can you perhaps not tell me I’m going to die from an exploding bomb or the after effects? I’ve just cleared a backlog of admin and health and safety e-learning and with the greatest of respect Trump I really, really, do not want to know right now. Don’t tell me that the hour spent learning how to position my monitor screen is about to go down the drain. Because seriously, I do not have time for it.

In a nutshell then I’ve basically explained the problems in North Kora through use of Instagram, a children’s TV show and a kid with a bacon addiction. I guess some writers are just born with it.

 

*FYI – all views are mine (because what other crazy fool would write the above?)

Facebook: The Importance of Unfriending

I recently did a feature article for The National Student on the notion of Facebook friends and why a clear out of them every so often is nothing but a good thing.

Check out the article here: Facebook: The Importance of Unfriending

What are you thoughts on friends on social media? Do we have too many? Are they damaging or do you see them as harmless numbers?

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(PS, this is really a more in-depth, more wordy, less bullet pointy version of an earlier blog post There’s a Reason Why I Unfriended You. However these guys wanted something more informative – don’t they know who I am?!)

 

On Becoming an *Actual* Adult

Have you ever had that moment when you stop momentarily in the middle of something (be it mundane or professional) and think “gulp, I’m an actual adult now”? For me it happens alarmingly often, and I never quite know if it’s a good thing or not. Seeing as I tend to get it whilst singing along to Horrible Histories songs or dancing around to S Club 7, it’s probably more likely the latter.

It’s funny how things which made no sense at one stage of your life can make complete sense years later when it’s too late to go back. Case in point, this video which I first viewed as a student. I thought then I knew what it was like to be an actual grown up, but hahahahahaha I was so wrong. (WARNING: video below contains adult content.)

Pulling things back in my defence for just a moment, can I just say Horrible Histories was/is awesome and, yes, it was used as a revision aid during my University degree finals…

(100% true story)

Furthermore, there have also been a few occasions where, in stark contrast, I realised that I’m actually more mature than I let on (yes, that was a serious comment).

Remember those children’s magazines where there were double page pizza spreads? I knew I was getting more mature then because by the age of nine I was choosing to enter in for the draws where the prize had the most monetary value or use in my life. Hobby Horses? Hah, no way, enter me in for the prize to win the designer riding clothing worth over £150 (another fun fact, I won that competition. Mumma Bennett thought it was a hoax at the time so didn’t tell me for days until she couldn’t ignore the calls anymore. That riding gear was amazing.)

Shortly after that I took a liking disc 2 of Now That’s What I Call Music and boom! There went my childhood. We all know that feeling. Overnight I went from listening to this:

To this:

From Darius and Steps to Amy MacDonald and Plain White T’s. No complaints here.

Yet years down the road, on a Wednesday evening, I’m sat on a sofa, covered in tea (as per usual), watching clips of Tots TV (I’m not even going to try and explain it – if you’ve never heard of it, YouTube it). And apparently I’m an adult? How, just, how?? It’s all a bit alarming really, I mean I have the following things (sorry not sorry if it comes across as smug):

  • A house
  • A car
  • A job
  • A 6″ 7 beast of a man
  • All the things referenced in Nina Simone’s “Got no, got life”

Basically all the things that naturally are meant to mature one into feeling more adult like. All I’m missing is a pet and/or spawn but then those things cost money and require more time and effort than a tea round for all the King’s horses and all the King’s men. Can’t be dealing with that.

So I guess I better accept it, I’m an actual adult now with actual human responsibilities. But does that make me mature? Hell no, another slice of cake please sir. Why? Because I’m an adult and I darn well can!*

*Just make sure that cake is billed to anyone else but me – I may be an adult but, owing to expenses outlined above, I (ironically) have no easily accessible money. Being an adult is hard!

 

There’s a Reason Why I Unfriended You

If very recent events have taught me anything, it’s this shocking revelation: Not everyone in the world wants to know me.

Facebook in all its wonderfully pointless nature drives us to want lots of ‘friends’, but everyone from CEO Mark Zuckerberg to ‘it’s a waste of time’ Mumma Bennett knows that’s the concept of friends on social media is a load of baloney.

Putting one’s metaphoric geek chic glasses on, Google search (because I invest that much time into blog research), defines ‘friend’ as…

“A person with whom one has a bond of mutual affection, typically one exclusive of sexual or family relations.”

Bear with me, just trying to read between the lines here. Does it say “someone who posts ‘happy birthday’ on your profile”? Or, “the cute guy in class whose photos you stalk in an affectionate, totally not creepy, way”? No, no it certainly does not. I mean, who seriously wants even fifty friends nowadays? Imagine all the birthday cards to send, you’d never stop! Therefore around 95% of the people you, I and the butcher’s dog have on Facebook are, within reason, no more than acquaintances. They could be either on the cusp of friendship or a guy you met once in Freshman year. If any of this so far is an utter shock to you then you need to undergo the same experiment/evening wasting activity I conducted a short while ago.

Because I’m a shameless sell out, I’ve been trying to promote my writing/the blog through means of a Facebook page. (Oh, what was that? You didn’t quite catch the link? Here you go: https://www.facebook.com/MyHousematesAMermaid/) In the process I openly went out and messaged every single one of the contacts on my Facebook friend list. For each message I carefully thought about what to write, racking my brains for a shared connection or memory that brought us together in the first place.

Was it a cheap ploy to up likes? Yes. Was I curious to hear what people were up to? Yes, very much so. In a world of enhanced imagery and like-baiting statuses, I’ll take what comes from the horse’s mouth.

Most of the people I messaged did respond positively. I was dead chuffed at that. A fair few commented that they liked my work and they liked the page in turn (thanks guys, big up to your love and support). I got reacquainted with old ties, I told them about my life, they told me about theirs, it was great. Admittedly with 100 odd people messaging me at the same time (for one evening I felt like Beyoncé) most of the conversations tailed off after a couple of exchanges, but nonetheless they were pleasant and interesting. It’s funny to hear what the girl sat three seats down in Year Nine Science is up to now, and amazing to hear tales of Chemistry flatmates saving the world with new research in California.

On the flipside there were those who didn’t respond. Some of which were the people I thought I’d hear back from, even if it was just a quick “sure, done!” Or “no thanks”. A sizeable chunk of the no responders I expected, but for some there was no rhyme or reason. Other than they hate my work, that’s very much possible (and accepted – you can’t please everyone).

The whole experience has lead me to undergo a Facebook ‘friend’ clear out. Man, it feels good to do a social media cull every so often. So, if you’re wondering why I’ve unfriended you, here is a comprehensive list of reasons why:

 

  • We met once and haven’t spoken since
  • You were unpleasant to me at school but 16 year old me felt obliged to have you there
  • I genuinely don’t know who you are
  • You’re my friend’s ex (and we barely spoke when you two were a thing)
  • I don’t like you
  • You don’t like me
  • We wrote a group essay together. That’s not friendship, that’s me wanting to chase you for references at 2am
  • Too many statuses
  • I don’t want you near my holiday snaps
  • I don’t want you near me when I become a super, mega, sensation
  • You won’t even realise that I’ve unfriended you
  • You would have unfriended me yourself if I didn’t do it first
  • When I look at your profile, your photos, job, statuses, partner etc. only three words spring to mind: I don’t care

 

Reasons why you’re still my friend on Facebook:

  • You’re a decent person
  • I could engage in semi-awkward small talk with you (think the conversations you have in hairdressers)
  • You’re family
  • You’re my amazing friends
  • The stuff you post is interesting and/or informative
  • I’m scared for my own safety if I unfriend you
  • I’m on the fence and don’t want to have to awkwardly add you as a friend later on

 

There you have it. I may add to this after a bit more friend culling, wherein I may accidentally delete family members, close friends or quite possibly even unfriend myself in my frenzied state to clear out the baggage.

I’m The Classiest Thing to Happen to Swindon Since Billie Piper

With a title like that you’re probably thinking one of three things, “too right Alice is”, “this girl has got right up herself since she set up a Facebook page. Who is she, Donald Trump?” or “huh, I did not know Billie Piper came from Swindon”. Either way, I’m going to say it loud and proud* (*not in real life you understand? Just online).

Two weeks ago was carrying an unzipped suitcase down the stairs when all my belongings tumbled out. At that very moment I thought to myself “you really are a piece of something” and now I know what that something is. It’s pretty obvious that I am the embodiment of class and comedy gold (I’m also the embodiment of a minor caffeine addition and sleep deprivation, but I’ll leave that to the obituarists).

Backtracking a little, with a name that translates as “Pig Hill” not a lot of celebrities have graced the streets and houses of Swindon. Case in point: when was the last time you saw Jude Law in the Canal Walk McDonald’s? Exactly. And don’t get me started about the fact Canal Walk is no where near water. I’m going off on a ranty tangent here, but Swindon needs to have a serious rebrand. Why not change the name to, say, “Swingdon” and make the place full of jazz or “Richdon” (subliminal messaging for the dumb rich people)? I pay you enough ruddy money in taxes, sort it out council.

Until a new name is implemented or Jude Law decides to unleash his offspring into the concrete jungle that is Swindon’s Tented Market (really, it is made of that – WHO WORKS IN BRANDING?!), then I’m going to claim the title of classiest female to grace Swindon. Sure, I spill tea quite literally everywhere and yes, I can be reduced down to a child-like mentality when presented with new pillows, but given my competition is Billie Piper then I think I have good grounds for asserting my case. For anyone not in the know, Piper made her name in the late 90s/early 00s as a pop star and then as an actress (more commonly known for playing Rose Tyler in the reboot of Doctor Who). She’s good, don’t get me wrong, but Swindonians don’t half like to harp on about her like she’s a big claim to fame. You know who my local town of Stratford-Upon-Avon had? Shakespeare, that’s who. Trust me, there’s no beating that, however competing against this I think I could take Piper on:

(Seeing bins melt into men, billboard cartoons come alive and rhino bouncers? Yep, it’s called a standard Saturday night out in Swindon.)

I write stuff, good stuff, and despite my frequent Calamity Jane moments I like to think I represent a good role model. I walk to work, go to the gym, I even do the occasional bit of baking. I tell you what, get Anthea Turner (star of How to Be a Perfect Housewife) on the phone, she’ll support me (and in doing so knock back Feminism to 1969 but hey, we’re talking about me here.)

In short, I’m a ruddy aspirational professional.

And you know what? I think my presence is having an effect on this town. For instance back in 2014 you would never see this type of thing out and about:

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You might have come across a cider can or an empty beer bottle, but never a wine flute carefully placed on a window ledge. It’s a sign!

Not wanting to brag, but I’m the classiest thing to happen to Swindon since Billie Piper.

(Disclaimer: before writing this post I had consumed a large, strong, coffee. This may explain pretty much all the comments made in the above. Do I regret them? Not at all.)

The Devil in Carb-ate

This evening I was reintroduced to a world of vice and nutritional sin. My old foe reared its ugly, cream filled, head and called to me from across the supermarket floor. Standing at the reduced bread stand I heard it whispering to me and made the fatal mistake of making eye contact. It was at that point my destiny for the evening was sealed. My poor body never stood a chance. The name of this dastardly snack? Custard creams.

A whole pack of custard creams now lay decimated on my bedroom floor, the empty wrapper and a string of pale crumbs serving as the only reminder that here once stood a tall stack of heavenly sin. The scrunched up wrapper of a product once fulfilled and bulging, now hollow and useless.

I dare not study the custard cream wrapper at length, the nutritional values which once seemed hidden from view now laugh at me in mockery, inspiring those inner feelings of guilt and shame. “You’ll remember this one moment of weakness for years to come!” it cackles. In frustration I reach out and grab the snack wrapper with such aggression that the orange skin lets out a rustling squeak. I thrust my hand into the bin and release my prisoner there to join the rotting carrot and greasy pizza boxes, before walking out of the room and switching off the light.

Wrapper dealt with I thought the guilt and ill feeling of consuming 50,00,000 calories in one sitting was removed from my life. I pick up a book and start reading in a bid to distract my mind.  A little voice pipes up from deep inside me, it is coming from my stomach. It says “you thought you could dispel me so easily? You fool!” And the self loathing begins again.

The devil lives inside me and he is not red, nor is he a horned beast. He is a custard cream.