#IndieAmnesty: Confessions of a 2005 Indie Kid

An awesome thing happened on Twitter last week; bands, ex-indie kids and John Prescott (?!) lined up to confess their embarrassing deeds done in the heat of indie fandom, using the hashtag #indieamnesty.

Allow me to take you on a journey through space and time...

I still have no idea what was going on here.

The year is 2005. Franz Ferdinand and The Futureheads released their debut albums the previous year and a British indie revolution was in the offing (in fairness, The Libertines had already released two albums and broken up, but they were ahead of the curve).

Bloc Party released Silent Alarm and I was hooked. Aside from the fact that I wasn't very cool, I went into full-on indie kid mode. A gig a week became the norm and I would bore anyone and everyone senseless with opinions I'd rehashed from that week's NME. Cardiff was a great place to be; it had Barfly for gigs, Welsh Club for indie pretentiousness, Fun Factory for £1.50 ciders and Metros for 99p doubles and dry humping sweaty boys on the dancefloor. Good times.

Anywho, I guess it's time for the #indieamnesty confessions to begin.

Kir started us off with:
I still can't decide if Eddie Argos' tache was ironically bad or just bad. Same re: Art Brut. One for the 2005 indie art pop aficionados there.

I then remembered this:
It's true. No regrets.  
In fairness to Kirsty, that should have read 'lipstysalter and I'. On a similar theme, we used to buy NME every single week.

And then some more that didn't make it to Twitter:

I used to buy my favourite/the cheapest songs as 7" singles. I didn't have a record player, so used them as posters instead.

I actually used to sing along to indie songs like this because they just meant so much. Actually, I think I still do that. Seems like Fee is struggling not to laugh at me and I do not blame her!

I once nearly had sex with Stephen Fretwell's bass player because I thought it might help us get into Athlete's aftershow party. Turns out Mr Bass Player was not important enough to also get entry for my two friends, so.... overaries before broveries and bye bye Mr Bass (also he wasn't that fit).

I busted a series of brilliant/humiliating/competitive dance moves under the influence of cheap vodka. On the plus side I perfected my 'Are you suuuuuurrrrrrrrrre?' fingerpoint/full Common People lip sync routine.

I had a massive crush on Ross from The Futureheads. I still would.

I loved MySpace (the pirate was my profile pic) and genuinely worried about who to put in my Top 8. Probably not as much as my brilliantly, hilariously emo housemates did though. 

And, worst of all, my one actual regret in life:

And, to finish off, just because...


So, please, tell me your fangirl/fanboy confessions! Surely I wasn't the only one?!

An Unexpected Start to Our Honeymoon: March's Photo an Hour

March's Photo an Hour day fell on the day after our wedding (and Easter Sunday). I figured the day would be pretty predictable (breakfast, drive, hotel, relaaaaaax) but I was wrong...

The morning started off with me desperately trying to make myself look decent; I'd obviously put in a lot of effort the day before and didn't particularly want to meet everyone the next morning looking gross. We had breakfast with our friends and family, laughed at the previous night's photobooth pictures, then packed up our stuff ready to go on honeymoon. Then things started to go awry.

Having packed up our stuff, Pete suddenly remembered that he hadn't seen the car keys since Friday evening...

1pm: Wedding aftermath. I went back to the pub where we'd held our reception the night before, to collect leftover wedding cake and forgotten shoes. No car keys.

2pm: I went back to the Holiday Inn, where I found Pete in reception, still surrounded by wedding stuff, and still without car keys. The AA were unable to help, given that we were in Somerset, on Easter Sunday, with their cheapest lever of breakdown cover. D'oh.

3pm: Still no car keys, but the Holiday Inn lady took pity on us and gave us free coffee. Emergency locksmiths were either unavailable or unable to help. The reality of the situation began to dawn on us: one of us was going to have to go back to London on the train, alone, to collect our spare car keys. I loaded up a bag with leftover cake and got in a taxi to the station...

4pm: On the train, I received a phone call from Pete. Good news: he'd remembered where he'd left the keys!!!!! Bad news: I was 10 minutes into two hour the train journey, next stop Reading.

5pm: Hi, Reading! Bye, Reading!

6pm: Train selfie. I think cabin fever had set in by this point...

7pm: WE MADE IT! Finally, we made it to our lovely hotel, Woodbury Park near Exeter... A mere six hours after we'd originally planned to arrive. When we arrived we got told that, due to an online deal, we would be charged less than we'd anticipated and receive a free dinner each night. Winnner, winner, chicken fish dinner,

8pm: After a quick jacuzzi visit, we got ready for dinner. I LOVE PATTERNS.

9pm: Dinner was amazing. This was a blue cheese risotto and it was goooooooood.

10pm: Champagne (thanks, Pete!) and wedding cards in bed. An awesome end to a slightly bizarre day!

As usual, thanks Louisa and Jane for organising us - if it wasn't for Photo an Hour my blog would be pretty empty this year!

Why I Started Dreading My Wedding (and What We Did About It)

Ah, wedding planning. Never has one process been so laden with expectation, expense and other people's opinions. Maybe it's because I've done it all before but I never wanted to try and achieve a Pinterest-perfect day. I was hoping I could avoid any planning-induced freak outs.* But freak out I did.

After Pete and I got engaged last August we decided to crack on with wedding planning. We knew we wanted to get married in 2016, it had to be in the school holidays, and we already had another close family wedding planned for the summer. So we started planning an Easter wedding (whilst reassuring everyone that, yes it was quick but no, I'm not pregnant). Plus added bonus: we're getting married on my 30th birthday, so only one cringeworthy celebration to plan!

Originally we wanted to have a traditional, 100- people strong guest list. I'd had a really small wedding (10 guests) first time around and I felt like I owed it to my family to do it 'properly' this time. For about a week this was really exciting, then reality started to hit. The freak out came. I didn't like the idea of 100 people looking at me, and the logistics seemed ridiculously complicated. Although I had been repeating the 'keep it simple' mantra to myself, it was all starting to get a bit out of control. I guess I felt like, if people are coming to a big wedding, they're going to expect something wedding-y. And, I'm going to say it, big wedding aren't cheap. Yes, we could have found the money, but it seemed ridiculous (to us anyway) to spend more on one day than we would on our next car. Before I knew it I was dreading the wedding. As in, actually crying about it every night. I think it's a big, unhelpful stereotype that all women dream of their big day, I was actually dreading it.

Eloping wasn't an option (Pete didn't want to- I would have) and I was worried my family and friends would be disappointed if I cut down the guestlist.

So what did we do? Well, we're still getting married! We found a compromise. Immediate family and very close friends only, giving us a total of 35 guests. It did lead to a couple of difficult decisions, and I really hope I haven't upset anyone too much. I hate upsetting people, but ultimately it wasn't worth putting myself under months of stress. There are some people I feel very close to that I just couldn't invite. Yes, weddings are about friends and family, but they are also about the couple and I think most people would agree it's better if the bride makes it to the wedding day alive and (relatively) sane. 

As usually happens to me in these situations, everyone was far more understanding than I'd anticipated. This feels much more manageable, and the planning process has, for the most part, been pretty enjoyable. Having such a small, close group has allowed me to not really give a crap about the details. Goodbye, Pinterst! Goodbye, wedding magazines! I'm proud to say that my wedding day will not be very 'matchy', my invitations were brought off the shelf, there will be no favours, and I haven't made a fucking thing (except cake). It's ok to not have a sophisticated wedding, it's ok to not have a unique wedding, and it's ok to not be obsessed with the planning process.

That said, I did freak out again last week about everyone looking at me, so THANK FUCK we'd cut the numbers down! Ah well, it's my (birthday) party and I'll cry if I want to.

But you know what? It's only a wedding. It's one day. Marriage, now that's worth freaking out about....

*I'm not entirely sure why I wasn't expecting to freak out. I always freak out, about everything.

February's Photo An Hour: My Transport-Themed Hen Do!

I'm always excited when I'm doing something on a Photo an Hour day. so having my actual hen do on an actual Photo an Hour day was pretty flipping exciting. There were many, many photo opportunities over the three days, so I've strayed a bit from the Photo an Hour theme (I'm a maverick like that).

All of Friday I was a big ball of Hen Do nervous excitement. I finished work, did a quick Sainsbury's run, dumped an obscene amount of Lush products into my bath and attempted to chill the frick out. Beth was first to arrive, so I collected her from the station and Hen Do Fun commenced!

I decided that I wanted to have my hen weekend in London so that the overnighters could cram into my flat for sleepover-themed fun. Apart from that I had no idea what our weekend plans were...

10.30am: Bedding mountain. We managed to cram seven of us into my one bedroom flat.

11.30am: I was highly visible. At this point the fancy dress theme revealed itself... TRANSPORT! It's true, I love transport (especially trains and the tube). I'd been wondering if we'd have a theme for the weekend; my thought process had been, 'Peep Show? Too specific. Babysitters Club? Too specific. Transport? Too weird.' Turns out nothing was too weird (and that's why I love my friends).

12.30pm: I SAID YES! 
We met some of my other friends near Green Park tube, then commenced our first activity: Tube Treasure Hunt! It was actually, genuinely brilliant. In three teams we had 90 minutes to complete a page of challenges and clues to solve. I felt like I was on The Apprentice (except there's no way anyone would give me a job for that).

1.30pm: Treasure Hunt over! Our team came second (the winning team managed to persuade a man to take his tops off, an elderly couple to kiss, and took a photo of a policeman's bum so fair play). We were given a ridiculously plentiful array of London tat, including these bad boys:

2.30pm: We made it to Greenwich (after nearly losing Jen in a comedy tube incident) VIA THE DLR and headed to 'Spoons for a cocktail jug or four, and some actual introductions. 

3.30pm: #carouselfie

4.30pm: Afternoon tea! If I'd had to put bets on what my day would include, I think afternoon tea would have been a pretty safe one. I did not, however, expect to be having my afternoon tea on the Cutty Sark. The food was so, so good. The scone were some of the best I've had (and I love scones) and every single one of the cakes was perfect, Like, actually perfect. 

Tiny cake/giant lady.

5.30pm: We took a trip through the foot tunnel (due to the insistence/persistence of my friend Clare) and were rewarded with this lovely view of Greenwich. My phone camera hasn't really done it justice, but never mind!

6.30pm: We headed home (via Lewisham, no less).

7.30pm: No sleepover is complete without facepacks....

8.30pm: ...or wine...

9.30pm ...or Cards Against Humanity. If you can't laugh at dead children on your hen do, when can you?! What's that? You should never laugh at dead children? Oh. Sorry. What about doing unspeakable things to pugs? It's ok to laugh at that, right?

 The photos kinda stopped here (more wine = less remembering to take photos) but I think it's important we take a moment to savour the brilliant of the above round. Especially because 'genuine human connection' was Rando Cardrissian's! (Or as I'll now forever refer to him, Rando Fandango.)

 The Sunday involved refuelling in Julia's in Beckenham, with more excellent cake (and all the caffeine). Any meal that involves cake and avocado is a surefire winner in my book. 

I really did have such a brilliant weekend. My friends really are the most supportive, hilarious, weird, clever, wonderful humans. I'm a lucky bean.

P.S. Thanks Jane and Louisa for organising our monthly Photo an Hour shenanigans... I think the next one is 27th March, which is Easter Sunday and the day after my wedding. Should probably do some more wedding planning!

Photo An Hour: 16th January 2016

Saturday was Photo An Hour day! Having managed to take part in November and December but not actually write the accompanying blog posts, I thought this week I should put a bit more effort in and get it done! So here goes:

9.30am: Decided to kick off my day with a Photo Ah Hour tradition: The Obligatory Cup of Tea Photo. Yes, it's January, yes I still use my Christmas mug.

10.30am: Admiring my pretty online shopping returns.

11.30am: I spied a pretty tree on my way to the gym.

12.30pm: I was probably running at this point, so... Post-run selfie instead. Aren't you lucky, getting to see my sweaty face?! Did my second 7k of the week though. Get in!

1.30pm: Lunch and a book. I win Saturday!

2.30pm: Still reading. Should have been tidying. Oops.

3.30pm: Got dressed around my new Tatty Devine necklace. Having admired Tatty Devine from afar for years, I finally made some sale purchases!

4.30pm: This should really have been a pub photo by this time, but we got on the wrong bus so... 

5.30pm: Pub photo! Finally!

6.30pm: Still in the pub, but a different pub.

7.30pm: Yeah, still in the pub. The same pub. 

8.30pm: Takeaway + black tights + me = inevitable spillage.

9.30pm: Aftermath (this also seems to be a worrying Photo An Hour trend)!

There you have it. A pretty standard Saturday, but the perfect kind of Saturday. As usual, thanks Louisa and Jane for organising us!

Getting Married and Remarried by 29

So, after meaning to submit something for ages, I finally wrote my first Zusterchap contribution last week....

Being a 29 year old divorcer (yes, you read that right) wasn’t part of my life plan. I married my university sweetheart when I was 24 in 2010, then proceeded to watch my personal and professional life unravel pretty spectacularly. We tried for 18 months to make things work, then we separated and eventually divorced nearly four years later. It was the right decision, but whichever way you slice it, getting divorced at 29 sucks ass...
...read more.