How To Be Happier Online

I’m going to impart some fresh unasked-for life advice, because I’ve found how you can have a happier life online. 

Aside from the standard advice of avoiding the Daily Mail website because it affects your mental health, there’s one particular website which should be avoided.


I am, of course, talking about Pinterest. 

In essence, Pinterest’s insidious evil is virtually the same as the Daily Mail’s; it has same power to undermine your self-confidence and self-worth. Pinterest will have you sat there for hours, fermenting in your pyjamas with unwashed hair, pinning picture after picture of delicately arranged plates of food, beautiful bright airy homes, sculpted bottoms and toned midriffs, simple craft projects and no-bake cakes.


It seems so good at the start- all pretty, foody and lovely. So many interesting ideas! So many projects! Soft pastel tones. Vintage. Cute handwritten fonts. Gorgeous women. Teacups. Boys who bulk in the right places (MUSCLES, you fool.) Diamonds, gems, lace. Heart-shaped marshmallows. Models strutting along grey inner-city streets in sharply tailored outfits, or posing up a tree while barefoot with a man’s white shirt, rolled up jeans and tousled bedhead hair. Embroidery. ‘Reclaimed’. Lavender Earl Grey Iced Tea Lattes. Lots of melted cheese. Mason Jars. Bunting. Chocolate. Pinecones. Typographically overwrought inspirational meme phrases, printed and framed. Cookies with cookies as an ingredient. Burlap. Celebrities laughing. AW 2015, SS 2016. Geometric jewellery. Eating clean. Cake. So much fucking cake.

You pin recipes, hairstyles, outfits, wedding cakes and wedding dresses (I’m not even getting married, where the fuck are these all wedding pins coming from?) There’s workout plans! Spiralising! Fitspiration! Easy games for my fictional, unconceived children!

After a while, you realise. Wallowing in this sea of aspirational inspirational BS doesn’t make you happy. It makes you pissed off and sad.

Pinterest is the stuff you can’t afford time or money to make. If you do try, it’s more than likely going to go wrong. Hairstyles that end up looking like an intricate pubic sculpture. Interior design that would never work in most of our homes, because we don’t live in some huge barn-like space. Oh what’s that? You can have your things custom built to fit your tiny home space? Get a fucking grip. Trim, athletic bodies you’ll never have. Clothes you’ll never buy. Food you’ll never make. I BET YOU DON’T EVEN LIKE ZUCCHINI COURGETTE.

Pinterest breeds envy, then guilt that you’ve not tried hard enough to get all those lovely things these other people have. It hammers home, over and over, the things you could and SHOULD be doing. If only you only did a 10 minute workout every day, YOU could have a beautiful peachy backside too. It’s your fault if you don’t. See what you could be achieving, if only YOU JUST TRIED HARDER WITH YOUR PATHETIC LITTLE LIFE. If only you were just a bit better. 

In summary, I don’t like Pinterest. 

The Best Pen Ever


Next in a series of hot takes on serious issues important to the modern woman, I’m going to give you some advice. Serious advice. 

The Pilot V Sign Pen is the most best pen. YES, MOST BEST.

Do you like Paperchase? I like it. Too much. I only go in when I have to. I get overexcited. My palms sweat. My lip twitches. I’ll walk back and forth across the Tottenham Court Road branch for an hour. I want it all. I agonise in stationery paradise. I’m typing in short sentences. It’s hard to type with one hand. (I’m holding a pen, you filthy perv.)

This pen found me in Paperchase and there was no question, it was coming back to mine.

On returning home, I said to my boyfriend, “Try this pen, it’s amazing.”
“How amazing can a black pen be?” 
“Just try it. Go on. You’ll like it.”
“… … …Oh. I see.”

Having had the same conversation with seven people now, I feel pretty justified in making such a bold statement. (Yes, I am very popular and I am a great conversationalist, thanks for asking.) 

The first night, this happened:


I couldn’t help it. I couldn’t control myself. It was the pen.

Here’s what happens, so you’re forewarned. You start writing. You only meant to write “hello” or “bums”, just to test, to see what the fuss is about. Words turn into phrases, then sentences. You underline, you embellish, you draw, you doodle, you can’t stop. It won’t let you stop. The ink flows so freely, so bold, so brazen and so black. You know now, this is the best pen ever. You can never be without it.

If you’re not yet convinced that you need this pen, consider its name. “V Sign”. Yes. V SIGN, like the sweary fingers. I don’t know what that’s all about, but I am very up for stationery named after swears.

In summary: Just buy it already. And buy me one too. Buy me five. I’ll be your friend.

The Joy of Ex


Before we begin, if you think any of the exes mentioned here is you, you’re probably right. Hey there! I’ve seen you naked!

Secondly, that picture at the top is misleading. I haven’t written anything much about sex. Sorry, not sorry.

With 15 years of dating under my belt, I’ve collected a decent number of exes. The end results of a range of relationships, from very serious and long-term, to a selection box of fumbles and flings. 

I don’t dwell on them too much (there’s not enough hours in the day), but I do think about the way people have treated me, particularly those who’ve had the pleasure of dating me. A year ago, it occurred to me that I’m in touch (to varying degrees) with loads of my exes, and that made me quite happy.

Last year, my birthday was marked by an excess of grump. My little sister was getting married a few days after my birthday. (Some people do a sharp intake of breath when I say little sister, those people GET IT.) My family was very busy in the run up to the wedding, as you’d expect. I hadn’t yet started dating my brill boyfriend Phil. I was single, getting older and feeling lonely, especially with a wedding to attend as the STEREOTYPICAL DRUNK USELESS SPINSTER OLDER SISTER. (In the event, a role I embraced and excelled at.)

I was cheered up by the most unlikely brigade – my army of exes. Several of them wished me a happy birthday – a small act, but ‘some’ added up to ‘something’. One took me out for birthday drinks. At a time when I felt like the most rubbish unloveable person in the world, my exes somehow (accidentally) rallied round and cheered me the fuck up by just taking the time to type ‘happy birthday’. Or in the case of one of them, taking the time to get me wonderfully stinking drunk. Nice chap, that one. I was a fan.

Recently, two exes have sent chatty emails out of the blue. I regularly have social media interactions (what a wanky term, you know what I mean…) with people that I’ve had some flavour of relationship with. I met up with a long-termer from my teenage era to discuss what knobs we were back then. Another messaged recently to apologise for treating me badly a while ago. I was surprised as I hadn’t remembered him being a dickhead, but appreciated the sentiment. 

Obviously, there’s a few exes that I don’t talk to, nor want to. (The guy who tried to hump me while I slept? You can fuck off.) But I feel really lucky that I can count so many exes as friends, or at least acquaintances I’d not hide from on the tube. I think of it as a huge compliment – you’ve seen my tits, things didn’t work out AND we can still tweet each other? Great! 

Here’s to the good exes. I appreciate you.

How To Test Your Relationship

A few weekends ago, I found the perfect way to test the strength of your romantic relationship. Not that mine particularly needed testing, he’s a good lad. Still, it was nonetheless gratifying to find myself with a boyfriend, especially after an appointment with…


The Rug Doctor®

The Rug Doctor®, as seen above, is not the terrifying sex toy that the name may suggest. It is a wet vacuum cleaner contraption… thing. You hire it for 24 or 48 hours from a shop and use it to clean your carpets. (Thank god you can’t do the same with sex toys. Probably. Christ, that’s a rabbit hole I don’t want to explore.) 

My flat has an oatmeal-coloured carpet, but thanks to a relentless six year campaign of cat hair, cat sick, cat poo, cat wee, mud, spilled drinks and a recent bloody incident, it needed some love from The Rug Doctor®.

As my boyfriend and mine’s inaugural trip to a local branch of Homebase, it was notable as every single member of staff was chatty, smiling, helpful and very friendly. Concerned, I tried to check the size of their pupils. I wasn’t keen on being run over by some gurning Pillbo Baggins in charge of a forklift. Eventually, I was forced to concede that they were all just irrationally nice, especially given that it was a sunny Saturday lunchtime. IT’S LONDON, FFS. We’re all meant to be GRUMPY HUNGOVER SHITS ON SATURDAYS.

After supplying full contact details, a deposit, two kinds of ID, blood samples, a list of all our hopes and fears, our full sexual histories and finishing by reciting the Lord’s Prayer, we were on our way home with the Rug Doctor®. 

I’ve made it sound like we skipped merrily into the sunset with the thing, but the unit alone weighed quite a lot… Enough that I wimped out and just pointed at it, guiltily getting my boyfriend do the lifting and carrying to the car. I probably helpfully stared at his bum or made a comment about tickets for the gun show, something useful like that. That seems like the kind of thing I’d do.

Back at the flat, I remembered why I hadn’t hired a Rug Doctor for six years.

You have to fill the Rug Doctor with nine litres of water, which I mixed with detergent in a wobbly bucket, (which, FUN FACT, was once a catering-sized vat of mayonnaise. I swear I didn’t eat it, so god knows where the bucket came from). With nine litres of liquid poured into the unit, it weighed roughly the same as a small horse. A slightly leaky horse at that.

In short, my flat is a fucking nightmare place to use a Rug Doctor. Only an idiot would think it a viable idea. The stairs, landings, power cables and SHEER BLOODY WEIGHT of the thing meant that the poor boyfriend, who had never even heard of a Rug Doctor before I foisted one on him, ended up doing most of the work. Sorry love. (But look how much nicer our shitty carpets look now! At least… 17.3% cleaner than before! I can totally see a difference!)

To his absolute credit, he didn’t complain once and wrestled the boxy heavy bastard Rug Doctor around the flat with a brave face and the dignified composure of a soldier marching to his death. Like I said, he’s a good lad; I think I’ll keep him. (The boyfriend, not the fucking Bastard Rug Doctor.)

The next day, we took the Bastard Rug Doctor® back to Homebase and were glad to be shot of him. The man at the counter said there was too much cat hair in the brushes to return the deposit. I DON’T EVEN HAVE CATS, THIS THING IS CLEANER THAN WHEN WE PICKED IT UP. (Only one of those things was a lie.) (I got my £20 back.) 

So, in conclusion – fuck Rug Doctors. And if you’re me, fuck your boyfriend. He earned it. 

How To Make The Internet Happier (Apparently)

I received this email from OKCupid earlier today. Apparently, I have the collective happiness of the Internet IN MY HANDS – all I have to do is make myself available to COOL MEN for dating. LOOK, there’s a GRAPH – it’s REAL SCIENCE.

I disabled my OKCupid dating profile last summer, because I started going out with someone awesome. Even if I was to sack him and reenable my OKCupid account, while I do have some skills which make men happy, I’m not sure I can get through them quick enough to make ALL THE COOL MEN on OKCupid happy. Besides which, I don’t appreciate the guilt treatment.

So… Sorry the Internet. I am failing you. I’ve let you down. You’re doomed to unhappiness for the foreseeable because I’m not reenabling my OKCupid account. It’s not you, it’s me. I’m sorry. 

How To Feel Smart


I have recently reawakened an old ego-boosting obsession – Arrowwords. 

They’re like crosswords, only much, much easier. This means you can drink a bucket of your favourite bourbon-based beverage and still smash through 10 puzzles with relative success, making you feel REALLY, REALLY SMART.

Picture Arrowwords (a sub category of Arrowwords which apparently needed its own magazine) have… wait for it… PICTURE CLUES, which transports me back to a time when Pogs were currency, a Fun Fax was actually my idea of fun, and stickers were a religion.

I’m not sure who these puzzles are aimed at, but I suspect that they have specifically been designed for the drunk, or children. That as may be, I love them anyway.

My top tip: If you mess up your puzzle, you can always just do some really good colouring in. 


How To Be Popular


Having just reached the ripe old ovary-withering age of 30, I can tell you with confidence that I have finally discovered how to be popular.

Say that you regularly frequent the drinking dens of central London. Which you do, clearly, because there’s no better place to watch your best years drift away from your outstretched, liver-spotted claw. You drink in pubs, and clubs, and bars. Consequently (and this is nothing to do with age,) there is an inescapable need to use a toilet. Even the best drinkers among us need a slash after 9 bourbon and diet cola drinks.

You find the tiny sign showing the path to the toilets, take the long, uneven flight of stairs, then accidentally try to barge your way into the pub’s living quarters or a broom cupboard. Or worse, the confusing pissfest which is the Gent’s toilets. (I’ve never understood the logistics of urinals, nor do I care to.)

Finally, you have reached your destination, although you’re pretty sure you could have got all the way to fucking Narnia and back by this point. You’ll know you’ve reached it when you’re greeted by a blast of hot fetid fart air, endlessly swirled around the enclosed space by those old-fashioned hand dryers, which are about as effective as an asthmatic old man blowing on you.

Picking your way through the puddles, you locate the only toilet with an in situ seat and a locking door that hasn’t had the bolt replaced with a tightly-packed wad of greying bog roll. 

Have you ever noticed the toilets in these places are generally fucking minuscule? Probably not if you’re a tiny slip of a thing, but I am often forced to straddle the toilet to be able to close the door, or worse, nestle both legs up against The Special Bin, which is inevitably spewing parcels of bloodied hazardous waste.

Then you realise, mid-flow and too late, there’s no fucking toilet roll. You call out to the others in the loo to see if anyone else has any in their cubicle. (It’s ok to talk to strangers in the ladies toilet for this reason – sisterhood etc.) Aside from a damp,, shredded single square you see on the floor, there’s none to be had, and you have SOME standards. (Discussion of standards for what goes near my private regions is a subject for another post, probably.) There’s not even any hand-towels with which to block the Victorian plumbing.

You don’t even have a sanitary towel in your handbag that you could repurpose, after you used the last one to create makeshift anti-rub padding for disintegrating trainers. (Pro tip: Use gaffer tape too.)

But, then! A moment of clarity cuts through the pissed/pissy haze. You remembered that once you were told by a great person on the Internet how to be popular, therefore you have A PACK OF FUCKING TISSUES IN YOUR HANDBAG like some kind of GENIUS. 

Firstly, obviously, sort your own lettuce out. That done, you can then joyously call to the others in need, and pass them a square of quality Lidl’s Floralys 3ply tissue each. 

As they are likely to be as tipsy as you are, they will greet this news with great happiness and effusive thanks. You leave your cubicle, telling the women in the queue nonchalantly, “there’s no loo roll, but here, take this”, benevolently handing them each a tissue, until there’s none left. Hero. (They don’t know that you have a second packet in your bag, save that for the next pub.) 

And the crowd goes wild. You are now popular. You are their queen. The Bono of bog roll. The Mother Teresa of tissue. Revel in your 60 seconds of popularity. They adore you.

Now get the fuck out of the toilets, it stinks and your shoelaces are getting wet.

How To: Rainbow Nails


Step 1: Drink 4 large bourbon and diet cola drinks.
Step 2: Decide you ABSOLUTELY MUST paint a rainbow on your nail.
Step 3: Locate nail varnishes.
Step 4: Nail varnishes located, tell your partner exactly where you bought each one and OOH LOOK AT THIS ONE ISN’T IT BRILL?
Step 5: Forget to file nail into shape.
Step 6: Forget to fix cuticles.
Step 7: Apply clear base coat.
Step 8: Remove cat hair from base coat.
Step 9: Remove own hair from base coat.
Step 10: Remember you have nothing for doing fine brushwork, send partner to sewing kit to fetch a pin. 
Step 11: Explain the difference to them between “pin” and “needle”.
Step 12: Realise you need the toilet. HOLD ON TO IT. DAMNIT. THIS IS MORE IMPORTANT.
Step 13: Apply white base coat.
Step 14: Reminisce about painting nails with Tippex at school.
Step 15: Locate old plastic takeaway box lid.
Step 16: Attempt to ignore slight lingering scent of crispy chili beef.
Step 17: Briefly extol the virtues of your regular takeaway’s crispy chilli beef over versions at other takeaways. (SHORT VERSION – Mine: Not bright orange. Others: Bright orange.)
Step 18: Fuck, I was painting my nails, wasn’t I?
Step 19: Locate nail varnish colours that make up a rainbow (ROYGBIV or similar –  wild deviations will be prosecuted.)
Step 20: Get first colour. Splodge a bit on the takeaway lid.
Step 21: Use the head of the pin to build the first line of colour with blobby dots. 
Step 22: Wipe pin. Preferably on a tissue. If you can’t be bothered to get one, the oilcloth tablecloth that you ruined with nail varnish previously will suffice, I suppose.
Step 23: Fuck me, how did this get to 23 steps long? Better get on with it. Still need a pee.
Step 24: Repeat steps 20, 21 and 22 until you have painted a full rainbow.
Step 25: Wait for varnish to dry a bit. If you are still busting for the toilet, you COULD get your partner to help you with the operation. Not that I’d ever do such a thing.
Step 26: Apply enough Seche Vite topcoat to “cause birth defects or other reproductive harm”. (The bottle promised it, so BRING IT ON.)
Step 27: Let it dry. Luckily Seche Vite makes this process faster, but I wouldn’t go sticking it up your nose or anything. (Use your other hand, you savage.)
Step 28: Can I Instagram this fucking thing yet? 
Step 29: That’s enough. Your nail is done. You could do this for all 10 of your nails, or even all 20, but my professional opinion is that you shouldn’t repeat all of these idiotic steps for every single nail.
Step 30: Drink your 7th large bourbon and diet cola drink. You did carry on drinking the whole time, right?
If you didn’t, grab the nail varnish remover, a stack of cotton wool pads, remove it all, THEN START AGAIN. Jesus. Amateur. Get out.

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