Bye Bye Bunny

22 Feb 2015

In the early hours of this morning, my rabbit passed away. He had been sick for a few days and, despite a brief recovery after many hours with the vet, sadly didn't pull through. My heart hurts a little bit to write this down, but he was in my life for four years and so, as a mark of respect, I thought it only right to document his passing. So, goodbye Poppy, you beautiful, ridiculously large, inappropriately named thing. You were loved.


Related news: Colbie remains firm in her role as the residing queen of the house, Charlie continues to eat everything in sight, and my housemates - who helped me through this ordeal with a lot of hugs and tea - are possibly the greatest people in the world. Love you guys.

Vocab Lessons From The Men In My Life

16 Feb 2015

London Fashion Week. London Photography Blog
 Because sometimes it feels like I'm friends with Urban Dictionary.

Schweff: To be a ‘schweff’ is to be a flirt, I’m told. Best used as a descriptive word- ‘he’s a schweffy thing isn’t he?’ - as a name - ‘Lord and Lady Schweffington’ (W was Lord, I was Lady) ‘Masterschweff’ ‘Superschweffer’ etc - or as a way of explaining someone’s personality – ‘she’s a massive schweff.’ For maximum boredom-induced hilarity, it is recommended that you replace every other word with the word 'schweff,' preferably in front of people that have never heard it used before, and will therefore assume you are insane.'Good afternoon masterschweff, you're looking particularly schweffy today. Are you ready to get your schweff on with Lord and Lady Schweffington?'

Shpub: Also Shdrink, Shcar, Shfood. Simply by adding ‘Sh’ to the start of a word, you are stating that you don’t like something. Basically means something is rubbish or, more literally, s**t. It’s pretty useful, this one, especially if you want to subtley show disdane in a way no-one around you will pick up on. Or not in a way they can prove they've picked up on, anyway.

Slampiece: A lady friend that is not your girlfriend, but is close enough to being your girlfriend to let you sleep with her on a regular basis. Requirements of the slampiece include a good sense of humour, because not everyone in this world will react well to being introduced as a slampiece. Especially when introduced to the family, as is what happened the first time I heard my friend use this to describe another of his friends. ‘Slampiece’ is only to be used in a joking context, preferably when everyone involved has had some wine, but is to be used regularly, because it is hilarious. Can be used by both men and women to describe their significant other. Slampiecing is not gender specific.

Strong: The best way to respond to something if you have no idea what’s going on. ‘Can you do this for me please?’ ‘Strong.’ ‘…So are you going to do it?’ ‘I’m sorry, what?’ Be careful with this one. Even if you start out using it exclusively as a joke, it unfortunately won’t be long before it creeps into your vocab for real, and you find yourself stating that everything is ‘strong,’ with absolutely no idea of why you think something is strong, or why you felt the need to add it onto the end of an already complete sentence. STRONG!

And there we have it, four words (/three words and one word add on) it is apparently essential I am aware of. I’m sure that, one day, the world will be grateful to me for imparting this knowledge.

As for the gentlemen that shared all of this with me? Yes, they are single.

Ladies, form an orderly queue... ;)

*Picture completely irrelevant, although I like to imagine this man is schweffing with his slampiece, and that it is strong, and not in any way shawkward.

How To Survive, Pt. Four: The Valentine's Day Edition

13 Feb 2015

A song to amplify your Vday induced misery. Because we all deserve a treat.

“On my own, pretending he's beside me,
All alone, I walk with him 'til morning.
Without him, I feel his arms around me.
And when I lose my way I close my eyes,
And he has found me.”


Where are all of the ‘we want you and your (non-existent) partner to join in our blog challenge’ e-mails? The ‘win a wedding dress for your (non-existent) dream day!’ press releases? The ‘don’t forget to treat your (non-existent) valentine to something special' tweets? The invitations to romantic and exclusive events for me and my (non-existent) plus one?

Because I haven’t seen any.


Unless you count everywhere.

I’ve seen them everywhere.

To say this is a rough time of year for the unloved among us is an understatement. The sadness that accompanies chocolates meant for another is even more gut-wrenching than a session with Ed Sheeran's first album, and if you've gotten this far without stabbing anyone in the eye with a single red rose, well, bravo to you. You deserve a medal.

Basically: When you're single, Valentine's Day is like society getting together to give a collective F.U.

And that's just cruel.

But are we - the walking wounded, the unchosen ones, blah blah - going to give in to self pity? No, we are not. Instead, we're going to draw inspiration from the greats, and turn an important event of the past into a worthwhile lesson for the future. That lesson being this: If Shaun can survive the zombie apocalypse of North London, we can almost certainly survive the Cupid apocalypse of our nearest Sainsburys Local.

And so, as you sit in the Winchester, have a nice cold pint, and wait the 24 hours it will take for this all to blow over, here are some thoughts to keep in mind...

They're more scared of you than you are of them.
Smug coupled people, that is. Have you seen the Sex and the City episode in which Carrie goes to stay with a friend, and accidentally sees the friend's husband naked? And the friend freaks out, and never speaks to her again? Yeah, that. Let's be grateful for a moment not to have to deal with relationship related insecurities, shall we? I mean, at least when YOUR significant other (the cat) spots someone with more potential, you have the option of locking him in the house until he realises his mistake. You simply can't do that with a (human) man. Not without risking a lawsuit, anyway. And who even has time for one of those these days?

Making inconsiderate people feel uncomfortable is fun.
Sometimes, when someone is rude enough to make YOU feel uncomfortable about decisions that affect YOUR life, it's only fair to return the favour. My new favourite way to do this is to create a new relationship status - the latest one being 'in recovery.' Now when people ask me why I'm single I tell them I'm 'in recovery,' and then give a long winded explanation involving heartbreak, and alcoholism, and a mild addiction to Taylor Swift that leaves them wishing they hadn't dared imply my single status is a sin. Another method is to try answering their awkward question with an awkward question of your own. Something along the lines of "did you know the French word for single is célibataire? That sounds like celibate!" works like a charm, especially when followed with manic laughter and crazy eyes, leaving the questioner no option but to back slowly out of the room to escape you.

You can spend your Valentine's present budget on YOURSELF.
Yes, it's true! So I'd like an Anya Hindmarch please, Charlotte. A new leather purse. Girls season three on DVD. And better water pressure in the upstairs bathroom, while you're at it.

Being in a relationship sucks anyway.
Right now, you have the opportunity to become Tinderella of 'Tinderella,' or Nancy of 'What Have I Done This Time', or me, even (you don't want to become me.) Why on earth would you want to give that up? You wouldn't, is the answer. You bloody wouldn't.

For good measure, I'll round this off with a quote from Gone Girl - that well known romantic comedy - that will make you wonder why you'd even want an S.O
“It's not easy, pairing yourself off with someone forever. It's an admirable thing, and I'm glad you're both doing it, but, boy-oh-girl-oh, there will be days you wish you'd never done it. And those will be the good times, when it's only days of regret and not months.”

And there we have it singletons, a foolproof guide to staying alive.

But what if all of my sound - obviously thoroughly researched - advice has failed you? If you still find yourself (idiotically) pining for someone inappropriate on what may well be the worst day of the year? If you're sat at the Winchester, and things just aren't blowing over? Well then remember this: Scientists are moments away from finding a cure for love. And, even better, there's now an app that creates a fake boyfriend, to keep questions at bay while you hunt for a real one. There is hope for us yet.

Happy Valentine's Day, loners.

I'm off to get blind drunk.


How to survive: Part one. Part two. Part three.

"Are You Going To Behave Yourself Though?"

10 Feb 2015

So speed dating is fun, huh? If by fun you mean hilarious. And if by hilarious you mean ‘I can’t believe how totally and completely I embarrassed myself in a room full of strangers, it’s actually taken me a month to process my actions enough to write this down.’

As all literary giants will agree (I assume), it’s best we start at the start.

It was the Summer of 2014. With joint hearts full of wonder for the beauty of London and friendship and everything else that is majestic and magnificent in this world we live in, Sam and I sat down, and made a bucket list. "We will finish this list before the end of the year!" we said. "Our lives are going to be SO MUCH FUN!" we said. And then, setting the list aside, we continued on with our South West London habits as though nothing had happened.

Fast forward to December 2014 and we finally started following through with our plans. It was as such that, a mere two weeks into 2015, we found ourselves standing in a swish bar in Kensington, waiting for a speed dating event to begin - 14 men, 4 minutes each.

These are the dates I remember…

Date #1 – An engineer (they were all engineers) that looked like Jim from The Office. He told me the name on his badge wasn’t his real name, and that he was only there to support his friend. He then looked at me like I was mad when I told him I also have a fake name, but had chosen to use my real name that night. “Why do you have a fake name?” he said. “Why do YOU have a fake name?” I replied. And then we laughed and laughed. When the time came to move on I very subtley shouted to Sam “don’t match with him, he’s mine” and then did that thing that losers do, and pointed two fingers towards my eyes, and then towards his, as if to say “YES I MEAN YOU.”

I am nothing if not a lady.

Let's continue.

Date #2 – Sexy and mysterious, Date #2 challenged me to an annoying game of guess the accent. After I had screamed "I DON'T KNOW STOP FORCING ME TO REVEAL HOW BAD I AM AT GEOGRAPHY" into his encouraging little face, he told me with a grin that he was from “VERONA OF COURSE!” ...I then deeply insulted him by getting confused, and starting a conversation about Venice - setting the tone for the most awkward 240 seconds of the night until…

… Date #3 – Who simply said hello. And then sat in silence as I sipped my cocktail and cursed the venue for not having placed a window directly behind my head.

Numerous males later, proceedings came to an end. Sam and I were two large wines and three even larger cocktails in and, as the ‘mixer’ began, it quickly became clear that we had made a good impression. The men swarmed towards us. All fourteen of them.

May the odds be ever in our favour.

While Sam got her flirt on with every person in the room I indulged in a spot of salsa dancing, and then went off in search of Jim. By this point I was very drunk and - as is my way - had decided I was probably in love with Jim. And that all I wanted from life was to end up with Jim.

Oh, Jim.

Within seconds, I found him standing with another of my dates (awks). He introduced him as his housemate. Housemate gave him a meaningful look, after which Jim excused himself. As I watched him walk away, I forlornly whimpered to myself about the injustice of it all, while housemate tried all of his best lines and generally acted like a nice person. I had no time for that kind of nonsense. The man I was destined to spend the remainder of my days with was now sitting alone, looking dejected, and something had to be done. With a quick pitstop for water, I made my way over to Jim, and sat down.

Merrily, Jim grinned at me. He said: “Are you going to behave yourself though?”

I didn't know how I was supposed to react to this. (How do you react to this?) And so, confused by Jim's approach to asking me to be his official girlfriend, I held up my water for inspection, and said: “I am behaving myself Jim, I have water.”

Cocking his head to one side, Jim said: “Are you going to behave yourself though?”

I said: “OK then. Are you having a good night?”

Lowering his voice, Jim said: “Are you going to behave yourself though?

And then we started making out. We made out a lot. We made out at the table. We made out as I sat on his lap. We made out against a wall. We made out in a way that was very Christian Grey, Anastacia Steele I-must-have-you-now, until he invited me back to his, and sober Charlotte – the killjoy that she is -started to break though. Sober Charlotte said it was probably best not to go home with a stranger. You have work in the morning, she said. You didn’t shave your legs, she said. You can’t even remember his name, she said. (So judgmental.)

Thoroughly chastised by the voices in my head, I pushed him away and - after an embarrassing incident involving poorly judged hand placement and his trouser region- we re-emerged from Jim’s red room of pain, only to be faced with one very angry housemate.

Looking from me to Jim to me to Jim, housemate (who we may remember as the chap that tried to engage me in conversation, before I ran away to find my darling) shook his head. In an unnecessary rage, he said: “I’m leaving, MATE.”

Holding my hand (adorbs), Jim said: “Can’t we stay a little longer?”

Housemate stormed away and, taking my number and kissing me goodbye, Jim followed. I will forever think of us as a modern day Romeo and Juliet, torn apart by an angry bloke that clearly took speed dating far too seriously. Such tragedy. Such sadness.


Grinning like a Cheshire Cat, I stumbled back to Sam, who responded to my excited "I MADE OUT WITH JIM FROM THE OFFICE!" by laughing at me for 'dry humping' a stranger in public.

She then introduced me to all of her new BFF's, and together we headed out into the twilight, having just had what we agreed was the best night ever.

The evening was all going very well until I got sick. Begged Sam to get us a taxi. Passed out in said taxi. Woke up the next morning still wearing my coat and scarf, having had to be helped into bed. And learned a valuable lesson that cannot be unlearned: Irn Bru, though an unrivalled hangover cure, is exactly the same colour going down as it is coming back up.

Needless to say, Jim called me as soon as he awoke, and we are now happily married and have a baby on the way.


Bucket list item speed dating: Complete.

Years it will take to live down the PDA?

Oh, thousands...

Doing The Math

6 Feb 2015

They say you are the sum of the five people you spend the most time with - which is terrifying, because I surround myself with total weirdos. There is Polly, Thom's Edinburgh based version of me, who will happily wear a (fabulous) wig to any occasion. Alex, a Balhamite that - whilst under the influence of painkillers - once called the police to report a panther sighting in his garden, only to wake the next morning and realise he was wearing a panther t-shirt, which was where he may have gotten the idea of having seen a panther. Jake, the 24 year old chef that text me this Monday to proudly share a photo of his new bedding, which has toy cars on it. The list goes on.

And on.

And on.

The best thing about these particular weirdos, if you’re interested, is they are already very similar to me - ideal, as theory suggests I'll soon turn into them.

My five people:
(insert name here)
(insert name here)
(insert name here)

Rude not to include three more names, right? Je suis désolé, mes amis, I am a very busy boy.


Although not in the top five thanks to busy schedules keeping us apart, the series irregulars – those that would fill slots 3-5 in my mental shift - are also completely loveable and completely mental in some way or another, which is fab, because I am also loveable (I'm told) and deranged (a fact), and because you should never have to change your ways to keep an abnormal friendship alive.

In the interest of hammering home the crazy, here are some recent conversations with my nearest and dearest..

Conversation #1. With Thom, as he sat across from me in our living room, having just returned from the hairdressers.
Thom: If our hairdresser asks, I have a wife and a child.
Me: Why?
Thom: She asked about my life, I panicked. I now have a son called Oscar, he’s three. She has a two year old. We spoke about child rearing techniques. Oscar is a child genius.
Me: Thom, you know nothing about raising a child.
Thom: I know that.
Me: So why did you invent an Oscar?
Thom: Look, Char, this isn’t the first time I’ve lied about having a wife and child. It won’t be the last.

Conversation #2. With Erica over Five Guys burgers (we love Five Guys burgers.)
Me: I met someone.
Erica: Where, on Tinder?
Me: No, in real life.
Erica: What, like in real life after Tinder?
Me: No, like in real life, as in I met him in real life.
Erica: In real life real life? In London? Without a dating app? BUT I THOUGHT THAT WAS AN URBAN MYTH???

Conversation #3. With Polly, after a forlorn discussion about past loves, and the daily struggle not to stalk them when they check themselves in on Facebook.
Polly: I didn’t do anything creepy...
Me: You did didn’t you.
Polly: No! It’s sad how smug I am that I managed not to sexually harass someone, though.
Me: Eh, it’s more than I’ve ever managed. Proud of you.

And, last but not least, we have...

Conversation #4. On the new year’s day train home from Edinburgh, in a Scottish accent I perfected at Hogmanay – again with Thom, who was very hungover.
Me: This is HP’s scarf. I’ll have to put it in my boyfriend cupboard with the other debris of past loves. It will go nicely with JK’s tee’s.
Thom: Oh my god Char, WHY DO YOU HAVE JK'S TEETH???
Me: Are you actually serious right now? The whole train just heard that, Thom. The whole train now thinks I'm some kind of macabre dentist. Put your headphones in and go to sleep.
Thom: ... So you don't have his teeth?

Yep. I think I'll keep them.

Happy weekend! xx

Image: Jeanne Moreau by David Bailey, pondering the five friends theory I have just discussed. Probably.

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