Tuesday, November 27

Bipolar shopping

I have been really low for the last few weeks, but today I've been in excellent spirits since I woke up. I pranced around the flat at 6.30am, made James tea in bed, ran him a bath and skipped out of the door to school without a care in the world.

The rest of the day has been similarly hyper. I made another ill-timed AIDs joke to a colleague and charged around the school corridors with the energy of a frisky rabbit in spring.

Hypomanic episodes, I have discovered, can bring about wonderful things, two of which occurred today.

Firstly, they can make you teach amazing lessons that earn you excellent comments from pupils and fellow members of staff, as you whizz around the classroom effortlessly dealing with troublesome kids and exuding energy and wisdom.

And secondly, they make you do fantastic food shopping (not so fantastic for the bank balance, but I'll worry about that when I'm down again).

This is what I went into M&S for:
Single cream

This is what I came out with:
2 packets roast beef and horseradish Christmas special crisps
Pomegranate seeds (removed from pith)
Christmas pudding flavoured yoghurt
2 Pink Lady apples (which I wanted because they are pink on the inside)
3 bean salad
Tandoori naan bread
Instant microwave porridge
Single cream
4 organic onions

I hope I calm down by the time James gets home from work.

Thursday, November 22

You Know You're Old When... No 3946

  • You are confused and irritated by the layout changes made to your local Woolworths to accommodate a 'load of Christmas tat' (yes, I really did say that under my breath).

Now I don't know much about football...

... but I do know that, owing to the England's squad ineptitude, we have been saved a summer of St Georges flags adorning every available space, unreliable listings in the Radio Times and the casual racism that generally accompany every major football tournament that they have been just about lucky enough to qualify for in the last fifteen years.

It's going to be a good summer.

Wednesday, November 21

Can I get a 'hell yeah!'

Is that light I see there at the end of the tunnel? Are mine achy ears deceiving me? Could my lungs possibly be less congested than they were yesterday?

I have only left my house once in nearly 10 days (excluding two occasions where I dragged myself to my doctor's). Having taken a look at the list below, I think I am exhibiting early symptoms of cabin fever.

  1. Feeling trapped and unable to get out.
  2. Wanting to sleep more.
  3. Feeling apprehensive and jittery.
  4. Experiencing hallucinations and deliria.
Today I paced around my living room for 30 minutes before cooking myself an elaborate homemade curry. Now I am jittery.

Okay, so perhaps the best solution to this would be to leave my flat, go outside and actually do something but I might set myself back another few days, and I CANNOT deal with feeling ill anymore. Also, my doctor gave me very strict orders to rest until next Monday.

Anybody know any good puzzle websites?

Thursday, November 15


Whilst shopping for an extra oil-filled radiator to take the edge off this freezing cold snap we're currently encountering I came across this rather terrifying toy on the Tesco website.

"This Fur Real Butterscotch Pony acts just like a real pony. She moves her head and ears, blinks her eyes and swishes her tail. This pony will become a friend as your child can enjoy hours of grooming, feeding and riding fun. The Fur Real pony comes with a carrot, grooming brush and an adoption certificate. Only £299."

I don't understand. How could anything that ridiculous possibly be worth £300. It's got a really sinister face and dead eyes. In the name of all that is holy go to the demo website and watch the tv ad.

Flu suxx

Working with children is perhaps one of the most hazardous jobs there is, in terms of germ transmission. I have not had flu for over three years, because previously I'd nip down to my mother's surgery for my annual jab. This year, however, I was denied the injection on my initial attempt to obtain it because I was also requesting the morning after pill, and I quote "it might hurt the baby."
"Yes, but I am going to kill the baby."
"Ahhh, but you might not."

And now, 3 weeks in to my first block placement I have full-blown influenza. It began rapidly, in a department meeting, and within two hours I was reduced to a shivering, achy wreck. Trial and error has produced a few brief moments of respite, and I will share these with you here:

  • As soon as you feel the symptoms coming on wash down 1000mg of echinacea with a glass of effervescent vitamin C (1600% RDA) - repeat every morning for the duration of the illness. Have a further 500mg echinacea before bed every night until you are better.
  • Move any portable heaters etc into the bedroom for the bedridden phase, and get partner/friend to hump tv within eyeshot of the bed.
  • Lemsip makes you feel even shitter. Cheap paracetamol and Covonia bronchial medicine are MUCH more effective, produce warming sensations in your rattly chest, and don't make you nauseous.
  • Don't stay in bed all day and don't make a bed on the sofa. Instead install a sleeping bag on the sofa and get inside that when you fancy a change of scene, or you fancy yourself awake enough to attempt watching Jeremy Kyle, Trisha or cable equivalent.
  • NEVER GET DRESSED. There's honestly no point. You'll be forced to give up within 30 mins and will have to go through the rigmarole of taking it all off again and crawling into your pyjamas.
  • Have a bath every day, adding 15 drops of tea tree oil. This is a natural virus killer. The warmth will help with shivers. Wash your hair too (don't forget to dry it properly).
  • Only drink the following, water, tea, fruit juice. And drink LOTS of it.
  • Never underestimate the power of a hot water bottle applied to an aching chest/head/neck.

I am off now to apply these methods and have a really, really boring day. Bye.

P.S. Yes, of course I killed the baby.

Sunday, November 4

Pointless Blog Post no 10021

James and I bought WAY too many DVDs this week. We purchased:

That Mitchell and Webb Look
Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 2
Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 4
Doctor Who - The City of Death
Doctor Who - The Talon's of Weng-Chiang
Psycho/The Birds
Broadway Danny Rose

I can't really work out why we did that.

Tuesday, October 30

Something I learnt today

It is very hard to teach children to concentrate when you are playing host to your monthly 'visitor'.


Monday, October 29

Playground madness

Drama and excitement aplenty in East London today. I was sitting in the staff-room, merrily eating my pasta salad when I heard an enormous bang from the direction of the playground, accompanied by a few screams. 'Oh it's just some youth out in the street with an air rifle', I thought casually, and continued to consume my food with aplomb. None of the other teachers had even heard the noise, and if they had then they certainly weren't exhibiting outward concern. They have more experience of these things than I, so I deferred to their wisdom and ignored alongside them. Until another, much louder bang, accompanied by more frantic screaming. We all rushed to the window and pressed our faces against it like children eagerly witnessing the winter's first snowfall. What could possibly be the cause of all this noise?

No, it wasn't a gun (but I wouldn't blame you for guessing that). It was a couple of scallywags sat on a roof, chucking fireworks into the playground. Several teachers had run outside by now, and were behaving like a bunch of brooding chickens when they catch a whiff of a fox outside their pen. Their futile and panicked attempts at herding the children inside were laughable. Cluck-cluck-cluck. BANG! Cluck-cluck-cluck. Wheeeeeeeeeeee... BANG! What clever little criminals our pesky pyromaniacs were, climbing to a perfect vantage point enabling them to pick off children in the playground like tin cans at a shooting range, a vantage point that also offered the protection of a 10 foot high wire fence. I can see them early this morning (0600 hours), with scale models of the school buildings, pointing at possible obstacles with the aid of a stick. It was all just so fucking perfect. Who could possibly challenge their exploding missiles?

Poor, poor powerless teachers, who could do so little. All they could do was, slowly, get all the children inside the school amid a shower of rockets and call the police. I can imagine their blood burning, Yosemite Sam style, at the evil child genii that had defeated them. How could they? They probably haven't even got any GCSEs!!! Obviously it was extremely dangerous and irresponsible, but the whole episode had a simplistic beauty about it. The fact that a couple of kids in scruffy parkas could create such chaos among a school of over a thousand kids in just under five minutes was completely mesmerising.

Thursday, October 25

It's a mystery

For some reason totally unbeknown the number of hits for this blog more than tripled today. What could possibly be the reason for this sudden upsurge? Perhaps people are genuinely interested in the fact that I grate Spicy Nun onto baked potatoes. Perhaps they enjoy my 'witty' insights into the world of the trainee teacher. Perhaps they googled 'dinosaur love' and came here completely by accident, vanishing as quickly as they arrived.

I thank you regardless of how you stumbled upon me.

Monday, October 22

Spicy Nun

One of my favourite weekend pastimes is to visit the Alexandra Palace farmers market on a Sunday morning. The organic veggies are cheap and BARE tasty, and the Giggly Pig man sells the tastiest hickory smoked sausages I've ever had. I can leave James in bed and nip out on the bus for an hour to buy food that doesn't taste processed and full of chemicals. It is also, as far as I'm aware, the only place in London where you can purchase Spicy Nun cheese. Ahhhh... Spicy Nun. What did I do with potatoes and nacho chips before I discovered you? It contains chilli, garlic and peppers and is AMAZING on jacket potatoes. I urge all Londoners to get down there next Sunday tout de suite (ignoring the Sloany idiots pushing unused overpriced bikes around) and support local produce.

Wednesday, October 17

From the sofa of The Convalescent

Everybody has a celebrity crush that they're a teensy bit embarrassed to admit to. My best friend Anna loves Dave Grohl who, in my opinion, looks a bit like Mr Ed the Talking Horse. I tease her mercilessly, of course, whilst harboring secret lust for my inamorato de jour, daytime television host and 'bear-baiter' of the working classes, Jeremy Kyle.

Today I have spent the best part of four hours bundled up on my sofa with the blinds closed gleefully watching chat shows whilst nursing my awful head-cold. The highlight has been the Jeremy Kyle double bill this afternoon, which I am seriously considering signing myself off onto benefits for, so that I may enjoy it every single day, and perhaps participate in.

If there was ever a man to bring order among Britain's working men (and women), Jeremy be thy name. It's not his face, which is slightly below average. It's his ability to go from 0-100 in under ten seconds. Scowling upon his latest proletariat prey, Jeremy can reduce wife-beaters to gibbering wrecks in under five minutes. Here is an example of my armchair armpiece at work.

JK: I like you sweetheart, I'm going to give you a chance to talk to me now.
Teenage girl: (wiping away tear)
JK: Aww, I know it's been hard, darling.
Teenage girl: My mum wuz nevver there for me, innit.
JK: I know, so you gave your own daughter up too, didn't you?
Teenage girl: (sniffs) Yeah.
Teenage girl: Oi, I...

The man is brilliant. That's how I like my crushes, they build 'em up to knock 'em down. Today he swore that 'by God I will pop up when you least expect it darling', which gave me a pleasant ripple of lust.

Even though my brain feels like it's covered in alien-goo, my bones ache and my eyes are watery and red, I kind-of hope that tomorrow I'm not feeling any better, because then I'll get to spend another stolen few hours of forbidden love with my bear-baiting beau.

Tuesday, October 16

An actual post about actual dinosaurs

The light at the end of today's miserable snot-ridden tunnel is coming home to the news that archaeologists in Argentina have discovered the remains of a new titanosaur (aka super-dinosaur), a Futalognkosaurus dukei (pronounced foot-ah-long-koh-sohr-us), which was 35-40 metres long. It ate leaves, had a tiny brain and would have looked a lot like this:

They've only found a few bits of him so far, because his remains show signs of being mauled by predators. My favourite quote regarding my NEW FAVOURITE HERBIVORE is this one: "I'm pretty certain it's a new species," agreed Peter Mackovicky, associate curator for dinosaurs at Chicago's Field Museum, who was not involved with the discovery. "I've seen some of the remains of Futalognkosaurus and it is truly gigantic."

Now, did I mention somewhere on this blog that I love dinosaurs? I think this one is especially special, because not only is he enormous, but he's also really, really stupid, his brain would still only have been about the size of a large human fist. He'd be easier to confuse than a cow, and they're so stupid that they gather around rosebushes for shelter.

He'll never be able to top the T-Rex, who stole my heart as a child, but he's definitely in my all time top three dinosaurs now, behind the T-Rex and Velociraptor.

Monday, October 15

The glamour never ends

Coming home from my brother's bands gig in Brixton on Friday night I found myself at the bus stop sitting next to character actor and favourite of Peter Jackson, Andy Serkis. Now, for those of you that are not au fait with THE BIGGEST FILM TRILOGY OF THE LAST 10 YEARS won't know that Andy Serkis played Gollum in the Lord of the Rings trilogy (the guy who looks a bit like Morph with an eating disorder). If you don't believe me about that bit in brackets I will present the evidence at the end of this post.

He topped off a star-studded week in which I rode FOR TWO WHOLE STOPS on the tube next to EastEnders stalwart Natalie Cassidy, and James had a heartfelt twilight conversation with ex-Blue Peter presenter (now peddling a comedy drag act) Stuart Miles.

One of the kids from placement on Wednesday has given me their fucking cold. I am going to have to go to Boots when I feel better and purchase some of those massive tubs of mega-vits, because I think I'm going to spend a great deal of this school year fighting off various viruses. Having the flu jab this week, though, so at least I'll be immune to something.

This morning I had to get up at twat o'clock again to get to Enfield. We taught some more poetry. It went reasonably well. We left early. I went home. I washed 2 paracetamol and a decongestant down with a hot cup of Tetley, enjoying the burning sensation as the boiling, brown liquid passed my ailing oesophagus. The life of a trainee teacher cannot always be glamour and rubbing shoulders with A-LIST celebrities, you know!!

I have two QTS skills tests this Thursday in Literacy and Numeracy, which I have not revised for and have no idea what to expect. And if I don't pass them before August then I don't get to be a teacher next September, so now pressure, or anything...

Algebra... what's that all about?!

Gollum from LOTR

Morph from Tony Hart's 'Heartbeat'

Friday, October 12

A kooky little story that I wrote in class today...

So, the task was to take a fairy tale and give it our own twist. Mine began thus:

Small plumes of fog emerged from the mouth of the yawning policeman who stood, tasting shocking cold air with each intake of breath. The freezing stagnant mist penetrated his nose, ears, lips and any other part of his body that wasn't covered by multiple layers of wool. There our sleepy centurion stood, silently steaming beneath his helmet and boots.

A ring of a bicycle bell marked the arrival of the newspapers, and brought with it the morning, a herald that the day had begun. Big Ben chimed six times, drowning out the distant whirr of a milk float returning to it's depot.

That imposing black door, that famous door, that had seen and heard too much readied it's hinges, anticipating the usual daily flood of press officer, aides, VIPs and household staff. The black, uninviting railings held steady, confident in their ability to weather whatever scandal might pass their posts that day. Expensive, yet conservative curtains remained closed, they were not open for business, yet.

A blanket of damp cloud enveloped Downing Street, avoiding number ten and rendering it's neighbours hazy and insignificant. Birds began to chirp bright harmonies into the dark skies. The traffic groaned, joining the dawn symphony and a wizened old janitor swept the pavement, with the delicacy and pride of an artist at easel.

A black car swished past the armed gates and stopped outside number ten. The door thudded closed, accompanied by footsteps. Westminster was waking up.

So that was just the beginning of a modern version of Robin Hood, which I have briefly outlined in bullet points below. I wrote it in conjunction with Alice from my course, whose writing was equally good (if not, slightly better than mine)! See if you can guess who Robin Hood is. The winner gets a prize of 50p.

  • Robin Hood is a renowned 'revolutionist' Celtic politician with some power and influence.
  • Robin Hood disgraces himself by impersonating an animal on reality tv with the beautiful Maid Rula.
  • This angers the Blair, the Sheriff of London, who exiles Robin to Waltham Forest.
  • Robin Hood rebels, and gathers around him men of similar political ideology, and forms his own party to rival Sheriff Blair's.
  • The party cause minor political mischief and get on Sheriff Blair's nerves.
  • Robin Hood gets his own radio show on 5live, and his following grows, antagonising Sheriff Blair further.
  • Robin Hood has the strange idea that he may one day be Sheriff of London.
  • King Bush comes back from his Holy War to try and restore order to London, accidentally blowing up Waltham Forest.

Yes, that is what I do at university on taxpayers money. Har har har.

Wednesday, October 10

Is it right, I arks you?!

Is it wrong to correct my East London pupils for using the term 'arks' instead of 'ask'? I maintain that 'arks' is incorrect, but I hear it so often nowadays that I fear it has become too deeply ingrained into the London 'street' dialect to be undone. They don't realise they're doing it, and their parents probably say it at home. I have also heard some pretty well-educated Londoners using it, teachers, lecturers etc.

I am so interested in the patois that my kids use that I might research it further. My first port of call, as always, will be Wikipedia.

also known as Tikkiny or less commonly "Hood-Chat" is part accent, part dialect, from around the mid-1990s, and influenced not only by British black urban culture, but by American rap music. This variant is used by the youth of all races as a 'street' patois, with clear U.S. influences (such as the greeting "Yo!"), but also Caribbean patterns such as "arks" (rather than "ask"). This dialect is used by all races. It can be heard in many parts of England, but especially the south."

I think they need to update their references to include 'innit', 'bare' (as in 'dat is BARE sick, blood!') and my new favourite 'issit'.

Tuesday, October 9

PGCE Update

So yesterday I managed to get to Enfield, finally, at 8am. We taught our poetry lesson (the theme was 'School Poems') and it seemed to go down well. It was a pretty unnaturally nice school though, but I compare most places to my old high school, which was a 60's concrete horror-academy. Hopefully next week will be the pay-off, when the pupils get to create their own school poems, and we can read them out in class. Today was a one-hour lesson on behaviour management strategies and a REALLY TIRESOME seminar where we basically flogged the techniques we had just learned to death. I like seminars where we work through what we've learned, I don't like seminars where we repeat what we've learned OVER and OVER and OVER again.

The PGCE is going ok, I seem to be up-to-date with all the work, but there is MOUNTAINS of it. We start our block placement after half-term, so that's when the shit hits the fan and we have to start applying all of these lectures and seminars to real-life situations. Luckily I have been teaching for the last couple of years, so the idea of standing in front of a class doesn't terrify me like it did in 2004. I'm also used to making all my own resources, so it'll be really ace to have some ready-made ones to use.

I feel guilty for pretty-much neglecting my friends since I started this course in September, I just hope they understand how hardcore it's been. I have hardly had time to talk to my boyfriend, and I live with him! Don't hate me!! I'm going to try and get all my written work finished so that during half term I can loaf around and go visit all the people that I've abandoned.

*Apologies: Sorry Elin! Sorry Steve! Sorry Anna! Sorry Tash! Sorry Kaff!

Monday, October 8


Look, I am writing a blog AT SIX AM. Here's why, my lecturers have arranged a 'poetry day' for trainees at a school in Enfield. What chump created Enfield? It's not even in London. You can't get to it by tube.

So I have to leave my house just before seven to ensure that I reach this godforsaken hamlet in time, or my mentor will tut at me. It's ok though, if I'm still grumpy by the time I start teaching I'll have 30 fresh faces to take it out on!

Monday, October 1


I just wanted to share with you this picture of pint-sized performer Danny Devito that my father took in Times Square.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

His face and body language clearly say 'don't mess with me', but my Dad got up in his face and took his picture anyway! I love it.

Saturday, September 29

What a rainy, cold and nasty week...

Baltic Wednesday, Torrid Thursday and Shitty Friday. I haven't worn such thick tights since January.

On the other hand, it's been quite a successful week, celeb-wise. On Monday I spotted Rob Brydon and sat opposite Derren Brown at a BBC screening of The Peter Serafinowicz Show, which starts next Thursday and is going to be absolutely HUGE. And yesterday, my trudge uphill through the rain was brightened by a sighting of Scottish film hottie James McAvoy, who was having coffee with a friend in World cafe in Crouch End.

Monday, September 24

Now I know my A, B, C's...

This week I am observing lessons in my local junior school as part of my course. Today I was with Year 3. We learned all about synonyms, coins, 'at' sounds and teeth. I spent a good 45 minutes looking in children's mouths, counting their stumps and gaps. Such close proximity to minors is potentially very dangerous, and now I can't stop examining my head for nits.

I also got to pray THREE times and was prepped for a Mass later on this week, which I am very much looking forward to, as observing children during religious rituals is always hilarious. I especially like how tightly they squeeze their eyes shut during prayer, so that God can see how hard they are concentrating.

I'm with year 6 tomorrow, and I have to do some proper written observations, because I'm writing as assignment on all this for next week. Still, it is nice to get to play in the sandpit occasionally, and be home before 3.30pm.

Saturday, September 22


Hardly time for any fun recently, the PGCE workload is starting to kick in, but I did get a chance to visit the Portobello Road Market today and purchase some cupcakes from the Hummingbird Bakery.

I haven't eaten them yet, because they're just so pretty!

Sunday, September 16

Let's go fly a kite...

Today we took our new kite and flew it in Alexandra Park. But because we'd never used it before we had no idea that it was very shit. Imagine an old Tesco bag on the end of a bit of string, that's the overall effect. James gave it a good half hour, however, and ran up and down the hill at least 20 times in an attempt to get it to trail behind him. I sat on the hillside, enjoying the spectacle, as were many other walkers out for the day, who I imagine thought James was a 'special' boy.

It wasn't all bad, there was a farmers market on and we got homemade pies and sausages. Ooh arr!

Thursday, September 13

Cor lummee

More people have visited my blog today than ever before. So I just wanted to say 'hello' to all the new people. I'm watching you! I can't see who you are though, so don't worry, I won't find out who you are, and find out where you live, and come to your house and kill you and bury you in a remote field, or anything. I'm not like that AT ALL.

Just in...

This is my favourite new product from the excellent website Tampon Crafts.

If you smoke, drink or use candles you are 50% more likely to have a fire

There is a fireman on BBC News who is hoping to save lives by rapping about fire safety: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wt6hNqzOviw

I do not think this is a sensible strategy. Rapping about giving away free fire alarms is not cool. I think that trying to recall lyrics to a poorly produced rap song will, if anything, produce death, rather than cause people to successfully remember fire safety procedure. And what if you became confused and recalled the wrong rap lyrics, and instead of evacuating took the advice of Easy Motherfuucking E and 'blast on a stupid assed nigga when I'm playin with the trigga'?

Chaos would ensue. He also rhymes 'sirens' with 'I am', that's not even correct!

I would, however, like to see more public information films made into hip hop videos. Particularly ones that deal with terrorism and chemical attacks. I'm thinking 50 Cent, Canary Wharf, and a whole lotta flamethrowers...

Thursday, August 30

Out of work, out of money and OUT OF THERE!!

I left work today. My 'official' leaving date is tomorrow but my boss hasn't been around to give me anything to do, I've had my exit interview and I've been paid my final wage. So I handed in my staff card and my keys and got the HELL out of there. I could not leave fast enough.

So now I am unemployed for the next 7 days until I enrol at university next week and officially become a student again. I have a few tasks to complete before then, which are:

- finish pre-course assignment
- read Macbeth
- read some 'pre 20th Century poetry'
- purchase shower rail, shower curtain and gaffer tape
- sort out shower with above items

Obviously these tasks will all be completed between watching Jeremy Kyle, Dawsons's Creek repeats on Channel 5 and 6th Sense with Colin Fry - who I hate but am strangely compelled to watch.

Friday, August 24

As you do...

My mother just had £200 worth of botox around her eyes because she was 'bored at work'. I have taken a 'before' photo and will take an 'after' photo in 2 weeks when the botox has reached it's peak.

She didn't have to pay for it or anything, her boss is offering it to clients and asked mum to be his guinea pig!

Swinging on my plastic chair and mouthing off at Mr Coote

Too many people from my old high school are populating Facebook. Time was, aeons ago (2005), that only the PC literate, or studenty types had such things as Myspace/Facebook accounts. Geeks, in other words, and that was fine by me, because those are the sorts of people that I like to be friends with, they are unassuming and generally nonjudgemental.

But recently Facebook has become a minefield of old acquaintances, some welcome, some VERY unwelcome. It almost makes you feel like you are back at school again, 'Ooh, why hasn't *insert generic schoolmate name here* added me as a friend, but has added *insert another generic schoolmate name*? WHY DOESN'T ANYBODY LIKE MEEEEE?!'

I was not a particularly popular member of my class, I managed to combine mouthiness with uncoolness, which meant that not only was I hated for being a twat, I was also embarrassing to be seen with. And Facebook has me sat right back there on the left-hand-side of Miss Scoles's English classroom, being jealous of the other girls because they had Exclamation body spray in their Nike boot bags, or a perfect jagged parting.

So where have they all come from, these former gymslip mothers and playground bullies? It's because Facebook is everywhere at the moment, probably because the One Show talks about it a lot, or because they read about it in Love It! magazine.

Let the popularity contest continue...

Wednesday, August 8

I don't wanna gooooo!

I have to meet with my line manager tomorrow to tie up a few loose ends before I go away on holiday, and ultimately leave work forever. I'm absolutely dreading it. My line manager dislikes me intensely and has either insulted me or totally ignored me since I started in January, she's had me in tears in her office on more than one occasion. She hadn't been at work for a fortnight and wasn't there when I gave in my notice, so I gave it in to Personnel and emailed her to tell her that I'd resigned. This is not ideal but it was the only option available to me. Since sending the aforementioned email I have received no correspondance at all, not even to requests for a meeting.

So I'm going to take one of my holiday valiums in a minute and try and get a good night's sleep, so that I am able to face talking to her in the morning.

I've never had a boss that made me so nervous I felt physically sick before. It's really unpleasant. I hope I never have to deal with anybody like this ever again.

Monday, August 6

Mirror mirror on the wall...

I can't get to sleep tonight, my hands are shaky and my brain has gone all zippy and fizzy. I was ecstatic about 2 hours ago and now I'm still buzzing but the energy is negative. James rang and all I did was make him feel bad for having a good time, then when I got off the phone I was in tears, which wasn't a state I wanted to be in, because I don't want him to worry about me while he's away.

I keep thinking about how much money I owe and wondering if I'll ever be able to pay it all back. I am trying to visualise myself in 2 years time; will I be teaching? Will I still be in London? Will I still be with James? (I do hope so) I'm greedy for answers to all of these questions to provide me with some sort of incentive to keep going. I can't wait to start my teaching course and get stuck in, but I'm really worried about getting ill again and losing everything I have worked so hard for. It is so difficult to work sometimes, when all I really want to do is lie down in bed and stare at the wall. I was interested to read on Mind's website that 1 in 4 people who experience mental distress have debt problems compared to 1 in 11 of the general population, it can be hard to hold down a job or cope with your finances when you have a condition like bipolar disorder. You either overcomplicate matters in your mind and become anxious to the point of physical sickness, or you go the other way and push it all to the back at your mind because you feel incapable of dealing with it. I have to write all the important information in notebooks because I can't guarantee that I won't get depressed or euphoric and forget what's going on. I have literally spent hundreds of pounds in the past because I was so hyper that I thought my bank would just grant me money. Put it this way, if Jack's mum had sent me to market with a cow I'd definitely have come back with some magic beans.

Daily life is difficult for everyone, but even more so if you spend every waking minute fighting down this demon inside you. I can keep myself stable but it requires a lot of careful attention to my mood and environment, and this can prevent me from experiencing new things. A lot of people wonder why I freeze up when I'm unexpectedly asked to stay out for another drink, or whether I would like to go out when I had a night at home planned. It's not because I'm antisocial, I am just trying to work out if I'm actually capable of doing it. I always worry that this is mistaken for being antisocial or rude. I tend to panic if I'm thrown into situations that I'm not prepared for.

Anyway, I have a mountain of books to read for September, including a copy of the English National Curriculum that is only about 40 pages long and cost me £16. So I might as well try to read one of these babies...

Urgh, shudder

There was a proper scary racist on the bus today. (W7, if you ever want to avoid it). This heavily tattoed oik with a shaved head and a Lidl bag comes swaggering in my general direction, points into the face of the wizened little old black guy with a shopping trolley sat next to me, then yells "GET THE FUCK OUT OF MY COUNTRY YOU SMELLY CUNT". Then he just got off the bus with his wife.

Everyone else on the bus was really shocked and concerned. It took quite a while for it to sink in. The poor old dude was just coming back from Tesco with his battenburg!

I can't believe some people out there still think that this country belongs to them. It makes me feel sick.

Wednesday, August 1


... that HSBC are refunding me £1300?!

Well they are. Huzzah.

Saturday, July 28

Smack my bitch up!

My doctor prescribed me Valium yesterday. I'm not a Stepford Wife or anything, it's for a genuine reason. I am flying to the Alps in a couple of weeks and am completely TERRIFIED of flying. What I liked most was the speed at which it was prescribed. I was in and out in a few minutes. Before I leave I have to have a 'trial day' to see how it affects me and to make sure it doesn't make me catatonic. I am really looking forward to this! I'm going to set myself Krypton Factor style challenges for the day and see if I can overcome them. And if I can I am going to purchase a bucketload more Valium off the internet and spend the rest of my living days in a blissful fug. If I can't get more Valium I hear smack has a similar effect...

Sunday, July 22

I maketh movies

I'm making a short film for James at the moment. But I got bored so I made this one of my rabbit.

Friday, July 20


I poisoned myself this week (by mistake). I attended a 2 day cookery course, but all the food was French and Thai and too rich for my delicate tum, so I've been sitting on the toilet more often than I'd like for the last 24 hours and it's very unpleasant. It's not fair. James ate all the food too and there's nothing wrong with him! I had to lie at work today and cry migraine after lunch because I didn't want any of my colleagues to laugh at me for poisoning myself. So I managed to pass off my stomach cramps as head spasms.

Then I came home, had another poo and slept for 6 hours straight, waking up at 9pm.

Oh well, Harry Potter tomorrow. If nothing else I can read it on the shitter.

Sunday, July 15

Arty farty

I thought it'd be fun to have a go at drawing myself using a nifty website today. But my picture makes me look like a cartoon character with Down's Syndrome (really, it does).

Check it out (it takes a few secs to load, bear with it)

I think it was the addition of the tongue wot did it.

Death by Caffeine!!

My boyfriend's mum talks a lot, mostly very quickly and about her holiday home in Wales. But the other day she told me that 22lb of chocolate would be enough to kill a man, and I was immediately interested. I'm sure that chocolate can kill you, as it contains caffeine and theobromine (the stuff that's fatal to dogs). But I didn't know that you could calculate how much of your favourite food or beverage it'd take to drive you six feet under. I entered my weight and drink of choice (Starbucks Tall Latte) into the calculator. It would take 152.97 coffees to kill me. Presumably these have to be consumed in fast succession, without any breaks. I'm not quite sure that is possible. I can't even manage two coffees from Starbucks without having to rush to the loo after 15 mins and eject elephantile jets of water into the bowl. I imagine my bladder bursting would be a more likely contributer to my death than 1 million milligrams of caffeine.

Friday, July 13


Got home yesterday to a letter from HSBC Customer Services saying that if I didn't respond to their letter dated 19th June (which I didn't receive) then they'd 'consider the matter closed'.

The address at the bottom is the one I wrote to when I was trying to reclaim my bank charges from them.

So I called HSBC this morning and they confirmed that it was connected to my bank charge claim and that the original letter was an offer letter. They are resending it to me today. She wasn't allowed to tell me how much it was on the phone but she did she it's 'in relation to my original claim', which was just over £1500.

I am hopeful, but shall await my letter before I get too excited.

Anyway, I'm off work today so am determined to try and relax and have a nice day. I have £70 in Topshop vouchers from my birthday to spend, so might get the bus to Oxford Street later on.

Saturday, July 7

For my birthday I mostly...

... stayed up for hours watching ITV's Quizcall. I implore you to check it out here or here if you have not done so already.
























Wednesday, July 4

This is your life...

It's a bit of a quiet night tonight, James is out working and I'm not panicking or crying for once. With my 26th birthday coming up I have found myself reflecting on the past 6 months, since I moved to London.

Last year I was disillusioned with my job and unhappy at being so far away from my boyfriend. I was going nowhere. I was only working part time, and the PGCE course that I wanted to do alongside my teaching job was shut down. I was living with my parents in the middle of nowhere. All of my friends were scattered all over the UK and I missed them desperately, like having a tummy ache. My debts spiralled out of control as I struggled to keep up with repayments on my limited income.

I have a dodgy tuna sandwich from Waitrose to thank for all that's happened since then. If I hadn't had food poisoning then I'd never have had the revelation. I remember this light-bulb moment distinctly as the moment that changed my life.

It was as easy as filling in a form and having an interview. I was offered a place at the first university that I applied to. The application process was so fast that I never really had a chance to worry about it.

In November I had a job interview in Walthamstow to work as a Personal Tutor. There were 5 other interviewees and I didn't expect much to come from it. I mean, it was a huge College in a massive city and my only experience was making films with country kids! Crazily i was offered the job.

'Great', I thought, 'I can start planning my move to London'. I was delighted at the prospect of renting a place with James. But then I realised I'd have to rehome my two beautiful bunnies as I'd never have enough room for them in a tiny flat. Handing my Big Bun over (who I'd had since he was a baby) was gut-wrenching. I managed to sustain a brave face through it all, but only because I'd spent the prior week booing and hooing like a baby whenever I heard him thump his back foot.

January came, and with it moving day and my first day of work, just two days apart! After 2 very stressful days (and two flat tyres!) I suddenly found myself thrown right in at the deep end and addressing my first class of 30 London youths. It must have been terrifying, but I can't really remember. i was so busy trying to cope with all the changes that the familiarity of the classroom was a comfort to me. This was my territory. I could do this!

In February James and I got a new addition to our little family, Cheeky the rescue bunny, and we are both completely in love with him (even though he accidentally bit James last night). I started looking into sorting out my financial issues, as I now had a regular income to use as a bargaining tool. I spent this entire month opening all my scary bills and threatening letters and adding up all my debts. It was SO hard, I can't even begin to tell you, and I was so ashamed that I didn't share my fears with anyone, because I was worried about being judged. It took two months to set up properly, and a lot of sitting with my fingers crossed hoping the banks would be nice to me. But now I am in a debt management plan that allows me to pay off what I can afford every month, and I don't get nasty letters any more!

No time to breathe yet, I'm afraid, as there was the small issue of university finance to sort out. This is a trial in itself. I had to go back to being 18 again and filling in all the grant and loan forms.

May saw the arrival of my first assignment from university. June saw me trying to sort out a primary school placement for September. And at the end of this month I'll have to start thinking about giving in my notice and getting ready for the first day of term. It won't stop, but I have accepted that life doesn't. It uncoils like twine and you have to ride out every rough patch and savour every single fleeting moment of happiness. I love living with James, I still get a flutter in my tummy when I see him walking home from work up the hill. I enjoy making him ham sandwiches for lunch every day and running him baths. Crouch End feels like home. Just down the road I have a great doctor, a dentist and an AMAZING bakery that sells beautiful doughnuts. I also have my best friend within 15 minutes walk, and that is something that, after 3 years of living hundreds of miles away, I will NEVER take for granted.

It's slowly, slowly clicking into place. There are definitely stormy times ahead, but now I have the benefit of hindsight.

Oh, and did I mention the several times my hot water/washing machine broke down, the time my car was clamped in South Kensington and the unexpected MOT bill for £400? No? Well, I coped with them too!

Monday, July 2

Baby Chicken... continued.

I guess I'm not the only person that was confused by the 'Baby Chicken' sign outside Western Fried Chicken in Walthamstow. I looked out for it from the bus today and saw it had been changed to 'Half a Baby Chicken with Chips and a Bread Roll - £2.50'.

The sign is still flawed. It's the use of the word 'baby' to describe a small poultry carcass. Why not 'small'? It's less age-related and doesn't make you think they're flogging newborns. And why hike the price up by 50p? I'm sure inflation hasn't risen that much in the last 5 days...

Thursday, June 28


Ah, how my brain loves to fuck with me. I'd been cheerily whistling through this fortnight without a care in the world, then DOOM hit me on the 8.07 Silverlink to work and I have been anxious and paranoid ever since. All of my friends think I'm not worth a damn. I only contact them in the lucid periods between being up and being down. They never ring me. My boyfriend is just biding his time until he leaves me. He's had enough of putting up with my everlasting tiredness and panic attacks. My university is going to turn me down because I'm mental. I'm going to lose my job. I can't afford to live. I'm going to go bankrupt.
I look at what I've done in the last 6 months and it means nothing. I do not count each individual triumph, it's much more of a collective thing. I forget what I have achieved. I can only see failure ahead.
I'm going to look at this in a few days/hours and laugh at what a twit I sound. But right now I'm going to crawl under my duvet and sleep until I can work up the energy to interact with my boyfriend upon his return from work. Hopefully I will be able to pretend that everything is ok.

Will report on success of this tomorrow.

Monday, June 25

Baby Chicken £2

What's the first thing that springs to mind when you saw that title? Was it, perhaps, this:

You'd think that, wouldn't you? You'd think that if somewhere had a sign with the words 'Baby' and 'Chicken' on it that it'd be some allusion to cuteness or Easter or baby chicks. But I actually saw a sign that said 'Baby Chicken' on the door of one of Walthamstow's many fried chicken shops. Thousands of people probably pass that sign every day and never give it a second's thought. But I can't stop thinking and worrying about it.

What worries me is that it can only mean one of two things:
1 - That 'Western Fried Chicken' is selling tiny little chickens fried whole.
2 - That 'Western Fried Chicken' is selling a fried chicken meal aimed at children under the age of two.

Imagine that; fried chicken, for the under twos...

Sadly, I imagine the latter of those two options. Despite the potentially volatile nature of cheap fried chicken it still seems to be the number one takeaway meal in the E17 region. From 12pm-1pm the corridors of the College building I work in are filled with the nauseating aroma of spiced poultry. It's not KFC either. It's 'Chicky Chicken', 'Chicken Shack' or 'Special Fried Chicken', accompanied with a vat of syrupy unnamed-brand cola that prevents my students from concentrating on a single thing I teach them all afternoon.

I fucking love BB Brian.

I can't stop laughing at Brian from Big Brother. Every single time he says something I start pissing myself. I will share with you two of my favourite Brian moments so far.

Brian thinks there is no electricity in Wales...

Concerning long words...

Chanelle: 'What about juxtaposition?'
Brian: 'Is that a sexual position?'

My favourite moment, where Liam and Charley explain Shakespeare to Brian, is not on youtube yet. Gutted.

Friday, June 22

rabbit barber

Our house rabbit, Cheeky, has developed the alarming habit of grooming his owners. He started with James's big curly head. Then he moved onto his eyebrows. Then he started on my head (but he doesn't like it as much because it's a different texture). And now he keeps trying to groom James's beard.

It's not entirely unpleasant. He uses his teeth, but very gently. And when he's finished he flops down next to you as if to say 'my turn now!'.

I'm concerned that he either thinks of himself as a human, or us as enormous rabbits. And that, in rabbit behaviour, grooming is a precursor to mating.

Saturday, June 16


I completed my first sudoku puzzle yesterday. I announced to Susan and Vin in my office that I would be dedicating the next hour to solving sudoku puzzles. It was a 'novice' puzzle. It took me approximately 30 minutes to complete. When I'd finished I ran next door to tell Susan and Janet, who were engaged in deep and meaningful conversation, that I had WON. They were not as exuberant as I'd have liked.

Friday, June 15

mental wealth

London Metropolitan sent me a parcel last week (hooray!) containing my preliminary assignments for next year (boo!). This week I received a letter from a doctor in Holloway that I have never heard of, asking about the severity of my 'mental disorder' and if it would 'affect my suitability for the teaching profession'. They must have picked it up from the health declaration that you have to complete before applying for a PGCE course.
For those of you that don't know I have Bipolar II Disorder. Which is characterised by the following: 1. Had / having at least one Major Depressive Episode. 2. Had / having at least one Hypomanic Episode. 3. Never had a Manic or Mixed Episode. 4. The episodes, 1 or 2 above,are not from another disorder. 5. Clinically significant distress from symptoms,or impairment in work, social,or other areas of important functioning.
Social functioning, check. Other areas, check. Work, no.

Bipolar disorder manifests differently in different people. Mine has a crash and burn approach, my brain likes to trick me into feeling well, then spring prolonged periods of misery or short bursts of euphoria on me, seemingly out of nowhere. It also seems to be linked heavily to the seasons, which is quite typical for a lot of sufferers. I spent years forcing myself to be sane and trying to control my mood and environment to prevent episodes from occuring, but I learnt last year that this is pointless. I have no control over when these incidences occur. I can manage them when they do and initiate damage limitation, but ultimately I have had to accept that I am stuck with this for the long haul, and it's sometimes best just to let these conditions have their own way. But, for the benefit of those around me, and anybody else that thinks they might have a similar experience, below is a guide to my personal symptoms.

How to tell if I am depressed:
- I won't return your calls or texts, or I will but my replies will be short
- I will sleep a lot
- I will be incapable of making any decisions
- I won't venture far from home
- I will be surrounded by half-read books that I cannot concentrate on
- I won't be wearing any makeup
- I won't have put any effort into getting dressed
- I'll lurk around the internet, reading emails and messages, without replying to anybody
- I'll 'disappear off the radar' for a week or so

How to tell if I am hypomanic:
- Everything will be 'brilliant'
- I'll shake
- I'll become wreckless with money (buying stupid expensive drinks, clothes etc)
- I will speak really quickly, so fast that I won't be able to get all the words out
- I'll skip, jump and run instead of walking
- I'll 'jerk'
- I won't sleep all night because of IDEAS
- I might have a panic attack

Don't be fooled. A lot of people would never know I have this. I have become extremely good at covering up the depression, and the mania is usually mistaken for exuberance. Only four or five people in my life could probably tell when I'm suffering, and three of those are close family members. So, for the most part, most people who meet me assume I'm 'normal' (I am normal really, I'm just coining a phrase). Am I insane? I have never considered if my sanity is an issue or not. I have certainly felt out of control a few times, but I've always had some comprehension of how I am behaving and what is going on around me. I take insanity to mean that I'd have little or no control over myself and hardly any comprehension of my circumstances or surroundings. So whilst I could probably be described as borderline insane at times, during my lucid periods, which account for 80% of the time, I am probably saner than most people out there on the street. Put it this way; I am not about to stand outside a tube station with a bag on my head preaching about sin.
I could probably give up and go on Incapacity Benefit. I could probably claim Housing Benefit. I could probably surrender to this anomaly in my brain and never have to work again. But I made the decision when I started university in 1999 that I would fight this for my entire life, or failing that at least try to understand it. It didn't stop me from passing my A-Levels. It hasn't stopped me from getting a degree. It didn't prevent me from passing my driving test and it has never once got in the way of my teaching. So it was with confidence that I replied to this mystery doctor that yes, I had bipolar disorder, yes, it is ongoing, and no, it will not affect my career choice in any way. And I threw in a few examples for good measure.

All teachers are close to nervous breakdown anyway, so I'll hardly be in the minority!

Thursday, June 14


On my 8:07 train to work every morning I always see people doing sudoku puzzles in the commuter's rag of choice Metro. So this morning, rather than continue with Geling Yan's 'The Lost Daughter of Happiness' I decided to have a go. I had virtually no prior knowledge of the logistics of sudoku puzzles, but I did know this much:

- each row has to have all the numbers between 1 and 9
- each column has to have all the numbers between 1 and 9
- each little box has to have all the numbers between 1 and 9

I quickly gave up. The train was hot and moved around a lot and I couldn't concentrate. When I got to work I had another go. I managed to place a 6, but I wasn't even sure it was in the right place. So, as with all things that flummox me, I subjected Sudoku to google. This was very helpful. For the first two pages. Then I got confused again. I returned to my Metro puzzle. 'Maybe you're looking at it wrong', I thought. 'Maybe it's a bit like Magic Eye'*. So I tried relaxing my brain, to see if the answers would just swirl into my head like they do for John Nash. I thought I'd got halfway through it just now, and then realised I'd put two 4's in the same box. It made my brain hurt. And it made me feel a bit sick. I'm buggered if I can figure it out.

Why can't I do them? I have an IQ of 145. Surely that means Sudoku should come naturally to me, like eating and blinking. What's wrong with me? The man who gets on at South Tottenham in a dirty tracksuit bottoms with egg on his t-shirt can do it while picking his nose and drinking from a can of Tennents at 8.15am, so why can't I after a glass of orange juice and a bowl of Shreddies?

I think it's a bit like rubix cubes, once your brain clicks the technique it's piss easy. I think soon I'll just have to accept that I can't do them and go back to crosswords.

*I can't do those either.

BB update

I am very much enjoying Big Brother this year. I love 4 On Demand. I just rewound so I could hear Chanelle say 'THUR'S FISH ON ME FEEEYCE!' again.

Tuesday, June 12

Things I yell at the tv...

... when I'm in the flat on my own.

(to Charley, the big-titted sarf London wench from Big Brother) "WHAT. IS. WRONG. WITH. YOU?"

(to Susanne Shaw on Loose Women) "You and Michelle Gayle will not solve racism in 3 minutes whilst drinking from oversized coffee mugs. Stop speaking. No. Stop now. I said stop."

(to Tim Wonnacott from Bargain Hunt) "You know FUCK ALL about antiques, you fucking letch."

(to Jeremy Kyle) "Yes Jeremy. Yes! Ooooh yes!!!"

I also love Tyrannosaurus Alan and the Brian Blessed Volcano from the Volvic ads. I sit around waiting for this shit, seriously.

And she's back in the game!


Goodness gracious it's been a hectic few months. We've FINALLY got the internet in our flat after 6 months of waiting. I never realised how important it is to have a home phone, to get one at last is a great relief. Now my mum can ring me!

Nothing particularly interesting to say today. I'm on antibiotics. They are making me break wind extremely loudly.

Sunday, May 6

Gem's Guide to Debt

I have masses of debt and have only just started dealing with it properly. I am a dunce. If I'd forced myself to do this 2 years ago, instead of sticking my head in the sand/underneath the duvets covers I wouldn't be in the mess I am now. So I strongly advise anyone who reads this blog, and is in debt that they cannot really get on top of, to have a butchers at the list.

1. Open a bank statement (Yes. Painful. But necessary). Add up how much you are paying to various cards/loans every month. Add rent/mortgage expenses. Add any insurance or travel costs. Add AT LEAST another £250 for food, prescriptions, everything else.
2. If this is more than your monthly wage (as it was in mine) follow the instructions below.
3. Dig out all hire purchase agreements/loan agreements/credit card agreements. Put in one file together.
4. Write to all companies from above file requesting an up-to-date balance.
5. Add balances together. Do not be alarmed by sum total. Anything below £20,000 is manageable. Anything below £30,000 is fixable.
6. Contact Payplan. Tell advisor sum total of debt. Advisor will call back within a week. Grab folder and tell them all accounts/balances. Advisor will tell you about available options.
7. If you have an overdraft open a basic bank account with a new bank. Cancel all DDs from old bank account.
8. A Debt Management Plan is the most advisable initial course of action. This is where Payplan work out how much you can afford to give towards your debts each month. You then make this payment to Payplan by DD every month. They work out what proportions of it they will give to which creditor. Some creditors accept, some do not. Offer a bit more, squeeze your budget.
9. If creditors do not accept they will eventually pass your debt onto a debt collection agency. Payplan work with these too. They are usually much easier to get to agree to debt management plans. So do not be afraid of letters threatening you with these.
10. Open all letters that come through your door. Every single stinking one. Force yourself if necessary. I do.
11. Be honest. Tell people you are in debt. Tell them how much if you want to. Do not keep it to yourself.

Money saving tips
1. If you live in London and own a car sell it immediately. Public transport is cheaper and much less stressful. Look into travelcards.
2. Join the library.
3. Do a fortnightly 'meat shop'. Buy all the 2 for £5 offers you can. Freeze.
4. Give up smoking.
5. Buy 6 packs of water bottles and take them to work. It comes to less than 25p each.
6. Always take a packed lunch.
7. Spend one lunchtime a week searching the internet for restaurant/shopping vouchers. Wagamama are usually quite good...
8. Only shop for everyday clothes in Primark.
9. Make shopping lists. Plan the meals in advance.
10. Beg old magazines from friends, being one month behind hardly makes any difference.

I usually end up with about £250 a month for food, clothes, prescriptions etc. This is ok if spent WISELY.

So how did I get in all this mess? Foolishness with spending and borrowing. Paying off debts with other debts. Buying too many clothes/shoes. Being bipolar has exacerbated the debt problem, but it's not entirely to blame. Most of my major purchases/financial decisions were made whilst euphoric, but I still accept 100% responsibility for them. Sometimes I feel I'm going to collapse from the weight of it all. I won't though. I'll just take it very slowly and very carefully.

And I'll be debt-free by the time I'm 30. Just in time to get a mortgage...

Feelings, nothing more than feelings...

Why do boys find it so difficult to feel anything? This is not just a generalised sexist statement. It's simply bourne out of past experiences. When I am down/up/sideways it is the actual sensation of the aforementioned affliction that affects me. I work out why I'm feeling that way and do my best to deal with it. I feel sad. Boo. I feel sad because I have no money. Boo. Get over it Gemma, move on. Boo. I don't want to. Well have some chocolate then, and read Grazia.

With boys it is totally different. If a boy feels very down, for whatever reason, he uses a totally different strategy. To begin with he doesn't try to work out why he feels the way he does. He is sad. He does not know why. He retreats into a corner or attempts to bury feeling with alcohol, sport or literature. The next phase I like to call Meltdown. This is when the male brain, amazed at the change in pace and sudden awareness of feeling, shuts down and refuses to do anything except flash the following sentence in his conscious mind 'OH MY GOD. I AM HAVING AN ACTUAL FEELING'.

Panic follows Meltdown. Man is confused. Man is in unchartered territory. Man continues to panic until reassured by woman or close male friend who admits to going through similar just days before. Man is pacified. Reason is found for him. Man goes back to feeling (no longer in bold) without realising and soon forgets it ever happened.

My theory is this - Men feel exactly as women do, but generally they don't notice it. Unless they have a really strong feeling like love, or depression or severe anxiety they can happily go about their daily business none the wiser. It is only when faced with a challenge that causes them to feel intensely that they suddenly become aware of their mind's capacity to make them experience feelings. Then they panic. They suddenly become aware of feeling intensely and become irate when womenfolk deign to mention that that is actually how they function most days of the week.

So ladies, next time your man dramatically anounces that he is stressed or down, do not panic. He is no more stressed or panicked than you have ever been. He is simply finding his feet in a world of conscious feelings and is frightened by the unknown. Pacify him, reassure him, and then leave him to whatever method he uses best to get himself back on the straight and narrow.

Saturday, May 5


I've been accepted to university next year for a one-year postgraduate teaching degree. My LEA have calculated my student finance.

Next year Haringey council are giving me:
£3000 fee loan
£2765 grant
£5485 maintenance loan

My uni are giving me:
£9000 bursary

Wipe out the fee loan, and I'm left with £17250 (how much I'm being paid to work as a teacher at College now...). Tax free.

Divide that by the ten months I'll be training for and it's £1725 take home every month.

That's obviously ample to live off, so here is my dilemma, what to do with the excess cash?

Option 1
Live off the grant and bursary (£1176 pmth) and use the loan to pay off my two highest interest debts (credit cards). I currently live off £1050 per month, so that's more than I'm getting at the moment.

Option 2
Live off the grant and bursary (1176 pmth), take out a savings account and invest the student loan. Student loans are charged at lower interest than your average savings account, so no money would be lost.

Option 3
Live off all three (£1725 pmth) and increase my payment to Payplan (debt management charity who are helping me sort out my debts) to a whopping amount per month.

FYI - Student loans are only paid back when you are in employment and earning over £15,000 a year. If you do not earn that you do not have to pay them back. Repayments are linked to your earnings, whether you owe £1000 or £20,000 you make the same monthly repayments. If you have not paid them off in 25 years they are written off.

Which option is best guys? Which would you do? (I have one in mind but I want to see if you lot agree with me first!) Email me or leave a message on my myspack.


Wednesday, April 11

Lend me your ears and I'll sing you a song...

I just found my very bestest friend from primary school on Facebook. I added her. But it made me feel sad. I spent every single day (and a lot of holidays) with this girl from age 6-11 and now all I do is add her to my Facebook and write stupid things on her virtual wall. It's like all the bike rides, shared detentions and lustful conversations about New Kids have been erased. This was the girl I who was with me when I learnt about periods, and when I was privy to the revelation that babies are made by SEX. We were actually inseparable. Except in class where we were separated because we couldn't be trusted to sit together (my fault).

One particularly fond memory is of us caterwalling VERY LOUDLY to try and drown out the drama-schooled class princess in music lesson. Nobody could tell us off because technically we weren't breaking any rules. And we made the her cry. Ha.

We also sang the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang theme repeatedly during cycling proficiency lessons, at a girl with a really shit bike. We were evil. But we had so much fun. And now she probably lives 10 mins down the road from me in London and I never see her.

Old chinwags

This is the sort of thing I used to talk about online with my Friend Who Shall Remain Unnamed before I grew up and got a boyfriend.

Gem says:
you know the most worrying thing about ......'s knob?

Gem says:
i could imagine, when i was looking at it, exactly what it would feel like in my hand

Gem says:

FWSRU says:

FWSRU says:
stop making me laugh i'm going to disturb someone

Gem says:

Gem says:

FWSRU says:
i could imagine worse though

Gem says:
was it like a wet shamois leather?

Gem says:

FWSRU says:
oh sorry i was doing the thing

FWSRU says:
it was

FWSRU says:
i think

Gem says:
it was, lets just say it was

FWSRU says:
ohhhh i'm going to shut up or i'm on the verge of giving TMI

Gem says:
do it

FWSRU says:
it was the smell mainly

FWSRU says:

Gem says:

Gem says:

Gem says:

Gem says:

Gem says:
like what?

Gem says:

Gem says:

Gem says:
don't answer

Gem says:
i feel unwell

FWSRU says:

FWSRU says:
not cheese

FWSRU says:
just of knob.

Gem says:
thank god

FWSRU says:
although ....'s does not smell of knob so you can look him in the face

FWSRU says:
....... has an odd odour

FWSRU says:
in general

Gem says:
depends how often they wash

Gem says:
because some knobs

Gem says:
smell more knobby

Gem says:
than others

FWSRU says:
they do. this is true.

Gem says:
and some

Gem says:

Gem says:
like calais

Tuesday, April 10


I rarely mention my bipolarity on here (ok, I do, but not too much) because, as a type 2 sufferer, it occurs in fits and starts. However it's days like today that force me to acknowledge it's existance and then I must acquiesce with it's symptoms. I feel like there is a low rumbling motor running very slowly somewhere in the back of my head. My brain aches. I feel sick. I can't get out of bed.

I daren't tell my boyfriend, because he's on his way to a big gig in Bath and I don't want him to worry unduly about me. I have just 45 minutes to perfect my 'I'm fine, really' act for my Mum when she comes home from work (I'm staying at my folk's in Norfolk until Thursday).

I want to crawl into a hole and remain there until I can feel the sun's rays on the back of my neck again.

Crouch End Celebs

I have made a new group on Facebook.

If you are a member first add me, then join!

It is here.

*joins hands*

I'm praying for sunny weather this week. I'm off work and fully intend to spend entire afternoons sat alone in the tiny beer garden of the Harringay Arms drinking pints of shandy and reading library books. It's not the same if you sit inside. And there's only one ladies toilet. Harumph.

Monday, April 9

Spring Review

Things that have made me happy:

- Take That. Just the fact that they are on the radio again. And that I can laugh at Howard's face. And yell 'SMILE SMILE SMILE' at 8am as I drive to work.
- Moving to Crouch End. Despite the frequent calls of 'Tabitha, Sebastian!' by middle-class mothers in Chanel shades as I walk down the Broadway I cannot help but love the little corner of London that I inhabit.
- Pomegranates. I always new they'd take off. I was ALL OVER them aged 11. Ahead of my time, again...
- Peep Show's imminent return to Channel 4.
- The Apprentice. I think it should be on every day. Like my other favourite tv show, Deal or No Deal.

Things to work on this season:

- My driving. No more 40mph down the Seven Sisters Road. No more hopping reds. From now on it's white-van-infuriating granny driving all the way.
- My money. Clearly this is a work in progress. I am doing a lot better than I was, though.
- DOOM! I need to stop thinking 'DOOM!' and sending myself into a spin every time something slightly nasty happens.
- Always having a supply of stamps. I never have any when I need them.

My predictions for Spring/Summer '07:

- The temperature will reach 100F at some point. Newspapers will go mental. Old people will perish. As per usual.
- At least 3 people in East/South London will get shot.
- Pete Doherty will perform at Glastonbury, and drop down dead shortly afterwards.
- Big Brother will start in May - and be shit.
- X Factor will return with Dermot O'Leary - and be shit.

Sunday, April 8

All over your boing

On my way to see my friends
who lived a couple blocks away from me (owh)
As I walked through the subway
it must have been about quarter past three
In front of me
stood a beautiful honey with a beautiful body
She asked me for the time
I said it'd cost her her name
a six digit number & a date with me tomorrow at nine

Did she decline? No
Didn't she mind? I don't think so
Was it for real? Damn sure
What was the deal? A pretty girl aged 24
So was she keen? She couldn't wait
Cinnamon queen? let me update
What did she say? She said she'd love to
She asked me what we were gonna do
said we'd start with a bottle of moet for two

took her for a drink on Tuesday
we were making love by Wednesday
and on Thursday & Friday & Saturday we chilled on Sunday
I met this girl on Monday
took her for a drink on Tuesday
we were making love by Wednesday
and on Thursday & Friday & Saturday we chilled on Sunday

I've renewed my Craig David obsession from about 5 years ago.

I'm thinking of making my own version of Seven Days that catalogues a perfect week of Gem-lovin'. It will include a trip to M&S in Crouch End to purchase seafood risotto ready meals and an outing to Hackney City Farm. It will go a bit like this:

On my way to M&S
the store is a couple blocks away from me (owh)
As I walked down Crouch Hill
it must have been about quarter past three
In front of me
stood a beautiful hotty with a beautiful risotto
He asked me for the time
I said it'd cost him his name
a six digit number & a date with me tomorrow at nine

Did he decline? No
Didn't he mind? I don't think so
Was it for real? Damn sure
What was the deal? A pretty boy aged 24
So was he keen? He couldn't wait
Cinnamon queen? I hope not, mate!
What did he say? He said he'd love to
He asked me what we were gonna do
said we'd start with a bottle of Babycham for two

took him to the zoo on Tuesday
we were making cakes by Wednesday
and on Thursday & Friday & Saturday we ate roast beef on Sunday
I met this boy on Monday
took him to a zoo on Tuesday
we were making cakes by Wednesday
and on Thursday & Friday & Saturday we ate roast beef on Sunday

Five was the time
cos I'll be getting mine
and he was looking fine
Loud talker
He told me
He'd love to watch Most Haunted with me all night long
Ooh I loved the way he kicked it
from the front to back he flipped (back he flipped it, ooh the
way he
kicked it)
And I oh oh I yeah
hope that he'd care
cos Derek Acorah will always be there

Ooh yeah
I'm not a girl to play around baby
Ooh yeah
cos a one night stand isn't really fair
From the first impression boy hmm you don't seem to like Take That
Cos there's no need to chat for there'll be plenty for that
From the subway to the W7
endless ringing of my phone
When you feeling all alone
all you gotta do
is just call me call me

Saturday, April 7


I got caught running a red light on the Seven Sisters Road. Yes, that makes me a dickhead, I know this. It will also cost me a pretty penny and put 3 points on my young license. Which means that if I get 3 more I have to take my test again. I feel sick.

Saturday, February 24

God Save The Guardian

This is why I love the Saturday Guardian. Apparently loads of people are claiming back all their overdraft/unpaid direct debit charges because they are unjustified and ridiculous.

Always one to jump on the bandwagon, I have written a letter to my bank asking how much they've charged me over the last 6 years for these sorts of things. I reckon it'll be over £1000. Then I'm going to write a letter and ask for my money back. Again, and again, and again, until they're so fed up of me that they dream about my signature haunting them at night.

Honestly, how the fuck do they ever expect people to be able to get straight if they keep charging them every time they can't afford something. That's crazy talk, that is.

I 'heart' hoovering

Who'd have thought that a £15 vacuum cleaner could bring such joy to my life?

James and I have been sans hoover since we moved to our new flat a month ago, I've been trying to convince him to let us buy one for ages, but he was still fixated on the vacuum that had been promised to us free-of-charge, by a former work colleague of mine. I pointed out that waiting 2 months for a vacuum, and then spending £20 on petrol going to collect it was nonsense, but he wasn't having any of it.

So whilst in Leyton ASDA last week I spied a vacuum for just £15 and snapped it up. When I got home I hurredly tore off the packaging and assembled it with trembling, expectant fingers, anticipating the friendly electronic buzz and general air of freshness such an appliance can bring.

Ladies and Gentlemen; it did not disappoint.

I sailed through the flat, 'oohing' and 'aaahing' and marvelling at the carpet hidden beneath the 1inch thick layer of fluff, dust, dropped pieces of food, rabbit droppings, bits of hay and kimble tags from clothes (why do they always end up on the carpet, even though you put them in the bin, why?). Cheeky (my sexually rampant new house bunny) was extremely suspicious of this new invader to his territory, and he protested by kicking up all the sawdust in his cage and flinging bits of hay through the bars. 'Aha, Cheeky!', I said, 'Your days of leaving mess are through!', and I hooved up yet another piece of half-chewed carrot top from the hall carpet to demonstrate my point.

Mind you, Cheeky's started pooing on the floor a lot more recently, and then rolling in it like a pig. His nuts are SO getting cut off soon.

List # 331

Things I must stop doing:

- stirring my coffee with my biro
- trying to predict my day's success/failure by looking at the skies
- driving over speed bumps at 25 mph (my car's suspension is really not up to it)
- tooting aggressively when drivers miss green lights
- getting distracted on the way to work by counting fried chicken shops on the Seven Sisters Road
- going to M&S in Crouch End

Things I must start doing

- stirring my tea, with a spoon
- going to Budgens in Crouch End

This should be relatively easy, because it calls on inactivity more than anything else, but giving things up is a lot harder than taking things up, and I tend to get stuck in cycles of DOOM that only end when I hit rock bottom.

The quest for the Time Lord continues...

... with celebrity diversions along the way. On Sunday, whilst looking for a spare table in the King's Head on which to eat my Sunday lunch, I came across Les Dennis, a mystery brunette and a few friends dining in a corner.

Despite my usual coolness in the face of celebrity I became quite overcome with an attack of the giggles and had to be led away by my boyfriend while Les Dennis and his posse glared at me like I'd ruined their appetites. Perhaps I had, I only had concealer on, and a lick of blusher.


So no David Tennant, yet (your time will come, Casanova, oh yes...), but I did literally bump into James McAvoy from off of The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe and the greatly lauded The Last King of Scotland, at the bottom of Crouch Hill last week. I nearly didn't recognise him, because he had dirty jeans on, and one of those semi-trendy miniature hiking backpacks that so many EMO kids and 20-30 male Londonors seem to carry around these days.

He was quite attractive, in a stubbly way.

Some Maths

I am going to the London Metropolitan University in September to study for my teaching degree. As I'll be teaching a 'shortage subject' (English and Drama) I'll be receiving a £9000 bursary from the government.

I am also entitled to a student grant of £6315, because I have no income other than my wages.

I'm obsessed with budgets at the moment, so I did some Key Stage 2 maths:

9000 + 6315 = 15315

15315 / 10 (number of months on course) = 1531.50

Therefore I will be receiving £1531.50 a month. Tax free. And I also get student Oyster.

Fucking hell. That's more than I'm earning at the moment! I know what you're thinking; too good, eh? There must be a catch, eh? Yes, I thought that too, so I calculated how I'd pay it all back, including the student loans I had for my batchelors degree. The website said this:

"Based on the information you provided, our calculations indicate that you will make the following repayments towards your student loan.
Your monthly repayment amount will be £ 68.00 from 01-APR-08 to 30-APR-33 a total of 300 months.
You will, however not repay it within 25 years. After 25 years the remaining balance of
£ 5107.61 will be written off.

Ha, they haven't banked on me retiring at 35 and having children. I'll never pay it off, and there's NUFFIN they can do about it. Hahahahahahahaaaa...

Sunday, January 14

The Quest Begins!

Just to let you all know that I have a new hobby, and a new blog all about it. It is called Desperately Seeking Tennant and you can learn more about it by clicking and having a look-see.


Friday, January 12


So the East London College called me last night to arrange my start date.

*sets off fireworks*

I have an induction day on Wednesday next week and then start full time the following Monday after I've moved into my new flat. I can now assure my various banks/credit card agencies etc that I have money coming. I will be doing a job I love. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to spend the rest of the day catching up on a fortnight's sleep. Zzzz....

Wednesday, January 10


The College haven't rung me. They said they'd call me by the end of the day and let me know what's going on. But it's 5.30 now and everybody will have gone home. College staff are ALWAYS home by 5.30, I have extensive experience of working in this sphere. So I called up the woman who's supposed to be becoming my line manager and left a message on her phone along these lines 'Err, Hi, Gemma... again... a bit concerned as I'd like to start soon. Can you get back to me TOMORROW please? Thank you.'


What if they never do and I just get a letter in the post telling me that my references were crap and that I'm crap and that they want nothing further to do with me, ever?

What then?

Great, thanks, another sleepless night. Brilliant. If the bags under my eyes keep growing at this rate I can hire them out to heavily laden supermarket shoppers.


I have become 9 years old again. I burst into tears yesterday at my sister's house because she bought me a bar of chocolate from Thornton's (posh chocolate company, for the benefit of my regular US readers), and again on the phone to my temp work agent because she has found me work for when I move to London. This morning I burst into tears on the phone to the College I'm supposed to be working at because I'm frustrated about my lack of start date. This afternoon I burst into tears on the phone to the man at Egg banking because he was so helpful and understanding. Then I burst into tears again when my Dad offered to pay my road tax.

Everything is amazingly beautiful or gut-churningly worrying, and the only way I can seem to release the stress over these very adult issues is to cry like a child. I am THE WORST daughter with THE BEST parents. My boyfriend is about 100x more responsible than me.

You won't be surprised to hear that I suffer from bipolar disorder. But all this is just taking the piss!

I am going to drink this cup of tea without crying or being on the phone. If I achieve this then it'll be the first time today.

Monday, January 8

*Education Rant*

So Ruth Kelly has sent her dyslexic son to private school because his state school hadn't made sufficient provision for his learning difficulty. Now I'm all for parents being able to choose whether to educate their kids privately or courtesy of the state (yes, even MPs), but what saddens me is that state schools seem to be failing students with learning difficulties, despite stringent screening and sizeable government bursaries to assist with these kids. What worries me the most is that a huge percentage of kids seem to be slipping through the screening net and going through their 11-13 years of education without dyslexia, dyspraxia, ADHD etc being picked up on. My brother is a prime example of one of these kids, he's clearly dyslexic, and exhibits all the tell-tale tendencies of a kids with learning difficulties, yet he has been 'screened' twice and nobody ever seemed to pick up on the fact that he wrote backwards until he was 7, cannot read analogue clocks, cannot tell his left from his right and frequently struggles to read long paragraphs of text. He had the vocabulary of an 8 year old at 4 but he can't tell the time. Friends with dyslexic kids have all told us that this is definitely dyslexia, yet because of his lack of statement he never received any additional help in his entire school career, and my mother (like Ruth Kelly) decided to take personal responsibility for his education and got him private English lessons once a week. This helped but was not enough, and he left school with a handful of low-grade GCSEs and a general disillusionment with the education system.

I just think it's so sad that there are, literally, thousands of children out there with almost identical problems to my brother. Bright kids that simply need a bit of extra help. And now they're thinking of scrapping SATs at 11 and 14 and replacing them with more flexible, frequent yearly tests. Students that struggle will get 'additional one-to-one tuition' - my one question is "Who will administer this tuition, then? Because teachers certainly won't have enough time? And if it's not teachers then who else is qualified to provide this tuition?"

I'm SO home-schooling my kids for at least the first two years, by the time I have them I'll be terrified to release them into the system. Best to remove them altogether for a bit and let them learn in a way that suits them.

Thursday, January 4


Ok, so a few of you think it's bad that I posted on the internet about my sister getting crabs. In my defence, she doesn't read blogs, or even know what myspace is. Her friends are all old or living in Italy and can't speak any English. She will never see it and half of you have no idea who she is. And it was really, really funny. So there.

Crab we talk it over?

My sister's recent love-life could provide a soap opera with at least a year's worth of plots. Seriously, it's that tempestuous. It'd take forever to recap it all in depth (but believe me, it's worth hearing!), so here is a brief timeline, to fill you in:

June '06: Big Sister arrives back from Italy, gets job in Cambridge
September '06: The Italian decides he will move to England to be with her. Big Sister gets flat sorted for her and The Italian.
October '06: The Italian arrives. Says he will 'learn English then get job'. The Italian attends English course.
November '06: The Italian isn't getting up until 2pm, owes Big Sister money and hasn't found a job yet. He puts it all down to suffering from 'strange rashes' and depression.
December '06: The Italian goes back to Italy with his tail between his legs still owing Big Sister money.
January '06: Big Sister returns to Italy for last ditch attempt at reconciliation BUT The Italian's rash is diagnosed as crabs.
Today: Sister returns from Italy to put end to both relationship and pubic lice.

So, not only did my sister discover that her (sort-of) ex-boyfriend was carrying on with other girls over the summer while she worked like a POW to save up for their flat, he was also having unprotected sex with them and actually contracting bonafide sexual diseases. I don't know what's funnier; the fact that he tried to fob her off and tell her the doctor had told him that he could have contracted the lice by 'picking up a dirty object', or the fact that he, a thirty year old man, sent his father to the chemist to get the topical ointment because he was too embarrassed to do it himself!

More hilarious was my father's face this morning when my mother informed him that the surrogate son he has been mourning for the last few weeks, the golden-boy who he took golfing and out job-hunting, was carrying the bi-product of infidelity around in his tight, Italian-designer boxer shorts the whole time he was in the UK.

Mother consulted me about how to end a text to my sister beginning with 'What a...'. My suggestion of 'cock' was rejected with the milder euphemism 'knob'.

I'd have stuck with cock myself. Not his though, because it's covered in dirty scuttling little crabs.

Do Google searches and that...