Old School Nigerians vs. Westernised Nigerians

You know what frustrates me the most? When people care WAY too much about what other people think? And when I say that, I don’t just mean people getting a little frustrated about comments that people make about them. The most confident people can let those little things get to them, even if it is on a rare occasion. I’m talking people who let the words of individuals that they either don’t like, respect or even know, affect them or what they do in their life.

Unfortunately I feel that this is the mentality of most old school Nigerians, my mother and father included. Even me just writing this would most likely be an embarrassment to them if they were to come across it. But as soon as I decided to write this blog, I promised myself that I would just be myself when I wrote. Essentially I would give zero fucks about how it might come off or what people would think. It’s a shame, because in so many ways my mother is such a strong woman. She is one of the things that inspire me to keep pushing and do exactly what I believe what I am meant to do, which is write. Yes, my blog is definitely a work in progress. I don’t have that many followers on Twitter or Instagram, at least not yet. I haven’t completed a book yet, and I’m not yet on the path of the career I’ve been envisioning. Yet. But I am on my way. I’ve also become a much more resilient and confident woman, and this is only in the past few months. I think my best friend is also partly the reason for that. She has inadvertently taught me how unimportant the opinions of others can be, especially when it comes to doing something you are passionate about.

However, my mother and I unfortunately got into a pretty heated argument a few days ago. Actually we’ve yet to speak again properly since then. You see, my mother has a lot of pride, a trait which is apparent in most Nigerian women, as I’ve mentioned previously. She doesn’t approve of a few things I do. Shining examples would be the clothes I wear, my tattoos and the pictures that I post on social media. Not that I follow them on anything, or have them on Facebook. I’m not stupid. She’s referring to pictures I would use for my display picture on Whatsapp. These aren’t anything horrifying; she’s literally referring to pictures where I rock a bit of cleavage, or a holiday photo where I’m wearing a bikini. Basically pictures that I personally don’t regard as inappropriate, but my parents clearly do. This is not only an opinion that they cannot seem to help constantly sharing with me, but also a topic which other family members that I don’t even talk to seem to speak to them about.

This was actually the root of the argument I had with my mum, and what I’m angriest about. There are certainly family members that have said some unforgivable things about me, my mother and my brother. So for that reason, I choose not to associate with them or even act like they exist most of the time. So when they deem it appropriate to voice their opinion on me and what I’m doing, which is often, I do not pay attention. I don’t understand why anyone would listen to someone that you know has no respect for you or you family, and choose to give their opinion any validity at all. If were all going to get judgemental, I have plenty of things that I could say about them. But I don’t. Mostly because I don’t care about them enough to talk about them anyway. However my mum was evidently embarrassed at the idea of them talking about me to my father. But why? Firstly, in the eyes of the Lord, any sins or transgressions that I may have are not any different to theirs. Secondly, I am well past the age that they can try and dictate my life or my decisions, whether they approve of them or not. I understand that this is the way with most Nigerian parents. But I’m 25 years old in a couple of months, and it really is just getting ridiculous. Their way of thinking just makes absolutely no sense to me.

I was so angry at my mum that the only thing I wanted to do after we had finished arguing, was get on my laptop and write this. But I took a few days to calm down before I started writing. I am very glad I did this, because if I had written it that same evening, I would have gone in on her and every single family member who never gives me the time of day, but yet still think they have a right to judge me and talk about me. So I’m very glad that I can sit here and do this from a much calmer place. I’m still doing my best to continue to grow and learn the most important lessons every day, and I don’t want to set myself back by talking about people that aren’t worth my time. I also want to be able to continue to love my parents unconditionally, which I do. But unfortunately, we may go through a good streak at times, but they will eventually break it by giving me more of this bullshit and they will continue to be like that. So as much as I love them, and as much as we are much closer than we were before, they will still always be a wall between us in some way. Not because I grew up differently to how they hoped I would, but simply because a part of them will always be this judgemental and unhappy with me, meaning they will never truly accept me for who I am. It’s hard coming to terms with that fact. I, on the other hand, am not quite like that. So while they do quite a few things I don’t like, I will still love and appreciate them regardless because they are my parents. At the end of the day, no matter what we may say to each other in heated moments, they still gave me life. They clothed me and fed me. They sacrificed so many things just so I could have a good education, and I will never forget it. But unfortunately, I will also never forget some of the horrible things they have said or done to me either. All I can really do though, is promise myself that when I have my own children, I will never make them feel ashamed just for being themselves.

I guess my reason for writing this is to say to all parents, Nigerian or not, who have a similar technique when it comes to their children, please think about how your words and actions towards them make them feel. We understand that this isn’t done out of malice, and that you were just raised in a completely different way. But we have not grown up that way, so things are bound to be different, which you should only expect. Yes, when your children grow up they may do some things that you do not approve of. But please try your best to just accept that they are old enough to choose their own path, and trust that when it comes to the fundamental qualities of being a well-rounded human being, you have done a good job in teaching them. I know this may be harder than it sounds, but coming from one of those children, doing the alternative, especially with extreme methods, will only push them away.

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Men Really Are From Mars

Men. They can be such a mindfuck, am I right? I know this sounds like the biggest cliche, but they really are on another planet at the best of times.

I’m quite a private person when it comes to things that are, you know, my business. But this blog is supposed to be bringing me out of my comfort zone, and it is called “The Diary of a Procrastinator” after all. I’m quite different from most women around my age, mainly because I am not super focused on finding a man, getting married, having children etc. At least not at this point in my life. I definitely want all those things in the future, and will most likely be thinking about it in a year or two. However at this stage, I’m more concerned about my career and how I would like to establish myself. I’ve been working for my company for over two years now, and I honestly don’t feel as if it’s going anywhere. I’ve known for a while that I want to be a writer. Hence, this blog. I’ve also been looking at a potential career that I would like to embark on, and the best way in which I could make that happen. I’ll be 25 in three months. Not exactly an old maid, I know, but I just always thought that I’d have it figured out by then. Although I know that  I am lucky at the same time. Some people spend years trying to figure out exactly what they want to do. I certainly don’t want to waste any of them focusing on things that just aren’t as important right now, and a boyfriend happens to be one of them for me.

So currently my focus is myself; as Beyoncé once said, “me, myself and I. That’s all I’ve got in the end.” Damn, I love that song. There is literally no situation in life that you cannot find one Beyoncé lyric to match it appropriately. Not to mention, I really am enjoying the single life as well (yes, I am singing Single Ladies in my head right now). That being said, if I did meet a guy that I liked and wanted to be with, then I wasn’t going to say no. After all, I do go on dates and see guys casually. So if it happens, it happens. However I have met quite a few guys that insist on me not seeing anyone else. Now don’t get excited; I’m almost positive that this isn’t a case of them liking me so much that they don’t want me to see other people. This is simply a typical case of “selfish man”. A lot of them are just children that don’t like to share. It may not be a toy that they play with all the time, or even one they seem to show that  much interest in. But they didn’t want anyone else to play with it either. I was once seeing a guy that turned out to have a girlfriend, and even he would ask me who else I was seeing. How laughable! Men really are not serious.

Anyway, there’s a particular gentleman that I’ve known for about a year and a half now. I met him at a rave that takes place every month in Scala, Kings Cross called Soca Frenzy. Romantic, right? Let’s call him Damien, even though that’s not his name. Anyway, it was pretty much just a casual thing for a long time. Well, it still is. I don’t even see him regularly really, but we talk all the time. There seemed to be a connection from the beginning, which gradually seemed to progress. I remember there was one night we spoke on the phone for hours, just about everything really. He’d told me more than once that he liked the fact that I was ambitious and focused on actually making something of myself, because he didn’t know many girls like that. He’d also told me that he didn’t want me seeing other guys, but you know, please see above. Damien had said quite a lot of sweet things really, and I usually take everything guys say with a pinch of salt, but he didn’t seem the type to just say things he didn’t mean. He was also a pretty blunt person, and has been unnecessarily tactless on more than one occasion. So it wouldn’t make any sense for him to bullshit on other occasions. I mean we were already, you know, doing what we were doing (come on, we’re adults here. You know exactly what we were doing). So what would be the point in lying?

So I was happy with our arrangement. I mean, could I allow myself to like him if I really wanted to? Sure I could. Were there ever times that I felt like just saying to him, “you know what, I do think about you quite a bit”? Of course there were. But there just didn’t seem to be any point. I mean, he knew I wasn’t looking for a relationship. He’d had plenty of opportunities to ask me on a real date, but he never did. I wasn’t about to put myself out there for somebody who didn’t even seem that interested. Then just over a month ago, Damien got upset because I had happened to go on a couple of dates with other guys over the last two weeks. I didn’t go out of my way to divulge this information, but he asked me where I was and I told him I was “at dinner” or “the cinema”. So when he asked me if it was a date, I said yes. I wasn’t the type to throw it in a guy’s face, (not unless I really intended on making him jealous) but I also never lied to anyone when they asked me a question. I am single. I am not doing anything wrong by going out on a few dates if I want to. However Damien did not take this well. He told me that maybe “our ship had sailed” and he’d leave me to see other guys, if that’s what I wanted to do. Overreacting much? And please bear in mind that this is a man who to this day has never asked me on a proper date. I mean, who are you? Do you really expect me to turn down other guys that actually wanted to take me out, just because you don’t want to? Don’t be ridiculous. In the words of Queen Bey, “you must not know ’bout me”.

So when Damien came out with this, I pretty much told him what I wrote above in a nutshell, but also added that if that’s how he felt, then I guess we should leave it there. I was certainly not about to fight for him and beg him to keep seeing me. He was acting like a child, and seeing as he had never really made a move, despite having numerous opportunities, he did not have a leg to stand on. I couldn’t lie and say that I wasn’t disappointed, but what could you do? These things happened. So you can imagine my surprise when less than a week later, this same man texted me and asked if I wanted to have lunch. WTF? He had texted me with an attempt to make small talk the day before, so I kind of saw some kind of move coming, but definitely not this. I expressed my confusion, reminding him that he was the one that had said our ship had sailed. So what was the U-turn about? He explained that he got upset because I seemed to be going out on a few dates and he didn’t want to share me with anyone. So essentially, he didn’t want anyone else to play with his toy so he threw them all out of the pram. What a baby. He also mentioned that he had slept with other girls but it wasn’t the same, they weren’t as good as me (obviously) and he would just think about me the whole time. He basically recited Chapter One from The Bullshit to Feed Girls playbook that most guys seemed to carry around. Man, if I were a boy, even just for a day…yes, I will be doing this the whole way through. If you’re not a Beyoncé fan (ew), you may as well stop reading now.

As I mentioned previously, Damien isn’t really the open and emotional type, so I knew that he wouldn’t be saying all these things to me if they weren’t true. I’m not sure if I buy the part about thinking about me when he was having sex with other girls. I mean, how overused was this cliche line? But overall, there definitely seemed to be some truth in what he was saying. There was just one thing though: he didn’t want a relationship either but he didn’t want me to see anyone else. Again WTF? You want to lock me down without progressing into anything serious, and for me to refuse to give the time of day to guys that might actually want to take me out? What sense does that make? We’d had this conversation so many times and I’d told him, if he wanted to go down the exclusive route, he would need to take me out to dinner, cinema, something, anywhere other than his bedroom basically. I wasn’t demanding it; after all, I don’t want to go out with anyone who doesn’t want to go out with me. But without making any effort, how could he possibly expect me to take him seriously? I know it may seem like it should be the perfect situation if we both don’t want a relationship. But I just figure, if we both like each other, why shouldn’t we see where it could go? Even if it is just casual for now. Like I said, I’m not opposed to going out on dates and if I met someone I liked, I wasn’t going to turn him away.

This was all about a month ago now. I’ve seen Damien once since then, and he’s confirmed these same things to my face. At least, I think so. I was kinda drunk at the time. But since then, he has gone so silent on me. It’s so unlike him. He would usually text me quite a lot, even way before all this. There was this huge silent period where we didn’t talk for a while last year. I think he pissed me off about something, but I don’t remember what. Then I decided to just message him and say Happy Birthday to him in December, and he told me he lost all his numbers ages ago and he’d been waiting for me to text ho,. Then after that it went back to normal. So it’s so weird that as soon as he opens up in a way it hasn’t before, he decides to just ghost on me. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve been talking. But I have been the one to text him first every time, something I am really not used to. I don’t like it either. Usually he’d text me first roughly 85% of the time. He doesn’t seem as bothered about meeting up as usual either. I don’t know if maybe it is just in my head though. I mentioned that he’d been a bit quieter than usual, and he said he’d just been busy. Maybe this was the truth. Like I said, this wasn’t like him. So perhaps he genuinely was busy. I guess we all are these days? But there is a part of me that is wondering why he even bothered saying anything at all? If he had just left it the way it was, I’d be fine right now. Not worried about anything else but doing me. I dunno, I guess I just feel that if he had no intentions of doing anything more than what we’re doing, then he should have just left it alone. I know that him telling me he likes me doesn’t necessarily mean he owes me anything. But I guess after he said it I was expecting a little bit more than…well, nothing. It’s time for him to get in formation. Because I slay. Okay I know that one didn’t even make much sense, but I just had to throw it in there!

To any ladies reading this, please feel free to advise me, but I think I’m just going to tell Damien all this the next time I see him. I’ve never seen the use in letting your mind go into overload with thoughts and not being honest with the person who it involves, and I certainly don’t plan on allowing him to waste my time. He’s still been pretty quiet, so it will probably be easier to talk about it in person. Although if I don’t get the answer I want, it may also be twice as embarrassing. But hey, these are the risks we must take sometimes. Or maybe one of you has a better idea? If so, please let me know. This is very new territory for me. I guess this is what happens when I insist on reading more and writing everyday. Apparently my mind wanders and starts considering things I didn’t even know were in my head in the first place. For now though, this rant is officially out of my system. Back to being a diva now. Oh, you don’t know what that is? A diva is a female version of a hustler 😉

My Complicated Relationship with Fashion Nova

I’m sure a lot of you are aware of the online clothing website based in California, U.S.A. called Fashion Nova. They are pretty well-known for distributing really cute and sexy clothes for women who want to look like they are dripping in finesse, but on a budget because they don’t make that celebrity money. I would most definitely fall into this category. I had been in love with them and their clothes for a couple of years now, however our relationship has been pretty rocky since Black Friday 2017, and I know for sure that I am not the only one who has been feeling this way since then.

I would just like to apologise in advance for my essay, but is imperative that anyone considering becoming a first time customer with Fashion Nova, or anyone that hasn’t shopped with them in a while, reads the information below:

Up until November last year, I had never had a really bad experience with Fashion Nova. I had purchased quite a few clothes that didn’t look how I pictured or didn’t fit properly, so I ended up having to send them back. But this was always the risk that you took with online shopping in general, not just Fashion Nova. However it was pretty annoying that it took a little while for the returns to be processed because they were so far away, and when this did eventually happen you would always get it back in store credit. Oh yes, Fashion Nova don’t issue you your money back for refunds and they do not do exchanges either. You just send the shit back, and they issue you with the amount in store credit which they call a “gift card”, so you’re free to purchase another item or the same item in a different size, whichever you prefer. Most customers absolutely hate this; to be honest, I’m not in love with this procedure either, especially when you are broke AF and that money back would be really great at that point. I mean, the one benefit of having to return an item of clothing you thought would suit you is that you get your money back to spend on something else. Nevertheless though, I absolutely love clothes. So as annoying as it is that the gift card is the most you will get, I would most likely end up spending that amount on clothes from Fashion Nova at some point anyway. When you apply it to your next order along with a discount code (which I always seem to have), you end up spending hardly anything compared to the full price. So your anger usually subsides as soon as you make your next purchase. The credit doesn’t ever expire either, so if you can’t find anything that you want to purchase then and there, you can always use it at a later date.

So I could put up with the gift cards and having to wait over a week for any order. I could put up with sending items back regularly, not to mention having to pay for shipping for smaller orders, because they do not provide a free shipping service like most online stores do nowadays. Not even to their local customers. I could even put up with getting that “Oops!” email that you get every once in a while when you place an order. This email will basically state that they have had to send you a gift card for the amount of one or more of the items you have purchased, which you usually receive a day or two after you have placed your order. This is due to the fact that at the time you have placed your order, a few other people around the world have been purchasing the same items, and the website hasn’t updated fast enough, meaning it has been unaware that said item(s) are out of stock when your order was placed. Or so they say. I personally call bullshit, because sometimes you’ll go on the website and look at the same item and it will still come up as “in stock”. I’ve even seen plenty of YouTube videos of women in the U.S. saying they’ve actually gone back and re-purchased the item right after they receive the email, and it gets sent out to them! I honestly just think that whoever is running that warehouse doesn’t look for items properly, and just say to them “Hey, this one’s out of stock!” when they’ve literally only looked in one small area of the warehouse. Now, this last one pisses me off a lot. It’s only happened to me two or three times, and one of the times it was only a cheap little tank top, but that’s not the point. How inefficient is your website dude, like really!? Also, how can you not be issuing me with a refund in actual money, even when it’s your fault! But I’m not even going to go there. I literally wasted about two months towards the end of last year being so mad at these people. So I’m gonna do like Elsa, and let it go.

Anyway, as annoying as all of the above was, I could just about deal with it. Despite the fact that I had ended up returning about 40% of the clothes I’d ordered from them so far, I kept shopping with them every once in a while because the remaining 60% of clothes that I had ended up with looked that good on me. Believe me, I would not have put up with all that for any other reason. But Black Friday 2017, they pushed me and countless others way too far!

I placed a pretty substantial order on Friday 24th November, and because I received the  confirmation from Fashion Nova instantly, I didn’t think anything of it. Of course I understand Black Friday is a lot more popular in America than it is here in the U.K., so I was expecting there to be a slight delay. I then got a confirmation to state that my order had been shipped on Tuesday 28th November, so once again, as there was nothing to indicate there was anything out of the ordinary, I didn’t think anything of it. Yes I did usually get the shipping confirmation within 24 hours of making the order, 48 hours at the very most. So, worst case scenario, there had been a delay of about two days. Oh I wish it were that simple! But anyway, again, I was completely understanding of the fact that this was an extremely busy period. After all, I worked in customer service. I get it. So the fact that it had been shipped four days later did not concern me. “I’ll probably receive it maybe a week from that date, a week and a half tops”, I thought to myself. Guess when I received it ladies and gents…Wednesday 20th December! Yes, just over three weeks after I’d received confirmation that the order had been shipped! Almost a month from the original purchase date! Oh, and this is just the tip of the iceberg!

So before I elaborate on the next portion of my saga, I should also mention that I had returned some items to Fashion Nova that I didn’t want about a month prior to my Black Friday purchase and still had not received my “gift card”. I thought I would receive it in time for the Black Friday sale so that I could reap the benefits by spending next to nothing on my order. However I didn’t receive the gift card until Monday 27th November, aka Cyber Monday, just three days after I had made my purchase. They didn’t usually take this long to process returns to be fair, so this didn’t bother me too much. I was honestly just relieved that they had received the items, because I’d emailed their Customer Support and they said that they didn’t have them yet, so I had been starting to get worried.

I didn’t get shopping with my gift card right away, because I’d just ordered a shitload of stuff a few days before and I guess I didn’t feel the need to jump on it straight away. I wasn’t necessarily planning on using it at a much later period, but I definitely intended to have a longer look at what I wanted/needed. It was a pretty good thing that I did this too, because it was a mere four days later, on Friday 1st December, when I received the two dreaded emails from Fashion Nova. I knew it was regarding the order I’d just made, because they always wrote the order number in the subject of their emails. I just remember feeling that deep, miserable weight drop in the pit of my stomach when I read the first couple of sentences in the first email: “Regrettably, one or more items from your order are no longer in stock. While we make every effort to ensure you receive your full order immediately, sometimes simultaneous orders of the same item may result in an item no longer being available prior to shipment. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience. We have issued you a store credit in the form of an online E-Gift Card…” They did also send me a discount code, which is always nice, but not as nice as the shit I had ordered. I purchased five items in total, and four of them were “no longer in stock”. This meant that out of the five items I had ordered (which were all coats, seeing as we were now in winter and I had zero), I would only be receiving one of them. The only positive thing about this is was that at least I was being sent the nicest one. A coat which I love, and is incredibly warm. In fact I wore it to work today. But that doesn’t make receiving about 10% of what you ordered any less dissatisfying. I bet you’re all thinking this was the end of my ordeal. Oh no, I assure you, it did not end there!

As I mentioned, I had received a gift card for some previous returns a few days prior to the gift card I had been issued for Fashion Nova’s system error. This meant that I now had $228.24 in total to spend on clothes. I was still pissed off about the whole situation, but I was certainly determined to make lemonade out of the incredibly sour lemons that Fashion Nova had handed me. With any luck, by the time I eventually got the clothes, I’d look just as fabulous as Beyonce (get it?!). I went to view the coats that they insisted were out of stock, and they were still available to purchase on the website! This didn’t make any sense. If the company had gone out of their way to send the email that had come my way, surely they would make it a priority to make sure the website had been updated accordingly. It just felt suspicious to me, so I took a risk and ordered nearly all the coats I had attempted to purchase previously, along with a few new additions. I only ended up putting $23 of my own money towards the order, which managed to be quite a bit more substantial than the original one. Yay for discount codes combined with gift cards, right? Sure enough, the second order went through, although it seemed that it was not actually sent off until Wednesday 20th December. To be fair, at least this time there was an additional message at the end of the order confirmation email which stated: “Due to overwhelming demand this holiday season, you may experience extended processing timed up to 7 business days”. However it said seven days. Not seventeen days. SEVEN. But whatever.

To sum up, I placed my original order on Friday 24th November and did not receive it until Wednesday 20th December, almost a month later. I placed the second order just over a week afterwards, on Sunday 3rd December, which I did not receive until Tuesday 9th January! Yes, I celebrated the New Year before I was able to celebrate finally receiving my order. This one took just over FIVE WEEKS to get to me. Now I’m a flexible woman. This is why the reason for my complicated relationship with Fashion Nova is actually not the extreme delays. I understand that it was Black Friday and then the Christmas period shortly afterwards, both incredibly busy periods which guarantee a massive increase of bookings so therefore delays are inevitable. I understand this completely. Although Christmas does occur every year; it isn’t like it took us all by surprise, so I would have expected them to be a little bit more prepared than they actually were. But still, I get it. The delays, and everything else I mentioned above, was not my issue with them. My issue with Fashion Nova was that I reached out to them several times within that entire period. I literally emailed them every day after a while. I outlined my frustration several times AND tweeted and DM’d them every day as well. I didn’t bother trying to get through to them on Instagram as I’d seen so many complaints about people doing this, and they would actually delete their comments, and then block them! So I did all this, and can you believe I only received an email response TWICE. In a period of over two months, only two people deemed it necessary to respond to my complaints! Not only that (and this is really what made me angry), the two emails that I received were from two separate coordinators, but the content was identical. This meant that they both sent the exact same template to me, without even bothering to change any details at all to attempt to make it even a little genuine! They probably didn’t even read the email! I understand that there’s not much there can be done about delays, and that the courier company is often also a contributor of these situations, but there is absolutely no excuse for the appalling customer service I’ve received. Fashion Nova are literally the kind of company that think they can just throw a few discount codes at you, and that will solve everything, no genuine apology or any effort necessary. I have worked in customer service for years and anybody reasonable will usually be pretty calm when explaining their concerns, as long as they feel as if the person they are speaking to actually give a shit. It’s pretty clear that Fashion Nova don’t really care, because either way they still make a lot of money with celebrities like Kylie Jenner and Cardi B promoting their brand.

After this, I spent about two months insisting that this would be the last time I shop with Fashion Nova. Then I thought I may as well use the discount codes they had given me as compensation to order a last huge haul, otherwise I wouldn’t even be getting anything out of all the time I had wasted trying to get through to them daily for almost over two months. Then I saw a couple of little things (totally accidentally, cos I kept forgetting to unsubscribe to the emails they sent me) that I just had to have. So I used the codes that gave me to get free shipping, and bought a couple more items once or twice, not even needing to spend up to $150 to get it like usual. At this point, Fashion Nova was literally that ex boyfriend that I just couldn’t help but go back to, even though I was only being treated well in this relationship about 70% of the time. I couldn’t help it, the clothes were just so tempting. I’m serious, some of them were so cute. But then I realised that there were certain clothes that would always be a risk to purchase, because they only seemed to work for me about 50% of the time, like their jackets and coats for example. Whereas when it came to certain items like bodysuits, crop tops, jumpsuits and trousers, I never ended up sending them back. I just always seemed to get the right size and style that would suit me, and these are the items that made me look good. These were the ups in the relationship, and the blouses, coats and sometimes dresses were the downs. The times that Fashion Nova just wasn’t good to me. But once I saw myself in a sexy jumpsuit or a flawless bodysuit, all I could think about were the highs. The times I’d wear them on a date and the guy couldn’t take his eyes off me. The times I’d wear one of the items to work and everyone would be asking me where I got it from. It was so easy to forget how terrible the quality of a coat was, or how it just didn’t look the same as it did online, whenever I thought about these occasions.

So, in conclusion, after a tough period of wrestling with my emotions, Fashion Nova and I are back together. I guess everyone deserves a second chance, right? They haven’t quite won my trust back yet, but the delivery periods have gradually become shorter and shorter over the quiet period, and are pretty much back to normal now. So you could certainly say that we are rebuilding our relationship. I’ve basically decided to just purchase the items that have nearly always worked out for me, i.e. bodysuits, crop tops, trousers, jumpers/cardigans, maxi dresses (come summer time) and accessories. The heels aren’t of the best quality, so I won’t be bothering with them, and I currently have enough jackets from them to last me a lifetime. They were always too much of a gamble anyway. Of course, there will be periods where I won’t be ordering from them because I simply can’t trust them, i.e. Christmas and Black Friday! My advice to you all is that if any of you do proceed to shop with Fashion Nova for the first time, do so with caution, particularly if you are in an international customer. Be prepared to wait twice the time you ordinarily would for a delivery, size up when it comes to short dresses or anything designed to be on the tight side, and look at your basket once or twice before pressing purchase. After my experiences with returns, I quite often take a look at certain items twice or even several times, look back at the price, picture what it will probably look like on me and decide that it isn’t worth it.

Make sure that you are actually benefiting from your shopping experience; I decided it was worth it to give them another go because nearly all of the really cute clothes I purchased last year came from them. When it comes to occasions like birthdays or date night, they have remained my first choice. Although, I would also say that another warning to bear in mind is that the quality of some of the jackets aren’t the best. I purchased two jackets in two different colours, both in Medium, and one of them is too small. Yes, just one of them. I exchanged a different one for a Large instead of a Medium, and I swear it felt like the exact same size. No difference whatsoever. Finally, I also have a jacket from them where the sleeves were cut very messily; the thread is still unravelling on one of them, and it’s a slightly shorter length than the other. Particularly shoddy, and honestly not something I noticed until I wore it for the first time. However, I did keep these jackets because they were all $40 each, and with the money involved and sending it off and the time, it just would not be worth it. They did all say “Made in China” on the labels as well, so I could hardly be surprised. So yes, these are all things to consider if you are about to try them for the first time, but I definitely say go for it if you’re feeling their clothes. I’d be a hypocrite to advise against them at this point, because despite everything they’ve put me through, they can definitely expect another purchase from me once summer approaches. I guess it’s true what they say: treat em’ mean, keep em’ keen!

My Speed Dating Experience

Yeah that’s right, Speed Dating. I believe I previously mentioned this new website/app that I use called Meetup as a way of meeting new people and trying new things. So when I saw Speed Dating pop up as one of the upcoming events for one of the groups I am a part of, I decided to go for it. I was a little bit hesitant at first, as I’d never tried speed dating before. Not to mention it was £15, which seemed like quite a lot to spend considering there was no guarantee I would actually meet a guy that I was interested in. Plus I’m not really looking for anything serious right now anyway, so was there really any point? But then I thought to myself, “Isn’t this the whole point of being signed up to this website in the first place, and writing this very blog? To come out of my shell and do things I might not usually do? I may not be looking for a boyfriend, but it could still be fun.”  So I decided to go for it, and quickly bought my ticket before I changed my mind.

The event took place in a bar in Clapham that I’d never heard of before called Leilani Restaurant & Ashanti Lounge. I was sort of wishing that it wasn’t literally the day before payday, because the place had a menu of really yummy cocktails, and judging by the delicious aroma that was filling the room, it seemed like the food there was really good too. The card machine wasn’t working, which was probably a good thing. This ensured that I could monitor the money I was spending throughout the night, so I wouldn’t go too crazy and then almost cry at the sight of my bank balance by the time I got home. After withdrawing £20 from the nearest cashpoint, I headed to the bar for Cocktail No. 1. Chloe, who is the host of the Meetup Group, was there but only to help out and for moral support, as she already had a boyfriend. She pointed me in the direction of three other girls from the group who were already seated and sipping their drinks. I hadn’t met any of them before, but we all hit it off pretty easily. At this point, there were literally no boys at the event yet, so we sat waiting in anticipation at first. Then when it became clear that they wouldn’t be arriving any time soon, we started getting to know each other better, discussing celebrity gossip etc. We were all talking for over an hour before the boys decided to show their faces. And they say women are the ones who are late all the time; this rule clearly did not apply tonight.

Anyway, the lovely host of the event (I have unfortunately forgotten her name) made the boys all wait outside whilst we were all ushered onto separate tables. I took a quick scan at the men and was pleasantly surprised. There were a few good looking ones so we were off to a good start so far. All black guys obviously, as it had been advertised as “an event aimed specifically at people of colour, aged between 23 and 35”. This meant that they should all have jobs, also a good sign. Once everyone was inside, we were all given a sheet of paper with different boxes to fill out for each candidate. Yes, I am referring to them as candidates, because at this point that was what they were. In each box you were given an option to score the candidate points out of 10, put down whether you thought of them as a friend or as more than that, whether you’d want to see them again and if you would want a potential relationship with them, from what I remember anyway. Now, I wasn’t sure about a couple of these options. I mean, how was I supposed to know if I’d want a relationship with a guy after talking to him for only four minutes? I couldn’t honestly say that about any of them, especially when it comes to men. From my experience, you can no a guy for a long time but it only takes a few seconds for them to fuck it up by being a dickhead, then you realise that you need to cut them off. I’ve met a lot of dickheads in the past, and for me personally, cutting them off just gets easier and easier. Like K Camp says, “it ain’t nothing to cut that bitch off”. If this quote means nothing to you, look the song up on YouTube, but just be prepared to be singing the song non-stop for a while.

The first thing I noticed were that the first few guys I met (the first seven or eight, to be more precise) were Nigerian. I mean, I am Nigerian as well, so of course there is absolutely no disrespect intended, but what was the deal? From what I remembered, surely people of colour didn’t just mean Nigerians? I mean, I’m not even talking just African niggas, specifically Nigerians! I found that very interesting, but also could not help myself thinking “I hope one of my cousins doesn’t roll through next”. You never know. I met a few cool guys though; the second man I spoke to was 48 years old! Clearly he had broken the rules, because as I mentioned previously, this event was aimed at ages 23 to 35. This man was literally only a few years younger than my dad, and even more fresh! No thank you: next please. One of the guys was also very drunk, not a delight to speak to at all, and for some weird reason, he was only speaking to me in Yoruba. This is the language of which my people, from my particular tribe in Nigeria, speak. I was pretty sure he could also speak English, and he wasn’t that much older than me, so this was very strange. Forget my cousin, one of my uncles might roll through next. I mean, anything was possible at this point! He then confirmed that I was wasting my time by expressing that he was more interested in my friend, referring to one of the girls from the group I had been speaking to earlier. I waved him off in relief, whilst thinking “LOL good luck with that”, and silently feeling sorry for her. What had she done to deserve this?

There is no point in telling you about every each and every single candidate in detail because firstly, I do not remember most of them. Secondly, there were only two that I actually had any intention of seeing again. For the sake of their privacy, I won’t reveal any names, but they were the only two guys I clicked with, who were both in their thirties. This wasn’t too surprising though. Guys that I actually liked were usually quite a bit older than me, but unfortunately this did not make them immune to the Dickhead Syndrome that had become so widely spread.
One of the gentlemen was a yardie from St. Elizabeth, Jamaica; one of the first Caribbean guys I’d spoken to that evening. He was really cool actually; one thing I liked about him was that he just had such a positive energy. I really liked that in both men and women in general, so this was definitely alright with me. We could all use a little bit of positivity in our lives. Not to mention that he also gave me a lift home. I know, I know, technically not a great idea considering I’d just met him. But it was really late by then, and I lived all the way in Stanmore (very far from South London) and I had to be at work for 8am the next day. My tipsy self could literally not imagine anything worse than that long ass train journey home at that moment. I did also take precautions and called my best friend to let her know what I was doing. I even took a picture of his license plate with him standing next to the car. I mean, I had to let him know that if he tried anything, the police would be on his ass within hours.

The other guy I’d met was Nigerian, and again, his name will not be revealed for the sake of his privacy. He was cool though; early 30’s, good looking, he had a good job, he drove a really nice car (this wasn’t something that I found out until later, but still) and we definitely had a real vibe when we met. Not just sexually, but a real spark, you know. I kind of broke the rules by giving him my number when he asked for it, because we weren’t supposed to do that. The way it worked was that the host would contact us all within a couple of days to reveal our matches. Although, I’m pretty sure this wasn’t done properly because I only got one, and this is NOT my ego talking, but I know I got more than that in actuality. This same guy told me that he put me down as a match himself, but I was never sent his number. So I guess it’s a good thing we broke the rules.

Anyway, speed dating turned out to be a lot of fun. I would definitely recommend it to someone that hasn’t tried it before, and I will most likely do it again in the future. I would just advise women not to expect too much from it, because you do have to weed out the candidates that are clearly not serious. Like I said, I wasn’t personally looking for anything serious, but I know that most women are hoping to meet a good man as a result. I’m not saying this can’t happen; at the end of the day, you can meet a good man anywhere really. But based on my first experience, I would definitely suggest keeping an open mind for your first time. I liked both guys at the start, but one of them has already pissed me off, and despite the fact we have met a few times, I think it’s safe to say that we are not compatible. But to all the single ladies out there that haven’t tried speed dating before, go for it. What do you have to lose? Enjoy!

Watching F.R.I.E.N.D.S. in 2018

I’m sure it’s not news to most that on New Year’s Day Friends was finally added to Netflix UK. It was my friend that first told me that it would be released, and as I was at her house at the time we looked on Netflix the next day, and there it was. We both absolutely love Friends, so this was very good news to us. I already knew that as soon as I got home, I’d be watching all ten seasons from the beginning for what was probably be the hundredth time, just to celebrate. I usually prefer to watch my box set, because I really do hate the fact that most episodes that are shown are edited. However, I don’t think I need to tell anyone that is as a big of a fan of the show how much of a big deal Friends on Netflix is. So I gladly went home after New Year’s, turned on my Apple TV and opened it up. I selected The Pilot episode and have been binge-watching every single one ever since then.

As I mentioned before, I have watched every single episode of Friends numerous times, but that did not make watching it again any less hilarious. I laughed at some of the scenes just as hard as I did the first time I saw them. So you can imagine my surprise when I went on Twitter not long ago, and came across an article about certain people that had either been watching Friends for the first time this year, or for the first time in a long time. It seems that some of these people have labelled Friends as incredibly “homophobic”, “sexist” and even “racist”. These same people have used certain scenes as a reference to back up their point, and I completely intend to address each and every one. But before I do, I would just like to say that I completely appreciate that we are all entitled to our own opinion, but I personally think that anyone that is left with this impression after watching Friends is absolutely ridiculous and clearly doesn’t like to laugh too much. Like I said, we are all entitled to our own opinion and that is mine. You are all ridiculous and perhaps comedies are not for you.

Before I make it clear why everyone who thinks this way is ridiculous, I also want to express my genuine surprise that there are some people who have made it up until 2018 and have not seen Friends properly until now. I mean…what? How? Where have you been the last 24 years? Just saying. And now, I will begin to address each and every single part of what these idiots seemed to be most offended about, and explain just how idiotic it is.

  1. Chandler’s homophobic jokes:

Firstly, Chandler was never actually making any jokes or comments that I deemed as offensive towards anyone in the gay community. His father left his mother when he was very young, and made the decision to become a woman. By this time, he is now a star of drag show in Vegas in his all-male burlesque, which is named “Viva Las Gaygas” as we find out in Season 4. Chandler also recounts several tales where he has at one point walked in on his father being intimate with different men. Now please sit there and tell me that this would not have any effect on you whatsoever, and that you would not find the idea that your father is now a woman just a little bit odd. Please do not misunderstand me; I am not saying that Chandler or his father had anything to be ashamed of, because he didn’t. If becoming a woman is something he felt like he needed to do, then of course he should have done it. But I am saying that if my father became a woman, it would feel strange at first and would take some getting used to. I mean, the Kardashians went through this exact same transition with Caitlyn/Bruce Jenner, and I bet you any money if you were to ask one of them about it that they would tell you it was pretty strange at first.
Secondly, from what I gathered from his jokes, Chandler was not ashamed of his father being a woman. It just seems that he was more embarrassed at how extravagant a woman he was when he was a child, which is fair enough. I would be embarrassed about my mum doing a couple of the things he mentioned when I was in school, so why wouldn’t he feel that way about his father? In the episode “The One With Chandler’s Dad”, Chandler tells stories of his dad going to all of his school games dressed as a different Hollywood starlet. He touches on one in particular tale where his father is dressed as Carmen Miranda, wearing a headdress with real fruit, which he later proceeds to hand out to his friends “as a healthy snack”. I mean come on, is this behaviour not extra for anybody? Chandler also mentioned that he slept with Mr. Garibaldi, who we can assume was a teacher in his school. Come on, really? Whether it is my father or my mother sleeping with my teacher, I would definitely be embarrassed and I’m sorry, but whoever says this wouldn’t affect them is lying.
Finally, Chandler’s humour is a reaction to his childhood, as he even admits that after his parents split up he would use humour as a defence mechanism. But I also view it as a bit of a contradiction to his personality, because Chandler is definitely not what you would call the “macho man” stereotype, which I think is the whole point of the joke. If Joey employed this kind of humour, then I could understand people taking it as offensive, because along with his long line of women he uses for his sexual needs, it can easily be interpreted that way. But maybe this is exactly why the writers chose to have Chandler possess this character trait…because when you understand the character, it is funny.

2. The Monica Fat Jokes

I literally do not have much to even say about this super-sensitivity. Yes, Monica was fat and yes her friends made fun of her for it. They were best friends, of course they took the piss out of her. That’s what friends do, and fat jokes are usually funny, so seeing as Friends was a comedy about best friends it would be pretty stupid not to include these. Monica’s obesity probably didn’t cause her any less pain than Ross’s failed marriages caused him. Were they all being insensitive whenever they took the piss out of him? No, because that’s what friends do. They tell cruel jokes sometimes, but it doesn’t matter because you know that beneath the ridicule there is real love underneath.

3. Ross – Not Wanting To Hire a Male Nanny/Ben to Play with a Doll

Once again, anyone that has a smidgen of a sense of humour and has watched both episodes entirely, should be able to tell that this is obviously a joke that isn’t meant to be taken seriously. In “The One With The Male Nanny”, Ross and Rachel hire a male nanny who is quite sensitive. Rachel absolutely loves him but Ross clearly does not like the idea, and feels very uncomfortable with having a sensitive man around. Anyone that is a fan of Friends and knows Ross well probably even laughed at that sentence alone. The premise is not meant to be taken seriously; it’s almost making fun of people who think in this way. Ross ends up speaking to the nanny and firing him, but then when Sandy (the nanny) asks Ross why he feels uncomfortable, Ross starts talking about his childhood and bursts into tears. This shows that the whole idea of Ross feeling this way was never meant to be taken seriously. It’s the exact same with the episode where Ross doesn’t like his son Ben playing with his Barbie. At the end of this episode, Monica reveals that Ross used to pretend to be a woman by dressing up in their mother’s clothes and hosting make-believe tea parties. How can you possibly see how these episodes conclude and think that Ross is homophobic, rather than just plain ridiculous!?

4. Rachel Hiring Tag Because He’s Attractive

Apparently nowadays this would be considered sexual harassment? A huge and inaccurate exaggeration in my opinion. Rachel is known for making a lot of silly mistakes throughout the show. Yes, hiring Tag was certainly one of them – I mean, why hire the guy you want to sleep but would get in trouble for doing so? I would personally have hired the more qualified assistant, and asked him to give me a call if he wants. But then again, I suppose he wouldn’t be so inclined to do so if you didn’t offer him the job. But I digress. As I said, Rachel hiring Tag was certainly foolish. But sexual harassment is defined as “unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favours, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature in the workplace”. I do not believe Rachel ever behaved in this way. Her and Tag did end up in a relationship, but it was consensual and he made the first move. So yeah, still not harassment.

5. Lack of diversity for having only two characters on the show who weren’t white

I only have three points for this: firstly, the same can be said for a lot of shows, and not just during the 90’s, so why this only occurred to people now, and why Friends in particular was singled out, is beyond me. Secondly, there were three: Julie, who was Chinese and played by Lauren Tom, Charlie, who was African-American and played by Aisha Tyler, and Kristen, who was also African-American and played by Gabrielle Union. Finally, a lot of the recurring characters that starred in the show were quite well-known at the time. During that decade, there were a lot more white actors that were popular and frequently starred in television sitcoms. It’s not something I’m happy to state, but it’s the sad truth unfortunately. However saying that the writers of Friends are to blame for this, and actually going as far to accuse them of being racist, is completely ridiculous.

6. Monica & Richard’s Relationship

I have saved the best and most ridiculous one for last on this occasion. Apparently a lot of people (stupid people) seem to think that Monica dating a man who is her father’s age is “insensitive” in the light of the Harvey Weinstein #MeToo scandal. Okay, I have soooo many things to say, and sooooo many insults for these imbeciles, but I will simply just mention these two points. Firstly, this show was written in the early 90’s, whereas the Harvey Weinstein scandal only came to light very recently, so anyone who even opened their mouth to compare the two should feel nothing short of embarrassed. Secondly, Monica was an adult in her mid-20’s and chose to have a relationship with her father’s best friend, who yes, was a lot older than her. But they were both adults and it was completely consensual – so please, PLEASE can somebody tell me exactly how this is the same as a man using his position and his power to sexually abuse women? I’m being serious; I’m waiting for an explanation. Please can someone explain to me how these two things are the same?

It seems that every year people get more and more sensitive and I am pretty sure that eventually you won’t be able to say anything without offending someone. As my friend said when I discussed the article with her, “soon, even saying bless you when someone sneezes is going to be offensive”. But to be honest, I really don’t care. As glad as I am that society is evolving so much and becoming much more aware of these issues, I refuse to take it so seriously that I do not allow myself to enjoy things that I once found funny. So, in essence, Friends is the best, it is still hilarious and anyone who shares any of the opinions mentioned above is stupid. Some might say that is harsh, but that is just my opinion. That’s it from me.

Hello 2018: The Year of Hannah OJ

Happy New Year! I do realize that we are almost three weeks into the New Year; I had of course initially planned to release my first post of the year on New Year’s Day, or at least on the 2nd January. But of course, I didn’t get round to it until now. Anyway, I figure I can still say Happy New Year whilst we’re in January.

I know that most people harbour the delusion that as soon as a New Year begins they will suddenly transform into completely different human beings. You know, a thinner, more accomplished version of themselves that reads more books, works out four times a week and all sorts of bullshit that people say they will do but never end up actually doing. Now don’t get me wrong, I am all for setting goals for yourself and striving to be a better person. However this is something you should be doing at all times, not just because you’ve set yourself a New Year’s resolution which you are bound to forget about anyway. So this year, I’ve said to myself that instead of following suit I will:

1. Continue to strive to achieve my goals and be the best version of myself I can be

2. Leave certain things that only bring negativity into my life in 2017

Whilst Number 1 is the most important to me, Number 2 is pretty much the reason why I’m writing this particular post. 2017 was probably the year that taught me the most about life; it is the year that I really got to understand how important it is not to waste time focusing on things that do not benefit you. I am not just referring to my tendency to overthink and over-analyse, which I am happy to confirm that I’ve actually gotten much better with. This also refers to so-called “friends”, who like to say all the right things and act like they are there for you, when in reality they are not. The word “friend” is a word that certain people like to use, however actually being a friend is something else entirely. You remember that saying, “Good friends are hard to come by”? Well whoever came up with that was not lying. I’m not talking acquaintances, or people you are friendly with or the girls you work with. You see, last year was the year that I truly learnt the difference. Some people may talk to you like a real friend, and you’ll even talk about personal stuff and make plans to go out etc. But ask yourself this: how often do you find yourself always being the person to call/text that person? If you just stopped one day, do you think they would go out of their way to contact you, or even notice that they haven’t spoken to you? I know it might sound a little petty coming from an adult, and of course with a real friend this wouldn’t even occur to you because you know that he/she would reciprocate. But this isn’t a case of thinking “Ahh fuck that bitch, I texted her first last time so I’m not going to talk to her until she talks to me.” No, that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about a one sided friendship where it is always you that makes the effort, whether it be just dropping them a text or inviting them out. Don’t get me wrong, I completely understand that we are all busy these days. But it shouldn’t feel like one person should be holding up a friendship; it should always be a two way street.

I know a lot of you do not know me personally, but I am a very good friend. Much too good of a friend to deserve to be treated like that by anyone. So after a little while, I stopped making an effort to contact certain people that didn’t seem to give a fuck about me in the first place. One particular friend that I’ve known about two and a half years now is probably the worst out of all the “friends” I’m describing. S he will occasionally call my phone, but only when she wants to complain about a man. But I promise you, if you call that girl’s phone at any point, she does not answer it and you can forget about her calling you back or sending a message. That in itself was annoying enough, but it was her plain rudeness when it came to making plans that made me feel like I was done with this “friendship”. We would plan to do something, whether it would be to go out or just go over to her house for a sleepover. I always texted her the night before to confirm, mostly because I knew what she was like but also because plans could change. I completely understand that sometimes things come up, or all of a sudden your financial situation isn’t what you thought it would be. Believe me, I wrote that book so I would completely get it. Of course if that is the case, I shouldn’t have to chase you to find out, but like I said, I knew what she was like. But instead of letting me know what the deal is, she just wouldn’t answer her phone or text me back. I’d call or send a text the next day, and it would be the same. Nada. Then eventually, usually the next day or the day after that, she would decide to remember my existence and call me saying, “Babe, I’m so sorry about that it’s just (insert bullshit excuse here)”. Then I’d just say cool, or moan a little bit first depending on if I could be bothered, and then we’d make plans to meet up another day instead. But then the cycle would literally continue from there. I haven’t even seen this girl in a year now, because this is how ridiculous this routine has been. She’d call my phone once in a while, but like I said that was usually just to moan about a guy, not that she’d ever listen to my advice anyway. Eventually I took a step back to evaluate our “friendship” and wondered why I had even allowed myself to let it continue that long. I am no mug, and I certainly do not need friends that act like I’m just an afterthought who they can’t ever possibly fit into their busy schedule. I was actually supposed to go on holiday with this same girl, but I was constantly chasing her and asking her when she could book in holidays, or when we could both look at dates that suited us both. It got so infuriating that I just thought, “fuck this, I’ll go by myself”. Which worked out in the end anyway, because I loved every minute of that holiday. See blog post Majorca 2017 for further information. Anyway, I essentially let her know how I felt and she never even apologized. The fact that she couldn’t even be bothered to pretend to be sorry pretty much told me everything I needed to know, so I stopped bothering after that. She has texted me a couple of times since then asking to meet up, meaning she obviously STILL doesn’t get it. I explained it to her yet again, and I explained that I wasn’t interested in continuing the cycle so if she really wanted to see me she would have to come to me because I’d made enough effort with her to last me a lifetime. All she said was “okay”. Still no apology, and clearly no intention of ever actually making the effort. It’s sad how you can be such a good friend to some people, and they don’t even attempt to be half the friend you are in return.

But fake friends are exactly the kind of bullshit I’m leaving in 2017. I say only real friends in 2018. There’s a couple of girls at work who I found myself in a similar situation with: always going out of my way to make an effort, and being the only one. So I’ve stopped, and now I barely speak to them. And you know what, I don’t even care. I did at first, me being the sensitive girl I am. I even addressed one of them with how I felt, but it didn’t seem to make much of a difference. I think this was the moment I decided to say “fuck you all then”. Because I do have pride, and I’m not about to sit here and beg you to be a good friend to me. As I said before, I’m a good friend and deserve much better.

My circle is pretty small now, which is fine but it just means that whenever I want to do anything there might not be anyone that can actually come with me. Usually because of money, which is understandable. As a result, I found myself not going out, or not doing something just because I wouldn’t have anyone to accompany me. This is usually when I wanted to go out raving, which isn’t exactly something I’d do alone. However I have come across a website called Meetup which solves that problem. It’s basically a website with several different social groups, a lot of them filled with people like me who are looking to meet new people or make new friends. There’s even a few for singles as well and they come up with things like speed dating, and other ways that people can meet a man or woman in person, rather than off Tinder etc. (which is so dry now by the way). Meetup has been great so far, and I’ve only been on one outing just before Christmas, which was a lot of fun. I’ve got another one planned this weekend, and many more over the upcoming weeks so you can expect some detailed posts about that.

Finally, I would just like to clarify my earlier statement: no more fake friends in 2018. They will remain in 2017, among other things such as negative thinking, discontent, excuses, laziness and lack of perseverance. But most of all, I refuse to care so much about what people think. The idea of what people might think or say crops up in my mind before a decision I make way too often, and it stops now. At the end of the day, the only opinion that matters when it comes to any choices you make is your own. That is all I really have to say for now. To anyone that might feel similarly about anything I’ve mentioned above, I encourage you to make 2018 your year as well! Work hard, play hard, live and laugh in between, but most importantly: do so without giving a fuck what anyone else has to say about it. This is your life, and your year. Happy New Year!

Winter Wonderland 2017

Seasons Greetings Everybody! It’s a little weird that I actually opened with that as I’m not really a fan of this current season. I mean both Winter and Christmas by the way. I’m not really a Scrooge, but I think you just care less and less about Christmas the older you get. Well I do anyway. Christmas used to be my favourite time of year, but after a little while when you stop getting presents, and you stop seeing as much of some of your family and your parents stop forcing you to go to church, it’s like what even is Christmas anymore? It’s a day where you don’t go anywhere (unless it’s to a family member’s house) with a hell of a lot of food, and some great movies on TV. Come on, tell me I’m wrong. I know I was supposed to day “it’s the day we celebrate the birth of Christ”, but my description is essentially Christmas in a nutshell. So yeah, I’m not really a Christmas-ey person. I don’t think I really will be until I have my own children and then we can all get excited about Christmas. I’m serious, I don’t even send out the Christmas-y stuff they put in the email templates we send to customers at work.

Anyway, seeing as t’is the season and everything, I decided to take my friend’s son Reece to Winter Wonderland on Sunday 17th December. I promised him that I would take him last year but I didn’t have the money in the end. Really and truly I didn’t really have the money this year, but I promised him that we would go this time. Plus I wanted to see what it was all about myself. And so we went. If I had known what kind of prices were waiting for me there, I would have saved us both the trip and just taken him to the cinema. Which I was so tempted to do by the way, because it had been a busy week at work and the last thing I felt like doing when I woke up on a day off was taking a trip into Central London in the cold, wet weather. That’s right, wet. It rained that day, but yet we still went. Here’s a tip for you people: don’t. If you wake up on a day like that and had intended to go Winter Wonderland or somewhere similar, just don’t. Save your money and your time, because by the time you get there you are going to want to leave instantly. Which I did. I did not like a single minute of it, and if Reece wasn’t so unbelievably annoying almost the whole time, I would have felt bad about taking him to it and not having as much fun as I thought we would.

I was optimistic when we first arrived. It looked like there was a hell of a lot going on but the first thing I wanted to do was get some food as both of us had set out before eating anything. Well Reece had breakfast and I didn’t, but it was about 2 or 3pm by this time. So I made a beeline for the cash point at the very first opportunity. The first thing to piss me off was having to pay £2.95 for a transaction. I reluctantly paid it however, and withdrew my money whilst accepting that I only had myself to blame by not taking cash out before we got there. Of course there was going to be a charge for the cash point there. I wasn’t expecting it to be as high as almost £3 of course, but either way it would have been smarter to take it out before we arrived.

Reece and I walked around Winter Wonderland looking at all the different food outlets, as I was just trying to look out for somewhere that a) had a roof ideally so that we would have shelter from the rain as we ate and b) has something other than burgers, hot dogs and chips on offer. That second part wasn’t crucial, I guess I just didn’t have a major craving for a burger or a hot dog and wanted to see what other options we had before I decided on something. However clearly the rain put me off walking quite as far as I could have done to look at options, because I’m pretty sure we stumbled across one or two other outlets that had shelter or had other options on their menu later on in the day. It was also partly because Reece was getting slightly impatient after a while, which was fair enough. I mean, we’d been walking in the cold and rain for almost 15 minutes to get there, not to mention the few minutes we spent being herded like cattle in order to gain entry into Winter Wonderland. I think he was just over walking at this point and wanted to actually do something. So we eventually decided to go for burgers and chips, which brings me to the second thing that pissed me off. Actually the rain was also pissing me off at this point, so we’ll say the third thing. I ordered two bacon cheeseburgers, regular not double, and one portion of cheesy chips. The entire order came to £24. £24! I mean, I love a bacon cheeseburger as much as the next girl. But I could order two Large meals from McDonald’s, with an apple pie and a McFlurry each for less that! Don’t get me wrong, the quality of the food was better than McDonald’s. But I’m just saying, we could have had two meals with two extras each, and it still wouldn’t have added up to £24. Plus either they fleeced me or they charged me for two doubles, even though I was very clear about my order, because the burgers were £8.50 each and the cheesy chips were somewhere between £3 and £4. Now Maths was my shittest subject at school and I still can’t get by at work without a calculator, however I’m pretty sure they charged me at least £3 extra for the food. Usually I would be like “err hold up” (they don’t love you like I love you – sorry I couldn’t resist! Anyone that isn’t a fan of Beyonce, get off my blog/look it up), but I guess my head was spinning at the fact that I was handing over two £20 notes to pay for some food. Literally I was thinking, “am I paying this much for food right now and I’m not sat down at a restaurant?” Clearly I must have been delirious. The burgers were so filling, but I told Reece that he’d better finish this burger because not one bite of it was to be wasted. I came with the right child, he consumes food like a hoover. I was more worried about me finishing it after a point, but I forced myself because I knew that if I had to throw any of it away I would be thinking about it all the way back. Reece wasn’t a big fan of the cheesy chips, but I managed to finish those off as well as my burger eventually.

The fourth thing that pissed me off was the hot chocolate. We went to an outlet just opposite the burger place to get it; what with the cold and rain it was definitely going to be first on the list. Guess how much the hot chocolate was? £2.80 each. That’s right, each. And these weren’t hot chocolates in a Costa or Starbucks style to go cup by the way, not even a small version of them. It was literally a hot chocolate in those tiny, shitty plastic cups like you’d get in school. Literally one cup of those, about half the size of a mug of hot chocolate you’d pour yourself at home, with whipped cream. For £2.80. Each! And if this weren’t bad enough, I stupidly asked for marshmallows, assuming it must only be about 20 to 30p extra. Clearly after a few seconds I realised where I was, and I asked the guy how much it would cost. He said that it would be £1 extra per hot chocolate. I literally looked him right in the eye and held my gaze for a few seconds, waiting for him to say that he was obviously joking. But he didn’t. I couldn’t believe he could actually look me in the eye and say that with a straight face. £1 extra! For a tiny sprinkle of marshmallows!?  Of course I would usually just be like “Nah mate, fuck that. No thank you.” But the kid had his heart set on marshmallows as soon as I mentioned it, and this outing was supposed to be his treat, which had alright been slightly sullied by the weather. I could make do with just the whipped cream but I asked the man to just put the marshmallows on Reece’s hot chocolate, and tried not to think about the fact that I could have got marshmallows three times that size for £1 in the supermarket.

So after I’d been politely mugged, Reece and I proceeded to walk around the Wonderland so that we could see what was what. This is when Reece promptly became the fifth thing to piss me off. He’d had a little mini tantrum already by the cash point, insisting that he wanted to go home even though we had literally only just got there and almost crying, literally as a reaction to absolutely nothing. But I forgot about that pretty quickly, brushing it off as a possible reaction to the shitty weather. Hey I’m almost 24, and I felt like crying and insisting on going home at that point. But I forgot how annoying Reece could be sometimes (sometimes is such an understatement by the way, he’s annoying almost all the time but he’s just so cute that I feel like being nice right now). He wanted to do one of those games where you throw rings at these cones (at least, I think they were cones, I don’t really remember now) and if you hit the target you win a prize. They were good prizes too, and from the sound of it you got to pick which one you wanted from a certain row, depending on which target you hit. So it wasn’t even like you’re hit with a display of amazing prizes but people always seem to win the shittest ones somehow. I wasn’t saying that Reece couldn’t do this particular game. I was just telling him that we should probably walk around and see all the attractions and see what he wanted to do the most because after spending £30.60 on a couple of burgers and hot chocolate (Oh God, I just died inside typing that) the money I had to spend was limited, as there was no way in hell that I was going to spend another £3 taking out more cash either. Also, I was slightly thinking “come on dude, you’re six. Let’s be real, you’re probably not going to hit the target”. But who knows, he’s an energetic and determined little guy so it’s not like it wasn’t possible. However, as I said, I just wanted him to be sure of his options. Did Reece understand this though? Of course not, he cried and kept running off and refusing to hold my hand. Just in general being a little shit (I love him, but I’m sorry he was. His mother would agree with me). So I’d become so fed up of looking like a psycho chasing this little boy who refused to listen, and it got to the point where the empty threats were not even empty anymore. I was seconds away from dragging him to the exit and taking him home.

As much as Reece was irritating me though, I didn’t want have come all the way to Central London on a day off, spend over £30 food and then leave again. So I had one more plan of action: to call his mother. Maybe he would listen to her if he was refusing to listen to me. This was the first time I’d ever called his mum in despair whilst I was looking after him, which goes to show that he was being particularly stubborn, even for Reece. It seemed to work though; Reece had a little fake cry (you know that thing little kids do when they make the right facial expressions and sound effects to illustrate crying, but no actual tears come out) for a few seconds but then after that he seemed to perk up a little bit. We had a little walk around, and I got a few tokens so that he could do what he fancied. We walked past the place where you throw rings and win a prize like two or three times, but he didn’t mention anything. Just goes to show that children are fickle and hardly ever know what they really want. It seemed that by the time Reece had caught a glimpse of all the kiddie rides, this was all he was interested in now. The kiddie rides were reasonable enough, compared to what I’d seen so far anyway. It’s £1 per token, and they were all 2 tokens each. Not too bad, so Reece went on a few of these and had the time of his life. One of them looked kind of fun and a little bit more lively than I anticipated. I almost felt like spending the extra £2 to go on it with him. But I didn’t. I guess I didn’t want to that much.

By this point, it was pretty clear that Reece had had his fun but he was kind of over it now. I was over it as soon as we got there personally, so I didn’t want to leave before the little guy was ready to. I’d have pretty much departed whenever, but we were not there for me at the end of the day. Not to mention that I wanted to give his mother as long of a break as possible. So we walked around a little more and had a look at the more advanced rides for kids a little older than Reese, and the ridiculous ones for adults that clearly wanted to die. These rides soon became the sixth thing to piss me off. The amount of tokens they were demanding for each one was not even close to worth it. A couple of them were three tokens, which wasn’t too bad but Reece wasn’t particularly fussed about these ones. Then they got absolutely ridiculous the further we walked, most of them requiring 5 or 6 tokens per person. This was particularly annoying as I would have to accompany Reece on these rides, as they were a lot more intense than the ones he’d been on. I couldn’t exactly leave him on his own; from experience of taking him to the funfair not long ago, I knew he would just hate it and end up crying the whole time. Even the Bumper Cars was obviously not something a six year old could do by himself. I was starting to regret not arriving at 11am in the morning so that we could see The Sooty Christmas Show, which was my original plan, but I really didn’t want to wake up earlier than I had to on my day off. I didn’t have enough cash left for us to do these rides together, and even if I had: £10 or £12 per ride was more than a rip off. Reece definitely looked like he was just done at this point, and I couldn’t blame him. So I asked him if he just wanted to go and see Santa, and he heartily agreed.

Looking for Santa was the seventh and final thing to piss me off. It took FOREVER to find the right place: on the way I asked several people for directions, bought a bag of candy floss for Reece which cost £3.50 (yes the exact same bags you get in shopping centres or fairs in the summer that cost about £1. Do not even get me started, it was £5 for the tub of candy floss! £1.50 extra for alternative packaging! I can’t even count this purchase as another thing that pissed me off, because I was barely even surprised at this point) and I saw the alternative food outlets we could have eaten in which I mentioned earlier, one of them a sit-down restaurant with a roof that even looked warm inside. I’m guessing the prices in there were even worse than the other places, but to be fair it might have been worth it to be comfortable and somewhat drier. After what felt like a year, we finally arrived at the right place. But then the staff by the entrance burst my bubble pretty quickly by confirming that it would be a 30 to 40 minute wait in the queue. My heart sank. I’m pretty sure that is exactly how long it took us to find Santa in the first place. Despite that, I was still prepared to wait in the queue and pretend that my feet weren’t starting to freeze. I wanted Reece to at least have a picture with Santa and a little present to mark the occasion. But can you believe that were in the queue barely two minutes, when the little guy just looked at me and asked “can we just go home?” He had clearly been contemplating the 30-40 minute wait and decided “nah”. I asked him if he was sure, even though I was already mentally trying to remember where the exit we had passed earlier was. He did change his mind once or twice, but then eventually stuck to his guns and decided on going home. I think he was starting to remember how long the journey there was, including the walk to the station, and after weighing up the prospect of seeing Santa he’d decided he’d much rather his make his way back home where he knew a large plate of his Granddad’s delicious food was waiting for him. And to be honest, I can’t even say I blame him. So back home we went.

So in conclusion, Winter Wonderland sucks. It’s completely hyped up, it is daylight fricking robbery and if you aren’t a fan of the cold there will not be enough on offer to compensate your suffering. Trust me on that. Save yourself a trip and wait till it gets warmer so that you can go to a local funfair. That’s what I’m planning to do to make it up to Reece anyway. He may have been a little shit at certain points, but overall I had been hoping to be able to provide him with more which my pocket just unfortunately could not allow. I will be coming up with more fun and cost-effective ways to treat the little one very soon, especially seeing as his birthday is in a couple of weeks. Any tips or bright ideas would be very much appreciated, but for now I would just like to make it clear that I only plan on returning to Winter Wonderland if I know for a fact that I will be spending somebody else’s money. So with that, Merry be-lated Christmas, Happy New Year and stay away from Winter Wonderland. Do not believe the hype: it really sucks.