An Open Letter to E

A bit back, I met a blind 18-year-old blogger on Twitter. Her perseverance struck me when we began talking, because I find it difficult to blog at the best of times and I’m blessed with the gift of working sight!

Recently, we have grown increasingly closer, and I have grown increasingly in awe of her. I wanted to put pen to paper (alright, fingers to keyboard — smart arse!) to pen (haha, get it?) a few words about her, and pay tribute to her courage.

Though I shan’t name her, I’m not entirely sure that it’d be hard to find her if you were that way inclined. For the record, the name she uses to blog/on social media isn’t her real name, so stop trying to stalk her before you even try. Else, you’ll have me on your back…!

Dear E,

I don’t even know where to start with this, to be honest. I’m shit at writing letters, but you’re worth a bloody good shot. Okay, that sounds like a threat to shoot you. I wouldn’t do that. Promise.

To be honest, I’m not even sure what I want to say with this. I just want to make sure you know how much I admire you, and how in awe I am of your perseverance in the face of an obstacle I can’t even begin to understand.

It’s impossible to describe in the English language how wonderstruck I am by your ability to write so descriptively of the world, despite never having seen it with your own eyes. Descriptive writing is a talent incredibly hard to master, but you’re just about there.

To be honest, this feels special. It feels like we’ve known each other all of our lives, like I could trust you with my deepest and darkest secrets (I’ve not even got any, but we’ll ignore that in the name of cringe!), and like I could tell you absolutely anything without fear of being judged.

While you might never see the way my eyes light up when you text me, how my mind explodes when I read your work, or how I smile when I see your name mentioned, I promise you one thing: I will make sure that you always see and know how much you mean to me, for as long as I live.

C x

If you can handle cringe, you may as well subscribe for more — to the left on desktop, to the bottom on mobile! In the meantime, share this with friends, family and so on: they may be secret lovers of cringe. Oh, and I can take pretty photographs sometimes (ironic, considering this post is about a blind girl, but hey ho).

Till next time,
C x

Life, talent and everything in between: my interview with Honestly Lau

I had the great pleasure to speak to the wonderful beauty blogger Lau of HonestlyLau.com, and answer a few questions for her. In the interest of my sanity and yours, some grammar has been changed and connectives added.

Lau: Let’s just start off with a topic… life. Tell me about it.

Me: It’s like a box of chocolates… you never know what you’re going to get!

Lau: Very true — risk taking makes life a bit more adventurous.

Me: Spot on! Risks are great in proportion.

Lau: Personally, I never take risks. I’m very cautious and try to make my life as drama free as possible.

Me: Why? What scares you?

Lau: Something could very much go wrong and I can’t take that risk.

Me: But something could very much go right too?

Lau: True — at some point, risks need to be made. Maybe soon. Anyway, let’s talk about you: tell the readers a bit about yourself.

Me: Right, that’s a tough one. I’m 18, I founded my own business and have been teaching myself to program for almost 9 years, I teach coding voluntarily at a private all girls school in York, I used to lead a team of journalists around the world and I ran the first site for survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire reaching 200,000 people in 2 weeks. Now, how about you?

Lau: You’re very successful. Well, I’m 17, I started my blog in March and have been making frequent posts ever since. When I was younger, I was into dance and did quite a lot of dance actually. A few weeks ago, I won an award and that was cool. I don’t really have much else to say.

Me: As are you! Work hard, play harder. Well done on the award! So, what got you into dance?

Lau: Thank you! It just something I really liked when I was younger. I’ve always been very creative. What got you into coding?

Me: You seem it from your blog! I accidentally opened the source code of a web page one day, and got curious… learnt to code before it was cool for 9-year-olds to.

Lau: That’s really cool, I’ve never understood coding. But for a 9 year old to develop a passion for it, that’s amazing.

Me: It was such a nice feeling when I built my first webpage… bit bright though!

Lau: What colour did you go for?

Me: It was bright pink text on a bright blue background, combined with Comic Sans for the font. Awful!

Lau: You went bold then, any child would do colours… as an adult, you kind of tone it down.

Me: Indeed! My sense of design still isn’t that strong. How about yours?

Lau: I try to, I do like it but just not that great at it. I’m always trying

Me: Keep at it! What’s your biggest strength?

Lau: Probably kindness. I like to think of myself as kind. What about yours?

Me: You really are. I think mine has to be programming — I’m no expert, but I can sure as hell get by!

Lau: Definitely, and you’re awesome at it.

Thanks for the opportunity, Lau! Please head over to HonestlyLau.com and subscribe for her updates, as well as checking out all of her social media over there.Till next time,
C x

Isn’t It Funny

I penned this anonymously as a few words to my ex who left me for her ex (not the same ex as my School Leavers post) — who’s life I saved while he was suicidal — so early on in our relationship, yet so long into me desiring her in every way.

Isn’t it funny that I wanted you, right from the day that we met?

Isn’t it funny that I got you, that I made you MY baby girl?

Isn’t it funny that I needed you most, and you weren’t there?

Isn’t it funny that I messaged, you read and you ignored me?

Isn’t it funny that I didn’t mean as much to you as your ex?

Isn’t it funny that I saved his life for you while he called me ugly?

Isn’t it funny that I am now single, and you’re HIS baby girl.

Isn’t it funny?

Though it’s taken me a lot to share something so raw here, I figured I’d share it so people in my position know that they’re not alone. It will be okay, you will be okay.

If you ever want someone to listen, reach out to me, 3pm or 3am. Just want more relatable content? Subscribe on the left (or down below on mobile) to stay in the loop.

C x

Scarborough during the Beast from the East

Earlier this year, back on 18 March, I had to go to Bridlington for training to volunteer as a Tour Maker for the Tour de Yorkshire 2018 in Scarborough. It was an early morning on the train — a journey I’d completed hundreds of times before, as my ex-girlfriend lives in Bridlington — and one that brought back many memories.

When I got there, I walked into Bridlington Spa and it seemed oddly, I don’t know… eerily quiet, almost silent. I wandered to the reception desk, and asked where the Tour Maker training was. In what felt like what I can only describe as a verbal beheading, the lady behind the desk went “it’s been cancelled”.

Choppy seas under a cloudy blue sky on Bridlington promenade.
Choppy seas on Bridlington Promenade.

“Shit”, I thought, as I pondered over what I was going to do next. I wandered down to Bridlington Promenade — another place with memories that meant I may or may not have shed a tear or two — and took one very blurry photo amongst the 30mph gusts that were pushing me away, a stark contrast to my ex and I pulling one-another along the tiled ground as we ran it together in days gone by.

I figured it wouldn’t be wise of me to hang around an eerily quiet Bridlington all day, while all of the locals were tucked up nice and warm inside. Remembering that I had to change at Scarborough railway station, I figured I’d love myself by giving myself the time to explore Scarborough on my own terms and at my own pace, something I’d never done before.

A 37-minute train journey later, through the picturesque villages of Bempton and Humanby, and the small seaside town of Filey, I was in Scarborough. I’m not going to commentate my day in this post (I may at a later date, depending on what people want to see), but I’ll simply let the photographs I took do the talking. As they say, a photograph speaks a thousand words.

If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe to the left of the page (down below on mobile), hit me up on social media (in the same place), like this post and share it so other people feel the love, and leave me a comment with your thoughts, feedback or your own memories of the seaside. The seaside is good.

C x

School Leavers: Recipe Changes, Fire Alarms and Pointless Exams

Choppy seas on Scarborough's North Bay during the Beast from the East.
Choppy seas on the North Bay during the Beast from the East.

Once upon a time, it was a very warm day at school. The sun was as out as prominent LGBT figures, my tits were more roasting than the Sunday dinner chicken and the only thing helping to pass the time away was knowing I’d be back at Scarbados’ North Bay beach some day.

That very day in history, I had just sat in a GCSE English Literature exam. That was the very exam that I’d been told at the beginning of the year I wouldn’t be taught but got made to sit anyway. The only thing I wrote on that paper was my candidate number before I sat staring at the clock for an hour. Not much fun, it must be said.

The school is on fire!

As I began to leave the school site, I walked past an open door and saw a student’s arm jerk to the right, just out of view. All of a sudden, the fire alarm began sounding. “Oh my god”, I thought — disaster time. I asked the student “what the hell’s happening?”, to be met only with a sharp “f**k off” in response. “What a helpful answer”, I muttered under my breath, “so helpful”.

I waltzed back into the school (where’s my George Cross, Lizzy?), almost confident that the student who had set it off was just messing, but I’m not one for taking chances. I walked just through the isolated entry, and into the main corridor, where floods of staff had come out to query the sudden interruption that had been forced upon their lessons.

As I did, I noticed Jemima (not her real name, sorry to any Jemima’s out there!), one of the only teachers that I knew well. I began to beckon her over with my arm, but she quickly put me in my place: “it’s just a false alarm”. Well, Jem, I thought: you’ve been stood there all of 10 seconds, I don’t think you have a clue what’s what right now. Funnily enough, I’ve actually just watched it be done, so get your arse over here… please.

Of course, I didn’t say any of that — I just yelled back to her: “I know, I watched someone set it off”. At that point, Jemima ran faster than a child for the ice cream van, the child’s parents for their money back and the rest of the estate following. All of a sudden, she stopped and asked me to point her in the direction of the lad who’d done such a silly and inconsiderate thing. “Sure thing”, I said.

We wandered back out of the very entrance that I had very stupidly ran back into — they don’t say never to run into a burning building for no reason, I suppose — and caught the very boy walking out. I pointed him out and she shouted him back. Crikey, this was going to be eventful.

As he approached, he gave me a look dirtier than some of the videos one can find only on PornHub.com. Remember I said “this was going to be eventful”? No lie. He stared me in the face as he approached, and the wonder of how many punches the human head can take without dying may or may not have flown through my head.

He was finally there. A boy one can only describe as a “brick shit house” (an all-too British reference), and she asked me whether it was this boy who had set off the fire alarm. All of a sudden, I felt a lot more nervous dobbing him in: I got the impression he was going to break every bone in my body. “Bit late to back out now though”, I thought, and the word “yes” came out of my mouth at God speed.

Jemima told him to follow her, as she led the way and as he walked off, he muttered something about how he was going to kill me. The way he walked off as soon as instructed told me that he wasn’t going to do it, so I laughed under my breath. “Try me”, I thought — little did he know I would never again set foot on these premises.

The final walk home

I was free. It was the most liberating feeling in the world, knowing I had three months to do anything: travel, cook, program, discover myself. That was the best bit of being free of school — education wouldn’t have stopped, but the 6am starts would. No more having to justify why I’d totally forgotten to do my homework. Honestly, Miss, the dog ate it. Pinky promise!

As the trek home began, I got a phone call from a friend. The mundane stuff — “what are your plans for summer?”, “I miss you”, “we need to meet up”. Of course, in true teenage fashion, we constantly say we need to meet up and never do. As you can probably guess, my friend and I never met in the summer as we said we would. Perks of long-distance friendships (Internet friends, I love you.)

Wide variety of meal deal items in Morrisons.
Wide variety of meal deal items in Morrisons.

20 minutes into my journey, I come across the local Morrisons. This was  almost a sanctuary — the complete opposite to school, and a place of many a bargain of a meal deal on a day as hot as my girlfriend back in the day (though she has gone down in standards since dying her hair, I must say — sorry, DH). I wandered in, uncertain as to whether I fancied a triple sandwich (complete bargain, 3 halves of a sandwich for the price of two!) or pasta (less but more filling). A tough decision, amirite?

Recipe changes

I settled, after many minutes of deliberation tougher than that seen on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? (…that was a good show), on a sausage, bacon and egg triple sandwich, a chocolate brownie and an ice-cold bottle of orange Lucozade. I truly felt like life was complete — all my favourite foods, no school and a girlfriend I was well and truly head-over-heels for. What could ever be better? As I was about to find out, a hell of a lot, actually.

Continuing back home, I wandered through the sweltering heat, feeling like my skin was going to melt faster than that of the heroes who delayed the awful effects of the Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine in 1986. This heat was beyond my ability to stand, and I was getting really bloody sick of it. Luckily, at the very moment I thought of that, I wandered through my front door.

Being a typical hormonal teenager, I completely ignored the fact that my family were sat in the living room as I waltzed down the hallway and religiously marched up to my bedroom. It was my number one sanctuary, with Morrisons being a close second at that point in life (okay, maybe it still is… when I’m not broke!) and my Nan’s house being very close third. Maybe I should swap them around, or just not tell her I wrote this post…!

As I sat precariously on my bed, all too eager to tuck in to the two-course banquet that had just rid my wallet of three more pound coins, I opened the bottle of Lucozade, spraining my wrist in the process. Honestly, the cap seemed to be tighter than a nun’s snatch, but the smell was good (read as “non-fishy”). Yeah, about that… little did I know I was making the biggest mistake of my life.

A weak Alexander Litvinenko on his death bed at University College Hospital London in 2006
Litvinenko on his death bed

I began to take a sip, but it was akin to an dodgy organ transplant: my body rejected it instantly. My first thought was “oh shit, the Russians have done a Litvinenko on me”, thinking back to the case of Alexander Litvinenko who was murdered in London in 2006 with radioactive Polonium-210 in his tea, allegedly by the Russians. “I might want to die,” I thought, “but not this way!” Who knew one could be so fussy over death?

It tasted… I don’t know, different. Vile. It tasted like I’d taken my own urine, mixed it with a drunken man’s vomit, and purified it into a liquid. Whether that’s possible, of course, is entirely another question, but it bloody well tasted like it. Of course, I’m also unsure on what said combination would taste like, but I have a rather vivid imagination. You’re just going to have to trust me on that one, but my description above is probably testament to it — thank my school’s English teacher for that.

Curious as to what the absolute f**k had happened, I decided to Google it. Social media users were going mad: the word “Lucozade” was trending on Twitter, and I debated calling the Cabinet Office to ask them to let Theresa May know there was a national emergency coming together. Of course, my common sense prevailed, however depleted it was by this weird fluid that I had just inserted into the oral orifice known only as “my mouth”.

Apparently, Lucozade decided it’d be a good idea to change the recipe of their world-famous oral solution (get those innuendos out of your head or head off to Bangkok… anyone’s but mine!), and had royally f**k*d up my day. That was severely disappointing that day, and continues to give me night terrors to this day.

You’ve reached the end of this blog post, and just read almost 1,600 words about how I’m pissed off at Suntory for ruining my life. Thanks, Suntory — no wonder the word “Tory” is in your name, and you ruin lives. It’s all starting to make sense now!

If you enjoyed it, please do subscribe at the left-hand side of the page (or the bottom on mobile), share it amongst your friends and family (if you can find your Dad, of course), and chuck me a like and a comment. I’ll try not to disappoint you, because I’m too busy disappointing my own Dad. Just kidding, our Kevin loves me really.

C x

Entrepreneur, former journalist and volunteer