Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Stop my brain, I want to get off; RIP Robin Williams. You will be missed.

Today our internet is filled with the very sad news about an awesomely talented man. Robin Williams left us yesterday for good and it has well and truly knocked me for six.

I am of a generation who grew up on this man. Mrs Doubtfire, Jumanji, Hook and Aladdin were regularly played on loop in our house and Marmie decided he was good enough of an influence on us, so she had this tendency of buying pretty much any film he was in, some good, some... interesting... (Toys and Jack were particularly special, I would say). As I hit my teens, he continued to be one of my favourite actors, three of his films in particular spoke to me and even, to a point, influenced my life in certain ways. Good Will Hunting was my favourite film for many years, Patch Adams gave me my first inspiration for a career, and What Dreams May Come spoke to me as I reached a point where sadness and depression had begun to creep into my life.

To this day, my all time favourite film is Hook. I can't fault a single thing about it. When I look back on his body of work, it really does surprise me how much his performances, whether serious or silly, had had a major effect on my life at different points.

Reading through my feed on facebook this morning, it's amazing to see how many people also feel the same way about this man. There is so much love for a man who brought so much joy to our childhoods and life in general. He was funny and inspirational and performed excellently in both types of roles. There's no doubt about it; this world loved him. Which is what makes the way he died all that more devastating.

I've been thinking this morning about whether, if he had been aware of just how much people loved him, he would have ended his life the way he had. I have no clue and I'm not even going to try to guess, it's not my place. However, even he had known, if he had received regular affirmation of this every day, because of the way depression works in a person, it can act as a block between positive words and the happiness they should make you feel.

I didn't know he was suffering. I didn't really look into his personal life all that much, apparently he suffered from substance misuse which I also didn't know until today, even though he was quite vocal about it. But I know that people are shocked at the level in which he could appear to be happy and bring joy to others, although all the time suffering from depression.

As horrible as it is, this surprises me less. It has also got me thinking about the stupid illness in general and all the other lives it has taken. I have spoken to countless people who suffer from depression and spend their entire lives working on masking it from the rest of the world. They smile, they move through life and even socialise, but they rarely talk about it because, put simply, they don't see how saying it out loud would make a blind bit of difference. Maybe they've tried talking about it before but it hadn't gone well or they are so stunned by how their own efforts don't appear to make any improvement on it, they can't see how someone else would be able to offer anything different.

Quite often, they don't want to impose. They know how crippling it feels for them and they look at others who are happy with envy. They want what these people have, but they can't access it so they only see talking about it as a way of bringing other people down. Besides, quite often depression and anxiety goes hand in hand and to talk about this inexplicable illness would only draw attention to it and make others worry, which will lead to unwanted attention on them and force them to make a bigger deal about it than they are prepared to do, so they try to put it all in a little box and contain it, because that seems the only way to control what's happening, and it might even work for a time, but eventually things go south and situations get worse and that little box starts to bulge and want to burst open. At this point, they might find that they are faced with a new problem. They now can no longer deal with how they are feeling but they have spent so much time and effort convincing others that they're fine and the life and soul of the party, no one's actually going to believe them should they come clean and say it had all been a lie, or if they do, they won't realise just how bad it's got because no one can be that sad and yet appear so happy at the same time.

The truth is, quite often the sadder some people with depression get, the louder and more outlandish they appear. The need to seem happy and well becomes the one thing to live for. There are people who are scared of coming clean about how they feel because they don't want to upset people or because they simply don't know where to begin. Maybe their brains tell them that there's no point, bad thoughts, dreams and negative influences play on loop around their heads. They can't focus on anything because their brain is so distracted by what depression brings. It builds and builds and suddenly they think that there is no other way to silence it other than one. One final decision and that's the only option they have left. They can't last one more day this way, it's too much. They've tried everything and nothing seems to work. The thought of having to live their lives this way for any longer is excruciating, so they decide to stop altogether. It will release them from it. It will stop the bad thoughts and the emotions that bog them down even though they have no reason to feel them. Death is the way out and they won't have to suffer any more.

Guys, if you feel that way, please realise that there is no illness too severe, no emotion too big that means death is the only option. Sure, it will stop you from feeling any more negative feelings, but it will also stop everything else. You have no clue what your future holds for you, things could change at any moment and, with a little help, you can find release another way, a way that not only stops the sadness, but also shows you the other side of the coin.

I say this because I speak from experience. 12 years of depression and I never thought I would find a way out. I got dangerously close to giving up but somehow got nudged into getting help instead. I did CBT therapy and last year I came out the other side. I never thought I would know what it was to live my life without depression, but I have for a whole year. Please, please, please always choose help over dealing with this alone. People around you love you and care about you and want to help you. You have potential for great things in your future and you don't want to miss out on it.

The very nature of depression is all consuming and tells you that you won't ever recover. As with most mental illnesses, it stops you from being able to think about it rationally because it's the brain that is the infected part. No matter how many times you might think it, don't believe it. Believe that you deserve more than that, because you do. If you're suffering, find someone today and tell them. Contact help from the Samaritans possibly (08457 90 90 90) if in the UK, or alternatives in your country if elsewhere. Please don't ever think ending your life is the answer, because it never is, no matter how tempting it might sound.

Also, if you know of someone who is depressed, please remember that patience is needed with them. Chances are they know how little sense their emotions make as much as you do, it doesn't make it any less easier to solve. It's not going to be fixed in one day, it's going to take time.

Depression might not be something that you are able to control if you have it, but suicide is. You always have the option to say no. Please choose it, because people aren't ready to say goodbye to you yet.

I love you all deeply and wish you all the happiness in the world.

Peace out my lovelies.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

It's that magical time of the year again...

Yes ladies and gents, it's that time of the year where I have been told I need to move out of my house and into a new one... people might see this as an adventure most of the time, but I am definitely not one of them. I have a set of DVD shelves that have officially fallen apart from the sheer amount of times I've had to take them apart and put them back together again, I have boxes that haven't even been touched in my room from the last time I moved, let alone unpacked, and every sodding time I have to sign up to anything that requires addresses, I have to ask for extra paper because I can't fit all the addresses I've lived in, in the past 5 years...

Yup, this will be my 5th house in 4 years and my 13th house in 28 years. I am getting to a point where even the thought of having a house for 2 whole years is so out of this world, I can't even fathom it in my imagination... and this is coming from a gal who frequently gets told that her imagination is stupidly over the top and spends most of her life being dominated by it... yes, I believe that one day I will write the world's most perfect TV script with Joss Whedon, and another with the Moffat/Gatiss team, as well as making my way to Rowling levels of popularity with my books, but I cannot, for the life of me, work out what it would be like to stay living in one place for longer than 13 months... Something will happen and something will change and then on I will have to go to the next place to live, and so on and so forth until I become a travelling nomad who had no intention of doing this on purpose so therefore is permanently pissed off at the notion that I have to do this once again whilst grumbling about the costs of deposits and rent and how it's near impossible to start saving for a future of babies and settling down, no matter how much I actually want to... then people will stop talking to me because I only seem to communicate in muffled groans and sudden outbursts of "why me?" or "who's taking all my money?" before quietening down again and retreating back to my fully packed house which has been that way since I moved in because, let's face it, what's the point in unpacking anymore?

Good news is it is doing wonders for my figure. My appetite is almost non existent now! Don't worry, I am eating, though. No need to call any rehab centres for me yet.

So I've not written in this thing this week yet as my usual routine of 'lunchtime writing' has been taken over my 'lunchtime hunting for houses'. I've applied to a few sites where you look for houseshares as well as put your own ad up for people to look for you for their house. This has been a fairly useful experience and I've had a few decent offers... there was one however that was slightly interesting... I was offered a hotel room Monday to Friday for no charge whatsoever, only the joy of giving this man my company... is it wrong that my gut reaction was "but where would I stay at the weekend?" before realising that this was probably not the best option in the world and one might even associate it with 'whoring myself out for rent'. Marmie and Father, if you are reading this, I haven't responded and am 99.9% almost certain I won't, don't worry... although free rent...

But aside from that offer, I do have a viewing tonight with a place that prefer to do it the old fashioned way in paying rent and bills for a house. I know it's boring, but I'm probably going to use that method instead... it just feels less prostitutey. My main plan is to find a place closer to work, which means leaving the only area of London I have ever lived in... goodbye North London, hello West London... it doesn't really help however that I work in a particularly posh area of London that does everything fancy and has prices to match that. Therefore I'm having to be a little inventive in my search for the ideal affordable place, but I'm quietly confident... most of the time... when I'm not rocking backwards and forwards, pulling out clumps of hair whenever I think about the sheer amount of work involved in moving properties once again.

Oh dear. Guys I need you to wish me all the luck in the world... seriously, luck, love, good thoughts, prayers, animal sacrifices, whatever floats your boat. I have less than a month until I am homeless... I know, de ja vu for the fifth time. I don't mean to be repetitive but life keeps on forcing me to. Stupid life.

Peace out my lovelies.

Friday, 1 August 2014

Well, that went south very quickly...

So, I happened to notice on facebook that a couple of my friends had been typing their names into the urban dictionary to see what the urban definition of their name is.

Immediately intrigued, I typed my name in to see what came up. What occurred next was a whirlwind of emotions that I wasn't quite prepared for on a Friday lunchtime activity...

I open up my Urban dictionary, type in my name and come across this:

To say that my ego was suitably stroked would be an understatement. I had no idea that in urban circles I represented such a highly admired group of people... Not to mention, I got called 'Chica!' I read this and felt resolved to make all people refer to me as chica from now on.

On reading the second description, I spent a small amount of time running through the previous Davids in my life and trying to work out if I classified them as weird or not. I couldn't really think of any but then noticed that that fitted in with the rest of the definition as these Davids probably had done nothing for me so logically I wouldn't remember them... and then I blushed because the definition called me 'luscious'... Chica and luscious are both names never mentioned to me before but I am very excited about being used in the future.

Feeling empowered, I continued on with the next definition.

Smart, sexy, great hair and great face?? How am I only just being made aware of this now? Surely, by these standards, I should be some kind of model superstar having people swoon over me whilst I am chased down by the paparazzi. It was also nice to read confirmation that I wasn't a slut. I was pretty convinced of this anyway, but sometimes you just need someone else to say it as well, you know? As far as my phone ringing and travelling states for parties... I can't say I've experienced too much of this, but I imagine it's just because I haven't told enough people my name. Once it's more well known, there will be no stopping me and my "blessed good genes."

The next definition, although still complimentary, had lost a little of its fervour:

This was the first one that had added a caveat in case there happened to be any 'non-hot' Lisas in the world. It was sensible and covered all bases, but it did lead me to wonder if I still classed as one of the hot ones...

I should have taken it and stopped there however, because what happened next... well. Aside from the contradiction in the next statements that almost made my brain explode trying to combine together with the previous definitions, I also began to feel a deep seeded despair. I mean, if it's in the urban dictionary, then it must be true:

This struck me as a pretty indecisive definition... almost like it wasn't written by an Urban professional... I could only deduce by this that I was a type of person who would piss someone off to begin with due to my lack of wanting to party (despite the fact that I travel places to party as well) but somehow win them round with my general okayness that seems to be so charming in a really non specific 'don't know her because she won't attend my parties' kind of way. It cut me a little, but again, I felt that I could accept this side of me.

But then:

... I have just one question to ask my loved ones at this moment, why on earth did no one tell me my face shared similarities to a horse? I understand if you wanted to spare my feelings, but come on! People clearly are beginning to notice and it's being advertised on the internet for all to see! For other Lisas who might be reading this, what did you do about your general horselike look? Should we accept it and wear it proudly? Is there a good plastic surgeon you can recommend that might help make us look more human? I feel like I should now be taking action on this, but I don't know where to start. Maybe we could all meet up and protest on the prejudice against Lisas who look like horses. We can't help it. We didn't name ourselves. And anyway, apparently the horse face is still hot because of the previous definitions... wow, I had no idea so many people found horses attractive... perhaps there's nothing we actually need to do, other Lisas. It would appear that we've lucked out with a rather attractive and majestic animal.

Now... the second definition in this section... as I am not yet anyone's baby mama, I assume that this is something that I will only have to look forward to in my future... I'm not going to lie, I had hoped for a little bit of a more positive lifestyle than what was outlined, but clearly I have no choice.

The next definition may include words of the swearing variety which will be a first in this blog. I do apologise, although I think the words probably offended me more than they will you... unless you are also called Lisa, and in that case, my condolences. We will get through this together.

"Don't be a Lisa". Ouch.

To all my friends and loved ones, I am so sorry for breaking your spirits so badly. To be honest, I had thought that loving you all loads and being too lazy and passive to get into any confrontation had been good things to have in relationships, but clearly I've been offending everyone... I had no idea I was such a bitch, but I'm going to start working on it. This has all been very eye opening.

People have started calling HPV that now??? Or has this been something that's been happening for years? Wait, Marmie and Father, please don't tell me that you named me after an STD?? No wonder I haven't dated a guy in years, they probably think I'm riddled!! ... I'm not, by the way... Dammit. I'm going to have to start adding that into my introductions to all new potential dates... "Hi, my name's Lisa, but don't worry! I'm one of the few that isn't carrying crabs." And even then, what's the likelihood that they'll believe me? Especially when they have such a credible source to refer to...

And then lastly:

Bad grammar aside (seriously, apart? And you write for a dictionary? Never in my life have I been so shocked) this definition I think revealed the most that I didn't know about me. For example, I was certain that I was born in Great Britain, but clearly I will need to have a chat with The-Parents at some point about that lie. Also, horses and gorillas? What kind of half breed are we? I'm no longer offended but slightly proud. As for the half naked photos... I had a quick look and found this from my brother's wedding last week:

I think this is where the confusion has come in. I feel I need to clarify things. Guys, I did not attend my brother's wedding naked (despite the fears that I might have to when I could fit into the dress). The dress was strapless, my clothes are on... I promise. I'm sorry for any inconvenience caused and I want to make perfectly clear that this photo, by no means, suggests that I would then "cheat on my boyfriend" or that I'm in any way a "big slut or bitch." Once again, sorry I should have been more clear.

Despite the promising start to this little exercise, I've definitely had better dictionary reading experiences. It's given me a lot to think about and I will have to go and do a bit of soul searching... maybe even befriend a horse or monkey as it would appear they are closer family than I thought... although technically we're all descendants of monkeys, so I'm not quite sure why the Lisas have been singled out... if it helps, I'll try to cut down on my house ransacking to let the bad reputation simmer down a little bit.

Not a Fancy Things Friday this week, but it was too good not to share. Try out yours, yourself... just have some tissues ready and prepare yourself for some pretty earth shattering truth bombs that will be coming your way...

Peace out my lovelies

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Dear John vs Romeo and Juliet with a little bit of my self confessed stupidity thrown in as well

You can tell the wedding is over when One-And-Only-Daniela has to ask me when we're next going to the gym instead of the other way round...

We went last night, and I timed my workout perfectly. Dear John came on the TV during my workout and I finished just before things started to go south, so only got to see the happy 'falling in love' bit where Channing Tatum walks around topless a lot whilst surfing. SCORE! To be honest it's my favourite way of watching a lot of depressing movies. I think I've mentioned before that most of the time, when watching Romeo + Juliet, I tend to watch right up to the 'consummating of the marriage' and then turn it off whilst saying "Awww what a lovely story." Seriously, try watching it that way... it's the only way to walk away from that script with a warm fuzzy feeling inside instead of the normal destruction and pain that most of Shakespeare's tragedies leave me in. Damn you Shakespeare! Will there ever be anyone as good as you? How were you such a genius? You rock my world...


To be clear, although I did just mention Dear John and Romeo and Juliet next to each other, I am in no way implying that they are of the calibre. I am aware of the things that Dear John lacks, even with the half nakedness of Tatum coupled with the fact that I can't watch a single scene with Tatum's dad without crying... even whilst working out in a public gym apparently... because that wasn't embarrassing. I don't know what it is, but that man can look through a coin collection, make lasagne and put back a plate in just the right place, in a way that makes me openly weep. Yes, I'm aware how weird that sounds. No, this does not apply to anyone who stacks away plates. The man is magic, and his super power is to make me spontaneously cry at every move he makes...

Additionally, I just had a particularly stupid 'train of thought' moment and I thought I would share it with you because I do love me some public shaming every so often...

So this morning, whilst looking through a particular facebook page that I enjoy called 'Best of Tumblr' I found a little gem that made me chuckle. For those who don't know, Best of Tumblr screen grabs the best bits of Tumblr and posts them on their wall... pretty self explanatory actually. 8 times out of 10, I respond to their posts with at least a little chuckle. Occasionally there's a gaffaw, sometimes I even cackle, and on those rare occasions I do the silent laugh, whilst hitting 'Share, share share.'

This particular post made me gaffaw and share. I posted it, and it looked a bit like this.

I'm serious guys, this opening line and carrying my coffin in to the muppet theme tune; they are both musts at my funeral.

I had a couple of 'likes' and then a friend commented underneath:

I got genuinely excited at the prospect that someone was taking me seriously and had the following thought process:

Me: Yay! My funeral is going to rock. I can't wait to see it.
Myself: Oh wait, I'm not going to be able to see it am I?
Me: Never mind, hopefully someone will record it and I'll watch it later.
Myself: ...
Me: ...
Myself: ...
Me:That's not right, is it? ... Dammit! Dying sucks. You miss out on everything.

Guys, it's not that I'm stupid. But more like, there's a part of my brain (and it usually gets the first thought in) that is not exactly gifted in the brain cell department. It's the part of my brain that saw a lady on the other side of the train platform and genuinely thought it was me... yeeeaaaah, that happened.

And with that jumble of thoughts and stories that don't really link or relate to each other, I will love you and leave you.

Peace out my lovelies

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

I am benefiting rather nicely from peoples lack of knowledge... Is this my first taste of exploitation? If so, I like it...

So, as I've mentioned countless times before, I have written a couple of books which are available on Amazon (see the link to the right). I'll be honest, I'm not quite matching JK Rowling's book sales, but considering I'm pretty much unknown by everyone worldwide except for the lovely 10-20ish readers that I have, I haven't found my sales all that shabby on these books.

When I published A World Reborn (book 2 in the series), I decided that I would make the first one as cheap as I could. So I lowered the price to Utopia (book 1 in the series) to just 77p in Great Britain and 99c in the USA. Since doing this, I have been selling about 4 times the amount I was selling before. (As impressive as that might sound, please be reminded that the previous sales weren't all that high to start with.)

Occasionally I see booms in the sales, (once, a full six people bought my book in one day... how am I not doing this full time yet?). These are usually associated with the posts on this blog where I shamelessly plug the books even though most of you are probably sick of hearing about it. However, some people aren't and go ahead and buy the books. Thank you so much all you lovely people for that by the way. 

The point I'm trying to make is if I do have a sudden increase in my sales, I tend to know how it happened. Two weeks ago however, something bizarre started to happen with my first book. More and more people were buying it, and this wasn't just happening on odd days, it was getting more and more consistent. I couldn't work it out. I began to think up ideas when it first started happening, mainly around the thought that someone had decided to start a book club and Utopia had become their choice for the week. But unless this was happening several times, it still didn't add up. 

Delving a little further into the location of these sales, I noticed that the majority of them seemed to be being bought in the UK. The surge in sales seemed to be located to my little country. Once again I was perplexed, wondering if someone had put up a poster somewhere that I was unaware of (seriously, if any of you ever feel the desire to do that, you have my full blessing). Just as I was planning my trip to scour the entire land of the UK, I was at the gym watching one of those little TVs you get on the machines when an advert came on and suddenly it became all too clear to me. 

No guys, someone hadn't been advertising my books on TV. (again... if anyone fancies doing that at any point...) But a new series had just started. It was series 2 of a British TV programme that it seems people are pretty impressed with. What's the name of this TV show, I hear you ask? ... It just so happens that the show is called Utopia...

Yup. That happened. (Disclaimer: Although the first series of this show did come out before I had published my book, I had named the book long before I had heard about the show, so technically I named it first.)

I'm not too upset about this as, although I haven't actually seen it, it doesn't really have anything to do with what my books are about apparently so no harm done. Having said that, it would appear that this TV show started up again the week that my sales started to increase. By some stroke of luck, when fans of the show have been going online to find the show Utopia, they've been finding my book as well. Huzzah for search engines! 

Now, people are either initially looking for this show, finding my book and then getting waylaid and deciding they'd like to read that as well, or they are buying my book under the genuine impression that it is about the TV show. Just in case anyone is still confused and tries to sue me or something... it's not. It has nothing to do with it... I think. I haven't seen it. To be honest I'm too scared to, in case I subliminally copy something and then can get done for it. My brain does things regularly that I'm not aware of until it's too late. 

When coming to this realisation, I have been pretty impressed with what is appearing to be some form of free publicity. I mean this show is advertised everywhere. And although the front cover is completely different to my own and my name is nowhere to be found on the adverts, I can't help but squint slightly and pretend that it's my book that's really being advertised. It helps to have a general optimistic/completely unrealistic grasp of reality. I even began to think of other ways I might be able to use this to my advantage, although most of my ideas have been severely warned against as apparently it could be seen as some form of copyright infringement... Here are two of my favourite ideas:

Plan No 1. Time for a new look.

The main image for Utopia (TV show) is a giant eye. Exhibit A:

I thought that perhaps it was time for a new front cover design. Not having the money that this show has, nor the know-how of photoshop... I had to make do:

Not only has idea been frowned upon on copyright grounds by my loved ones, apparently it also has been suggested that this new cover might actually hurt book sales rather than make them better... I don't know what they're talking about. This picture is professional and awesome and not in the least bit creepy. 

Plan No 2. Piggy back on the advertisement already available

My other idea is to buy a sharpie and take a little trip around London, locating the already available posters for the TV show. Then, when no one is looking, I would sneakily write my name at the bottom of the poster. I wouldn't do anything that would suggest false advertisement, such as writing 'By Lisa J Harries' but just simply write my name because I like the way it looks on glass... Of course, then someone pointed out to me that that was, in fact, vandalism and graffiti, but hey! if Banksy can do it...

The alternative to writing my name is to make A4 flyers of my new book cover image and stick them up next to each poster with a sign that says "The other Utopia." Yup... not a thing wrong with that. 

Finally, I would like to thank Channel 4 for putting on this clear hit of a show and calling it a name that matches one of my books. You have really helped out the little guy here... I mean that in every sense of the word, I truly am a tiny woman. 

Of course this is all speculation... maybe there have been a surge of book clubs with a post-apocalyptic theme and the TV show doesn't even factor into it... nope, I don't buy it either. 

Peace out my lovelies

Monday, 28 July 2014

Best week off EVER! An explanation in pictures.

I didn't blog for a whole week, but you know what? I'm not even going to apologise for that because I was too busy helping with the organisation and then partaking in the best event in the world. Older-Brother-Glyn and Sister-In-Law-Amy are now officially hitched. It was AMAZING. It was the most picturesque and stunning wedding I've ever been to, and I'm not just saying that because they are my relatives, but because of this:

I mean, wow. Every single part of the day was perfect and guys, these two are sweetest and loveliest couple you could ever meet. I did spend the day filming a hell of a lot so will inevitably put up some form of montage of the day, but this might take me a while on account of the editing involved and the lack of know-how on my end to do said editing.

The whole week was taken up with wedding prep and taking part. Highlights of the week involve a particularly fun pamper day with Marmie, which meant new haircut, nails and finally shaping my eyebrows... my lack of colour on the eyebrows means that I don't very often bother with them. However, I thought as this was a special occasion and the eyebrow wax wasn't going to cost anything, I might as well. Also, it'll help the next time No-Nickname-Yet-Tshepiso decides to colour in my eyebrows, thus changing my appearance entirely.

Me with my normal non-existent eyebrows:

Me (10 minutes later) after No-Nickname-Yet-Tshepiso managed to pin me down with her makeup brush:

Apparently people were fans. I was not. On account to not being used to having these things on my face. However No-Nickname-Yet-Tshepiso and One-And-Only-Daniela seems hellbent on forcing me to wear these eyebrows until I'm "used to them" so I've come up with a solution to the problem. Ladies and gents, my new fringe:

Take THAT peer pressure!! You can paint eyebrows on me all you like, but no one's ever going to see them! (And yes, most selfies I take do involve me pulling the same expression.)

On the Wednesday, when we were on our way to the venue to set up, this happened...

In case you were wondering, that is indeed two police officers with Older-Brother-Glyn and Sister-In-Law-Amy's wedding invitation in their hands.

This then led to this...

Yup, that is indeed a police car escorting us to the venue personally... I kept on telling Marmie that that second bottle of Scotch was not a good idea while she was driving but she wouldn't listen... (I'm using a humourous line here as Marmie has never in her life drank alcohol, so therefore, I was enforcing my right to use irony in a comical way in this particular section (however, I did feel the need to add this particular explanation before people who know Marmie take me seriously and think she's developed some form of problem (I am also aware that the more I continue to explain this line, the less funny it becomes... I'm okay with that))).

The police were escorting us, not because Marmie was hitting the booze hard, but because the only road that could take us to where we needed to be was closed off. However, because people are nice and soppy and romantic underneath, when you mention that you are there to set up a wedding, everyone wants to help and get you to the church on time... or in this case the woods/field on time.

The rest of the day involved sweating and putting up decorations and sweating and being inventive with bunting and sweating and carrying chairs that you will later find out has caused you to bruise your biceps but you won't mind about because at least you now have existing biceps to bruise, and sweating a little bit more. And then we ate with both sides of the family and I resisted every urge within me to sing 'When two become one' which I think everyone was very grateful for although I'm not too sure why. We then split into bride and groom parties, went our own ways and settled in for a night of not being able to sleep but also very aware that if there ever was a night we'd need sleep, it would be this one. Poor Sister-In-Law-Amy suffered the most for this... I have no idea why though...

And then the best morning ever. Whilst all the groom's side did all the last minute setting up, the bridal party went out for brunch, had our hair done and pampered ourselves until we were ready to go. I didn't feel too guilty about this as there had been a fair amount of work I'd been subjected to up until this point, although there was a small amount of smugness to know that we were relaxing a lot more than the rest of the party. Aaah, what can you do?

The aisle for the wedding was the longest thing I had ever seen. It was an actual pathway that eventually turned into an aisle. Which meant that there was about a minute walk down the aisle before any of the guests could even see you:

The start:

The halfway mark:

The point where the guests could finally see you:

And the ceremony area:

I would like to point out that these pictures were taken the day before the wedding... on the day, there were actually people sitting on those chairs. I would have taken pictures but Older-Brother-Glyn forbid me from walking down the aisle with my phone, filming the whole thing... no idea why... Additionally, I was pretty grateful for the increase in my fitness levels, as it turned out I'd need it for the aisle alone...

Then the festivities began. Amazing things happened like a whole congregation of guests singing "Crazy little thing called love" as one of the wedding songs and creating elaborate costumes and designs out of prop boxes left underneath the reception tables... cannot WAIT to see the pictures for that, not to mention the bouncy castle and some of the best and most hearfelt speeches I had ever heard. It was magical and Older-Brother-Glyn and Sister-In-Law-Amy's attention to detail on all the many decorations on the tables and around the whole venue just made it that little bit more spectacular. Not to mention, it didn't rain at all and not only did I manage to fit into my bridesmaid dress, but I didn't accidentally fall out of it once! Huzzah!

Video to properly paint this day to come soon, I promise!

Peace out my lovelies.

Friday, 18 July 2014

Fancy Things Friday: Older-Brother-Glyn

Welcome to Fancy Things Friday, where I talk about things on a Friday that I think are fancy!!

Ooookay... Where have I been? I've been training a lady up on my job because this is officially my last day before my week off!! And why am I taking a week off?? Oh, you know, it's just this little thing that is awesome... OLDER-BROTHER-GLYN IS GETTING MARRIED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Dudes... amazeballs and shizzle is this day... or rather next Thursday is the amazeballs and shizzle day... because Older-Brother-Glyn is getting married... to another person ... and she's really nice... and I'm really happy about it... and so are they... which is good because they're getting married... to each other... sweet.

So, in celebration of this, I thought I would make this particular Fancy Things Friday a sickeningly sweet and mushy one by talking about a Fancy Thing I have known my entire life, and that Thing is Older-Brother-Glyn.

Older-Brother-Glyn is three years older than me and is one of two very special brothers that I have. I have been massively fortunate in the family that I have been given in this world. I have two awesome parents who do nothing but love and support us, and two brothers who I get along with really well. Fighting went out of the window with us when I was about 18 and it has pretty much been plain sailing since then. I know... it's 'roll-your-eyes' sweet. Sure, we bicker and... well... almost every conversation had between siblings does tend to turn into some form of debate, but it's in the 'joshing' light way that simmers just under getting serious and the moment it comes close to it, we back away from that shizzle HARD. 

Older-Brother-Glyn has always been someone I looked up to growing up. He was the cool older sibling who me and Younger-Brother-Daniel desperately wanted to be like. He was an actor from the moment he performed a solo playing 'Herod the Great' at a Christmas play when he was 8. He was always so good at performing and had this massive reputation by the time I arrived at his secondary school. Now, I've mentioned before that if there was a particular type of person that I was during school, it would be similar to a Glee Club kid... most likely Rachel from Glee... in fact, I'm pretty certain they based her character on my life. I started secondary school and pretty much wanted to be like my brother. Everyone gushed over him, and it was well deserved. My first year at school, he played the scarecrow in The Wiz, and NAILED IT. A performance that was only topped three years later when he played Fagin in Oliver... which is a performance that is still talked about in family circles today... a lot. 

To say Older-Brother-Glyn is quirky... well, let's just say there's one thing that Marmie and Father successfully managed to do in all three of their children, and that's make us all just that little bit weird. We were odd kids growing up. We put on skits regularly, Older-Brother-Glyn was known to do bizarre things when he was bored as a way of trying to get our attention. You know, things like jumping on top of the coffee table, picking up a nut, nibbling into it whilst crouched over it, (like one would imagine a squirrel to do) jump onto the sofa, climb to the Christmas tree, place the nut in one of its branches, tilt his head to one side, and jump back to the coffee table to repeat once more. If you didn't pay attention to him whilst he was doing this, he would only make his actions bigger and more bizarre, increasing this until eventually you had no choice but to look at him. (True story: one time this actually involved him hugging my face)

He was the older brother that would regularly entertain me and my friends when they came over. They used to talk about how silly he is and the stupid things he would do for weeks after... in a good way... they were impressed with the weirdness. 

We all three grew up and became a little less weird than we had been as kids. Although, thankfully the weirdness never really left us completely. We're all creative, teaching drama, being an graphic designer and writing non stop in the vain hope that someone, someday offers to pay money for the things written, Older-Brother-Glyn has always kept his creativity. He thinks outside of the box in most things and tends to go out of his way to make something not just average but spectacular. He has put on plays and created performances and displays that have blown my mind. Where most people see things in black and white, he see colours... and lots of them. A perfect example of this is the way he proposed to his lovely fiancee, New-To-The-Family-Amy, and another example will be their wedding this week. 

I couldn't be happier for my big bro and the life he's about to start. New-To-The-Family-Amy is absolutely perfect for him and an AMAZING addition to our family. The Harries children have never been that great at relationships or love or anything like that. I like to think that it's not because we're socially awkward or incapable of romantic attachments, but rather because we've been waiting for the right one. Older-Brother-Glyn did. Next week, he gets to start his life with New-To-The-Family-Amy and as lucky as he is to have her, (he really is) she is equally as lucky to have him. He is a kind and caring man who has always looked out for those around him. He has been the best older brother I could have asked for and I am grateful for him every day. 

He is my Fancy Thing this week because we have now begun the week of celebrations. We celebrate their marriage and them individually and so this means that I am doing my rare moment of soppy open declarations of my love for other human beings. I'm sorry if it's been cheesy, but I adore my brother and I am so happy for him. 

Older-Brother-Glyn and New-To-The-Family-Amy... have a freakin' awesome time this week. It's going to be immense. I love you bro. 

Peace out my lovelies

Monday, 14 July 2014

Goal achieved ladies and gents. I have made it finally!

So, most of you will be aware (on account of the fact that I haven't stopped talking about it for a month) that I have been desperately trying to lose weight for my brother's wedding, which is now in 10 days. My desperation for this was mainly down to having a bridesmaid dress that was WAAAAAY too small for me and I have never been close to being able to zip the damn thing up. Seriously, I don't know what I was thinking in buying it and assuming it was my size, I definitely was dreaming of some fantasy body I had at the time.

Anywho, I hit a state of panic just over a month ago where I realised that, unless I did something drastic, I was not going to get into this dress for the wedding and then I would have to turn up naked or in jeans or with the dress on but masking tape strapping the gap between the zip together. Whichever way it went, it wouldn't look very good for the pictures. So, I took the pro-active route for once in my life and got a gym membership. Since then, I have been attending the gym almost every day whilst eating next to nothing interesting to ensure no embarrassment for the wedding.

Something beautiful happened on Thursday guys. I decided to try the dress on again and... IT FITS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm not kidding, I have never been close to getting into that dress all the other times I've tried. I have to admit, I was beginning to think of this day and feel sick with the unnecessary pressure I had inflicted on myself by setting this silly goal far too close to the wedding.  But, my competitive nature won out in the end and I DID IT. Sure, there are spanx involved, but the most important things are A: I don't look like I'm bursting out of the dress when I wear it, and B: I can sit down in the dress and not struggle to breathe. Huzzah and hooray!

I would show you pictures, but I'm guessing the whole dress thing should probably be saved for the day, so instead I thought I'd show you a before and after picture of my total weight loss this year. The first picture below was taken at Christmas, the second picture was taken this morning:

And this is me just before I started working out and then me today. 

I am so happy with that... I can't even begin to tell you. Huzzah for exercise! And believe me, that has never been a phrase that I thought I'd say. Sure, I'm hungry all the time and knackered, causing me to sleep for 13 hours on Sat night (so blissful!) but I'm also what the kids call 'healthy' and people have stopped calling me jolly now which... well, aside from the connotations attached to that, I'm quite upset about because I kinda liked being jolly. I'm still going to continue with the diet/exercise regime however, I have another stone and a half to go and then I'm at my ideal weight.

But the most important thing is, I can now think of Older-Brother-Glyn getting married now without suffering from stress induced palpitations, which I'm sure we'd all agree is a very good thing.

Peace out my lovelies.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Next on Netflix: Greek

Okay, let me get this straight first. I've refrained from writing this so far because I'm beginning to think that I'm one of those people who seems to become obsessed with any TV show thrown my way at the mo. After last week's Fancy Things Friday review on Kyle XY, whereby I was coming down from a particular high of obsession that can only come from watching an entire TV show in quick succession over the space of just a few days, (which can trick you into thinking a show is better than it actually is) I didn't think that I would be able to move on so quickly. However, I followed the next recommendation Netflix made for me the following day and began watching Greek.

I wanted to go into this show with a level head and a certain amount of detachment. I thought I'd be okay, given that I started to outgrow the classic Teen Romance school shows a few years back... I was a Dawson's Creek girl growing up and everything has always been a comparison to that show ever since, usually falling short of it. I also tend to, as a rule, get annoyed with this particular genre half the time as all it seems to do is drag out 'will they, won't they?' scenarios and you can forget any hope of getting invested in couples as they only ever stay together for one series max before everything goes wrong and they go from wanting to spend the rest of their lives together to never wanting to speak to each other again, but still throwing longing looks at each other from across the room because deep down they still know that they were the 'one that got away' and they will never feel the same with another person again... until another person turns up and then the whole cycle starts up again... ugh. It pisses me off. I've mentioned it before, but I really think that writers need to realise a series can still be good if they have just one couple who don't actually break up. Go on writers, do it once. Stop forcing us to get invested in your characters and then taking away all our hopes... it's really annoying.

Of course, a lot of people like the drama. Maybe because they like drama in real life, or maybe because they are able to watch a TV show with some form of self restraint and healthy approach whereby they are able to walk away from an episode and not spend every moment away thinking about it... I understand that's a normal approach to fiction... However, it's never been something I've been able to master.

Due to all of this, I started watching Greek against my better judgement. Apart from anything, the whole Greek system in Colleges in America is completely bizarre to me. We don't really have anything like that in the UK. We just sort of go to University and learn and hang out. It's a bizarre concept, granted, but it seems to work for us.

Right off the bat, watching the pilot of this show, I had mixed feelings. On one hand, there wasn't really anything ground breaking about the show. It was once again another classic teen angst type of show... however there were a few quirks that convinced me it was worth continuing to watch.

First, the character of Cappie (middle guy in the above photo) and his particular fraternity. There is a fair amount of teen drama going on throughout the episode, lots of love and lust and classic teen relationship problems which is pretty standard for this particular genre. However, the scenes that involved this particular fraternity provided a certain amount of light relief and laid back fun that really appealed to me. They were part of this bizarre tradition of Fraternities and Sororities but yet were completely detached from the bitchiness and competitiveness of it all. In short, they just didn't care. It works as a really good balance to keep the episode from getting too heavy, giving me the ability to make my eyes roll.

Second, they are all in college so immediately the most annoying 'having sex for the first time' teenage girl drama that seems to become the focus of the first four series of any teen drama series is eradicated. I'm sorry but those situations have been the most annoying for me when watching past shows.

Third, as mentioned above, I have absolutely no clue about this concept of the Greek system in Colleges, except for what I've seen in Legally Blonde, so it was quite educational for me to see how it works.

So, I decided that I would continue to watch this show and see how I fared. To be honest, I really didn't think I'd last to the end. I was sure that it would annoy me at some point and I would give up... as such, you can imagine my surprise when I found myself not only not losing interest, but actually getting more and more invested in the characters and storylines. I'm currently at the end of all the episodes offered on Netflix and am now onto the series after that, and I have to say, it's getting to be one of those shows that I can't stop thinking about.

So, what is it about this show that makes it worth watching, where others in its genre have fallen short?

I think the main thing, for me, that has kept me going is that it never really gets to that puberty driven intense level that so many others have before it. Sure, it skirts around it. There is plenty of backstabbing, cheating, falling in love, 'will they, won't they?', friendships, hate, bullying etc and so forth, but all of it seems to skim across the surface and the characters actually react to it in a healthy way that doesn't drag out for series after series until you can't stand it anymore. The bitchiness between the sorority houses is probably the most intense it gets. It's really been the only bit that got me annoyed, but once again it's balanced out with the laid back attitude of their friendly neighbourhood Fraternity, run by Cappie.

Yes... Cappie is a also a massive factor involved in my watching of this show as well. He's one of those guys who, when I first saw him, I wasn't too sure about, but after three episodes of his comic relief one liners, I was drawn in. His whole fraternity freakin rocks. Seriously. I'd be all over the Greek experience if it meant I could hang out with those guys the whole time.

It is also a show that seems to just get better as it goes on. It gets funnier all around and becomes this fun show to watch. I've been suitably impressed and happy to watch it for the most of this week, although I'm now getting to a point where it is becoming the thing that I am thinking about when I'm not watching it. I do think that might have a lot to do with how many episodes I have watched in such a short space of time, but unlike Kyle XY which I am becoming less and less impressed with the more time I have had away from the show, I do think that it is actually a very well written show.

Don't get me wrong, if you're looking for something of more substance than romance, friendships and college life, this will not be the show for you. However, of the series I have watched in this genre, of which there have been many, I think this might actually be one of my favourites. It just feels like the writers get it a little more, in that you can have a successful show about this shizzle without making it depressing and 100% angst all the way through. They put more focus on the fun that can be had being at College which is far more entertaining for me than any of the others I have seen.

I appreciate that this is yet another show I am getting into far too late, and that it has already finished, but I do think it's worth a watch if you fancy watching something that you think is just a bit of fun and then find yourself realising that you have become far too invested in the characters than is healthy and you cannot, for the life of you, work out when that happened, but you're kind of glad that it did. Trust me, there are worse shows out there to get invested in. So, if you are past the age of caring about these type of shows, try it out and see what you think. It might not be for you, but it's as close as you're going to get in that genre... Also, there are some very funny lines in this show that I am desperate to quote to like minded people, and at the moment I don't know of a single person who has seen it... mainly on account of the fact that apparently I'm 'too old' to watch shows like this anymore.


Peace out my lovelies.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Fitness and aliens: Because one can't exist without the other.

Salad... Salad... Salad... Porridge... Salad... Salad... Tuna... Salad... Salad... Apple... Salad... Salad


I miss real food.

I'm also going through this process at the moment where I'm getting on the train after work to head straight to the gym, and falling asleep so suddenly one might assume I'm narcoleptic. Let's face it, at this point, I probably am. It's making the train journeys a lot quicker in my mind, but as it has been happening whilst I'm playing Pet Shop Saga on my phone, I have on several occasions almost lost my phone as it dropped out of my hand whilst I dropped off to sleep. Also, I have it on good authority that my sudden narcoleptic tendencies are high amusing to watch. I have caught many a fellow traveller suppressing smirks as I jolt back awake and wonder what the hell is going on.

Once I'm at the gym, I'm awake again... well, almost. It takes about 5 minutes of Cross Trainer work out before I'm raring to go but once the adrenaline kicks in, I'm all 'exercise is cool!' and then I hate myself a little bit because my very uttering of those words goes against a lifestyle I have been finely attuning for 28 years of my life.

I do find it interesting that my approach to exercise has now done a 180. When I started, I had all this competitive energy inside me, whereby I was determined to lose weight, so I was going to go to the gym and work out for hours and hours and hours and nothing was going to stop me. As such, I would get on the Cross Trainer, enter in 30 minutes of exercise into the plan and begin with a smile. It would be at roughly the 5 minute mark, when I was sweating far more liquid than my body could hold and my face looked like someone had pressed me up against the sun, that I would lose all of the afore mentioned energy and quickly change the 30 minutes to 10 minutes and convince myself that that was good enough. As of last week onwards however, I have been dragging myself rather reluctantly to the gym whilst every part of my body is begging me to go to sleep instead, arriving at the cross trainer and deciding that I'd just do a quick 20 minutes this time, and do more when I feel more up for it. However, this time at the 5 minute mark, my body wakes up and starts celebrating as if it suddenly discovered that exercise was exactly what it wanted, despite the hours of protest beforehand, and next thing I know I'm doubling the time from 20 minutes to 40 and raising the level higher and higher, finding my energy levels only increasing as the minutes tick by.

I've heard the rumour that people react this way to exercise, but I never believed it and I certainly never thought that I would end up being one of these people. I feel like I've just discovered a new planet full of Aliens and instead of them ostracising me, they have accepted me as one of them... Oh my days, I'm in Avatar. I'm a tall blue woman with hair that plugs into weird animals that fly... that's pretty much all those things were right? Is it racist for me to call them things? Do I call them people? But is the word 'people' a name that is only applicable to human beings? Argh, can you imagine the Politically Correct red tape we would have to go through if we ever did find another habitated planet? We've barely got to a point where we can accept everyone on our own... There would be all these fights because they want to celebrate their Christmas in July and we'll be all, "But that's cray, cray! I'm going to bomb your planet now!" Their leaders retaliate with, 'Well I'm going to bomb yours right back!' Which we then say is completely ridiculous and, by merely mentioning it, the Aliens clearly don't have the right state of mind to run their own planet. And then Armies will be sent in on the pretence that they are there to protect the citizens from their leaders who are clearly working against them, but then stay for ages and we later find out they've been stealing all their magical immortal juice that they have in their waters instead of doing that whole 'bringing peace' thing... or something...

Yeah, people say that it would be awesome to meet other alien species, but if our history is anything to go by, I really can't see that meet up going anywhere good...

And that, ladies and gents, is how you go off on a really long winded tangent.

You're welcome.

Peace out my lovelies