Sunday, 4 November 2012

She had been a very pretty girl, but her bloom had vanished early

I think this post may be of mammoth proportions, seeing as I seem to be turning to this blog into a form of self-therapy.

I've just returned from a week away in the country with my couple friends from home. We were in the peak district, where there was no internet, almost no phone signal and very little to do but enjoy the great outdoors (and the hot tub!).

Despite my initial reservations of going on a "couples holiday" and being a singleton, I actually had a fantastic time. However, despite everyone's efforts to not make me feel like the odd one out because I'm unmarried and not in a long term relationship, just being surrounded by three couples made me feel more lonely than ever. Even sitting at the table for dinner was awkward, with the insistence that everyone sat opposite their partner... oh wait, I don't have one.

Shrugging it off, I made the most of my time there but even just seeing the closeness between the couples - helping each other over the styles and through puddles on walks, making each other cups of tea or even just hearing them laughing in bed in the mornings (thankfully that was all I heard). It did make me wish I'd finally meet someone who had a mutual liking for me enough to stick around...

I did manage to get everyone over to Chatsworth House which I have wanted to visit since seeing it used as Pemberley in the 2005 Pride and Prejudice movie. We did a 6 mile walk around the grounds and it was so lovely. Sadly I didn't get the chance to actually go into the house (it costs £16.50 for entrance!) but no doubt I'll go back some day.

After a stressful couple of weeks in London - dramas with housemates, friends and work - I really needed this week away and I definitely enjoyed the mixture of walking, food, drinking and sleeping as well as the company of my good friends who I sadly don't get to see enough of.

It's left me feeling a little confused though - I've always looked at my friends and wondered how they can be happy. After all, they've never left the town we grew up in, they've pretty much married their first serious boyfriends and their worlds revolve around their teaching jobs and spending every Saturday night eating takeaways in front of the X Factor. They NEVER go out and whenever I suggest it I get shot down pretty quickly.

But after the past week I could see how content they seem and I thought to myself that if I'd met someone worth staying at home for I could be in the exact same position and would I be unhappy? I'm not sure I would...

I've always been glad to have got out of the small town, enjoy going out and about and never spending two Saturday nights doing the same thing but it's costly and despite going out, I am still yet to meet anyone I can settle down with when I'm good and ready. My friends are buying houses and talking about having kids in the next few years - will that ever happen for me? At this rate it doesn't seem like it will, but I guess I'll just have to wait and see.

Monday, 24 September 2012

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single woman without possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a man.

What is it about winter that makes you feel even more single than ever? I say winter, we're only just in autumn, but this weather has been so horrendous it could easily be November - particularly as I was sitting by a pool at a lovely 27 degrees this time last week!

In the summer it seems a lot easier to socialise - you go out and drink in the sunshine with friends, enjoy the good weather and don't spend as much time at home as you do any other time of year. I guess it's that "summer holiday" feeling we still remember from school - you just feel more free. The nights are longer so there's more time to make the most of your evening, even if you know you have to be at work at 9 the next morning.

Winter has the opposite effect - nights are shorter and the cold, miserable weather makes you want to stay wrapped up warm in the safety of your own house. If you're alone, it just drives it home. I know I watch much more TV in the winter - mostly romantic dramas, of course - which, again, really reiterate the fact that I don't my happily ever after and it's a long way off. There's not even a sniff of a Willoughby or Wickham, let alone a Darcy or Wentworth.

When I got back from my holiday, I thought to myself that it was time for me to focus on myself. I'm not too happy with how I look and my confidence isn't great, so I know I should focus on me for a while. I know I should ignore the dramas of chasing boys and going on dates - which has done nothing for my self-esteem of late. However, I can't help the niggling lonely feeling...

But I'm just going to focus on all the cliches - "you need to love yourself before someone can love you" and "you'll find someone when you stop looking". They make sense. So with a new resolve I am going to a) eat healthily, b) be more active and c) be happy! The rest will all figure outself out I guess.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book!

I don't know if I'd already mentioned I was going, but I went away last week... to the least Jane Austen place in the world - Ibiza. It's not somewhere I've ever particularly wanted to go, being someone who likes to enjoy the culture of different places and really hates dance music, but a group of friends were going and I'm still (relatively) young so I thought, "why not?"

Yes, I did party quite a lot and had an awesome time with almost no sleep - but I actually got through three books too!

Firstly, I read Mr Darcy Forever which had caught my eye before I left so I thought I'd give it a go. It's by Victoria Connelly who also wrote A Weekend With Mr Darcy, which I read a few months ago. Each of her stories echoes Austen tales, so whilst A Weekend With Mr Darcy echoed Pride and Prejudice, Mr Darcy Forever was based on Sense & Sensibility - a story of two sisters who are very close but very different. One is reserved and careful, whilst the other is carefree and expresses every emotion she feels.

I won't give too much of the story away, except to say that at the beginning of the story the sisters go off to stay in Barton Cottage, which was used in the S&S film adaptation and we discover that something happened there which tore the sisters apart. We then follow them separately three years later as they both visit the Jane Austen Festival in Bath and begin to uncover what happened.

It's clear that Connelly is a huge Austen fan, as is every heroine in her books, so it's very easy for me to relate to them and whilst we all know where the stories are heading, there are still enough twists and turns to keep you interested.

After that I read The Wedding Girl, which was written by Madeleine Wickham (even keeping it loosely Austen!) - though she's better known as Sophie Kinsella. Sixty pages in I turned to a friend, groaned and said "I love these books but they're so predicatable" but I was very happy to be wrong. The story of Milly begins when she marries a gay, American friend to keep him in the country. Fast forward 10 years, it's four days before her wedding to dream man Simon and Milly has kept her previous marriage a secret from everyone. When someone from her past turns up, it's all threatened to fall apart. I was pleasantly surprised with this one - it was a lot more involved than I expected and definitely worth a read.

The third book I read was Lazy Ways To Make A Living by Abigail Bosanko. I originally read this a few years ago but coincidentally a friend had brought the book with her and when she finished it and I'd finished my two books I decided to read it again. Lexicographer Rose has a string of disastrous relationships behind her, a number of horrible part-time jobs, a passion for chess and a romantic nature - her favourite book is Jane Eyre and this story has more than a slight resemblance to Bronte's novel. Rose meets Jamie and begins a passionate affair, until - inevitably - it all goes awry. I forgot how much I loved this book, it's a little different to your usual chick-lit and again, not too predictable.

All in all, I was pretty pleased with my three books and I'm now reading another Victoria Connelly book called The Perfect Hero, which is Persuasion themed. I'll have to let you know how I get on with it!

Yesterday, I was feeling a little under the weather and spent all day in bed. Most would find this boring, but I watched the recent BBC series of Jane Eyre, followed by Wives and Daughters and finished off with googling my favourite scenes from North & South and Becoming Jane. What a day! I know how to live on the wild side...

Sunday, 9 September 2012

It was a delightful visit—perfect, in being much too short.

How gorgeous is this weather? I have been absolutely loving the sunshine this weekend and have definitely made the most of it.

Yesterday, despite feeling pretty under the weather (due to my alcohol consumption the night before, so give me no sympathy) I headed over to my local common with my housemates and indulged in some idle chit chat and sun-bathing before going to see a good friend of mine who I hadn't seen for two months, despite her not living too far away!

As per usual, we sat with a few bottles of wine (I don't have a drinking problem, honest), a takeaway and a bit of X Factor followed by a cheesy rom-com (She's All That was on E4 last night!) whilst setting the world to rights and analysing every last detail of any male gossip we may have. As if that wasn't fun enough, we headed over to Primrose Hill to sunbathe and have a picnic today!

I live in South-West London and have always said I'd never move North, but walking around Primrose Hill made me wish I had the budget to live there, it's so lovely. Also helps that I spotted a few celebs - including DOMINIC COOPER, who those of you who read my blog last weekend will know I love.

Now I'm back home, sad that the weekend went so quickly and dreading going back to work tomorrow, but I'm off on holiday on Wednesday so I can't really grumble. Unfortunately I was a typical Brit and got sunburnt yesterday, but I'm just going to consider it a base tan for the awesome tan I'll be getting next week anyway!

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Oh! I am delighted with the book! I should like to spend my whole life in reading it.

So book snobs beware, I have a confession to make... I've mentioned before that I'm a bit of a Twilight fan - I'm not a crazy, obsessed Twi-hard or anything, but I genuinely love the books. If you think that's bad then maybe stop reading now because what I'm about to say may shock you further.

Not only have I read all three Fifty Shades of Grey books, but I really enjoyed them. So much so that I couldn't put them down and traded in sleep for page-turning. I know, I know, they're not the most well-written books and let's face it, the sex scenes do make me roll my eyes. By the third book you want to skip through them, but I just love the Ana/Christian relationship.

As it originated as Twilight fan fiction, I guess it shouldn't surprise anyone that I enjoyed them. I can't get enough of an all-consuming love affair in a book! It's so romantic and unlike real life that it turns into my little escape. My life is so romance-free that I need to make up for it elsewhere.

It has set me to thinking though that perhaps I can't trust my literary judgement as much as I thought. I've always loved chick-lit and stories of great romance, but I can usually tell when a book is good and enjoy it. I've always read the old classics, books that have been recommended to me as a great book and enjoyed them and I've always steered clear of the Mills and Boon type novels and turned my nose up at them but if I actually read one would I enjoy it? I hope not, but who knows...

Also, I gave in and now have a Kindle. I know I swore when they came out that I would never own one and that it was a travesty to swap a beautifully printed book for a digital edition on a screen, but for practicality I'm so glad I own one. Every morning I get on a packed commuter train and barely have room to breathe let alone hold a book, now my Kindle is so small that I can read it anywhere - and that makes me happy! So yes, I may hate myself a little, but at least I can now read.

I'm in need of a really good book to read now. Does anyone have any good suggestions?

Saturday, 1 September 2012

There will be little rubs and disappointments everywhere, and we are all apt to expect too much

So I very rarely have a quiet weekend. I usually like to keep busy and find that by the time you've done everything you want to do, kept up with friends and paid visits to family you barely have a moment to yourself. For instance, last week I was busy every night - and was looking forward to a night of just sitting around doing nothing. What a fool.

Now it's Saturday and not only have I done nothing other than go to work all week, but I now have absolutely no plans for the weekend. OK, so I went to the gym and for a swim this morning (holiday in less than two weeks, beach body panic has well and truly set in) but other than that NOTHING. I'm rarely home on a Friday or Saturday evening, let alone both!

It seems that everyone is busy this weekend - housemates are away or seeing other friends, other friends are on honeymoon, home for the weekend, spending time with boyfriends or family. I considered going home but even my parents are away this weekend.

Thus I'm sitting in my house doing nothing but watch TV. However, this has meant that I've watched four episodes of my new favourite TV show, SingDate. General premise is that someone who likes singing virtually duets with people via webcam and chooses who he/she wants to go on a final duet/date with. So cringe-y and fantastic - and we all know how I adore a love story. Even if geographical practicality does seem to go out of the window.

So now I think my evening will consist of a bottle of sparkling rose wine and a Jane Austen adaptation - I haven't watched one in months! Question is, which one do I watch? My go-to Jane Austen is usually ITV's Persuasion but I'm feeling a little fragile and I'm not sure I can handle Wentworth at the moment without despairing at the sorry state of my own lovelife. I think I might settle for Sense and Sensibility and as I have nothing but time I might even go for the BBC series from a couple of years ago. Dominic Cooper as Willoughby - HELLO!

So I hope you're all having a truly wonderful weekend, filled with exciting plans. Though, let's face it, I'm still going to thoroughly enjoy my Saturday night with a little help from Jane.

Friday, 31 August 2012

The more I know of the world, the more I am convinced that I shall never see a man whom I can really love

So... I haven't posted on here for over a year and a half. Which, quite frankly, is shocking behaviour. I had a little browse over my past posts earlier and it reminded me of how much I used to love blogging, and how I very rarely get the chance to write my own opinions and thoughts anymore.

A lot has changed since December 2010, and yet at the same time it hasn't really. I have now moved into a gorgeous house in a less respectable area with 3 other girls - a good friend from uni, a good friend from home and a friend who moved into the flat in Clapham with me last year. We have a lot of fun... but you know how it is with 4 girls living and socialising together.

Unsurprisingly I'm still single, however I DID go on not one but two dates last week (they say men are like buses). Sadly date number one was a disaster and whilst date number two (which although was our first official date, could have been considered our third due to previous meetings) seemed to have potential, it has gone downhill since. To the point where there will be no further contact.

Whilst I'm not devastated that things didn't work out with either of them - besides the self-esteem nosedive of having someone tell you that he doesn't think you're a "match in the long term" - the temporary closeness was nice and you get that little bit of excitement that maybe this time you've met someone, regardless of your actual feelings for them. But onwards and upwards as they say... I guess I'll just have to wait for the next bus.

Three of my close friends are now married, which hasn't eased the marriage panic in any way (though I do love a wedding!). And again, whilst I don't want to be getting married any time soon, I kind of thought I'd be on the marriage track by around 28 and having kids at around 30, so I need to get a move on. I'm 24 now - say I'm with someone for two years before we get engaged, it then takes a year to plan the wedding, so really I need to meet my future husband by 25, which is only 6 months away. Must not start hyperventilating again...

Life doesn't follow a plan though, which I need to remember. I just need to wait for the right man to come along. However, I do not want to be leading the same lifestyle of going out with my friends every weekend and then lying hungover on the sofa with pizza and trashy TV the next day when I reach 30.

I don't want to wind up a spinster - or a Charlotte Lucas who marries just to not end up one. If anything I hope I'm an Anne Elliot who despite reaching the grand old age of 27 finally married the man of her dreams. My aunt recently passed away, and whilst she was leading a perfectly happy life and was loved by everyone, she never married or found someone to share her life with, which is sad. I just hope I don't share the same fate. I remain ever hopeful though and at 24 I don't think I need to call on Mr Collins just yet...