‘Happy’ Category

  1. Daisy Buchanan’s Wickedly Unofficial Guide to Made In Chelsea

    October 23, 2012 by J9London

    You can find Daisy as @NotRollergirl on Twitter (image from Twitter)

    It is a rainy Friday afternoon and I get to hunker down in my lounge with a cup of tea and my fave feminist about town, Daisy Buchanan. What a babe. Daisy writes for a million awesome publications but is most known for her epic Made In Chelsea reviews for Sabotage Times. Such is her popularity as unofficial commentator on all things Chelsea, Daisy’s written a book on the subject. The Wickedly Unofficial Guide to Made In Chelsea has been available on Amazon for one week, and it’s hilarious. As a non-watcher I’ve been instantly captivated by Daisy’s effortless and energetic account of the show.

    How has the first week gone by?

    It’s been very disappointing in a lot of ways. I thought that when you were an author you didn’t have to get the tube anymore, thought someone came round and did your hair for you in the morning, but no! Shit!

    In all seriousness it’s been a lovely week. I’ve really liked how sweet everyone’s been. I’ve not quite grasped it; in a weird way it doesn’t feel like a part of me. It was so accidental and I think very lucky that I, just by chance, started writing about something I loved and struck a cord.

    They seem like today’s Jane Austen characters: people who have nothing to do except have scandalous affairs.

    It’s got a real old fashioned moral core. You know your heroes and villains. If you cheat, if you lie, if you try and make yourself appear any better than you are then, it may be the next episode, it may be in a whole series time but you’ll get caught out.

    Obviously in terms of wealth and opportunity they’re representing the tiniest minority. But the show is so loved, I think because there are so many great stories. Also because you can quite comfortably laugh at and with the wealthy. And I want a bit of glitter aspiration in my life and I think lots of people feel the same.

    What’s been your favourite Chelsea moment?

    When Ollie’s going out with Chloe they all go fishing and Chloe eats a worm. And everyone’s hysterical, and they’re holding wine glasses, and everything’s flailing about but the wine’s perfectly still. And amongst all the general disastery and running around-ness, the maggots get overturned and Ollie goes “My WORMS.”

    Are there any characters that you’re more invested in than others?

    Definitely. Millie, who had a big love story with Hugo. At the time I had a terrible boyfriend, and I saw parallels in our situation. You don’t sensibly think I need to leave, he’s making me miserable, you think, if I just analyse everything I can fix this. I just need to work out how.

    And Rosie: I think she’s definitely meant to be the villain. I think that’s editing and scripting.

    So you don’t think in real life she’s a horrible person?

    No. Oh my god, I hope not. I’m insuring myself; I’m very positive about the show in my writing, but I’m not kind about all of the characters. I wouldn’t want to be that unkind about a real person, I’m talking about her as a character.

    That’s an interesting thing about the show is how much of it is real and how much is scripted.

    The casting is brilliant in that they don’t make anyone do anything that’s unnatural to them. But they can interpret what people do to follow the arc they want. Scripted reality is such an odd and interesting genre, but I think they’re maybe 75% real – they’re playing themselves but it’s heightened.

    In your writing it seems like you’re their parent and they’re a group of unruly toddlers. Do you have a sense of ownership?

    I do a bit. I think generally when it comes to talking about the show I feel quite proprietorial of it. If people want to talk about Made in Chelsea, you want to come to me.

    If the cast read the book, what would you hope they react with?

    I hope they really, really laugh. I think most of them have enough of a sense of humour about themselves to be able to enjoy it.

    What are your predictions?

    People are saying that Richard and Cheska are finally going to get together. I don’t know if that’s what I want. I’d like her to meet someone who blows her mind. I’d like to see Louise with someone who adores her.

    I hope they all find people they fancy. Although I don’t, because I want there to be crazy drama to write about.

    Daisy didn’t leap into our lives through Made in Chelsea alone, of course; she’s a hugely experience pen-lady, having worked full time for a magazine for four years before going solo.

    You started out at Bliss and you’ve recently thrown yourself out into freelance. How is that?

    I had a brilliant time at Bliss I had so many adventures. Now I do treat every job like it might be my last, but so far it’s been very busy. I’ve had this book, which is ace. I’m working on another; it’s a middle class dilemmas handbook, a Sloane Ranger Handbook redux but less pie collars, more pesto. That’s all very up in the air at the moment. I’m mainly talking about that so my mum thinks I’m all right.

    I’ve just done my first pieces for Grazia and Marie Clair. I feel like on paper it’s going brilliantly.

    I love earning chunks of money. It reminds me of my first Saturday job: when I was fifteen I was waitressing at a pub, on three fifty and hour, and my first pay packet was twenty one pounds in an envelope. I still remember the feel of the pound coin in the brown paper; I thought I’d made it. I’d never had twenty one pounds before. And then quite quickly I discovered that it doesn’t go very far. So that’s what freelancing reminds me of.

    And I love working from home. My boyfriend works from home at the moment as well, so that has many advantages. Being able to have sex at four o’clock in the afternoon, you know.

    What’s the plan for the next year?

    My dream would be if someone could give me a bloody column. This is going to sound arrogant, but I’ve done a lot of writing for free and I’m at that point now where I think people should be fucking paying me because I know I’m good. It’s a terrible thing, you should never go around saying “I’m good” but if you don’t back yourself, no one else is going to.

    You do write a lot of different styles for a lot of different places, The Vagenda and AWOT and Work In Prowess, who can’t yet pay their contributors.

    I’m a cuckoo. Laying my eggs in other people’s nests. The amount of talent that amasses there dazzles me and I’m really honoured to be part of those things. But I was recently asked by a big name to do some free work and I was like “Dudes! If you don’t have money, who does?” And if I had a decent column I would have more time to do stuff for Work In Prowess and Vagenda and AWOT and that would feel like a good use of my time.

    If you don’t follow Daisy on twitter already, you’re a fool. She’s @notrollergirl over there, and is relentlessly entertaining. Naturally this gives her an ideal platform for marketing her book.

    Recently Rick Edwards started following me and I sent him a message saying “Hey there, you can tell me to bugger off, this is really unclassy and not how I operate, but if you could draw people’s attention to this, that would make a real difference to me and be incredible,” and he was just charming and lovely and gentlemanly and did it and I’m going to make him a pie. It means a huge amount when people who are in a position to do so do endorse what I do. I really don’t like asking for it.

    I think twitter is such a brilliant thing for new writers. What the hell would we have done before twitter? I would not be here now, I wouldn’t be talking to you. I wouldn’t know my boyfriend if it wasn’t for twitter. I wouldn’t have got laid in the last year if it wasn’t for twitter. It’s like a chat-room that’s ok. You get the odd dick, but people are nice.

    Daisy wears her feminism like an exceptionally well chosen perfume. The kind that mixes with you so well that wearing it makes you smell more like yourself than not. It’s not about placards all the time, she says, sometimes it’s about sitting in your pyjamas with your laptop.

    Women like us, we’re, you know, we’re just so normal. We don’t do anything special about feminism. But it seems so important to talk about that when you talk about anything else.

    Campaigning as starting discussions?

    Yeah. I think that starting discussions is a really important idea. It’s not enough now to just say, “well I think this,” you have to be receptive to what people are going to say. And sometimes just being open to people who are being total cunts is enough to make the cunt’s argument fall apart.

    What do you feel about the term feminism?

    I like the idea of sexy feminism. I want to smack down the idea that feminism is misandry and misery. My sister’s boyfriend once said, “Are you a feminist? But you wear make up.” Like, are you fucking kidding me? And anyone who says “why do we call it feminism, why don’t we call it equalism?” I just want to smack them really hard. It’s so often guys say it, guys who are all liberaller than thou. Where do you begin to explain that everything from FGM and forced marriage and not being able to vote or drive to the fact that I got hollered and beeped at nine times walking through Walthamstow to get to Londis yesterday. How the fuck is that fair?

    There are other things that are important to me and other battles that need fighting but I wouldn’t be playing to my strengths.

    But for Daisy (and thank the heavens there are more of us that fell this way) it’s not about a denial of femininity.

    When it comes to desire, I mean I objectify myself every day. I’m going to a party tonight, I’ve got a tight, shiny dress, I want to look hot. I started my own blog, sprayedbydaisy.tumblr.com, and it’s a perfume thing. My first post is a piece on what perfume to wear to make people want to have sex with you. But are you allowed to want people to want to have sex with you? And how do you fight that? I want everyone to want to have sex with me.

    But you don’t want them to feel entitled to have sex with you.

    Exactly. That is exactly it. Feminism is about making patriarchal and entitlement culture fuck off.

    Being a writer, who is also a woman, can sometimes make you feel like you’re supposed to lead the charge into territory that’s been traditionally male. But then who will write about periods and cupcakes?

    People say “women should be hired to write about all the things” and I feel like I’m betraying someone somewhere somehow because I do write about girl shit. But then again, I do just want to be funny and make people laugh; I’d make a terrible war correspondent. I can hammer out anything anyone asks me to, I feel confident in that, but if I’m going to be dazzling, it needs to be shit about sex, abortions, periods, perfume, tele, boyfriends.

    And with that, we’re done:

    I think that’s it, I’m knackered, are you knackered, shall we have some wine?

    Janina (the interviewer) is addicted to dark chocolate and peppermint tea. She once made a burger so good she has a picture of the occasion on her bedroom wall. You can find out more about her at myrednotebook.com and follow her on twitter at @J9London.

    @NotRollergirl (the interviewee) is a freelance funnywoman and writerlady. She’s the women’s editor over on Sabotage Times, she writes books, and she knows all the words to ABBA’s entire collection. Follow her on Twitter (recommended for daily giggles).

  2. AWOT 4 announcement

    September 27, 2012 by Ashley

    Hello lovelies,

    AWOT is back for its fourth outing! And we are heading back to our favourite haunt, The Liberty Lounge, on Thursday 8th November. This time, we are offering AWOT ladies the chance to take part in a gin tasting ahead of the party. The tasting is entirely optional and costs £10 a head to try six gins with the lovely G and Tea Time – whose founders (Kate and Carrie) actually met at our very first AWOT gathering last year!

    If you want to come along to the pre-party gin tasting, then please select the gin tasting ticket option and come with a crispy tenner to give to the lovely ladies of G and Tea Time. You will need to arrive on time for the tasting to start at 6:30. If you would rather just come along for the AWOT bit, then feel free to come along from 7:15 onwards.

    As usual, everyone is invited to bake for the party (though that too is entirely optional!). If you haven’t been to an AWOT event before, you are absolutely welcome to come along, meet some fellow lady tweeters, and make some new friends. It’s lots of fun.

    I’ve had lots of people asking me recently about inviting men along to our socials. It’s something I have thought long and hard about, and I’ve listened to the views of everyone who’s offered them. The thing that I like to keep in mind is that AWOT did not start out as a feminist organisation. It started because there were loads of brilliant women on Twitter that I wanted to get to know in real life. It has evolved somewhat since then, and I feel that this blog is an excellent space where people (men and women) can share their thoughts on things. We’ve had feminist discussions and dialogues, and as a strident feminist (*high fives Caitlin*) I think that’s brilliant. At the same time, I am reminded that not everyone that comes along to AWOT identifies as a feminist, and that is not for me to make comment on. So while I am very happy for the website to be more of a feminist space, I think it would be unfair to make the AWOT events into actual feminist events.

    I can’t speak for everyone, but when I go to AWOT, I actually spend less time talking about hardcore feminist issues, and more time discussing cystitis and thigh chafing remedies. So the socials will remain women only for the time being. I think it is important for women to be able to meet and just be among other women. We have a brilliant thing going on, and if inviting men would ruin that for some people, then I don’t think it would be fair. If I have the time to organise a proper feminist get together, then I will of course invite feminist men. I did invite men to the after-party of AWOT 3 and found that very few actually came along. If you have any opinions on the above, or you agree/disagree then please feel free to say so on the comments section below. As always, I appreciate your thoughts. AWOT is a democracy! :)

    I really hope to see lots of you at the gathering in November. I’ve met some of my very best friends through AWOT and it really is a special event. If you haven’t been before and are interested, do come along. We’re dead nice, promise.

    See you in November!

    Ashley x


  3. Hirsute Suits Her

    July 19, 2012 by alicehaswords

    Hello, all.

    It’s been a little while since Christina’s Questionhair blog, so I think it’s safe for me to breach the topic again. I have been engaged in my own body hair experiment for quite some time now. It’s been a journey of personal growth, as it were, and I’d like to share some of the results.

    It’s strange to think that in an age when introspection and self-awareness are so heavily encouraged, and our bodies are the focus of so much obsession, most women have no idea what their own body hair would look like, if they were to just let it be for any significant length of time. From an early age we are pressured by peers, parents, and the fearsome, implicit forces of social disapproval to get rid of any visible hair, by whatever means possible, however painful, time-consuming and costly this may be.

    Personally, I was an early bloomer – I started my periods when I was 10, and upon starting secondary school, was about a foot taller than most of the other girls, and at least 4 feet taller than most of the boys (or so it seemed at the time). All this made the already-shy me excruciatingly self-conscious. I remember sitting in the changing room after an early year 7 P.E. lesson, and a friend suggesting that I probably should shave my legs, because people were looking, and y’know, they had some hair on them, which must not be allowed to see the light of day under any circumstances. I went home and told my mum, who handed me her electric shaver. I don’t remember her being particularly emotional in either direction on this occasion, it was just matter-of-fact: this is what we do, and this is how we do it.

    I recall another occasion when I realised TOO LATE that I’d forgotten to shave my underarms the morning before a school swimming lesson, and the whole affair was an agony of anxiety that somebody would notice, should I put my hand up to answer a question, but if I didn’t put my hand up, I would more likely be picked out to answer, and thus be the centre of attention. (If there are any teachers reading who still use that trick: you are a dick. Stoppit.)

    Why does our society put girls through this unnecessary anguish? Adolescence is shitty enough as it is. (Mainly because it’s spent surrounded by adolescents. If there are any reading this, you are probably a dick too. Sorry. You’ll agree with me someday.)

    So then.

    Reasons I decided to experiment with Not Shaving:

    - It’s a pain in the arse to do.

    - It’s unfair that our supposedly liberated generation is MORE expected to do this stuff than ever before, simply because of somebody’s made-up ideals of femininity and beauty and such.

    - There is a whole industry built around this, which makes a mint out of women’s bodily insecurities, which is Not Okay in my book, and I want to tell them, in a practical, demonstrative sort of way, that they can fuck right off.

    - The more women that are brave enough to be pioneers of hairy freedom, the more people get used to the idea, and the less scary it becomes, thus, hopefully, contributing to genuine choice about what we do with our bodies, rather than this sneaky, manipulative coercion we’re living with now.

    - Curiosity.

    And on to the Results of my Experimenting:

    Here is a Mal’s-eye-view of what over 6 months of lady leg hair looks like:

    (photo by Alice)

    I’m okay with it. I don’t get my legs out very often, (partly because it’s too bloody cold most of the time), but every now and then I do, and though I may still feel a little self conscious about it, generally people don’t notice, or are too polite to mention anything. It’s quite nice, really. Soft. Vastly preferable to scratchy stubble. Every now and then I shave, just on a whim, to start the process afresh, but this has become more and more infrequent. I’m sort of proud of my leg hair. Like the delicious strawberries in my garden, it feels like an achievement to have grown something.

    And while I’m mildly proud of my leg hair, I can honestly state that I’m really quite fond of my underarm hair. So much so that I only ever trim, never remove it entirely any more. I ask you, if kittens are allowed to be appealing because they’re fluffy, why not armpits? (Armpittens? Armpets?)

    (photo by Alice)


     Further discoveries:

    - I also quite like the little line that grows from my bellybutton downwards. S’kinda cute.

    - The inner-thigh area is really quite ambiguous, with the darkness and density of hair. This leads me to question, who drew the bikini line? How did they manage to get it so wrong? And why are they allowed to keep on invading further inwards, (I have the title sequence of Dad’s Army in mind), until some people feel it necessary to conceal all evidence that they ever underwent puberty? And to continue down this tangent, in what sort of confused and broken world is this childification of women’s bodies considered sexy?

    - The only areas of my (external) body I can be sure have absolutely no hair on them are the soles of my feet and palms of my hands. Everywhere else is pretty much up for forestation, to a delightfully varietous array of degrees. The body is a beautiful landscape. (I say this to reassure any of you who may have found hair somewhere and wondered if they’re hideously, deformedly different from everyone else ever: you’re probably not.)

    - I still fail to be comfortable with facial hair, and can be found fairly regularly neatening my messy eyebrows or removing anomalous chin hairs with tweezers. Perhaps I will tackle this insecurity too, one day. One step at a time.

    In conclusion, dear reader, I encourage all of you who have ever nurtured a curiosity, a desire to investigate the limits of your hirsuteness, to be bold and do so. You’ve got nothing to lose, and a whole joyful world of armpit pets and lady landscape gardening potentially awaits you.

    And if you’re really just not into it, fair enough, but please have the courtesy to be supportive of the rest of us.

    Alice is a student of cultural studies, a blogger, an aspiring maker of stuff (including, but not limited to, music, films & cake) and an all round Very Nice Person. She has a rainbow hat (and quite possibly a rainbow jumper) that I am fond of.

    You can find her on Twitter, or you can shake and shimmy over to her superb blog. I highly recommend it for insightful posts and general brilliance.

  4. Reflections from Aunt Irma

    June 22, 2012 by Jenni

    Image from IT Crowd / Channel 4.

    Every time that particularly joyful week in my menstrual cycle rolls around again, I am always found clutching my spasming sides and reaching for the painkillers moaning “I hate being a girl, ugghhhhhhhhh!”, before retreating underneath my duvet trying to curl myself into the smallest possible space. I hate it when my boobs hurt so much that I can’t walk around unbra’d without holding them still. I hate it when boys just don’t understand why whatever silly thing they said/did is making me grumpy and shouty. I hate it when my hormones get the better of me and try to make me cry at sad films, resulting in a battle of wills between me and my tear ducts because I refuse to let it be known that I am secretly soppy. I hate it when I am contorting myself into some awful yoga position trying to reach that spot on the back of my thigh with a razor, again.

    Well, I decided from my duvety-cocoon-of-pain, sod that! I am determined to remind myself of some of the reasons that being a girl isn’t all that bad, if only so it stops me thinking of how much my uterus is rebelling against me today.

    Firstly, boobs. We have em, and we can play with them at any time of our choosing. I like to jiggle mine at my friends, and sometimes they even join in. I love having jubblies, I personally think they are a wonderful accessory in all situations. They’re an excellent shelf for catching tit-bits of food (see what I did there) that would otherwise go to waste, and some lucky ladies can even use their cleavages to store all manner of objects when their arms get tired. They make big necklaces sit just right and hold up strapless tops. Plus their receptacles come in a rainbow of shapes and colours and materials to suit any style. We can push them up, squash them down or squeeze them together and they’re just lovely.

    Another thing that’s great about being a girl is when you feel beautiful because everything is working together today. Now, most of the time you will find me dressing in an array of humorous T-shirts, jeans (bootcut, never skinny fit) and a big snuggly hoodie because I dress for comfort and not for style, and wouldn’t really know style if it slapped me in the face. Every so often though I like to dress up and make an effort, wear a dress and makeup and stuff. It’s lovely being girly for once-high heels and swishy hair and everything feeling wonderful because I know I look great today. And I also know that tomorrow I don’t have to bother, which probably helps too.

    And oh the conversations! The things you talk about with your closest girlfriends would make Casanova blush. Nothing is taboo-from how much your pants are trying to crawl into your bumcrack today to just exactly what you would do to that guy/girl, and where. Girlfriends instantly understand that the correct response to “Men are sh*ts” is agreement, icecream and wine. They’re the ones who rearrange your clothes for you so no-one can see your bra, who lend you magic pants when you’re having a “fat day” and who make sure you haven’t got your skirt tucked into your tights when you leave the bogs.

    Yes, girls tend to be bitchier than boys, but then again they’re also the ones who stick by you through anything, they help you up when everything falls apart and they steer you away from creepy men in bars who are trying to chat you up. In short, they’re the best. I guess you couldn’t be an AWOT without first being a WOT.

    And I know that this time next week when Aunt Irma has retreated back to her cave that I will think of a million more reasons why being a girl is fabulous and better reasons at that. But for now, I shall clutch at these 3 like a beacon of hope, and proceed to curl up in my bed and eat my body weight in chocolate.

    In the end, being a girl is pretty darn awesome. Just not this week.

    Jenni (@circlethinker) is a science geek, a theatre aficionado (both on and off the stage), and a big fan of socks. In fact, she claims her socks are more awesome than mine (see Twitter bio), but she hasn’t seen my Bakewell Tart socks, so I can only assume she is wrong. She’s in her early twenties and recently finished up a Biomedical Science degree at Sheffield. Jenni has a lovely blog over here and you can find her on Twitter right here


  5. Things I Wish I Had Known At Sixteen

    May 1, 2012 by CJMortimer

    Image from http://www.srjohannes.com/

    So my teenage years weren’t that fun. Acne, angst and unpopularity plagued my existence and I imagined by twenty one I’d have it all figured out, I’d be cool, have friends and be out of the town I grew up in – known as ‘The Town Were Original Thoughts Go To Die’ (TTWOTGTD for short).

    Having achieved the latter two I am still failing on the first and have come to the conclusion that I have figured out very little in the past five years, and that the major difference between me now and me then is now I have to pay rent.

    However what I have learnt in the past few years came to the forefront of my mind this morning as a peculiar man about my (actual) age approached me on the way home from Sainsbury’s and as a preamble to hitting on me asked my age. I immediately lied and said I was sixteen. He then believed me which I was shocked at as I looked older than sixteen when I was sixteen (tall girls holla!). However it got me thinking about whether or not I would want to be sixteen again. I immediately said ‘absolutely not, no way, not a chance, never!’ but after a moment of reflection I concluded I would like to go back and fix the mistakes I made and erase the time I wasted if I’d only known what I know now.

    Of course, I will probably be saying the same things at 30 about being 21 but regardless this is what I wish I could tell my sixteen year old self:

    1. No matter how much Clash you listen to or Ramones T-Shirts you buy you are not emo if you refuse to dye your hair and still secretly love Britney Spears. And that’s OK because emo is not a good look for you.

    2. Even though it hasn’t been your natural hair colour since you were eight, you look much better as a blonde. But whatever you do, DO NOT LET YOUR FRIENDS DYE IT FOR YOU!

    3. You may be considered weird for being so passionate about politics at this age but don’t worry as soon as Obama gets elected other people will get interested enough to talk to you about it.

    4. And don’t worry about those who still won’t; you’re smarter than them.

    5. Don’t feel weird about being the only thirteen year old who read George Orwell/Sylia Plath on family holidays in your neighbourhood. There are others like you and you will find them at university I promise!

    6. The popular girls in your class are lying about having sex. They also get up two hours before school to do their make up. True story.

    7. Feminism is NOT a dirty word and ignore anyone who tells you to shut up about it.

    8. You think you’re in emotional pain now? Wait until the shit really hits the fan in a year or so and then start complaining.

    9. The three or four friends you do have are the most important people in your life.

    10. You’re weird. You’re kind of insane. But most people will eventually think its adorable.

    11. Boys are pretty much exactly the same as girls and have similar emotional pratfalls. Its OK that you sometimes prefer them to girls. Some of the boys you will meet in the next few years are the greatest friends you’ll ever have.

    12. Some boys are lame and will break your heart though most of the time they don’t mean to. They’re just stupid.

    13. In turn, you will accidentally break some boys’ hearts by not liking them back. Don’t worry and don’t let them make it your fault.

    14. Disney movies, and kids’ movies in general for that matter, are amazing. Stop pretending you don’t love them. And give up on ever liking chick flicks no matter how many sleepovers ram them down your throat.

    15. You are never going to be good at maths. Interesting people seldom are.

    16. Stop avoiding your future. Getting out of TTWOTGTD is a noble life aspiration but given you achieve it at eighteen you need to come up with some ideas beyond that and get working on them in more ways than ‘saving money so I don’t have to come back’ ASAP.

    17. You’ll still be self-absorbed at twenty one but you’ll also be more caring so it balances out.

    18. Having online friends is not for nerds. Twitter is a fantastic invention.

    19. You’ll still have no idea what you want or what you’re doing when you escape you adolescence. Good luck with that.

    And finally…

    20. You will never stop tripping up over your own feet. Though you will learn how to style it out.

    So what about the other lovely (and far more sophtiscated) AWOT ladies? Any thoughts, tweets, blog posts about what you’ve learnt since sixteen? I’d love to hear it.

    Caroline is a student at Birmingham University. She’s also a freelance journalist and blogger, providing insights into political, social, and economic news from around the world. You can follow her on Twitter here, or you can check out her superb blog here

  6. Playlists and prose: what to take on holiday

    April 26, 2012 by luc7m

    Image from schools.natlib.govt.nz

    If you’re anything like me, packing for a holiday falls into three categories; clothes, books and music. While it can take me less than an hour to fill a suitcase with outfits for daytime (bikinis), outfits for nighttime, accessories, shoes, jewellery and makeup, it can take me at least two weeks to decide what books I will be reading and what music I will be listening to.

    Just in case any of you has the same problem, I thought I’d give you my guide on what to take… *massively helpful face*


    I like a good holiday playlist and let’s face it, foreign radio stations are fairly wank. If iPods had been invented in the 90s, we would never have been subjected to Saturday Night or The Macarena complete with equally wanky dance moves. For this reason, I usually make a couple.

    My favorite playlist is the one I listen to constantly for the first few days of each holiday, lying by the pool drifting in and out of sleep, before I start getting distracted by the amazingly hot waiter who keeps bringing me water. It’s full of music that has a memory for me and I’m instantly transported back to place where I first heard it and the people I was with. This is the playlist that helps me turn off from life, stop thinking about work and start thinking about things I probably shouldn’t be thinking about, which is the whole point of a holiday after all…

    I add to this playlist all the time so it’s massive, but here’s a snapshot of my most favourite and evocative tunes that really provide distraction. Feel free to steal.

    Counting Crows: Round Here
    Fiona Apple: Shadowboxer
    Jackson Five: I Wanna Be
    Kings of Leon: The Face
    Matchbox 20: Kody
    The Verve: Lucky Man
    Tracy Chapman: Fast Car
    The Doors: Light my Fire
    Queen: Old Fashioned Lover Boy
    Tom McRae: Ghost of a Shark
    Example: Kickstarts
    Duncan Sheik: Barely Breathing
    Guns and Roses: November Rain
    James: She’s a Star
    Lamb: Gorecki
    ELO: Mr Blue Sky
    The Wallflowers: Heroes
    Empire of the Sun: Walking on a Dream
    Massive Attack: Unfinished Sympathy
    Snow Patrol: Chocolate
    Prince: Little Red Corvette
    Oasis: Stop Crying Your Heart Out


    For me, a big part of my love of reading is the book itself – the smell, the touch, it’s own space on my shelf – and while I would never encourage anyone to buy a Kindle, I do recognise its usefulness after the hundredth time of gathering up the pages that have come loose and fallen in the pool because the spine glue has melted in the heat.

    I tend to take five books with me whenever I go away. I don’t ever assume I’ll read them all, due to my aforementioned habit of falling asleep whenever I lie down, but they’re there if I need them. I think the perfect book list is a combination of old favourites, new recommendations and a classic or two. But, this is just how I do it.

    You will never find anything on my list by Marian Keyes, Sophie Kinsella or Jodi Picoult, because I think they’re nauseatingly trite. You will, however, find the complete works of Jilly Cooper because I’ve loved her forever and I don’t think any summer is complete without some fantasising about Rupert Campbell-Black. I make up for this by balancing them out with a bit of Shakespeare, Salinger, Julian Barnes and Ian McEwan. I will also have some crime novels because, for some reason, I love gore. My favourites are Karin Slaughter* and Jeffrey Deaver, they’re really easy to read and generally scare the shit out of me. And, for some genuinely funny, rib-aching laughter Tom Sharpe always hits the right spot.

    Over the past few years, here are some books that have racked up the miles with me and I’d thoroughly recommend.

    Tom Sharpe: Blott on the Landscape
    Margaret Mitchell: Gone with the Wind
    Andrew Kauffman: All my friends are Superheroes
    John Irving: A Prayer for Owen Meany
    Harper Lee: To Kill a Mockingbird
    Douglas Adams: Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
    Sarah Waters: Tipping the Velvet
    Delphine de Vigan: No et Moi
    Homer: The Iliad
    Matthew Pearl: The Dante Club
    Bella Pollen: Hunting Unicorns
    Alexander Masters: Stuart, A Life Backwards
    Alexander Dumas: The Count of Monte Cristo
    Mötley Crüe: The Dirt

    If you’ve never read any Jilly Cooper (Ashley…) it doesn’t really matter which you go for, but there are reoccurring characters and I like things in order, so I say do as Maria von Trapp and start at the very beginning, with Riders.

    So there you go, my thoughts on holiday packing. Now, if you’ll excuse me the hot waiter is on his way over with more water. And then i’m scheduled for another nap, natch…

    * Re: Karin Slaughter.  Be warned, they’re not for the faint hearted and if you are sqeamish in anyway, I wouldn’t recommend them. If you’re not squeamish but haven’t read them, then start with the first one, Blindsighted, because they have reoccurring characters and there’s a central story running throughout.

    Lucy is a PR lady, peanut butter aficionado and marmite lover. She’s a big fan of Jilly Cooper and recently came second in her work’s big bake off. You find follow Lucy on Twitter right here


  7. An open letter to my sexy lady mates

    April 4, 2012 by @NotRollergirl

    Hey Samantha Brick, you can be friends with fitties!

    I love being a girl with hot mates. I love it. I was out on Saturday with pixie perfect @jo_rourke and the sexy, statuesque @ashleyfryer and we spent about 20 minutes discussing which Renaissance painter would be best placed to paint @missebw and her luminous skin. I have watched grown men fall off pavements as @peachesanscream passes and spill drinks and forget their own names in the presence of @amytweetedthis. I’ve watched a waiter start stammering in the presence of @luc7m just after she told us she wasn’t wearing any make up. Instead of writing a post, I could just use the rest of this space to name check my beautiful girlfriends (@_staceysutton, @laurenbravo, @ewasr, @sarahrapp HIYA!)

    I don’t hate you because you’re beautiful, hot girl mates. (I hate you because you smell. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA not really.) You’re beautiful in a way that makes me get emotional as well as pervy. I love checking out your outfits, arses and accessories. And I do sometimes look at you and wish I had your legs/fringe/awesome skull bag. But not to the point of actual envy. If I don’t wave when you walk past, it’s not because I think everyone I have ever slept with prefers your tits to mine and I want you dead. It’s because I haven’t put my contacts in or have been distracted by a burrito shop.

    Surrounding myself with gorgeous girls hasn’t made me bitter, miserable, self loathing and friendless. When I’m in the presence of hotness, I feel… relaxed. An enormous glass of Pinot Grigio to the good. It’s sunshine on my shoulders. A lovely scented bubble bath. It feels positively intoxicating. It might just be a coincidence that my fittest friends are the funniest, and that my hips still hurt from a weekend of giggling. I couldn’t not be friends with girls. We nurture each other. We’re kind to each other when we’re crap at being kind to ourselves. We’re generous. And we do get insecure, and have whole conversations themed around “you’re so hot and I’m so shit”, but we talk each other off the ledge. We allow each other to be anxious, paranoid, hungover and emo because when you care about someone you don’t expect them to be perfect all the time. You let them have feelings.

    And on that theme, sometimes people are dicks. You fight, you fall out, and hopefully you make up but not always. This might be because they’ve been insensitive or they hold beliefs that you find objectionable or they refused to look after your dog when you got stuck in Panama. (You know who you are, bitch.) But unless you’ve been on a reality TV show, you don’t have a fight with someone that begins and ends with “YOUR VAGINA IS NICER THAN MY VAGINA! I HATE YOU!”

    So, if you’re a girl and you’re my mate, I’d be proud to have you as a bridesmaid, no matter how hot and gorgeous you are. (To be honest, I’d rather have fitties in my wedding pictures.) When we walk down the street and you get hollered at, I’m thinking “damn the patriarchy!” – but I’m secretly thinking “If I was the patriarchy and I didn’t know any better, I’d holler too.” Remember all this when the sexy men are queuing up to send you champagne – and ask for a glass for me. Hey, I’m so goshdarn gorgeous that Pizza Express keep sending me all these 2 for 1 vouchers. And I’d be proud to treat my beautiful lady friends to a complimentary Padana.

    @NotRollergirl is a funny funny lady. If you ever find out her true identity, you should befriend her immediately. She does a mean karaoke version of [insert all songs, ever] and knows every Abba song ever recorded, including those weird ones that weren’t in Mamma Mia. You can follow her on Twitter (recommended for daily giggles) or check out her excellent work on Sabotage Times. 

  8. Why I Still Love You, Madonna

    April 3, 2012 by CJMortimer

    Photo from http://chuvachienes.com

    Liz Jones of sperm stealing, Daily Mail fame wrote last Tuesday that Madonna was past it and should put some clothes on.

    In her third article criticising Madonna’s lifestyle choices this year (her other potshots include telling Madonna dating a toyboy makes her look old and her looking ‘pillow faced’ at the Venice festival) Liz Jones attacks her for wearing fishnets and satin short shorts at a recent musical festival.

    While I must concede that Madonna, at 53, is no longer in her prime I am still outraged by an attempt to say that the Material Girl should behave some decorum.

    As preamble to her tale of controversial semen rustling Liz Jones proudly proclaimed that she was a feminist and that she looked down on ‘mumsy’ types that had given up on any hint of independence and sex appeal.

    So why criticise Madonna for doing the opposite?

    I’ll be first to admit that Madonna is not the spring chicken she once was; no matter how many liposuctions or macrobiotic lunches or toyboy husbands she gets through she will never again regain the true flower of her youth. Not even if she grows it in a lab, which I’m sure she has either already tried or will try in the near future.

    However, Iggy Pop, who is incidentally 65 next month and has a bass player who frequently appears with a cardigan and a cup of tea onstage, is almost ubiquitously seen running around topless and no-one has told him to cover up. When he unexpectedly performed a set to my sister and her classmates on a school trip to the local country house six or seven years ago (long story) most of the parents and teachers regarded the spectacle of a half naked pensioner cavorting about in front of a bunch of eight year olds amusing rather than distasteful (my sister on the other hand remembers just being confused by the whole thing).

    Similarly, Mick Jagger (pushing 70) still struts around a stage doing that bizarre chicken-fish hybrid dance that he does and sleeps with women a third of his age.

    Why is it when does Madonna any of this then she is ‘sad’?

    Madonna has always been a massive headache for the establishment. When she first arrived on the scene people thought she was a one hit wonder because she was no great beauty, no great voice and pop still considered the need for a King rather than a Queen on its throne.

    Fast forward thirty years; Madonna still reigns supreme and she is now in good company. At some point she will have to pass on her crown but it never would have been possible for the Britneys, the Kylies, the Lady Gagas and even the Adeles of the modern music industry to get their stilettos through the door if it wasn’t for her. She has proved time and time again that women can sit at the top table with men and behave just as badly as they like.

    Why stop now? Why not branch out and take over small African countries while you’re at it? A man would give half the opportunity.

    As feminists we have a set list of people we’re ‘supposed’ to admire. Emmeline Pankhurst, Betty Friedan, Germaine Greer and the rest. They wrote about feminism, they studied, they campaigned for it. They railed against the Patriarchy. Women like Madonna who spent the past thirty years parading around in their knickers should be ashamed by comparison.

    However, Pankhurst, Friedan and Greer were campaigning, all in their own ways, for women’s right to behave exactly in the same way as men.

    The new generation of female icons like Madonna, Caitlin Moran and even Lady Gaga are doing exactly that. They don’t give a crap if people think they’re being obscene, uncivilised or stupid. They do what they like, get their own way and don’t even bother to notice those who get in a sulk about it.

    So that is why Madonna, no matter what she wears or how many African children equate her with the child catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, will always sit comfortably between George Orwell and Anna Wintour when I list my idols.

    Living your life according the principle WWMD (What Would Madonna Do?) may not seem so ridiculous when you consider she moved to New York in 1978 with $35 in her pocket and in 2008 earned an estimated $40 million bringing up her total net worth to an estimated $500 million as of 2011.

    Caroline is a student at Birmingham University. She’s also a freelance journalist and blogger, providing insights into political, social, and economic news from around the world. You can follow her on Twitter here, or you can check out her superb blog here

  9. Healthy Competition

    February 29, 2012 by jo_rourke


    Image from obsessionistas.co.uk

    I love a good bitch. Sometimes there’s nothing better than getting it all off your chest and having a good old rant. Whether it’s about something or someone, letting it all out can be therapeutic. I reckon Anne Robinson, with her daily blank cheque of bitchiness on the Weakest Link, must retire of an evening utterly zen after her efficient 45 minute insult session. The idiot who wouldn’t move down the carriage on the tube becomes Ann, Coffee Artist, from Bognor Regis. Nick, Student, from Gloucester, conveniently has the head of a traffic warden on his scruffy, skinny jeaned and Conversed body.

    Women are usually charged with being the instigators and encouragers of the art (science? Not sure) of bitching and bitchery. The intended uses of ‘bitch’ are 1) a female dog and 2) an insult. Nice, huh? But quite apt when you consider what the verb ‘to bitch’ means in practise. When it comes to what we consume in the news (I use the term loosely as I am referring to tabloids) the actual tone of the piece is bitchy, often a “Who ate all the pies?” thinly disguised as “Flaunting her curves.” Most of what is written for or about women runs on a not too subtle current of highlighting flaws and pointing out mistakes. Even in our own lives, away from the sidebar of the Mail, we find ourselves continuing this theme. It may be because by pointing out other’s faults we make ourselves feel better about our own. Classic defence mechanism, really; attention will be drawn to their big bum/bad taste and away from our own bigger bum/worse taste. Couldn’t be more Chandler if I said “Could it be any more of a defence mechanism?”

    Image from queensofvintage.com

    In some ways, though, it’s a sign that we are incredibly competitive. And, listening to Woman’s Hour this morning, I got thinking some more on competitiveness. Jane Garvey had the editors of Cosmopolitan UK and Vagenda on the show, debating what women look for in a magazine. Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett for Vagenda argued that Cosmo’s content of beauty buys, belly busters and blow jobs is not just disempowering and outdated, but patronising too. Cosmo’s Louise Court (admittedly with reader numbers on her side) countered that plenty of women in the UK are interested in Cosmo’s articles on firmers and fellatio – 1.6 million actually – and that, besides, Cosmo does tackle “feminist” issues; equal pay and speaking out about domestic violence being two of them. Disregarding the fact that being paid less than your subordinate with a penis and being subjected to physical violence go against basic human rights; Court does have a point when she touches on readership figures. Women do buy Cosmopolitan. And they keep buying it. Its content can’t be that far off the mark.

    Yes, women are interested in more than just sex, how to look good with their kit off and how to achieve the perfect blow…dry, but equally this would have been said about the magazine at its launch back in 1886. At that point it was a “family” magazine with a section “devoted exclusively to the interests of women, with articles on fashions, on household decoration, on cooking, and the care and management of children.” For some women this would have been condescending and belittling. For others, it would have been the best thing since…I’ve got nothing here – sliced bread wasn’t invented ‘til 1928. But let’s leave it as really awesome. Besides which, now, in the 21st century, there are entire magazines, blogs, websites and TV programmes devoted to these topics, so they are by no means irrelevant, unpopular or antiquated.

    Court and Cosslett are intelligent, successful women at the helm of two groundbreaking magazines; the fact that they can’t agree on what women are interested in is a good thing - it simply means we’re interested in a wide variety of issues. (Even typing that sentence annoys me – why shouldn’t we be?) Competition in our media is also a good thing; it means we get to enjoy varied, boundary-pushing journalism. We need to focus on this benefit – we don’t need to bitch about the content – they are written by women, about women and for women. They both satisfy the needs of the fairer (ahem) sex and we have many, like any human being. I like to look good. I like clothes. I like to bake. I like to read. I am interested in current events. I am interested in Ryans Gosling and Reynolds. I deserve equal pay. I am a feminist. None of these sentences should cancel each other out. As for our in-sex bitching, competing and showing each other up, I recently saw an interview with the country singer Reba McEntire who put it brilliantly when, having been asked if there was competition between her and other female country singers, said “Of course we’re all competitive in our business, but we all pull for each other too.”

    Jo is a writer slash blogger, who works in sustainability. I’m still not sure what that means. For a small person, she is very noisy. In fact it is my personal belief that she only learned the four languages that she speaks fluently so that she could talk more. She knows the entirety of Bridget Jones by heart (don’t we all!) and is a dab hand at quoting any and all chick flicks. In fact we spent nearly 2 hours doing this the first time we met.

    Jo will be launching a brand new website later this year, which I will tell you all about soon – but rest assured, it’s going to be awesome. You can find Jo on Twitter, or in her little corner of the HuffPo


  10. Words are for girls – are grown women the rookies?

    February 23, 2012 by Alice

    A screen grab of today's Rookie Mag front page

    The internet must be worrying for parents. You wouldn’t even need to be a Daily Mail reader. While the publication of Caitlin Flanagan’s Girl Land, a book about the emotional lives of pubescent girls, has had web-savvy and feminist journalists frothing at the mouth, you can see the logic behind its origin.

    I’m not a teenage girl, but I know that to be one today means you have contend with hairless, fake-boobed porn stars as the ideal of naked woman to your peers. And that, if you were looking for ‘thinspiration’, the port-manteau given to pictures of underweight girls perceived as the ideal by eating disorder sufferers, there are whole Tumblrs dedicated to it. Getting wasted on a can of Strongbow and crying at a party is now recorded for posterity on Facebook and online shopping has removed entirely the joy of a Saturday spent in Tammy Girl. Yes, as grown women, we are subject to all this too – but we’ve been through puberty.

    However, this onslaught of negativity – no doubt exacerbated by the press and endless surveys and every programme that airs on Channel 4 to combat teen body crises – has a feisty little warrior – one which has come into existence with BBM and Facebook chat and the necessity for Jack Wills joggers.

    Teenage girls are making their own reading material – and it’s really very good.

    It might sound dry, but let’s put it in a little perspective. I’ve wanted to be a journalist since I was 16. The irony being I never really read magazines. Not those aimed at teenage girls, anyway. NME’s funny-smelling pages were consumed, chopped up and pasted on to books, walls and diaries. Vice introduced me to Peruvian horse-fighting, octogenarian Mexican prostitutes and pithy, arrogant humour. But between the time I dumped Bliss at 13 and picked up Elle, intermittently, at 19, there was a dearth of glossy telling me how to be female.

    There were no magazines out there which embraced the bookish, or the flatchested, or the artistic of 13 year-old-girls. There were no female-orientated print productions which told you what masturbation *really* was, or didn’t feature padded bras on their fashion pages. There were none which focused on how to make girls happy, rather than how to make boys, when really, how boys were made happy was to be left well alone, playing football, until the obligatory snogging time at the school disco. Cosmo was all about sex – I didn’t kiss anyone until I was 14. Glamour spoke out to the career-orientated independent young woman – I was stuck in rural Buckinghamshire painting morose self-portraits. Vogue was for a kind of woman I would never be.

    10 years on, and I still don’t read these magazines, and they still don’t satisfy me. Thankfully, now I read all sorts of things, and newspapers, and brilliant websites, feminist and otherwise (yes, obviously the Mail Online’s sidebar of shame).

    But for girls a decade my junior, the internet has provided girl-friendly, girl-orientated, girl-supportive literature – written by girls their own age, who understand what they like and what they need and what they need to read about. Take Rookie Mag, it’s produced with a monthly theme, but online, from the prodigal genius of Tavi Gevinson who decided to stop being the darling of the international fashion scene and write for teenage girls, thanks very much, just under two years ago.

    She and her team “post just three times a day – after school, after dinner, and before bed”, and discuss everything from faking orgasms to confronting bullies, answering style questions for the undersized girl and interviewing the TV stars they actually identify with.

    What I find most convincing about Rookie is that I don’t want to patronise the girls who are creating it. I don’t read it and think, “oh, how sweet”, or metaphorically head-pat the garish pink design. For one, these girls are seriously talented, but for another, reading Rookie puts so much in perspective that, just because you’ve got used to your period or know not to wear blue eyeshadow, you think you can put in a box – when really you can’t. Women still have friendship problems, and crush problems, and identity problems – but the glossy magazines we’re provided with wrap them up into “How to identify your Frenemy” articles, “How to get him to call you back” filler, and “Be the woman you really want to be” schemozzle. None of which are very constructive, no matter how many times they’re shoved down our throats.

    Partly, I think it’s something to do with the Atlantic. I had the good fortune to spend a few months working with NYLON magazine in New York, another fantastic magazine for young girls which celebrates books, pop culture, fun fashion and hardly mentions men at all – there’s the brilliantly-balanced NYLON Guys for that. But, until I moved to London, it was nigh on impossible to find a copy in the UK. Similarly, the likes of Jezebel and The Rumpus remain to be challenged in the British blogosphere – although I welcome The Vagenda to the realms of The F Word with open arms.

    I’m sure Rookie isn’t the only one – I am, after all, not pubescent and certain things should be left to the realm of teenagers – who am I to make it uncool? But the fact it exists at all is hugely encouraging for the next generation. Furthermore, I would be lying if I said I didn’t want to make my bedroom look a bit like a movie. Thanks, Tavi.

    Alice Vincent is a journalist, writer-lady, and is definitely on the list of my top ten favourite humans of all time. She works for The Huffington Post, writes for The Arts Desk and is one of the founding members of Wannabe Hacks. I met her at university, where she regularly frightened me with her ridiculous intellect, fierce dress sense and her very fetching bowl cut. 

    Her website’s gone a bit AWOL at the mo, but you can find her on Twitter* or you can read some of her words here

    *recommended for daily rofls and quality articles


  11. The stuff that would have blown my pre teen mind…

    February 9, 2012 by @NotRollergirl

    Photo from Exploringthefaith.com

    I hit my teens in 1998. The people who were being born when I started being a teenager are now teenagers themselves! Amazing, non? When I was going-on-thirteen I believed that jet packs would probably be commercially available by the time I was a grown up. I’m waiting on that one, but some of these post teen discoveries and inventions are just as awesome…


    When we were young, my sisters and I spent a lot of time getting carpet burn on our chins. We’d lie on our stomachs, each with an ear pressed against the speaker of the double tape deck hi-fi I got for my tenth birthday. (The top loading CD player made me feel VERY glamorous.) With two fingers hovering over play and record, a layer of hard plastic between me and the upside down D90, we’d jam the buttons down whenever Steve Lamacq or John Peel or Mark Goodier promised to play something we wanted to hear. Sometimes we’d spend up to an hour on our chins, waiting. We’d adopt a similar pose for the whole of the Saturday morning Chart Show, or at least as long as we could manage before we were chased away to do something middle class like piano practice or, erm, croquet. (“But it’s a lovely day outside!”) We were, as only bored and overly imaginative pre teens can be, dementedly passionate about music and obsessed with everyone from Marillion to Mariah. And when the new Now 30-something came out, we’d rush out with our £17.99 (which is quite a lot of money when you’re 10) and rush home with our purchase, feeling slightly resentful that the track listing featured 14 minute mix of ATB’s 9PM (‘Til I Come) when I was hoping for the unlikely inclusion of some Elastica. (Thanks, Video Vault.

    “Imagine”, we used to say to each other dreamily, painting our nails with a sixth layer of 17 Nail Polish in Clear Sparkle. “Imagine one day, going into a magic booth and making your own Now CD – but being able to choose ANY SONG IN THE WORLD! Truly, that would be amazing. Maybe, when we’re really, really old, like 35, they might have invented something.”

    It still blows my mind that I can sit at my desk and put together a mix tape with the Ramones and Britney and Blackstreet and Sonic Youth and WALK AROUND AT LUNCHTIME LISTENING TO IT. Although I do miss hearing John Peel’s voice before a song starts.

    You can just ask people out!

    I wasn’t the best feminist as a child. One of my oddest fears was a premature terror that no-one would ever want to marry me. When Aurora’s betrothal was making her angsty in Sleeping Beauty, I didn’t get it at all. “She knew who she was marrying when she was born! It’s all taken care of! Lucky bitch” I thought. I was the gold standard for The Unfanciable in the playground. I still fret about a fairly depressing moment in Mrs Kemp’s class when I had been sat at a table of naughty boys in order to set them a good, calming example. I was the subject of a conversation I was not participating in about whether the naughty boys would sleep with me for a million pounds. The general consensus was no, they wouldn’t, with the exception of Adam Zwonkner who squinted at me appraisingly and said “well, maybe for a million…” Fair play – it was a lot of money in 1995. (For the record, Adam was a good 14 inches shorter than me and looked a little bit like Quasimodo’s gargoyle mate Hugo.)

    If they can invent the amazing machine that lets you listen to all the music in the world, how about time travel? I’d love to go back and tell that shy, anxious, underconfident little girl some true ass shit. That being too tall and too clever for her own good would have a massive pay off in years to come. That she will survive and reach her teens and twenties and go on dates and have boyfriends – and that will sometimes be awesome and sometimes be awful, but she will be desired. And that being desired is WAY less important than feeling it. That she will have the confidence to talk and flirt with guys she meets in bars, at parties, through friends – and they won’t be freaked out at all. They will be thrilled. And that there will come a time when, as an adult, she could walk into a room containing all the grown up naughty boys – and given the opportunity, they would pay a million pounds to sleep with her – or at least pony up for a fancy dinner. (Not that she couldn’t pay for her own dinner, or has to sleep with anyone who buys her dinner. Although I usually do. ANYWAY).

    Discovering I had pulling powers that wouldn’t get me laughed out of a pub felt as sudden and magical as waking up and discovering I’d become fluent in Mandarin in the night. I still can’t quite believe you don’t need a B Tech diploma and a special helmet to get a snog. You just ask. Truly mindblowing.

    Not everything you wear should remind everyone about your vagina

     My first foray into fashion, or “being very bothered about how I looked and spending what little disposable income I had in Topshop” was alarming. I did not have an innate sense of style. It was a time of cropped things and crotches. Sickly sweet scented glitter rollerballed across a barely emerged cleavage. (Yeah, you could get glitter in roll on form, like deodorant. Why?) Everything was bright and stretchy and logo’d. I had a fetish for expensive things that looked very cheap – especially if they had the name of the shop they came from spelled out in sparkly crystals. When it came to putting clothes on, my spirit animals were Lolo Ferrari, Flavor Flav and Emily Howard. Everything needed to be pink and shimmery and gold and silver and furry and lacy and pretty and sexy – because otherwise people wouldn’t know I was female! What if someone looked at me AND WASN’T IMMEDIATELY AWARE OF MY FANNY?! Quelle horreur! Best get it out and show them so they’re not in the dark for one single second.

    I still think that being a woman and dressing like a madly enthusiastic post modernist drag queen is ace, but if you’d told me fifteen years ago that you could look like a woman even when your knees are covered, that grey and blue are not ‘boring boys’ colours’ and that when I got to choose my own underwear I would not opt for a thong every single day (because there is precious little that is grown up or hot about having a thin strip of polycotton wedged slicingly near your anus) I would have said “Muuuuuuuuuuuuum! Shurrup!” But there it is. So, dear Daisy from 1997, get out of Jane Norman. Walk away from the Lucite heels. You’d be better off in a floor length hooded sweatshirt embroidered with the words “Hiiiiiiii! I HAVE A VAGINA!”

    Girl Power is bollocks

    In the nineties, my personal feminist revolution was interfered with in a most unsavoury way. I’d discovered Hole (and spent a lot of time on my chin taping the Live Through This CD I’d borrowed from the library). Courtney Love captured my heart like the Sexy Mad Banshee Empress of Emo she is, and slooooowly I was finding out about other important people like Kim Gordon and Kathleen Hanna and Nico and Patti Smith. I was patiently frowning my way through bits of Germaine Greer and obsessed with Camille Paglia’s drag queen essay and Gloria Steinem’s Playboy Club expose (although I sort of wanted to be a sexy grown up lady in fishnets and a little tail too.) Then FIVE VERY LOUD GIRLS were on Newsround, flashing bewilderingly toned midriffs and lime green lycra’d boobs, banging on about Girl Power. Our parents hated them, so obviously I was instantly captivated. They had the confidence of my other idols, but it seemed…hollow. What was Girl Power? It seemed to be about flashing your knickers and Thatcher. And how come the fanciable one was the infantillised Baby and nobody wanted to be Sporty because she was probably a lesbian?

    Now I know that Girl Power is, like most marketing slogans, a lie. It has about as much emotional resonance as “oooh, Danone!” It’s a vague, cheerful thing to shout and jiggle to. And although personally and irrationally, I’d tell Angelina to fuck off out of it I’m never going to tell anyone that they can’t join the Sisterhood. I’m sure La Beckham, Geri and both Mels are lovely and feminist. (Emma Bunton definitely is – a friend of a friend knows her a bit and says she’s dead nice.) But pioneers of nineties pre adolescent feminism? Oh, hell no. If you’re going to shout about something quite so noisily you need to do something to back it up as well as just jiggling.

    @NotRollergirl is a funny funny lady. You can follow her on Twitter (recommended for daily giggles) or check out her excellent work on Sabotage Times.