Cafe Squatting

So I’m sitting in the corner of a hipster little café in Hampstead. I have a flat white, complete with swan art, to my left, and a finished plate of smashed avocado to my right. I am wearing a big swishing scarf, and bright red lipstick, in the hope that I may scream some sort of sophistication in this place, that is definitely far too cool for me. On the overhead speakers, some husky man is murmuring meaningful lyrics, accompanied by a guitar and the chatter of the people dining in this small space. Of course, everything is wooden, mismatched in the way that looks put together, if you know what I mean. Even the staff are all co-ordinating in their dark shirts, pierced noses and waxed moustaches.

I love going to places like this, it’s a prime spot for people watching, and so let my totally inaccurate observations begin…

Sitting opposite me, are the ladies that lunch. Two middle-aged women who definitely do Pilates on the weekends. They are munching down on their gluten-free salad option, because they are trying to watch what they eat. They sip on their extra hot cappuccinos, but of course, no sprinkles, thankyou very much. Their double denim attire, completed with a beret and boots oozes luxury. As their second round of coffee arrive, they completely ignore the young server, as they are too busy gossiping to acknowledge anyone around them. A dismissive wave of the hand as the guy offer’s two cappuccinos, but oh no, they have sprinkles! A slightly curt suggestion that he should’ve known what they ordered before he served them is said, and they continue their loud catch-up as two new ones are made.

Next, are the cool guys. Two youngish boys dressed in an effortless sweater and denim combo. Pulled up socks cover the area of their shins that their too-short jeans don’t, and the white trainers tie the look together. One guy has his hair tied up in low buns behind his head, accentuating the three gold hoops in his ear that he and his mates pierced themselves. The other has a beige cap on to cover his mop of curly hair, and a strong beard to match. They are only drinking water, because they don’t actually like the taste of coffee, but that’s okay because coffee is probably to mainstream these days anyway. They are looking at a laptop, and discussing ideas together, maybe for the next start-up business venture in east London.

On the opposite side of the table, is the first-time mum. Hair tied-up in a fuss-free ponytail and a knit thrown on, that definitely has a stain from this morning’s breakfast. She clutches her latte for moral support while her baby cries in its pram, for no particular reason. As she pulls her little one out, and balances him on her knee, you can see her tired eyes wishing for some sort of magical cure for crying toddlers. She shares her portion of plain toast, out of love but also in the hope of a moment of silence. As she folds him in a hug, you can see the bond of love between them, despite the sleepless nights.

Finally, the coffee guy. He has short brown hair, and is dressed in vintage chic that only waiters in cool coffee shops do. He is shy, not wanting to interrupt his customers as he carries over coffee after coffee. He has been working all day, but still wears a smile on his face as he welcomes new people into the café, a smile that his masking how bored and tired he really is.

As I sit in the corner of the coffee shop, I notice each group of people, sipping their coffee and enjoying their afternoon chat. They flow in and out, but I am that one weirdo who has been here all afternoon. After all of the judgements I make on other people, which are definitely in jest, the staff are probably making the same on me:

There is a girl sitting in the back corner of the shop, who has only had one coffee all afternoon, but keeps asking for water, probably because she is too stingy to buy anything else, but wants to sap our free wifi. She has been furiously typing away on her laptop, probably writing some essay about the arts, judging by the colour of her hair, and her bright clothing, not to mention the nose ring.

If only they knew, that if café squatting was a sport, I would be the champion….

Why do We Do It?

Before you read any further, I would like to put a disclaimer out there that this is not a post to bash anyone, or a statement of feminism, or any other sort of extreme view on worldly issues. It’s not. It’s just something I have been thinking over the past few days, and thought I would just put my thoughts on a page, nothing more, nothing less.

Over the past few weeks, it has been a common occurrence to hear about girls, women, my friends and their relationship problems. We all have them, and it’s totally fine! But, when women are staying with people who treat them like absolute shit, or make them unhappy, or even when they are single, and make it their mission to find boys (or girls for that matter), it makes me feel all shrivelled up inside. I don’t really know how else to put it, but it’s that feeling where your stomach just tenses up in frustration, and anger, and sadness all at the same time.

This is not to say that I am being biased to my friends, because I feel this to be the case for anyone, boy or girl, single or not. It is horrible to watch people become a lesser version of themselves because of how their partner and/or friend is treating them. You deserve so much better than to surround yourself with people who fill your head with negative thoughts. Don’t be with a person who doesn’t support you, doesn’t make you feel like who you want to be, and more importantly, doesn’t give you those warm and fuzzy’s inside!

I know this is nothing ground breaking. My thoughts aren’t original, and probably, maybe, naive even. It is probably so much easier said than done, but I just wish that people could see how fucking great they are, and didn’t settle for situations they don’t deserve.

Take Ella, for example. She is a top girl (totally made up, but just follow along)… She is funny, smart, beautiful in her own quirky way and most importantly, a strong woman. She finds a boy. Let’s call him Jake. At first it’s cute, and flirty, and they tag each other in memes on facebook all the time. Things are looking peachy… Then a month or so passes by, and they become comfortable. Jake starts to let slip comments about her physical appearance, he says she looks fat in that dress, that she shouldn’t wear those jeans, that she should go to the gym. So, Ella goes to the gym, and starts to change herself for someone else. Jake never comments on her efforts, but instead, says he can’t notice anything. He starts to tell her that she couldn’t find any better than him… He starts to fuck with her head to the point that Ella isn’t that funny, smart, beautiful girl anymore, but a tired, shy version of herself. I’m sure you get the picture, and you all want to metaphorically punch Jake in the mouth. You all want to grab Ella by the shoulders and tell her to get the hell out of there!

I want every person out there who reads this… or doesn’t… to know how brilliant you are! Don’t let the Jakes of the world pull you down and treat you like shit. You are the shit! You are so much better than what the Jakes deserve, and don’t let anyone tell you any different. That goes for friends as well, only let the Ella’s of the world into your life. No one has time for douchey Jake’s bullshit…

Live your days with your friends, and embracing each moment, not doing things for other people! If you’re out at a club with your squad, you dance with your squad and be with your squad. Don’t go hunting down the nearest pack of boys in the hope of finding the one. No one wants to tell their kids that ‘mummy and daddy met in a club, and got so drunk that they couldn’t remember each other’s names in the morning.’

Enjoy you, enjoy your mates, and let life do it’s thing, because you are fucking great!

To quote the biblical Beyoncé, ‘If you’re independent, I congratulate you’.

The Grandma In Me

Do you enjoy a great smelling candle?

Do you revel in the thought of a Friday night spent on the couch, watching The Crown and drinking tea?

Does a comfy, new pair of pyjama’s give you that tingly feeling all over?

Are you under the age where it is socially appropriate to be slightly rude, grumpy, and often hard of hearing?

Well then, you my friend, are an underage grandma! But never fear, because I am too. And Proud.

The horror my teenage self would be feeling right now. She would be out partying, dancing away to music until 4am and drinking everything like it was water! I used to love dressing up and being in an underground darkened room that would progressively get hotter and sweatier with every song. And that was just on thirsty Thursday! Sounds delightful doesn’t it!?

In saying that, I would like to point out that I do still love a drink and a boogie every now and then… but boy, I definitely need a week to mentally prepare for anything more than 3 glasses of something! And the hangover stamina is not what it used to be, at all.

Having hit the withered and decrepit old age of 21, less often do I find myself wanting to go out clubbing and getting ridiculously sore feet, but rather, sitting somewhere much more mellow, enjoying a nice glass of wine. Erghhh… who am I? (I should definitely not know the difference between a pinot grigio and a sav blanc at my age!) When I put it like this, it really does age me by about 25 years! Even my parent’s tell me I’m getting old. They are out at concert’s, parties and dinner things, whilst I am at home, in my sleeping gown, treating myself to a bubble bath while dinner is cooking!

But you know what?

Sometimes, I really fucking love going to ikea and looking at homewares!

I really fucking love getting into bed before 11pm and having a great night sleep!

And, I really fucking love scatter cushions!

I am honestly laughing at myself as I write this, but I don’t think I’m the only one suffering a case of underage grandmaism…. My flatmates revel in those nights where we are all home, drinking tea and watching movies together. And yes, we have all taken part in that buzzfeed quiz, and we definitely all got diagnosed as a Grandma in our 20’s.

It’s the way of the future, and I am all about this revolution. Bring on the young people who are already embracing their elderly selves (I mean, I have dyed my hair silver for god’s sake)! Never be embarrassed to claim it, and be proud of your array of scented candles and bedding.

I sure am!