A new chapter

The sun is out. I repeat, THE SUN IS OUT.

I just sat outside for an hour. I’ve used the washing line for the first time in months. This morning, I put sunscreen on my shoulders. Trivial, boring things that I never realised meant so much to me.

It’s been six months since I’ve seen the sun in London. Turns out, I missed it.

And with the sun shining, everything here seems a bit more magical. Flowers are blooming. Kids are playing on the grass outside the little brown brick house. The ice cream truck just did a lap of the street. And as I soak in as much Vitamin D as I can, I can’t help but think that I’m about to embark on a new chapter of this chick lit adventure.

The new job starts on Tuesday. I am beyond excited.

And I don’t know if it’s the sun, on the prospect of meeting new people, or just the simple fact that I’ll be earning money again, but I suddenly feel like anything’s possible. That I can make this story whatever I want it be.

On Saturday morning, I was struck by an urge to be spontaneous, adventurous. Two hours later I was on a train to Stratford-upon-Avon to celebrate William Shakespeare’s 449th birthday.

It was brilliant.

I took hundreds of photos of beautiful Tudor buildings. I got strangely emotional about marching bands and Morris dancers. I ate scones in the sunshine. I got a bit tipsy and watched the best Shakespeare I’ve ever seen on the banks of the Avon.

And, at the conclusion of ‘As You Like It’, when Rosalind, Orlando and company celebrated the changing of the season, I did too.

I’ve survived my first London winter.

It wasn’t easy. I’ve experienced cold I’d never imagined. I’ve set a world record for the number of pairs of socks worn by one person at any time. I’ve successfully navigated icy pavements without falling on my bum. And I’ve learned that hot chocolate with a sneaky shot of Bailey’s in it can be the secret to surviving any sort of outdoor event.

The winter is finally over. And from here on, things for this chick are going to be pretty different.

Bring on Part Two!

Rolling with the oldies, Stratford-style.

Rolling with the oldies, Stratford-style.

Chick clicks

One of my favourite things about this blog is finding out what people ask Google in order to end up here. For those of you who are actually looking for my blog, THANK YOU. I really, really appreciate it.

For the rest of you, I am sorry that my website does not help you IN ANY WAY.

But you know what? I’m going to try to help you, too. Below are my answers to some of the most Googled questions that (wrongly) lead people to My Chick Lit Life.

How do I dress up a brown brick house?

I am so surprised by how many people type this one, and end up clicking here. Do the previews of my rants about shoes and booze REALLY make you believe I’m going to be a renovation expert? Anyway, here’s my tip:

Paint it pink!

The walls, the doors, the windows, everything. Pink is the best! It makes you happy and crave sugar all at the same time. Imagine, the whole of London, pink-ified. It would look like Barbie-land!

A cat bit my chick

Oh my God. Chick, like your girlfriend? Or chick, like you have baby chickens in your house? Either way, I AM CONCERNED.

We’ve already discussed the danger of cat rabies in much detail on this site. It’s a real thing, apparently! So get that thing CHECKED OUT. NOW.

Cake with pink slippers and lipstick

You are a genius. MAKE THAT CAKE.

Australian girls and the consumption of champagne

Please, PLEASE do not use me as an example. I would hate for my obscene love of bubbles to reflect poorly on my home nation. My relationship with champagne is so skewed, I ACTUALLY believe a glass of prosecco can cure an oncoming cold. And I actively rage against the concept of a Bucks Fizz. Why dilute the champagne happiness with orange juice? I don’t care if it’s 10am, that is WASTEFUL.

Fear of moustaches

We should all fear moustaches. They are hairy and scary. Thank you for Googling this. I now know I am not alone.

Why is Ireland so obsessed with potatoes?

Because potatoes are the BEST. Duh.

My Doc Martens are making my pants bunch

Oh, that sounds unfortunate. Did you know, in England, ‘pants’ means knickers? It’s been a problem for me, as someone averse to wearing pants. And by pants, I mean trousers, slacks, jeans etc. I find them restrictive, uncomfortable, and not nearly as pretty as dresses. But when I tell someone here I don’t like wearing pants, they get all gross and leery. Where are YOU from? ‘Cos if your shoes are somehow making your knickers bunch, you have a real problem.

Pink shoes with butterflies on them

Don’t buy them. They sound terrible.

Spice Girls themed dinner menu

May I PLEASE come to dinner?

Who is the girl in the pink pants story so far

I really have no idea what you’re talking about. And why not dabble in question marks? Punctuation is FUN!

How do I get my chick to experiment with other girls?

Despite your appropriate use of question marks, YOU ARE A TERRIBLE PERSON. If my blog could punch you, it would.

A whole street that is naked

You are similarly terrible.

Single bed sex

Seriously?! This comes up EVERY DAY. There are thousands of people typing this into Google, and ending up here. It’s the biggest driver of traffic to my blog.

Guys. I am going to tell you once and once only, if you think there are special rules for sex in a single bed, YOU ARE DOING SOMETHING WRONG. IT IS STILL A BED. THERE’S JUST A LITTLE BIT LESS SPACE. If you were looking for instructions for shower sex, or I dunno, SEX IN OUTER SPACE, I understand the need for a little bit of Google help. But sex in a bed a little smaller than a normal bed? COME ON.

Googling My Chick Lit Life

This post is just going to drive more crazies to the site, isn’t it?

Here comes the sun

I’ve got a problem. And it’s pretty serious.

I guiltily confessed it to my housemate on the tube this week, glancing around so that no one could hear.

“I think I’ve lost my mojo.”

“Your mojo?”

“Yeah, my mojo. My sparkle. My shiny….ness. Basically, I feel like a big dork.”

And I do.

It’s been a gradual thing. But the confident, flirty, interesting girl who got off the plane in London all those months ago seems to have lost her touch.

None of my clothes seem to look as good. My makeup seems wonky. My stories aren’t as interesting. On Saturday night, it took me an hour to get served at a bar. AN HOUR. NO WOMAN SHOULD BE FORCED TO WAIT AN HOUR FOR A MARGARITA. And as soon as I’d drunk it, I decided I’d rather be reading a book instead, and went home.

Walking back to the little brown brick house, I pondered my situation with increasing anxiety.

What is wrong with me? Is this what happens when you get old? Is my face starting to LOOK old? Is it wrinkly? Oh God, is all this thinking GIVING ME WRINKLES? OK, hold your eyebrows still. Maybe it’s that I’ve been single too long. Have I lost confidence? Have I forgotten how to talk to people? Have I lost the power to charm men? That’s it, I have! Oh, why did I WASTE the power when I had it? Think of the THINGS I could I have got if I’d used it wisely! I could have DIAMONDS! And they would DEFINITELY distract from the wrinkles. I AM A HIDEOUS, WRINKLED, DIAMOND-LESS MONSTER THAT NO ONE WILL EVER LOVE!

Fortunately, back on the tube, my ever-wonderful housemate was there to stop my pity spiral.

“You haven’t lost your mojo. You’re just dealing with your first London winter. You haven’t seen the sun in four months. You’ve been shivering since August. It rains every day. We’re all used to feeling like crap for half the year, but we have the good sense to stay inside and drink wine. It’s just you, trying to pretend everything’s good when the winter is trying to beat all the joy out of you. Just hide under your doona, and everything will get better in April. Or May. By June, definitely. We will definitely see some sun in June.”

JUNE?

It’s too much to bear.

Which is why I write to you from Changi Airport, Singapore, halfway home to Australia.

I AM going back to London. But I’m just taking a little break in the sun. A few weeks to hug my cousins, drive a car, eat potato salad and not have to deal with black snot (one of the more disturbing aspects of London living).

Who knows, I might even find my mojo.

Sugar & spice

The hen’s night was in full swing when disaster struck.

Champagne had been consumed. The karaoke machine was blaring. And evil presented itself in the most unlikely of guises.

The Spice Girls.

Now, I unashamedly love the Spice Girls. Their songs are super catchy. Their harmonies are great. I consider the fact that none of them can ACTUALLY SING as further testament to their genius. And “if you wanna be my lover, you gotta get with my friends” is honestly one of the best pieces of relationship advice I’ve EVER HEARD. Seriously, I quote that all the time. Girls, if your boyfriend doesn’t make an effort with your friends, DUMP HIM! The Spice Girls told you so!

Now believe it or not, the Spice Girls are causing a lot of tension in our little brown brick house at the moment. And yes, I know this argument is about 20 years out-of-date. But the boys insist they hate the Spice Girls. And us girls LOVE them.

Now I reckon there are two types of people in this world: people who say they love the Spice Girls, and liars. Come on! EVERYONE LOVES THEM. I defy anyone to keep still during ‘Stop’, or ‘Spice World’ – it’s physically impossible!

But the boys won’t cave. We have had full-blown shouting matches in the house. And this is a group of people who haven’t had a single tiff about rent money, or the washing up, or who gets the smallest room (though maybe I should have piped up about that one). But if one of us girls dares to put on ‘Viva Forever’, shit goes down.

So, after years of dedication to the Girls Spice, it seemed unfair that they were the cause of my downfall at the hen’s do this past weekend. But here’s what happened. ‘Wannabe’ came on. We all squealed. I jumped up next to the bride-to-be to sing with her. She thought she’d share the mic. And when it got to, “I wanna HUH I wanna HUH I wanna HUH I wanna HUH”, she enthusiastically smashed the microphone into my mouth.

The good news: I still have all my teeth.

The bad news: there was a lot of blood. And two days later, I look like I’ve been in a bar fight. My fat lip is spectacular.

But you know what? It’s just a small battle wound in a long war. I’ll wear it with pride. And when I’m awarded some sort of Purple Platform Sneaker in honour of a lifelong commitment to Geri, Victoria, Mel B, Mel C and Emma, I’ll have a hell of a story to tell.

Now, listen. YOU KNOW YOU WANT TO.

The naked truth

I’m going to make a confession. Yep, another one.

Sometimes I exaggerate things on this blog.

Shocking, right? Look, it’s not something I’m proud of. But in my defence, exaggeration is in my nature. Every story I’ve told in the last 29 years has been a little… embellished. Numbers get bigger. Shoes get higher. Insults get ruder. Food gets tastier. I figure if you’ve got someone’s attention, you might as well make the most of it. Be entertaining. And perhaps, just a little bit creative.

But there’s one thing I can solemnly swear I have never blown out of proportion. My bedroom really IS the smallest thing in the world.

Getting in to my room requires the sort of acrobatic contortions last demonstrated by the Russians in their group hoop routine at the London Olympics. First, you have to breathe in, bend your body just the right way, and squeeze around the door (it only opens halfway before hitting the base of the bed). Once you’re through, you have to make a weird, awkward leap OVER the bed, to land on the room’s sole patch of clear carpet. Now, this leap’s a tricky thing. Your landing zone is less than a metre square, and boxed in by a wardrobe, a chest of drawers, a mirror, and the other side of the bed.

Still not impressed? Now imagine you’re doing this in a towel.

AND EVERYONE CAN SEE YOU.

One of the many quirks of our little brown brick house is my window. No, not my window. My PORTHOLE. Who wants a regular, rectangular, curtain-friendly window, when you can have a nautical, quirky porthole? Sometimes I feel like I’m the victim of some joke the whole of England is playing on the wayward Australian – as if it’s shouting, “welcome back, convict!”

Now being round, this porthole doesn’t have a curtain. Or a blind. Or any sort of light-blocking, modesty-protecting contraption. And with my room being so small, it means there is actually NOWHERE I can stand in my bedroom without being visible from the street. I live on a street full of children, you guys. And I’m really worried for them. They do NOT NEED to see me naked.

Once upon a time, getting dressed was an enjoyable experience. I took my time. I tried on multiple outfits. I lazed around in my underwear. Now, it’s tense. I’m constantly scanning the street for innocent children. I actually crouch on the floor to put my underwear on (TRY THAT in less than a metre square of floor space, folks! It is HARD). The first outfit I try on, stays on. And the whole dressing process is done in a panicked, worried rush.

And the truth is, if a girl can’t enjoy dressing up, what hope is there? There’s no need to exaggerate – this is probably the most serious problem I’ll EVER FACE.

Almost famous

This week was a big one for my little blog.

I got ‘Freshly Pressed’.

It sounds kinda sexy, and indeed, it is. My post on my unsociable fear of pets was featured on the WordPress website, and brought hundreds of new readers over to My Chick Lit Life to have a look. And apart from the slightly depressing fact that it’s made all my other stats look puny and pathetic, it’s by far the best thing that’s happened for the blog.

The feedback has been hilarious. A lot of people have given me serious advice on how to correctly approach cats (apparently scratching under the chin is the secret to getting a cat purring. I will not be doing that). I’ve been confidently told my life will not be complete without a dog. I’ve been assured that ‘cat rabies’ are not a big problem in the UK. Guys, I didn’t even know cat rabies was a real thing. I thought I’d made it up! But now, I am legitimately afraid of cat rabies. THANKS A LOT.

In all seriousness though, it’s been really exciting. I’m thrilled that so many people have read at least one chapter of my chick lit adventure. I hope a few stick around.

And in a classic chick lit twist, all this online attention and excitement has come during a week when THE INTERNET HAS STOPPED WORKING. I’ve had to bask in my online glory over a 3G connection, huddled over my phone screen. Honestly, it’s like it’s 1993 in our little brown-brick house at the moment. We haven’t had a connection in more than a week. And we’re all starting to go a little mental.

I, for one, don’t know how much longer I can last. Right now I’m pretending to be the world’s oldest university student, just so I can use a lab computer at a friend’s workplace. And just being in here, I’m starting to feel like I have an assignment due and a pimple growing. It’s tense stuff.

Apparently, it’s getting fixed tomorrow. Cross your fingers for me and my internet connection, dear readers! And, in the meantime, THANK YOU for reading My Chick Lit Life.

Sex & the single bed

When I moved into my house, there was one small problem. ‘Small’, being the key word. My criminally tiny bedroom, which has since been affectionately renamed ‘the cupboard over the stairs’ (can I reference Harry Potter in a chick lit blog?) was furnished with a single bed.

Yes, I am single. But does my bedroom really need to rub it in? And what are my chances of meeting (and wooing) Mr Right with just 90cm of bed width?

Before I go on, a disclosure. I know it can be done. My ex-boyfriend was the proud, 28-year old owner of a king-single bed. We made it work. But that boy-sized bed should have set my alarm bells ringing. Any guy who is happy sleeping in a single bed, in his Mum’s house, with a ninja turtles poster on the wall and a lego castle on display is not going to ask you to marry him. I know that now. Let’s move on.

So, this week I’ve been looking to the books for guidance on how to live my chick lit life. I bought Milly Johnson’s ‘An Autumn Crush‘ – a great little read about new flatmates, living in England and finding love in the fall. Perfect! Well, without giving too much away, two of the characters only realise they’re in love after falling into her bed in a state of drunken passion.

It got me thinking. Would that have worked with the single bed scenario? With two people that drunk (and her on the curvy side), would they even have both landed on the bed in their drunken state? Let alone enjoyed the bonk-fest to follow?

With literary evidence to back me up, my decision was made. A double bed was ordered. And yesterday it arrived! I now have about a metre square of floor space left and I can’t open my door all the way. But it’s wonderful! Last night I slept spread out like a starfish, luxuriating in all that wonderful, delicious space. I’m even blogging from my bed right now!

So the man for that scene of drunken love isn’t here just yet. But at least now, the furniture is in place!