large (12)It’s that wonderful time of year again where I gain a wrinkle, four grey hairs and have a crisis of age.

I love birthdays.

Obviously the cards, presents and celebratory food cushion the blow, but why do I always panic when I realise that I’m another year older despite understanding – since the tender age of five – the simple concept of time?

Despite this blind, undying ignorance, birthdays aren’t all bad. Because mine happens to fall in the spring time – the season best known for new beginnings, bunny rabbits and general pinterest-worthy joyousness – I always treat them like a second New Year. I pledge vows to myself and set targets for the year ahead by reflecting on the things I’d have done differently, and of course, I rarely stick to my promises. So I thought, why break the habit of a life time?

Because I’m older, and a little wiser now. That’s why.

It’s essential to think about improvement, but it’s equally as important to realise how far you’ve come. So I will start by thinking about the things that I know now, that I wish I knew then.

Here goes:

One. Things take time. This includes everything from projects, to love.

Don’t. Rush. Anything.

Two. Most people deserve a second chance. Rarely do people deserve a third.

Three. Do not, under any circumstances, fad diet. Just maybe cut down on the Kit Kats.

Four. Yoga is a whole lot more than stretching in tight pants. The older you get, the more you’ll realise this.

And five. Having fewer good friends is better than having lots of shit ones.

I could go on and on, as 25 years is actually quite a long time, but the gist is this: things will always be okay. Yes, I have had my heartbroken, but it’s fixed now. Of course, I have failed at things, but I’ve succeeded in so many others. And, much like you, I cut my own hair once. Badly. But it’s grown out now. What I’m trying to say is, despite living with these goddamn freckles and a butt the size of Narnia my entire life, there are plenty of people who would kill to be you or I. So instead of trying to better ourselves each year, why not give ourselves a pat on the back, just for making it this far? Because life isn’t always a lemon sorbet on The Serpentine, if you know what I mean? And we’re probably doing alright, considering.

Behind a haze of pollution and astonishing drink prices, it’s really rather easy to forget why you’re alive, but when your birthday swings round, and people come together just to celebrate the simple fact that you were born, it all, very suddenly, becomes oh so clear.

Always be thankful for what you have. And I’m not talking about that new camera.

Happy Birthday to me.


The Fancy Dress


There is nothing better than receiving an invitation to a costume party.

You can be whoever you want to be for an entire evening. A superhero, a rockstar, a popstar… even Amy Winehouse if that’s your thing. I wish I could dress up everyday, which is why I just cannot understand why people are so impartial to a little dressing up!

You’d have thought it required more effort than the weekly rigorous trawl through Topshop Oxford Circus on a Saturday afternoon or something, when in actual fact, you can probably find an outfit for a costume party in your very own “I never wear this. Ever. But you never know” cupboard. It’s cheap and promotes recycling. It also allows you to have fun and play around with your identity and when submerged in work, exams, essay deadlines and these tiresome winter months, why not add a little frivolous sparkle into your life?

Due to this strange adoration for fancy dress, I was so excited when mum decided to celebrate her 50th birthday this month with a huge fancy dress party! I opted for Jessica Rabbit. It was a little bit of a ‘She-thinks-She-could-look-like-her-but-She-really-can’t’ costume, but I still loved it nonethless.

The key is for everyone to go for it. When they do, the sights are mind boggling. You get Shrek snogging the face off Princess Leia, Cleopatra dancing to some sort of Grease megamix with Madonna and if you’re lucky you might even get to see Jasmin and Aladdin having a barney in the corner. The photos are cracking too. People start to take on the personality of their characters. Shy party-goers start to pout like Katie Price and your boss always lets out their inner wild child. One family friend dressed up as Gomez Addams and even took it upon himself to break the law for his costume and smoke cigars all night. Inside. Epic.

I’ve always loved fancy dress. When I was 18 I went to a ‘Smash And Grab’ night at Punk in Tottenham Court Road where a fancy dress booth is provided for your own amusement. Instead of heading to the bar, I strode over to the booth and kitted myself out in a leotard, spotty pants and a huge pink bow in my hair. I totally don’t have the thighs for such attire but I have to admit; it felt amazing. It meant that people would approach you because you look hilarious and you can act however you like because, well,  its not really you is it?

All in all, I have to agree with Blanche, “I don’t want realism. I want magic! Yes, yes, magic. I try to give that to people. I do misrepresent things. I don’t tell truths. I tell what ought to be truth.” (Blanche Dubois, A Streetcar Named Desire) and I should urge you to do the same. Go and dress up as someone new. You wouldn’t wear the same shirt or skirt everyday because it would get boring, so why restrict yourself to the same body everyday? You never know, when you finally clamber back into your own skin, life might seem that little bit more exciting knowing that actually, you can literally be who you want to be…